Things to Do in Sheffield

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor

Once branded by George Orwell as “the ugliest town in the Old World”, Sheffield’s past and its cultural present are founded on one thing: the steel industry. During the 19th century, Sheffield witnessed explosive growth, the city we see today shaped by its industrial prosperity of old. So its leafy suburbs, for example, were purposely built uphill so that domestic residences would sit above the smog-blanketed centre of foundries and furnaces.

The cutlery works of Sheffield’s past have found a new purpose in driving forward the city’s creative life; many now house galleries, independent shops and artist studios. The museums dotted throughout the city trace the city’s unique industrial heritage and social history.

Boasting the largest theatre complex in the country outside of London, there’s a hugely diverse offering of performance in Sheffield. Alongside the award-winning Crucible and Lyceum, stand the avant-garde Theatre Deli and independent arts hub DINA. As dramatic as the seven hills it’s built on, the city offers touring productions, dance and opera as well as experimental performance and scratch nights.

With 200 plus parks, woodlands and public gardens Sheffield proudly remains one of the greenest cities in the country. Beautiful and lush, in some incongruous way, due to its industrial heritage: open spaces like the Botanical Gardens were designed to offer Victorian residents a much-needed breath of fresh air.

While other cities bustle between high rises and shopping precincts, Sheffield is a place to pause and look around, whether inwards from its hillsides, over spires, chimneys and curling valleys, or outwards from the city centre, to the breeze and birdsong of the moorland that continues to inspire so many artists, designers and makers.

Discover our top picks

Open Air Theatre in Manchester and the North
Theatre 18 May–12 August 2021,

Open Air Theatre in Manchester and the North

Open air theatre shows are happening across the north over the next few months – we’ve collated our top picks into a neat guide for you.

Exhibitions 1–31 May 2021, FREE

Open Up Sheffield 2021

One of the largest and most successful open studio events outside of London, Open Up Sheffield is taking the party online this year with a diverse range of artists and makers from across the South Yorkshire region opening their practice to the public online.

Pride and Prejudice at Sheffield Botanical Gardens
Theatre 12 August 2021 7:00 pm, from £8.50

Pride and Prejudice at Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Join The Pantaloons for a comic adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic in the beautiful open-air surroundings of Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

The Sheffield Project at Weston Park Museum, Sheffield
Exhibitions Until 3 May 2021, FREE

The Sheffield Project at Weston Park Museum, Sheffield

Commissioned in the mid-1980s, The Sheffield Project focused a lens on a unique chapter in the city’s history, when it embarked on a journey of radical change.

Sheffield District Guides

Abbeydale Picture House. London Road & the Antiques Quarter, Sheffield

London Road & the Antiques Quarter, Sheffield

Experience London Road, with its array of restaurants, & the Antiques Quarter, Sheffield packed with vibrant independents and vintage stores.

Things to Do in Sheffield. Kelham Island, Sheffield

Kelham Island, Sheffield

Once the beating heart of the steel industry, Kelham Island is now one of the most exciting districts in Sheffield.

Hunter's Bar in Sheffield. The Beer House.

Hunter’s Bar, Sheffield

Encompassing Ecclesall Road and Sharrow Vale Road, Hunter’s Bar is known for its wide range of restaurants, bars, cafes and mix of independent and high street stores.

Devonshire Quarter, Sheffield

Devonshire Quarter, Sheffield

Spanning Devonshire Street and Division Street, the Devonshire Quarter brings the feel of an ‘urban village’ to Sheffield city centre. Head here for culture, vintage shopping and one-off cafes and bars.

City Centre, Sheffield

City Centre, Sheffield

Easy to explore on foot, Sheffield city centre boasts striking architecture, independent cultural destinations, retail and nightlife.

Record Collector Sheffield. Broomhill and Crookes.

Broomhill and Crookes, Sheffield

Just west of the city centre are the suburbs of Broomhill and Crookes. Check out the interesting mix of cafes, shops and bars, and unwind in Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens.