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. Head to Kelham Island Museum to find out how heavy industry has influenced this incredible city and Weston Park Museum for an insight into the community and politics of the area. Close to the train station, and next door to Sheffield’s much-loved independent cinema Showroom, you’ll find Site Gallery, a superb contemporary art space specialising in moving image, new media and performance.

Additionally, there’s a hugely diverse offering of theatre and 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

Gypsy: A Musical Fable at Buxton Opera House
Festivals 7–24 July 2022, from £25.00

Gypsy: A Musical Fable at Buxton Opera House

Treat yourself to a taste of Broadway in the picturesque Derbyshire hills this summer.

Viva la Diva at Buxton Opera House
Festivals 10–23 July 2022, from £25.00

Viva la Diva at Buxton Opera House

Packed with laughs, cross-dressing and cases of mistaken identity, this is a brand-new English version of Donizetti’s comic opera, adapted by renowned screenwriter Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Pottery at Earth Pig Pottery and Fine Art in Buxton

Try your hand at pottery at Earth Pig Studio in Buxton’s Green Man Gallery; a longstanding community arts hub, shop and gallery.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £95

Blacksmithing at Forge Four

This beginners workshop will teach participants the traditional skills associated with blacksmithing, in the ‘Steel City’ of Sheffield.

Exhibitions Until 23 July 2022, FREE

Framed in Friendship: A Legacy of Art in Sheffield at Graves Gallery

The sweetly titled new exhibition at Graves Gallery celebrates friendship, with a particular focus on one special connection that brought a fantastic piece of art by Stanley Spencer to the city of Sheffield.

Music 7–24 July 2022, from £12

Buxton International Festival

One of the UK’s leading arts events, Buxton International Festival is a glorious summertime celebration of opera, music and books.

Sheffield District Guides

Things to do in Buxton and Derbyshire

Things to do in Buxton

Buxton, the ancient spa town and capital of the Peaks, is undergoing something of a revival.

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.