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

Exhibitions Until 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.

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.

Rare Beasts
Cinema Until 15 June 2021, from £7

Sheffield Showroom Cinema Reopening May 2021

Sheffield’s Showroom reopens this month with a film programme ready to remind audiences of what they’ve been missing

Cecil Beaton, The Bright Young Things at Wilsford, 1927. The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive
Exhibitions 20 May–4 July 2021, FREE

Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

Cecil Beaton’s glittering portraits from a golden age are brought together at Millennium Gallery in Sheffield in a major new exhibition direct from the National Portrait Gallery, London.

My Path: Art by People in the Criminal Justice System at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
Exhibitions 20 May–20 June 2021, FREE

My Path: Art by People in the Criminal Justice System at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

My Path is an exhibition of work by people in prisons, secure hospital, young offender institution or on probation.

The Together Season Festival
Theatre 24 May–5 June 2021, from £15

The Together Season Festival at Sheffield Crucible

Shining a light on some of Sheffield’s extraordinary artists, theatre-makers and companies – this festival offers the perfect celebratory welcome for audiences returning to the theatre.

Art in the Gardens
Festivals 3–5 September 2021, from £5

Art in the Gardens at Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Taking place annually in the beautiful surroundings of Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Art in the Gardens is one of the largest outdoor art markets in the North of England. 

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.