Welcoming visitors as soon as they step off the train to Sheffield is the Sheffield Tap, a pub with Edwardian tiles and a mahogany bar in what was once the station’s first class refreshment room. Sheffield Station itself opens out onto Sheaf Valley, a part of town that features some of Sheffield’s best independent arts destinations, including independent cinema and café bar the Showroom (in a former car showroom) and Site Gallery. Around here for food, it’s a toss-up between the Rutland Arms’ range of fresh butties, a burrito at the fab Street Food Chef, or, for a real treat, brunch and excellent coffee at Tamper Coffee.
Further into the city centre is the Millenium Gallery, which lures people through to the soaring wooden arches of the Winter Gardens beyond, while the Graves Gallery can be found on the top floor of the Central Library on nearby Surrey Street. Sheffield’s own theatre-land lies around Tudor Square; it is the country’s most concentrated cluster of theatres outside London. There’s the charming 260-seat Library Theatre, while the Lyceum, a traditional proscenium arch theatre dating back to 1897, is the city’s largest. The much-loved Crucible was given a pretty light-up facelift in 2010 and features an octagonal thrust stage that means each of the potential 980 members of the audience are never more than 22 metres from the drama.
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.