12 best things to do in Sheffield

Known as the ‘Steel City’, Sheffield is a thriving hub of activity, set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Peak District. With events running throughout the year and many incredible permanent attractions ready and waiting, there are many reasons to visit Sheffield.

Hire a car with Hertz to give you the best opportunity to explore this industrial city at the foot of the stunning Derbyshire hills. Whether you want an outdoor adventure or prefer to while away the time in one of the city’s great museums, Sheffield has it all.

1.    Peak District National Park

Ashford Lane, Sheffield

The Peak District National Park is one of South Yorkshire's finest natural landscapes. It offers so much to see and do, including the High Peak, Thornhill, Monsal and Tissington recreational trails, plus the brooding Stanage Edge rocky cliff in the Dark Peak section of the park.

You can also discover more about the Peak District National Park at its visitor centres, or by attending on of family activity days. The 555 square-mile site can be explored by bicycle or on foot, guided by a park ranger.

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hathersage moor peak district

2.    Millennium Gallery

48 Arundel Gate, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield, S1 2PP

Since it opened in 2001, the Millennium Gallery is one Sheffield’s top venues for showcasing art, design and craft works, offering the visitor an exciting selection of multimedia displays. Sample the permanent Metalwork Collection that features 13,000 historic examples produced by factories in the city – highlighting how Sheffield got its name as the ‘Steel City’. Or explore the gothic architecture, medieval manuscripts, engravings, illustrations and renaissance art on show within the Ruskin Collection. The museum also features interesting temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

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3.    Rivelin Valley Nature Trail

Rails Road, Sheffield

Rivelin Valley Nature Trail is another spot of natural beauty in what was once one of the most industrialised parts of Sheffield. Any visit provides the chance to enjoy an oasis of calm in the most unexpected surroundings.

The area was at the heart of Sheffield’s famous steel and cutlery industry, and there are no less than 21 dams along this stretch – all of which were used to divert water to drive the many watermills that powered the city.

Found on the A57 where Sheffield blends into the Peak District, the Rivelin Valley Nature Trail is one of the region’s hiking highlights.

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4.    Graves Park Animal Farm

Hemsworth Rd, Norton, Sheffield, S8 8LJ

Graves Park Animal Farm is among the most popular family attractions in Sheffield, thanks to its many animals.

Those visiting can see pigs, sheep, goats, highland cattle, deer and others within its 22 acres of land. Children will be able to get a taste for the great outdoors and learn about what it actually takes to be a famer.

Head to the farmyard to meet rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens, or discover baby lambs and piglets in the main barn – a family-favourite.

Located close to the historic Norton Hall, Graves Park Animal Farm is a must-see.

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graves park sheffield

5.    Devonshire Green

158 Devonshire Street, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield, S3 7SF

The centrally-located Devonshire Green public park was originally occupied by houses and business premises before being turned into a green space in 1981.

Among the pleasures to discover here, you’ll find an amphitheatre surrounded by planting beds and sculptural walls, which is frequently used to present live shows and drama performances. Youngsters will also likely enjoy the free, well-equipped skate park, which can be used for skateboarding, cycling or rollerblading.

Devonshire Green is a popular spot for Sheffield events like music festivals and weekly markets making it a genuine landmark and great place to escape the bustling Steel City.

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6.    Heeley City Farm

Richards Rd, Heeley, Sheffield, S2 3DT

If you want a fun family activity, Heeley City Farm will give you a taste of the country in the centre of the city. Open all year round, and offering free admission, it will entertain visitors of all ages.

Jersey cows, pygmy goats and a Shire horse are among the large animals, while smaller ones include the likes of a bearded dragon, Mexican red kneed tarantula and leopard gecko. This mix of the expected and unusual animals makes Heeley City Farm a unique Sheffield attraction.

You can round off your visit at the on-site environmental visitor centre, the Garden Centre or with a freshly-prepared meal at the Farm Kitchen.

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7.    Meadowhall

Meadowhall, Sheffield, S9 1EP

Meadowhall is one of the UK’s most impressive indoor retail centres, housing more than 280 shops and services across its two floors. Originally opening for business in September 1990, the shopping complex now attracts a whopping 30 million visitors on a yearly basis.

Shopaholics will be in their element wandering round the variety of stores on offer, covering everything from well-known high street brands to local pop-up stores showcasing their own unique talents in fashion and design.

Meadowhall is open every day and also frequently hosts fun family events.

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8.    Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Clarkehouse Rd, Broomhall, Sheffield, S10 2LN

The glorious Sheffield Botanical Garden offers a wealth of natural beauty to delight the eye, with 18 different gardens, , including the Prairie Area, Rock and Water Garden and Long Border.

Maintained by the council’s Friends of the Botanical Gardens, the National Plant Collections showcase many rare varieties and can be explored via a guided tour.

Drawing thousands of people every year, the serenity of the plants and flowers is complemented by entertainment such as open air musical and theatrical performances and the annual Art in the Gardens exhibition.

Sheffield Botanical Garden is free to visit and open all week.

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sheffield botanical gardens

9.    Weston Park Museum

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TP

If you are looking for an attraction in Sheffield that is family-friendly, you cannot do better than the award-winning Weston Park Museum.

This free facility is home to an impressive permanent collection, which covers everything from Ancient Egypt to local stories, paintings and historic artifacts.

Kids will love learning about the wonders of nature and wildlife in the What on Earth! exhibition, which features the hugely popular Spike the Woolly Rhino and Snowy the Polar Bear.

Park Museum also hosts a number of classes, activity days and guest speakers, so make sure you check out the latest events before you visit.

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10. The Moor Market

77 The Moor, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield, S1 4PF

Offering stalls from over 90 independent traders, the Moor Market in Sheffield is a place no foodie can afford to miss. Here you will find everything from beautifully cut and locally sourced goat, lamb and beef, to seafood choices like conger eels and live crabs – the delis also offer rare teas and cheeses.

The wide variety of exotic cuisines from around the world also provides a glorious blend of flavours and fragrances within this indoor market. However, food is not that the only thing this lively venue has to offer, as browsing the many stalls with vintage crafts, jewellery, home furnishings and fabrics is completely free.

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11. Sheffield Winter Garden

90 Surrey St, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield S1 2LH

Sheffield Winter Garden, one of Britain’s biggest and most impressive temperate glasshouses, provides nature lovers with a remarkable array of greenery.

Located within the city centre, near the Millennium Galleries and the Peace Gardens, this award-winning attraction features more than 2,500 different examples of plant life from across the globe. Admire the towering plants and palm trees as you follow the paths through tropical flower beds blooming in a vision of beauty and colour.

Sheffield Winter Garden also offers access to the Millennium Gallery where you will find a mixture of contemporary craftworks and art produced by local artists.

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12. Sheffield Manor Lodge

197 Manor Ln, Sheffield, S2 1UJ

Built in 1516, Sheffield Manor Lodge is the perfect place to explore a part of the country’s great royal history. You will hear stories about Mary, Queen of Scots who was kept prisoner here for 14 years. You’ll also see Turret House, the only roofed building in England (which is still standing) that Mary would have known – some even say her ghost haunts Turret House.

A visit to the Lodge will see you take a tour of the Tudor grounds, Turret house, and the Discovery Centre before enjoying a nice lunch at the Rhubarb Shed Cafe.

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Visit Sheffield to explore this thriving city, filled with attractions and sites celebrating the region’s history and scenic natural beauty. Hire a car with Hertz to ensure you see it all.