Sheffield: Seeing the Steel City

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by Conrad - 04 March 2015

Forged by the steel industry and standing tall in an area said to have the most trees per person in any European city, Sheffield is post-industrial urban metropolis meets rural retreat.

The South Yorkshire city is the only one in the UK with a national park - the Peak District accounts for about a third of its area - and has great transport links too. The M1 skirts the city limits while Robin Hood International Airport and the Midland Main Line deliver many of the visitors to this great northern destination.

We have brought you a guide to some of the activities you can enjoy at some of our favourite Sheffield spots.

Theatre (and snooker)

Named after a container that is used in steel production, The Crucible Theatre was built in 1971 in response to the sudden disappearance of the city's other performance spaces. Not only has it become the city's home of performing arts but it also went on to host one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar - the Snooker World Championship, which has been held here every spring since 1977.

The Crucible is well-known for its intimate atmosphere which allows for an up-close and personal audience experience whether watching Shakespeare or O'Sullivan. Along with The Lyceum Theatre and smaller Studio Theatre, this makes up the largest theatre complex outside of the capital.

Sheffield shopping

Opened in 1990 on the site of a former steelworks, Meadowhall is the tenth largest shopping centre in the United Kingdom, and brings in some 25 million visitors every year to check out what's on offer within its 300 stores. Meadowhall is also very environmentally conscious, recycling 95% of its waste and supplying all water from its own bore hole.

If one-and-a-half million square feet of retail sounds a bit daunting, there's plenty of other shopping to be had in the city centre, located just two miles away and well-connected by road, train and Supertram. The Moor Quarter is where you will find Sheffield Market and a number of department stores including Debenhams and TJ Hughes.

Sheffield sports

Although Sheffield FC and Hallam FC are recognised by FIFA as the two oldest football teams in the world, sadly neither are no longer as successful as neighbours Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, rivals in the traditional Steel City Derby that's played when the two teams cross paths.

While the Eagles ply their trade on the rugby pitch and the Sharks the basketball court, the Steelers are one of the UK's best-known and most successful ice hockey teams, playing their games at both Sheffield Arena and iceSheffield.

Rural retreats

Technically you don't even need to leave Sheffield to find yourself in the beautiful Peak District National Park, but a short drive out of the city along the famously windy Snake Pass towards Glossop will soon show you some truly spectacular sights.

Forming part of the unofficial boundary between Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, the Peak District offers plenty of activities for the outdoors type. Stanage Edge is just 10 minutes' drive from the city centre and is well-known for rock climbing.

Just under an hour's drive west from Sheffield - although seemingly a word away from the South Yorkshire hustle and bustle - is the village of Chapel-en-le-Frith, where you can peruse what's on sale at the market and enjoy a walk along the cobbles. Near to this is Eccles Pike, a hill which offers one of the very best views across the entire park.

Along with the superb leisure and shopping facilities on offer, Sheffield is also ideally placed for those who enjoy the Great Outdoors with amazing views and activities to take part in. All of this is easily reached by hiring a car in Sheffield.