Surprising Sheffield

It’s been at least 15 years since I last visited Sheffield so it was time to return to see how the city centre has changed.  We travelled by train arriving into Sheffield station late morning.  The concourse seemed bright and airy leading out onto Sheaf Square, a pedestrianised plaza featuring a cascading water wall and a steel sculpture ‘Cutting Edge’ recognising the city’s industrial heritage where stainless steel was discovered later becoming the home of high quality cutlery.  This created a good first impression, the square only opened in 2006 and is a huge improvement from what we remembered.

image
Sheaf Square, Sheffield

A walkway now leads up Howard Street into the city centre passing alongside the modern buildings of the Sheffield Hallam University campus.  We then recognised the Crucible Theatre on our right, probably more famous for hosting the annual World Snooker Championships than staging high quality plays.

image
Herd of Elephants, Sheaf Square, Sheffield

We were intrigued to see ‘elephants’ dotted around the city centre.  They were part of a public art display organised by Wild in Art, called ‘Herd of Elephants’ featuring 58 elephant and 72 elephant calf sculptures.

image
Entrance to the Winter Gardens, Sheffield

Facing the Crucible, another new development is the Winter Gardens.  This is one of the largest temperate glasshouses to be built in the U.K. during the last century.  Stepping through the huge arched entrance we were enchanted to find ourselves in this stunning green oasis.  Here you will find more than 2,500 plants from all around the world, plus an attractive cafe and gift shop.  Admission is free and the garden is open daily.

image
Interior of Winter Gardens, Sheffield

Off to one side of the Winter Gardens lies the entrance to the Millenium Galleries, an art gallery and museum which opened in 2001 as part of the city’s ‘Heart of the City’ project.  It consists of a series of galleries connected by a central avenue.  Entering the Metalwork Gallery we looked at a collection of Sheffield made cutlery, bowls, teapots and containers – showcasing the excellent designs the city has created from stainless steel.

image
Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

Next door, we viewed the Ruskin Gallery, consisting of a collection of watercolours, drawings, books and coins collected by the noted Victorian scholar John Ruskin.  There are two further galleries used for temporary exhibitions, one focussing on craft and design and the other for special exhibitions.  Entrance is free of charge and it’s an interesting place to look around if you are in Sheffield.

image
Sheffield Cathedral

Moving on, we found an inviting pub for some lunch then it was time for more sightseeing.  Next on our list was a visit to Sheffield Cathedral and inside we admired the medieval chancel and smaller Tudor and Regimental chapels.  Optional guided tours are available at certain times if preferred.

image
Sheffield Town Hall and Peace Gardens

Not far away we admired the gothic Town Hall fronted by the Peace Gardens.  These gardens create a tranquil setting for visitors to take a rest from shopping and children were delighting in playing in the fountains despite the weather being a little chilly.  We noticed signposts to Victoria Quays formerly known as the Sheffield canal basin, a fifteen minute stroll from the Town Hall so, always being attracted to canal boats, we wandered along to take a look.

image
Victoria Quays, Sheffield

The Quays lie at the head of the Sheffield and Tinsley canal and, to be honest, there wasn’t a great deal of activity on the Saturday afternoon we were there.  The derelict railway arches have been converted into retail units and cafes but several were unoccupied.  Several colourful canal boats were brightening up the quayside, two of which were providing houseboat accommodation.

image
Houseboat, Victoria Quays, Sheffield

There was then just enough time to stop off for tea and cakes on our way back to the railway station.  We had such a pleasant day out with the city centre being nothing like the Sheffield we remembered from 15 years ago.  Now, it’s vibrant, attractively landscaped and the blend of modern buildings with historic architecture makes it very appealing –   I’m certain we will be returning soon!

Advertisements

55 thoughts on “Surprising Sheffield

  1. Anonymous

    Sheffield really has improved recently, hasn’t it? I’ve found myself going quite regularly in the past few years. The other week I took a walk from the station to Kelham Island via the river Don. Kelham Island was great – a mix of industrial heritage, museums and good pubs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I study in Sheffield and there is so much to see and do! If you go again, go to Sharrow Vale Road for independent shops and cafes, and walk through Endcliffe Park towards Whiteley Woods for fresh air. We love to walk up to Bole Hill park in Crookes for a great view over Sheffield and lovely sunsets. Abbeydale Picture House is also really popular and if you’re into it, you could look at some of Sheffield’s cool street art: streetartsheffield.com. It’s such a great city!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sheffield is beautiful! I wish I had visited during my stay in the UK ☺ I don’t know much about the city, apart from recalling that one of my favourite authors/journalists/political commentators is from there- Owen Jones 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We have friends in Sheffield and I had a good impression of it when we were there last, though driving around it was less than fun. 🙂 🙂 I’d quite like a closer look. They could do more with the canal, couldn’t they?

    Like

  5. We went to Meadowhall once years and years ago and had a brief visit to Sheffield – never been back. Looks like it has changed a lot – love the sound of the Winter Gardens especially but it seems like there is plenty to do on a day trip.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Few memories of working odd days in Sheffield in the early 1990’s.

    Last couple of visits have been to see the former Marillion singer Fish play solo shows – the first in the early 1990s and the second in December 2015.

    Stayed over on that last one rather than running for home after the show, so we had time to explore the city centre and catch up on Christmas shopping in the city rather than use Meadowhall.

    Fine place to explore on foot, even when on a cold and crisp winter’s day!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How lovely to read this. I was at University In Sheffield until 1978 and i absolutely love it. I weny back once In 1985 and obce In 2010. And it was nothing like this. So I’m very excited to go again. I can’t wait to see the conservatory

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I live an hour away from Sheffield and cross the city nearly every weekend to go hiking in the Peak District but I never stopped and took the time to actually visit… Your post inspired me to do so!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This has put a massive smile on my face this morning! Sheffield is my home town (even though I now live in Derbyshire I still go there, work there, shop there) and it’s so nice to hear someone say nice things about it. It has undergone massive changes in recent years, and it looks so much better than it did. I love sitting in the Peace Gardens eating my lunch, enjoying the fresh air in the middle of the city. The new fountain etc outside the station certainly is impressive. Love Sheffield!!😀😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The ancestor who migrated to Australia in the early 1800’s kept canal gates operational so I was interested in those canal shots. Loved the tropical palms growing under the glass roof in Winter Garden. They have a very large enclosed garden with plants from all around the world in Brussels. I enjoyed visiting there.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s