What do you think about Sheffield? Have you ever thought about visiting?
I had never been. It never even crossed my radar as a place to visit. I was born in Yorkshire, I have lots and lots of family there and I also went to Uni in Leeds. But nothing has ever pulled me into seeing the sights of Sheffield.
What would we even do?
We had been invited by the Mercure St Paul’s Hotel to not only stay in their fabulous hotel, but to explore the surrounding area and see exactly what Sheffield had to offer.
You know what… it’s surprisingly cool! It was so cool I’ve had to split my originally planned post into two and dedicate an entire space to some of my favourite spots uncovered during our walking tour:
The Winter Gardens
Oh boy did I fall in love with this place. The BEST thing about the Mercure hotel is it sits right alongside it, it has its very own entrance to walk into the garden too. When we arrived late on Friday I was mesmerised by this giant conservatory and of course it was the first place we visited after breakfast the next morning.
It’s home to over 2500 plants from all over the world and is one of the largest temperate glasshouses to be built in the UK. Tall palms, throngs of bamboo and beautifully curved tree ferns were just some of my favourite foliage in this urban paradise. And right in the centre was this giant weird familiar looking structure, which made me WOW out loud. What is it? What is it?!?! I jumped up and down screeching at Mo, only to discover this familiar looking piece of art was in fact: E Coli. Five million times bigger than actual e coli, this installation was unveiled as part of Sheffield university’s Krebsfest, a festival to celebrate the life and works of the university’s Nobel prize winner Sir Hans Krebs.
I can imagine this is a perfect place to read a book, find tranquility, breathe in some vital oxygen whilst you’re out and about on a city break. You’ll also find there’s a gallery and some quirky shops too, I’m told they are pop up stores. Luckily for us the pop-up store on our visit was one that showcased local creatives’ handiwork. My favourite kind of pop-up 🙂
Town Hall and the stars of Sheffield
Dating back to the late 1800’s (I believe, don’t quote me on that) the town hall in Sheffield is very, very grand. The day we parked up outside we saw weddings, there was a fair outside and the building itself was basking in rays of sun beams looking incredibly majestic. Definitely made for a great bloggers photo opp.
But even though the building tempts you to look up, make sure you look down too and discover some of the famous stars of Sheffield, on their very own floor of fame.
Sheffields answer to Gaudi
I don’t know what it’s called or what it’s for, but when Sue told us to keep an eye out for Sheffields answer to the fabulous Antonio Gaudi I knew instantly this was it when we saw it. Ok it’s no Parc Guell, but on a sunny day there’s no denying its a fantastic space and it did make me giggle.
The shop for people like me who don’t like shops
I LOVE this shop! Mo made us go in and I wanted to buy everything. It was so cute and quirky and any place with a cat face plate and starry silk scarves gets my seal of approval. That and the beautifully handmade cards and artwork too.
Religious buildings are so exciting to visit. I love seeing how different they all are, yet how they follow the same basic guidelines. Cathedrals are always great on a sunny day because of all the stained glass. Sheffield cathedral still kept all it’s old character, with a slightly new addition and extension to it’s side. No matter what religion you are, walking into a place of worship is usually a very humbling experience, especially when it’s being used at the time and you are fortunate to witness others in prayer.
Unusual architecture and beautiful old buildings
There were so many unusually shaped buildings, Mo was rather embarrassed that I was even gushing over the job centre, but Im such a fan of traditional architecture and I have a real love for Yorkshire stone. I was very much in my element.
Once thing that really stood out as we wandered the streets was how clean it was in comparison to so many other UK cities. And also how spacious and calm it felt. We were on our walking tour early afternoon on a Saturday and not once were we thrust into a crowd of people, having to elbow our way down a high street or constantly play frogger to avoid rushing shoppers. It made for a refreshing change from a Saturday in Manchester!
The Women of Steel
Steel is very much emblazoned in the city’s history. And I love that the council commissioned a fabulous statue to celebrate the contribution of women to the industry during the World Wars.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t realise that Sheffield shot to International fame because of its part in the steel industry. In fact, Sheffield produced more steel last year than they ever have done in the city’s history (definitely would never have guessed that).
And if all this isn’t enough to tempt you here’s a few other inspiring things we learnt over the weekend from our sources at Mercure and local lasses Sue and Tracey:
- Sheffields Theatre Quarter has the largest concentration of theatres within a square mile outside of London
- It’s Englands greenest city, where half of the population live within 15 minutes of open countryside
- Look out for the herd of Sheffield, a trail of 58 elephants dotted around the city, we found a few thanks to our local girl guides
- Sheffield Football club is apparently the world’s oldest football club and Sheffield is the place where the rule of the game were first drawn up.
- During the World Snooker Championships, the Winter Gardens is usually where they hold all their interviews, look out for it next time it’s on!
So what do you think? I mean don’t you agree there’s just so much to love about Sheffield?
*** Thank you to the Mercure St. Paul’s Hotel for inviting us to explore this great city. As per my last disclaimer, all photos are only brightness adjusted and all of these happen to have been taken on my phone! So hopefully it gives you a true outlook on this fab city ***
Have you been to Sheffield? What did you think? I’d love to explore the surrounding countryside next time, so do share any tips you have xx