A Complete Sheffield Travel Guide: Highlights and Hidden Gems 

After a weekend in Sheffield discovering the highlights and hidden gems of this unassuming Northern city, Travelista’s Editor Jessica Ruth Gibson shares her finds and shows you how to plan your very own trip with this in-the-know Sheffield Travel Guide. 

Read on to find out 10 unique things to do in Sheffield as well as the top 5 restaurants, top 5 pubs and bars as well the best hotels in Sheffield. 

Although I’ve never lived in Sheffield, this city is in my blood. It’s my Mum’s hometown and where half of my family still live, which means I’ve visited Sheffield regularly since I was child. But this month I got to experience Sheffield like never before. In partnership with Visit Sheffield, I was invited to discover all that is unique, independent and quirky about the city. Now I’ve bundled everything I learnt, tasted and experienced into this handy Sheffield travel guide, which might just get you thinking differently about your next UK city break.

Index

1. Introducing Sheffield
2. Why Visit Sheffield?
3. How Long To Spend in Sheffield
4. 10 Unique Things To Do in Sheffield
5. 5 Of The Best Bars and Pubs in Sheffield
6. 5 Of The Best Restaurants & Places to Eat in Sheffield
7. Where To Stay in Sheffield – Best Hotels in Sheffield

This guide has been written in partnership with Visit Sheffield. All words and views are unique to the author. 

A Complete Sheffield Travel Guide

Sheffield Travel Guide: Introducing Sheffield

Sheffield is a UK city located in the North of England, within the county of South Yorkshire. It’s right on the edge of the spectacular Peak District, meaning nature and green open spaces are never far away. They say the city is built on 7 hills and watered by 5 rivers, the main one being the River Don. It’s 165 miles from London and 250 miles from Edinburgh and is easily accessible by train via various rail networks including LNER, Northern and EMR (East Midlands railway). Trains between Sheffield and London St Pancras take as little as 1 hour 59 minutes direct.

Why Visit Sheffield?

Historically, Sheffield has been known as a gritty Northern city, but what many don’t realise is how the city has creatively regenerated itself after the industrial revolution. Run down areas of the city, such as Kelham Island, have become gentrified and are now home to a thriving collection of independent businesses, property developments and a vibrant foodie scene that is well worth discovering. Many of these independent business have breathed new life into old factory buildings and warehouses, marrying the city’s history with more modern, creative and progressive Sheffield. 

Sheffield town hall Peace Gardens in Spring with Fountain

The city’s buzzy arts scene makes up many of Sheffield’s top attractions including The Crucible Theatre, The Lyceum Theatre and The Leadmill. Cuture vultures will love the city’s unique mix of galleries and museums, some of which we feature below in our list of 10 unique things to do in Sheffield. Cherry pick your favourite recommendations from this Sheffield travel guide to start building your own Sheffield city break. 

How Long To Spend In Sheffield?

Sheffield is a fairly compact city, so you could do plenty within the space of a weekend or a midweek two night stay. If you wanted to get around all the museums and galleries as well as perhaps one of the tours listed the next section, I’d advise a long weekend of 3 nights. Sheffield is also great as part of a dual-destination trip with a couple of nights in Sheffield city centre twinned with a few nights out in the Peak District. This is a great option if you’re wanting to get outdoors and get involved in some walks, hikes or perhaps some long-distance cycling. 

10 Unique Things To Do in Sheffield

It wouldn’t be a Sheffield travel guide without a Top 10. Here are 10 of the most fun and unique things to do in Sheffield during a day out or a city break.

1. Do a Digital Treasure Hunt (Great for Older Kids 8+)

Treasure Hunt Sheffield is a unique, fun and engaging way to see the city, and discover places you’d never find on your own. This fun game runs like an app through your phone and guides you through the city with 14 clues. Solve each clue to move to the next.  

I had so much fun doing this treasure hunt with my fellow content creator Chloe, of Wanderlust Chloe, and I’d describe it as a great alternative to a guided walking tour. The experience took us around 3 hours but you could spread it over a whole day if you were to stop off for lunch and a couple of coffee breaks. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of walking. 

The experience costs £23.99 for up to 6 people. Book here

If you’re going to do this with kids I would say the minimum age is probably around 8 as there is a lot of walking involved and the clues are designed to challenge adults.

2. Do the Bullion’s Chocolate Factory Tour and Tasting

Hidden away in a Kelham Island warehouse is Bullion’s chocolate factory, one of the only bean to bar chocolate makers in the UK. The whole process takes place here at their Sheffield factory and the chocolate bars are now loved and used by the likes of Claridges Hotel in London. Learn about the chocolate making process, do a tasting of their famous bars and end the tour with a hot chocolate in the Bullion’s cafe within the nearby Cutlery Works. This was a brilliant experience that I also got to enjoy during my time in Sheffield. The tour and tasting costs £18 per person. Book tickets.

3. Try a Kelham Island Food Tour 

The foodie scene of Kelham Island is buzzing but as so many bars, restaurants and eateries are hidden away in existing warehouse and factory buildings, it would be so easy to miss them. So many of them are discreetly tucked away and the magic of this area is that behind doors of quiet streets lies bustling hubs of eating, drinking and socialising. The best way for newbies to discover the area is on a Taste of Kelham Food Tour, which will take you to around 6 different establishments. Ours included;

Milowners Arms – Onion Baji and craft beer

Chop Shop – Pork belly with Henderson’s relish

Factory Floor – Drip cocktails

Roku – Chicken teriyaki and pork gyozas

B’Reyt Dough – Fresh wood fired Neapolitan pizza

Bullion Chocolate Cafe – Sweet treat 

Tours start from £60. The amount of food you get on the tour is very generous and you won’t leave hungry, that’s for sure. Book tickets for a Taste of Kelham Island food tour

4. Explore the weekend and community markets – FREE

If you love strolling through markets, finding unique treasures and supporting small businesses, be sure to check out Sheffield’s vibrant market scene. Markets pop up across Sheffield all year round and there are regular monthly markets including Peddler street food market in Kelham Island, Quayside at Victoria Quays and an inner-city flower market called Pollen. There’a also community markets a little further out of the city including Nether Edge Farmer’s Market and Sharrow Vale Road Market. We also discovered the charming Rex Market in Neepsend during our time in Sheffield.

Nether Edge was recently named one of the Best Places To Live in the UK in 2024 by the Sunday Times.

5. Discover Sheffield’s Many Food Halls 

Foodies rejoyce! Sheffield has a collection of superb foodhalls, some of which are so tucked away you’d easily miss them. My favourite discovery was The Cutlery Works in Kelham Island, offering 2 floors of authentic world food from various pop up stalls. Upon entering you’re immediately hit by smoky cooking smells and a buzzy hum from the bar. 

There’s also Kommune in the city centre. We also visited here and there was a great selection of world food to try but the layout made it feel a little more like a canteen as the seating and cooking stations were separated.

Finally, Sheffield is set to welcome a brand new food hall in May 2024. The Cambridge Street Collective (CSC) is going to be the largest food hall and community hub in Europe and I can’t wait to return to the city to check it out.

6. Enjoy a Locksley Gin Distillery Tour and Tasting 

Sheffield is brimming with creatives so it’s no wonder that so much local produce is made here; from chocolate through to gin. Locksley Gin Distillery is located in the heart of Sheffield within a grade 2 listed building known as Portland Works. Tasting visits include a guided tour of the distillery and an expert guided tasting session, as well as a full Locksley G&T ‘sunshine in a glass’. The tours last 60 minutes and cost £18 per person. 

You can also experience cocktail making classes for £35 per head and a create your own gin experience from £95.00 per head. Book now.

7. Check out the National Video Game Museum (Great for Kids)

Whether you’re an avid gamer or not, there’s something for everyone at the National Video Game Museum. Visitors can expect to play over 100 games, from retro to modern day. Visitors will also learn how these games are made, their history and their cultural importance. The museum is located in Castle House, Sheffield, S3 8LN. Standard tickets cost £12, under 18’s cost £9 and under 5’s go free. 

8. Visit the National Museum of Emergency Services (Great for Kids)

We got to take a quick trip around The National Museum of Emergency Services during our Sheffield Treasure Hunt, and I’m so glad we did. This compact museum has a fascinating collection of emergency services vehicles from history and into modern day. The best thing about it is that many of the vehicles are open for exploration and little ones will love stepping inside the back of the ambulances and pretending to drive the fire engines. The museum itself is small and would only take around an hour to explore, but the contents is quality and very engaging. Just don’t expect to spend a whole, or even half a day there. Tickets cost £9.50 per adult, £7.50 for ages 3-15 and under 3’s go free.

9. Book Builder’s Brew Cafe for Lego fans 

Builder’s Brew is a child-friendly Lego cafe in the heart of Sheffield. They have hundreds of lego sets for you to choose from whilst you sit at your table and they even have Duplo sets for their youngest guests. But of course, you don’t need to be with kids to visit. Lego fans of all ages can book, build and enjoy delicious food and drink at the same time. Booking is essential and you can do this via their website. Book now. https://buildersbrewcafe.com/book

10. Go for cocktails at Public; in an old Public toilet 

The unlikely premises of this bijou little cocktail bar was once a public toilet and from the street you’d have absolutely no idea it was there. A tiny subtle sign marks the place, so this is strictly for people in the know. Because of its subtle entrance, it has a real speakeasy vibe to it, and the mixologists behind the bar really know their stuff. The cocktail menu is something to be studied with a concept all of its own. Order one of their unique creations or order your go-to classic.

The space is tight so booking is highly recommended, although we did get lucky and got the last two seats as a walk-in. It was kind of gross and kind of cool that original features of the public toilet still remained. The ambience is great and this one definitely ticks the box of something unique to do in Sheffield. 

A Complete Sheffield Travel Guide

5 Of The Best Bars and Pubs in Sheffield 

Eating and drinking definitely have to be two of the very best things to do in Sheffield, so we’ve not held back in this Sheffield travel guide. Follow our recommendations, all supported by Visit Sheffield, for the very best foodie experience.

1. Factory Floor, Neepsend

This Neepsend bar, located in a former spring factory, has one of the most unique bar concepts I’ve ever seen. It’s the UK’s first drip bar, meaning it uses drip methodology to flavour all its spirits, and also offers tank craft beer fresh from the brewery next door. They combine drip-infused spirits with homemade sodas to offer the most unique, delicious and affordable menu of cocktails. You’ll only get them here! The staff are also super friendly, knowledgable and passionate about their offering.

The other cool thing about Factory Floor is that you can order food from the neighbouring restaurants Roku and B’Reyt Good Pizza to enjoy in the bar. Imagine delicious cocktails alongside asian delights or wood fired pizzas. This bar was my favourite discovery during my time in Sheffield. 

92 Burton Road, Sheffield, S3 8BX

2. The Fat Cat Pub, Kelham Island

Sheffield Travel Guide Fat Cat Pub

Our food tour guide pointed this pub out to us as a truly iconic and historic place to get a drink in Sheffield. Located in the heart of Kelham Island, it dates back to 1981 when the area was in its industrial era. It offers a huge selection of real ales, lager, wines and spirits and with lots of original features, it feels like a real step back in time

23 Alma Street, Sheffield, S3 8SA

3. Church – Temple of Fun, Kelham Island

Church is a 100% vegan bar and restaurant located within Osborn Works in the Neepsend / Kelham Island neighbourhood of Sheffield. It’s claim to fame is that it is owned by Bring Me The Horizon frontman Oliver Sykes. It is the only industrial building designed by Victorian Architect William John Hale, who also designed many of the city’s iconic churches. Beyond the quirky decor, great atmosphere and delicious vegan offerings, you will also find photobooths in the style of confessional boxes, PS4 gaming rooms, retro arcade machines and a pool table. 

4 Rutland Way, Sheffield S3 8DG

4. Piña, Kelham Island

If, like me, you love a margarita, Piña is the place for you. Piña is a another perfect example of a cool bar and restaurant that has take over and transformed an old industrial space in Kelham Island. These are the businesses that makes Kelham Island the unique area it is today. Head here for the best Mexican-inspired food and drink and the best 100% agave-based tequila cocktails. Exposed brick work, colourful artwork and an industrial character gives Piña a relaxed yet authentic vibe in the heart of Kelham Island. 

Piña provide a walk-in service and don’t take reservations. They are also dog friendly.

3 Harvest Ln, Sheffield S3 8EF

5. Sheffield Tap

A great recommendation for craft beer lovers, Sheffield Tap also has an on-site microbrewery; Tapped Brew Co. The main bar dates back to 1904 and was originally part of the Sheffield Midland Railway Station. They offer 11 traditional hand pulls alongside 14 different keg beers as well as bottles and cans. If you’re passionate about beers, come and visit one of the finest brew pubs in the country.

Sheffield Station, 1b Sheaf St, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield S1 2BP

5 Of the Best Places to Eat In Sheffield

1. Grazie – Italian

This is my no.1 restaurant recommendation for Sheffield. After much research, it’s the place I decided to eat at for my first night in Sheffield. When I saw it had been given the title for the best pasta in Sheffield, I had to give it a try. Everything at Grazie delivers 10/10, from the chic aesthetic Mediterranean-inspired interiors to the friendly Italian waiters and the sensational food. Pasta is handmade fresh onsite and the food uses fresh and authentic Italian ingredients. My pasta dish was one of the best I’ve ever had outside Italy and the pistachio tiramisu was also a highlight.

9 Leopold St, Sheffield S1 2GY

2. Chop Shop Bar & Grill – Meats

I discovered Chop Shop as it was a stop on our Kelham Island Food Tour, and somewhere I’d definitely like to return to for a full evening meal. This place specialises in meats cooked on an Argentinian aside BBQ grill . We got to try their pork belly with a Henderson’s Relish glaze (Sheffield’s most famous condiment). It’s not something I’d usually order from a menu but I absolutely loved it and it has changed my opinion on pork belly forever! This is a great place to come for a relaxed meal with great wine in the heart of Kelham Island.

1B Alma St, Sheffield S3 8RY

3. B’Reyt Good Pizza – Pizza

This little find is tucked away in the Peddler Warehouse courtyard. You could so easily miss it, which is why it needs a spot on our top 5 places to eat in Sheffield. This eatery is small but mighty, serving up authentic Roman wood-fired pizzas on the freshest and fluffiest dough. We got to sample a few different pizzas as part of our Kelham Island Food Tour and it’s definitely another place I’d return to for an awesome lunch or dinner in Sheffield. This is a place for people in the know!

Unit 12, 92 Burton Rd, Sheffield S3 8BX

4. Roku – Asian

Roku is the neighbour of B’Reyt Good Pizza and Factory Floor located in the courtyard of Peddlers Warhouse. This mini restaurant offers next level Asian cuisine including sushi, gyozas and grills. Their menu is short and sweet, so you know everything on there has been thoughtfully curated and prepared with quality ingredients. The interiors are super cute and aesthetic and you can either enjoy the food within the restaurant or over the road at Factory Floor. 

Unit 6, 92 Burton Rd, Sheffield S3 8BX

5. DOMO – Sardinian

DOMO is the place to go for authentic ‘Sardinian soul food’ in Sheffield. Also tucked away in Kelham Island, it’s not easy to find. DOMO (meaning ‘home’ in Italian) is a family-run and award-winning. Make a reservation and enjoy the freshest food inspired by the owner’s Sardinian home town of Castelsardo. You can expect fresh product from local and independent Sheffield retailers and specialties straight from Sardinia. and there’s also a deli so you can take a piece of Sardinia home with you. This place comes highly recommended by our food tour guide who is, of course, an expert in Sheffield’s foodie scene. 

34-36 Cotton Mill Walk, Sheffield, S3 8DH

A Complete Sheffield Travel Guide

Where to Stay – Best Hotels in Sheffield

To make the most of a Sheffield city break and this Sheffield travel guide, we recommend staying in the city for 2-3 nights. 

Sheffield offers hotels and accommodations to suit every budget, from the luxury boutique traveller to the budget explorer. Here are our top recommendations, including the hotel I stayed for my own weekend in Sheffield; Mercure St Pauls. 

Click the headings to check out rates for each hotel.

Mercure St Pauls Hotel & Spa, Sheffield

Although it’s part of the global Mercure hotel group, this 4 star hotel feels totally unique. It’s beautiful design connects directly to Sheffield’s spectacular botanical Winter Gardens and the glass-dome design makes it feel light, bright and modern. The hotel has a pool, sauna, steam room and its very own Spa Naturel. It would be a great option if you want to add a spa day to your Sheffield city break. There’s also The Yard Restaurant serving a modern British menu as well as a champagne bar in the lobby. The location could not be better or more central, right beside The Peace Gardens and Tudor Square. 

119 Norfolk St, Sheffield, S1 2JE 

Leopold Hotel, Sheffield

The Leopold Hotel is another great 4 star option in Sheffield city centre, surrounded by some of the best shops, restaurants and bars including the aforementioned Grazie. The historic property has 89 en-suite rooms, all of which have been uniquely styled and furnished. Built in 1800, the lounge bar serves light meals and afternoon teas. 

2 Leopold St, Sheffield, S1 2GZ

Leonardo Hotel, Sheffield

The Leonardo Hotel in Sheffield is a former Jury’s Inn and offers a cool and affordable hotel option in Sheffield. It’s a 5 minute walk from Sheffield’s train station and is close to the trendy Devonshire quarter. Enjoy all-day dining at The Bar & Grill as well as illy coffee. 

119 Eyre St, Sheffield S1 4QW

Brocco On The Park Boutique Hotel, Sheffield

For somewhere totally unique to Sheffield, check out this award-winning boutique hotel. It calls itself ‘The only 5 star restaurant with rooms in Sheffield’, although the hotel itself is 4 star. Brocco Kitchen is famously ran by Head Chef Thomas Wells Lomas and offers a unique dining experience like no where else in the city. Foodies will love this unique and quirky hotel option. You’ll sleep soundly and dine in style.

Browse all hotels in Sheffield on your travel dates.

Read more of our UK travel features.

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That’s a wrap on our Sheffield travel guide. Thanks to Visit Sheffield for providing such a fun experience. We’d love to know what you like the sound of and locals, if we’ve missed out any other hidden gems, be sure to let us know by leaving a community comment below. 

Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.

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