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How To Plan The Best Weekend In Sheffield

Planning a weekend in Sheffield? Get ready for interesting museums, local attractions, fun tours and lots of tasty food!

I’ve just returned from a very enjoyable weekend up north. I’ll admit, as a southerner, I don’t head to the elusive ‘north’ all that often. But, when I do, I’m always reminded of how warm and friendly people are as you head away from London.

having a fun weekend in Sheffield
Find out my tips for a fun weekend in Sheffield

Before visiting, Sheffield was a city I associated with music, students and its industrial past. Did you know the Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Def Leppard, Reverend and the Makers and Bring Me The Horizon all hail from Sheffield? Their rocky, indie sounds seemed so perfectly in tune with the industrial buildings, warehouses and former steelworks and cutlery works I saw dotted throughout the city.

Kelham Island was the home of industry in Sheffield
Kelham Island was the home of industry in Sheffield

The university scene keeps the city fresh, young and bang on trend. Brunch spots, vibrant murals, food halls, craft beer – it has the essential tick list for any twenty-something. Many students have chosen to stay in Sheffield after their studies too, adding to the ongoing creativity and entrepreneurial feel of the city.

And, while a trip to a northern industrial city might not sound like the prettiest of breaks, I was pleasantly surprised by the attractive spots I discovered, which were scattered between urban, hipster hangouts. It felt like a cool fusion of old and new. It also helped that I was visiting in spring, just as the cherry blossom was starting to bloom.

Vibrant murals in Sheffield
I loved seeing the vibrant murals in Sheffield

So, if you’re looking for a weekend getaway that’s not too far from home, look no further than Sheffield! This vibrant city has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, cultural experiences, or just relaxing with some delicious food and drink, it’s a great UK city break.

Sheffield Town Hall
The Town Hall is one of the prettiest places to visit in Sheffield
Sheffield architecture
I enjoyed admiring the Sheffield architecture

Plus, if you want to extend your weekend in Sheffield, you could add on a few extra days for an adventure or two in Peak District National Park. Just a short drive from Sheffield, this is one of the best areas in the UK for hiking, cycling and outdoor activities.

Feeling inspired? Here’s how to plan the ultimate weekend in Sheffield.

How To Spend The Best Weekend In Sheffield

I’m going to structure my guide to Sheffield as a weekend itinerary. Obviously, you can pick and choose individual elements and piece together your own plan!

Day 1

Start your day with brunch at Tamper Coffee

Coming from London, I have pretty high standards when it comes to brunching. All I can say is that Tamper Coffee, located in super-cool Seller’s Wheel, blew my socks off! This New Zealand inspired café serves up the best brunches in Sheffield. While you’ll find lots of classic dishes, most have a bit of a twist.

Tamper Coffee
Tamper Coffee is a great place for brunch in Sheffield

There’s the salt beef benedict featuring local Yorkshire brisket. Tamper’s smashed avocado comes slathered on fresh sourdough with an orange and chilli marmalade and pickled golden beetroot. Even the mushrooms on toast are elevated, with three types of mushrooms, a roasted onion puree and a nori and sage crumb. Mmmm!

I ordered the eggs royale, which featured Cherrywood hot-smoked salmon on a fluffy English muffin, with perfectly oozy poached eggs, a yuzu hollandaise, chive oil and some crispy capers. It was utterly divine, and without a doubt one of the best brunches I’ve had in years. Sitting eating that delicious plate, while sipping on a strong flat white, and soaking up the buzz in the room… what better way to kick off my fun weekend in Sheffield?!

Brunch at Tamper Coffee
Yummy brunch at Tamper Coffee

Go on a Treasure Hunt around Sheffield

Some cities have one central area, but Sheffield has a few different districts to see. One of the best ways to explore the city is on a treasure hunt. You’ll discover all sorts of spots you’d miss if you were left to your own devices.

This Sheffield treasure hunt encourages you to navigate the city using a fun WhatsApp-style communication. There are 14 riddles to solve, with the answers dotted all over the city centre. You’ll find yourself looking for statues, plaques and hidden names.

Sheffield historic buildings
The Sheffield treasure hunt took us past lots of historic buildings
Sheffield treasure hunt
Seeing different parts of the city on a Sheffield treasure hunt
Passive houses in Kelham Island
We also explored Kelham Island

I really enjoyed the way it showed us lesser-visited parts of the city, and taught us historical information in a fun and engaging way. You can treat it like a race against friends or family, or do it as a big group, stopping for meals and drinks along the way. If you’re the sort of person who loves escape rooms or puzzles, you’ll love this experience!

Visit Kelham Island Museum

For a fascinating look at Sheffield’s industrial heritage, I’d recommend a trip to Kelham Island Museum. This award-winning (and free!) museum is home to a range of exhibits that showcase the city’s manufacturing past.

Kelham Island Museum
The Kelham Island Museum is a great addition to a weekend in Sheffield

As you wander around, you’ll get to see a range of steam engines, tools, and machinery. The biggest attraction is the River Don Engine – the most powerful working steam engine in Europe. It’s incredible to see the massive 425-ton engine at work!

If you’re visiting Sheffield as a family, there are lots of exhibits here for kids too. It’s an ideal family day out.

River Don Engine
Seeing the River Don Engine is one of the most popular things to do in Sheffield

Take a chocolate tour

Have you heard of Bullion Chocolate Makers? Well, after a weekend in Sheffield you’ll definitely be familiar with this luxurious brand! Following on from the trend for craft beer and small-batch coffee, this Sheffield-born company is flying the flag for craft chocolate. Bullion creates these delicious treats at their factory in Kelham Island, taking the raw cocoa beans and transforming them into premium chocolate bars.

Max from Bullion Chocolate Makers
Max from Bullion Chocolate Makers

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the Bullion Chocolate Factory. Max Scotford is the inspiring founder of the brand. It was amazing to hear tales from this passionate local, who dreamed of becoming the next Willy Wonka. With an upmarket range of chocolate bars, stocked by the likes of Harrods and Waterstones, as well as being used in the kitchens at Claridge’s, it seems like the sky’s the limit.

During the tour, we learned about how he makes the chocolate, seeing each stage from cocoa pod, to bean, to delicious liquid chocolate and then formed into bars. We also tasted several samples from the Bullion range, identifying their flavour profiles.

We finished the tour with a moreish hot chocolate at the Bullion café, which is located within trendy food hall, Cutlery Works. I’m a bit of a chocoholic, so I really appreciated every part of the tour. However, the part that really stuck with me was hearing Max’s inspiring story. He built his brand from nothing and is proof that passion and determination can help you achieve your dreams. I like to think a little of that spark has rubbed off, and I’ll use it to propel myself forward.

Cutlery Works
Bullion Chocolate Makers have a cafe within Cutlery Works

Enjoy a delicious Italian meal at Grazie

Looking for some of the best Italian food in Sheffield? You simply have to visit Grazie. Located in the city centre, right by Leopold Square and Orchard Square, this buzzy restaurant serves authentic southern Italian cuisine. It transported me straight back to a holiday a few years ago in Puglia!

After perusing the menu on my train journey up to Sheffield, I’d already got excited for Grazie’s pasta dishes. However, we couldn’t skip starters once we read about the raw tuna  which was served with a chardonnay and basil oil velouté, and the creamy burrata which was accompanied by roasted tomatoes and salsa verde. These were both delicious and beautifully presented.

The pasta lived up to my high expectations. Perfectly al dente, the prawn and nduja dish was spicy and aromatic. My tip for you? If you’re planning a weekend in Sheffield, book your table at Grazie right now. This is a very popular spot and I’d hate for you to miss out!

Go for cocktails at Public

I’m a big fan of paying a little more for a special cocktail experience. But, in Sheffield, that might mean going to the public toilets… yes, really! Located in an easy-to-miss spot around the back of Sheffield Town Hall, Public was once a men’s toilet. Don’t worry though, this isn’t like going for drink in a smelly bog, this is a chic destination for a smart cocktail.

Public cocktail bar in Sheffield
Public cocktail bar was once a gent’s toilet

With expert mixologists, an intriguing menu of drinks you won’t have seen anywhere else, and a plethora of bar awards to its name, visiting Public is a must for your weekend in Sheffield.

Day 2

Breakfast at Marmadukes

After yesterday’s delicious brunch at Tamper, you might be tempted to go back for round two, but how about something a little lighter today? When you hear what else I have planned for the day, it’ll make sense!

I’d recommend stopping by Marmadukes, a cool bakery and coffee shop located on one of the pretty cobbled streets in the city centre. You’ll find all the usual breakfast options here, but my tip would be to grab a freshly-baked cardamom bun, a strong flat white coffee and head off for a morning stroll around the city. It’s the perfect fuel for a morning of exploration.

Take a stroll through Sheffield’s Winter Garden

When I saw the map of Sheffield, I was amazed by how many green spaces there are in the city. With over 80 parks and more than 170 woodlands, it’s a lovely destination if you love the outdoors.

But, you can enjoy some greenery indoors too! Located in the heart of the city, the Winter Garden is a stunning indoor garden. The arched glass structure reminded me of Valencia’s Umbracle – a similar glasshouse with a modern twist.

Winter Garden Sheffield
These gardens are right in the city centre

Sheffield’s Winter Garden features over 2,500 plants from around the world, including exotic palms and ferns. For a second, you might forget you’re in the north of England, and perhaps feel like you’ve visited a tropical paradise further away! Also inside the garden, you’ll find a café, gift shop and the entrance to the Millennium Gallery.

Winter Garden Sheffield
Exploring then Winter Gardens is one of the top things to do in Sheffield

Walk up Park Hill

I like to get the blood pumping in the morning, so after your coffee and amble through the Winter Garden, I’d recommend heading down the hill, past Sheffield Train Station and up Park Hill. It’s a steep climb, but this is one of the best spots to see a panorama of Sheffield.

View from Park Hill Sheffield
This was the view from Park Hill in Sheffield

It was only when I reached the top that I got a full idea of Sheffield’s range of architecture. The brutalist-turned-colourful Park Hill estate might be on one side (a big symbol of regeneration in the city), but as you look over South Street Park Amphitheatre, you’ll see the city’s skyline has an interesting mix of old and new, with countryside and urban space thrown in.

If you’re lucky enough to time your visit for spring as I did, you’ll get to see the area sprinkled with pretty blossom.

Taste Sheffield’s cuisine on a Kelham Island Food Tour

I think food tours are a brilliant way to get to know a city. By tasting the cuisine, you get under the skin of the destination, and that was certainly true in Sheffield. I booked onto a food tour of Kelham Island, which was led by a local named Sophie. She’d spent time in London and Brighton, before heading home to Sheffield to set up this passion project.

The food tours have proven to be really popular, often with a mix of locals and tourists all uniting to learn about the city’s cuisine. We stopped at a number of interesting spots within Kelham Island – the city’s former industrial district. From tasty pork belly slathered in local Henderson’s Sauce (just don’t mention Worcestershire Sauce!) to tasty teriyaki chicken at Roku, moreish pizza at B’reyt Dough and indulgent chocolate brownies at Bullion (so good, I went twice!) I loved the eclectic mix of tastes. Portions were really generous too, so you won’t need lunch before or a big dinner after.

Brey't dough
Tasty pizza from Brey’t Dough in Sheffield

One of the most interesting stops was Factory Floor, which looks more like a laboratory than a bar. It specialises in drip spirits – where plain spirits are infused with unique and often surprising flavours. Rather than a standard cocktail, you choose your ‘drip’ and then add a mixer. I loved the combination of rum dripped with blackberry and all spice, which was then paired with a ginger soda. It’s a unique place to go for a drink, and exactly the kind of place you wouldn’t find unless you were on a food tour with a local.

Check out Church – Temple of Fun

Straight after the food tour in Kelham Island, I’d suggest a late-afternoon pit-stop at Church – Temple of Fun. When it comes to décor, this has to be one of the quirkiest bars in Sheffield. Housed in yet another of Sheffield’s former industrial buildings, this cool bar was set up by Bring Me The Horizon frontman Oliver Sykes.

Church Temple of Fun
Church – Temple of Fun is one of the coolest bars in Sheffield

Inside, you’ll see all sorts of religious iconography, but with a playful twist! It’s also 100% vegan, and a popular place to visit on Sunday… for the vegan Sunday roast as opposed to the Sunday church service!

Grab dinner at one of the city’s food halls

If you’ve got any space free after that amazing food tour, I’d suggest popping along to one of the city’s food halls. There are currently two: Cutlery Works in Neepsend / Kelham Island, and Kommune in the city centre. Of the two, I preferred Cutlery Works as I felt the layout was a bit more interactive and the food choices were more varied and appealing.

Cutlery Works food hall in Sheffield
I loved the vibe at Cutlery Works food hall in Sheffield

There was a bit of excitement brewing during my trip, as Sheffield’s largest food hall was just about to open. Cambridge Street Collective is located moments from Sheffield Town Hall, right in the centre of the city. It’s part of a big regeneration scheme and will have a capacity for 1,000 covers, with several bars, lots of styles of seating and a focus on Asian cuisine. It sounds like I might have to plan a return trip to check it out!

Kommune is a food hall in Sheffield
Asian food from Kommune – another food hall in Sheffield

Where to stay on a weekend in Sheffield

If you’re only planning a weekend in Sheffield, I’d recommend booking a hotel right in the centre of the city. You’ll be able to walk to all the sights and restaurants, or if your legs get tired, an Uber won’t cost much to areas like Kelham Island.

I stayed at the Mercure St Paul’s Hotel & Spa, a smart 4-star hotel right overlooking the Peace Gardens and Sheffield Town Hall. It was in the perfect location for exploring the city on foot, and just a 7-minute walk from Sheffield Train Station.

Mercure St Pauls is one of the best hotels in Sheffield
Mercure St Pauls is one of the best hotels in Sheffield

A few friends stayed at the Leopold Hotel, located in Leopold Square. This stylish 4-star hotel has a pretty exterior, with the building dating back to 1800.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading all about my fun weekend in Sheffield. There are so many interesting things to do in the city, I’m sure you’ll find something that takes your fancy. If you’re planning a city break, I hope you have a great trip! Check out Welcome To Sheffield for more information on places to visit in the city. Let me know if you have any questions.

If you want to plan more adventures in the north of England, don’t miss my travel guides to these destinations:

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planning a weekend in Sheffield

With a passion for food, fun and adventure, Chloe is the content creator behind one of the UK's top travel blogs Wanderlust Chloe. From volcano boarding in Nicaragua, to sailing around Sicily and eating her way around Japan, her travels have taken her to some of the coolest spots on the planet. Named Travel Influencer of the Year in 2022, Chloe regularly works with a number of tourism boards, producing inspirational travel content across multiple platforms. Find out more about Chloe here.

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