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Brief Encounters: 15 reasons to visit Sheffield

These days Sheffielders don't go to Ann Summers parties for thrills...

Published: Monday, 1st August 2016 at 2:15 pm

Sheffield has had a makeover in recent years. So much so that the ladies in Brief Encounters, ITV's 80s-set drama, probably wouldn't recognise the city centre. Other things will never change: Henderson's Relish, breadcakes, those lung-busting hills.


Here are just a few of our favourite things to do there...

1. Sheffield Antiques Quarter is a fine way to while away a Sunday, whether you're after retro furniture or a stuffed pigeon. After several hours lost in Heeley Bank Antiques Centre, recover your sanity in the excellent cafes and beer shop.

2. Kelham Island isn't a real island but it does boast the independent Kelham Island Brewery, which does regular tours and tastings. You can also sample its award-winning ales next door in Kelham Island Tavern or The Fat Cat pub.

3. Breadcakes: so much much satisfying than bread rolls.

4. Sheffield University's Arts Tower. Some think this 60s tower block is an eyesore; others consider it an architectural masterpiece. The best bit is inside: the paternoster – a continuously moving lift with no doors. Watching the wide-eyed alarm of first-timers is almost as fun as hopping on and off yourself.

5. Founded in 1857, Sheffield FC is the world's oldest football club. The world's second oldest club is also Sheffield-based: Hallam FC, founded in 1860.

Ellie Gilliatt celebrates scoring their fourth goal during the match between London Bees and Sheffield FC Ladies on July 17, 2016

6. Last year, the Dalesman Magazine named Henderson's Relish one of its "Great Icons of Yorkshire". Or, as Matt Helders from the Arctic Monkeys put it: "It's like Worcester sauce but a million times better." Buy a bottle as a souvenir and sprinkle on anything and everything.

7. Speaking of the Arctic Monkeys, the steel city has a rich musical heritage: Pulp, Moloko, Def Leppard, Richard Hawley, Joe Cocker and The Human League are all alumni. Catch a gig at The Leadmill, a Sheffield institution.

View from Mam Tor, a 517m hill in the Peak District

8. I could dedicate a whole feature to the splendid hills on Sheffield's doorstep. Instead I'll simply say: Make the most! (This former Sheffield-dweller wishes she had.)

9. As well as hosting the World Snooker Championship, The Crucible and sister theatre The Lyceum draw some big-hitters. This week Harold Pinter's No Man's Land opens, starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.

10. On the first Friday and Saturday of every month, an old warehouse in Neepsend becomes Peddler Night Market: streetfood stalls, craft beer, cocktails, live music, art.

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11. The Balti King. This Indian restaurant in Broomhill is a rite of passage for Sheffield University students, but don't let that put you off. Sean Bean, Vinnie Jones, Shane Ritchie and David Blunkett have all sampled the vast menu. If it's 2am in the morning and you're feeling a little worse for wear, brave that other student staple: The Broomhill Friery, which is owned by Sean Bean's nephew.

11. Sheffield is said to be built on seven hills, although it can feel like many, many more when you're walking around it. The upside is that regular visitors will have legs of steel.

12. Tucked behind Ecclesall Road in the south-west of the city, Sharrow Vale Road is that rare thing: a thriving high street full of independent businesses. There's a florist, gallery, hardware shop, homeware shop, baker, fishmonger, traditional sweet shop and several quirky cafés.

13. The Millennium Gallery is free and has regularly changing art and design exhibitions (currently there's a Made In Sheffield one, featuring work by over a hundred local companies). Next door is the Graves Gallery, which is home to the city's visual arts collection.

Sheffield Winter Garden, Surrey Street

14. The Sheffield Winter Garden is a giant greenhouse with over 2000 plants and a coffee shop. It's the perfect place to escape the crowds/cold. When the sun is shining, stretch out next to the fountains in the Peace Gardens in the city centre.

15. Last but not least, there's the famous Devonshire Quarter, which boasts indie shops, hipster eateries, chic bars and skaters galore.

Have we missed anything out? Tell us about your favourite place in Sheffield in the comments box below.

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