Whether you have been here for more than four years or just over a few weeks, there are certain things you are going to want to see and do before you head back to your hometown.
The things on this list are iconic to the Sheffield student experience, and are the highlights of the city of Sheffield in general.
1. Arts Tower
Standing at 22 storeys, the Arts Tower is one of the tallest University buildings in the country. With it being clearly visible along the Sheffield skyline, it is a great landmark to help you navigate your way back to uni after one too many in the city centre. Opened in 1965, it also has one of the few remaining paternosters in the UK, making it a grade 2 listed building. Jump on one of the 38 cars and ride it to the top for a pretty incredible view of the city.
2. Peace Gardens
Originally called St Paul’s Gardens, the area quickly became known as the Peace Gardens. This is supposedly in connection with the Munich Agreement signed in 1938, when the Peace Gardens were put in place. The area often has both corporate and public events throughout the year including fairground rides, and the Coca-Cola truck around Christmas time.
3. Division Street
Running almost parallel to West Street, this stretch of road is a great place to find some quaint, independent shops bars and cafes. The street itself has a very trendy student vibe, with many students heading there for the collection of vintage shops, freak shakes and vegan pizza.
4. Crucible and Lyceum Theatre
The Lyceum, built in 1897 and the Crucible, built in 1971, have played host to many of the biggest events in the city, including musicals, pantomimes, ballets, and even a one-off event ‘In conversation with David Attenborough’ (hosted by Sheffield Doc Fest). As a student (or person under the age of 26) they offer a limited number of ‘Live at 5’ tickets, giving students the chance to go and see most of the performances for £5 a ticket. These tickets are limited though, so keep your eye out on the first Friday of every month for the listings.
5. Showroom Cinema
This is another one of Sheffield’s independent businesses, offering a variety of films from larger blockbusters to small independent art films. They offer an under-26 discount, with any ticket £4.50 making it a nice change to the more expensive, generic chain cinemas.
6. The Peak District
After just a short bus ride from the city centre, you can find yourself in the Peak District National Park. Endless walking routes of varying difficulty are available to the students willing to make their way out here. The scenery is generally stunning, regardless of the weather: sunny days reveal green rolling hills, which on other days may be covered by thick fog, giving the landscape an eerie aesthetic.
7. Botanical Gardens
Sitting just down from the Union, not far from the Francis Newton pub, Sheffield Botanical Gardens is still home to a variety of plant life. Back in 1836 when the area was laid out, it was seen as something more of a zoo, to showcase exotic plants and animals to the public. The remnants of this is still visible today with the old bear pit structure still standing near one of the side entrances. The pit used to be home to two brown bears, the reality of which becomes even more surprising when standing in the bottom of the confined space.
8. Kelham Island
Much to the slight confusion of newcomers to the city, Kelham Island is not actually separated from the rest of the city. The area is protected due to its industrial culture and heritage, and has a museum dedicated to its history. Every first Friday and Saturday of every month, the heart of Kelham Island is home to Peddlers Market, a local food and craft market with a vast array of cuisines from home favourites to those which change from month to month.
9. Winter Gardens
Adjacent to the Crucible and Lyceum theatre stands the Winter Gardens, a large temperate glass house, containing over 2500 plants from across the globe. Standing at 70 meters high, the building also has a small collection of craft stalls and coffee stops. Throughout the year there are also performances from various bands and choirs, which draw locals in from the outside High Street.
10. Millennium Gallery
This modern art gallery is free entry and was opened a part of Sheffield’s Heart of the City project in 2001. It hosts both permanent and temporary exhibitions, which change throughout the year. The gallery was the 15th most visited attraction in the UK for 2011 according to Visit England and features both modern art and craft, focused on Sheffield and a variety of other themes.
Words by Kate Marron
Featured image credit: Henry Westmacott