Of Interest in Sheffield
||The essence of Sheffield
is often distilled down to two things, steel and the Full
Monty, however the city has much more to offer than just
that, and if you take the time to explore you’ll
find it a much more interesting place that the stereotypes
Sheffield’s history goes back centuries before the
city became known for its steel manufacture and there
are a few historic places of interest, unrelated to steel
that may be worth a visit.
Located to the south of Sheffield, Beauchief Abbey [map] is a beautiful example of 12th century architecture. Founded
in 1183 the abbey was dedicated to St Mary and St Thomas
Becket and inhabited by the Premonstratensian order.
The abbey consisted of a church, cloisters dormitory and
refectory all set in idyllic surrounds complete with a
stream, but today only the western tower of the abbey
remains as part of the chapel that was built in the 17th
century as well as the medieval fishponds. This abbey
is a great option for an afternoon out as it has great
historic importance for the city and is still surrounded
by historic woodland.
Historic flora and fauna can also be found at Cannon
The hall itself, once home to the Spencer-Stanhope family,
is now a museum exhibiting paintings and furniture set
in 70 acres of formal gardens and parkland, ideal
for a relaxing afternoon.
You may be surprised to know that Sheffield is one of
the greenest cities in England and as such has
a number of gardens and green spaces for you to enjoy.
There are the Botanical Gardens [map] created in 1836, which have been preserved, alongside
the restoration of the glass pavilions, and The Curator’s
House is a place of peace for relaxing and enjoying cultural
Sheffield’s Winter Garden [map] is another
oasis of tranquillity in the heart of the city. As the
largest temperate glasshouse in any European city, visitors
can expect to see thousands of plants from around the
world inside this architectural icon.
Recreating a little bit of the tropics in the city of
Sheffield is the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife
and Falconry Centre [map].
Here, as well as discovering some exotic fauna, you can
catch a glimpse of the animals that enjoy it, including
Philippine butterflies, American hawks, African Marmosets
monkeys and Australian bearded dragons. But if warm weather
wildlife is not for you, there’s also a nature trail
with kestrels, woodpeckers, stoats and squirrels, and
a nocturnal room where you can hang around with some creepy
Venturing further afield the Earth Centre [map] in Doncaster
offers people of all ages the chance to learn
more about the world in which they live, with indoor and
outdoor exhibitions that you can enjoy all day.
Back in Sheffield, if you did want to delve into Sheffield’s
industrial past then you could visit Shepard Wheel
[map] in Whiteley Woods. Here you’ll be able to see water-powered
grinding wheels and other equipment used to make all kinds
of knives from the 1500s through to the 1930s.
Sheffield’s importance as an industrial city spanned
many centuries, and at Bishop's House [map] you can see how local people lived. Bishop’s House
is Sheffield’s oldest surviving half-timber house,
which has been preserved to give visitors an insight into
Tudor and Stuart England. The various exhibits tell the
stories of people who lived and worked in the area through
the 16th and 17th centuries.
Looking into life in Victorian Sheffield, Birley Spa
[map] is a Grade II Listed historic and architectural gem. As
the only remaining Victorian Spa in the north of England,
it is well worth a visit and guided tours are available.
For a different look at the history of Sheffield for those
who are not easily spooked, you could take a trip to the General Cemetery [map] off Ecclesall Road. Established in 1834, it was one of
the first commercial cemeteries in Britain and is home
to thousands of Sheffield residents including some notable
names as well as several listed monuments and buildings
and unique catacombs. Although the thought of visiting
a cemetery may seem a little morbid, it was actually originally
designed as an uplifting place for the living as
well as final resting place for the dead, so it maybe
a lot more inspiring than you’d expect.
If you want to comment on our choices or recommend somewhere
interesting in Sheffield, why not use our What
You Recommend form to let us know.