Hotels in Sheffield, United Kingdom
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Sheffield - Wearing the Past with Pride
Shockingly overlooked in many UK travel guides, Britain’s fifth-largest city wins the hearts of any who get to know it better. Sheffield’s legacy as the UK’s Steel City is evidenced by its surviving foundries, forges and mills, many of which are now museums where the area’s industrial story continues to be told. In its modern guise, the city wears many hats. Having undergone major urban regeneration since 1998, steel-and-glass office blocks, shopping centres and chain hotels dominate the commercial heart of Sheffield today, with the imposing Gothic town hall and the more recently-added Peace Gardens providing an orientation point for first-time visitors.
The Steel-City Story
To learn more about Sheffield’s accomplished art, craft and design history, travellers make a beeline for the Millennium Gallery on Arundel Gate, where permanent exhibits, the Ruskin Collection and the Metalwork Collection reside. Equally convenient for quick visits is the Graves Gallery on Surrey Street, home to significant works by 19th and 20th Century artists, including Stanley Spencer. Victorian museum Weston Park, located near the University of Sheffield, is a popular destination for family day-trips, and tells the story of Sheffield through archaeology and natural-history exhibits. North of the city centre, on a man-made river island dating back to the 12th Century, Kelham Island Museum’s reconstructed master-craftsman workshops and interactive galleries tell the story of Sheffield’s industrial beginnings. A handful of hotels can be found heading east along the River Don, with accommodations to suit all budgets dotted along each of its banks.
Reimagined Public Spaces
Designed in 1836, Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens contain more than 5,000 plants housed in late-Georgian glass pavilions. A ten-minute drive from the city centre, the manicured 19-acre site is also well-known for a more grisly feature—a bear pit. In 2003, Queen Elizabeth II opened the mystical inner-city Winter Gardens as part of a multi-million pound regeneration project. The modern hot-house next to the town hall is home to more than 2000 plants and is the largest urban Glasshouse in Europe. In the same development, the Peace Gardens’ bronze fountains and cascading water features represent the flowing molten steel that put Sheffield on the map. The public space has plaques commemorating the city’s war heroes and the Bochum Bell, a gift from Sheffield’s German twin-town, can be found in its flowerbeds. The surrounding area features an abundance of upmarket hotels with good transport links into the centre.
Shopping and Spa-Break Destination
Just a ten-minute walk from Sheffield Train Station, shoppers find high-street fashion and trendy lifestyle stores in and around the Orchard Square shopping plaza and pedestrianised-precinct Fargate, which also hosts the city’s annual Christmas Market and Sleigh Bar. Sheffield’s gigantic out-of-town shopping centre, Meadowhall, is a fifteen-minute ride by Supertram from the centre, but for those with a more independent streak, the streets surrounding city-park Devonshire Green reveal small fashion boutiques, independent record shops and design-concept stores. With so much going on, it’s no wonder that those in the know rate Sheffield as an outstanding destination for a luxury spa break. In a city fascinated by fitness, it’s not uncommon for a high-end hotel to feature world-class spa facilities. Many of these spas offer great deals on spa days as part of a room package. Rooms in some lavish establishments feature stand-alone Jacuzzi bathtubs and pampering products.
South Yorkshire’s Musical Hub
Sheffield’s two universities play a major role in the city’s new economy. Many of the 50,000+ students who call Sheffield home are drawn in by the culturally-rich social life it offers. The ever-innovative city has recently emerged as the Real Ale capital of England and has a vibrant music scene, which has spawned such greats as The Arctic Monkeys, The Human League, Pulp and Moloko. Rising stars appear at the O2Academy in the city-centre, while mega stars rock out at the Sheffield Arena, which takes six minutes to reach by Supertram. At Sheffield City Hall, in historic square, Barkers Pool, the world’s most revered Classical soloists, orchestras and conductors do their stuff. The legendary Last Laugh Comedy Cabaret is also held here on weekend evenings. Close to this venue, travellers can find a number of cost-effective serviced apartments as well as a four-star hotel or two.
City of Stage and Sport
The largest theatre complex in Northern England can be found in the centre of Sheffield, and includes the 19th Century Lyceum Theatre and the 1970s-built Crucible. Offering a thriving scene visited by the world’s best touring productions and also the World Snooker Championships, the complex has attracted widespread national and international acclaim. Sheffield-born actors and musicians who have brought the city recognition are immortalised on a recently-added Walk of Fame in front of the town hall, along with scientists, public figures and sporting heroes. South of the city-centre, footie fanatics can tread the hallowed turf of Sheffield FC, the world’s first football club, while ice hockey enthusiasts can watch a Steelers game at the Sheffield Arena just north-east of the centre. Hotels in this area of the city are fewer but some mid-range options are available as well as at least one budget option on the Arena’s doorstep.