Sheffield is My City; my home away from home. I moved to Sheffield from Nairobi in 2014 to study a Master’s program at the University of Sheffield. I must admit when I chose Sheffield as the place to live and study, it was like a gamble and I did not expect to fall in love with it this much.
The best time to visit my city is during summer, that is, from June – August because the weather is amazing and the days are longer hence you have more time to explore and enjoy the city. When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is the Peace Gardens which is located in the heart of the city. It has beautiful gardens, fountains at the centre and surrounded by lots of pleasant cafés and shops. It is a spectacular place to unwind and relax from the hustle and bustle of the city. Around the month of August, you may also enjoy Sheffield by the seaside. The event tries to bring the beach to the city. There’s sand, water slide entertainment and nearby there are bumper cars and fun rides.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read What’s on Sheffield. Two events I really like are: the Peddler’s Market which is an event that offers mega street food, craft beer, cocktails, live music and great art. The second one is the Tramlines Festival. I am amazed how thousands of people turn out for the 3 day and night event to enjoy live music in the park or in the clubs/pubs and restaurants.
Locals know to skip High Street and check out the Botanical Gardens, Graves Park and Winter Garden to enjoy the tranquillity; Meadowhall to shop anything you can think of; Sheffield Bramall stadium to support Sheffield FC team; Motorsport arena to watch live concerts and sport events and the Moor Market to buy fresh vegetables and meat instead.
Sheffield Botanical Gardens
Sheffield hosts occasional temporary markets in the city centre ranging from Continental markets, International markets, Farmers’ market, Craft market, Christmas market and Sheffield food festival and from there you can buy authentic local souvenirs.
Sheffield open market, Fargate street
In the past, notable people like James William Thornton – founder of Thorntons, a British chocolate company; Sean Bean- a famous actor; and Jessica Ennis-Hill – current British holder for the heptathlon have called my city home.
Notable people from Sheffield: Sean Bean, popular in the Game of Thrones series. (Find photo credit details Here )
My city’s best museum is the Kelham Island Museum because you can explore the history of the world-famous Sheffield Steel Industry. There are also exciting things to see such as the great River Don engine that is brought to life periodically. Make sure you confirm the timings online when you can see it running. It is truly a spectacular sight!
Kelham island museum
If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s to buy a CityWide card that offers you unlimited travel for 1 day, 7 days, 28 days or 1 year on any bus and any tram.
The best places to spend time outdoors in my city is Tropical Butterfly House, Sheffield Round Walk and Botanical Gardens.
My city really knows how to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day because it is not just about seeing firework or bonfire displays, there are loads of events, with Sheffield clubs, pubs and restaurants having themed bonfire nights.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they call you ‘love’. For example, “hello love”, “are you alright love” They call each other love regardless of your age or gender. They also have the Yorkshire dialect.
For a fancy night out, I indulge in my city’s best cocktail joint Revolution De Cuba or my favourite Turkish restaurant dinner joint Efes .
Just outside my city, you can visit the Peak District. It is absolutely stunning, peaceful and with ‘unpolluted air’ unlike in the city. If you like outdoors I highly recommend you tour the place.
The Grind Cafe is my favourite place to grab breakfast, and Sheffield chippy joints especially on West Street are the spot for late-night eats.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I carry home-made packed food with a bottle water, sit at the Peace Gardens or walk in the city centre doing some window shopping.
To escape the crowds, I like taking walks or jogging round or resting at Crookes Valley Park.
Crookes valley park
The dish that represents my city best is Yorkshire pudding served with roast beef, potatoes and vegetables, and Thornbridge’s Jaipur is my city’s signature drink. Sample them at Harlequin on Sunday when they have the ‘Sunday roast menu’ whereas Sheffield Tap is a chilled out place to enjoy the drink.
Popular Sheffield dish: Sunday roast menu
West Street Live is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out the clubs on Carver street such as Paris Sheffield, Walkabout or Crystal.
An elephant known as Lizzie who pulled scrap metal and military equipment around the place could only happen in my city. It might have looked like the circus was in the city, but the elephant was actually playing a big role in helping Britain during the First World War, helping carry heavy loads at a scrap metal merchants. There was a massive shortage of horses during First World War because the military had sent most of them to the Western Front. Farmers and traders were at a loss, left looking for an alternative and for any animals that could fill the gap. Lizzie the Indian elephant fit the bill and got a job carting munitions, scrap metal and machines around Sheffield.
In the spring you should tour the Peak District.
In the summer you should have a picnic with your friends at Weston park.
In the fall you should watch out for Guy Fawkes Day events happening in Sheffield. You will enjoy the themed parties, see the amazing fireworks and enjoy the bonfire.
In the winter you should attend one of the theatrical performances at the Crucible.
If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss IceSheffield. Whether you want to skate or play ice hockey, have a go at curling, or watch the ice hockey pros perform, you will absolutely love the place.
The best book about my city is ‘A history of Sheffield’ because it is well written and it exactly indicates turn of events of Sheffield’s history.
Final thought: Sheffield is a lovely city, secure, people are friendly, it is not expensive compared to some cities in the UK and you will love it just being there.