Sheffield offers some of the cheapest cost-of-living anywhere within the UK, and equally, some of the best attractions. Contained within the remit of the city’s boundaries are myriad free attractions, and this article helps to pick out some of the best.
The city contains some of the largest green-spaces anywhere in Europe, and only a cheap bus-ride away from the city centre are the peaks. World-famous in the climbing and walking communities, they offer some of the most spectacular views imaginable, and the chance to try your hand at a number of free activities, from biking to climbing and orienteering. The rolling hills and sweeping views have inspired some of the country’s finest artists, and you can follow their footsteps on one of the many walking routes offered around the area, with different lengths and difficulties to suit all ages and abilities.
If you love the outdoors, but aren’t feeling quite adventurous enough to tackle the peaks, Sheffield’s botanical gardens showcase nature at its finest, and with a bit of planning you can catch one of the many free exhibitions held there. With over 5,500 plant species, you can marvel at nature’s handiwork, as well various art displays and listed buildings showcasing man’s aptitude for creation. Whilst the weather is never guaranteed, the abundance of rainfall in the area means the gardens are equally beautiful, all year round.
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If you feel like indulging your cultural side, Sheffield has an abundance of free museums, catering to a wide array of tastes and interests. The city’s historical background is explored in fascinating detail in the Millennium gallery, showcasing some of the most intricate metalwork found anywhere in the world. The Weston Park museum offers an extremely child-friendly atmosphere, with permanent exhibits on the polar environment and prehistoric animals (including a life-size woolly mammoth!), as well as temporary exhibits that reflect current social trends (most recently was an exhibit on the evolution of sport). As well as the displays, the museum is situated in beautiful parkland, which can be enjoyed both on foot, or from a chair at the elegant cafe at the museum entrance.
St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral
Free to enter, and located in the aptly-named Cathedral street in the heart of city-centre, parts of the incredibly grand cathedral date back to the 11th century, making it one of the oldest buildings in the city. All periods of the area’s history are represented in its astonishing array of artefacts and statues, showing Sheffield life through the ages. For the religious amongst us, there are many services that welcome your participation, but regardless of your beliefs, the building offers an incredible window into the past. Conveniently, the building is located directly outside one of Sheffield’s many tram-stops.
The main high-street in the city centre regularly holds markets, and if you’re lucky enough to catch one at a seasonal time of year (Christmas or Easter for example) you’ll be treated to an assortment of open-air theatre, free activities and an unparalleled air of vibrancy and excitement. Even if you don’t want to sample any of the goods on offer, the atmosphere and the chance to try your hand at all manner of free activities, from basket-weaving to making bread, makes the short walk worthwhile. Even on regular weekend markets, you’re likely to find street-performance, busking and generous vendors galore, giving you a real taste of how full of life Sheffield is.