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Secret City: Sheffield

People relaxing on a sunny day in Sheffield's Peace Gardens, in front of the Town Hall

6 March 2014

Pssst… listen up…

If you want to get to know the UK, ask an insider!

We’ve tracked down international students from cities and campuses across the country to let us in on their tried-and-tested tips, and help you get the best from the UK student experience. This week, we travelled to Sheffield...

Sheffield: Key facts

Location: South Yorkshire, northern England
Population: 551,800 (2011 census)
Famous for: The Peak District National Park, the Crucible Theatre – home to the World Snooker Championships, steel production, parks and gardens, bands and music
Sheffield in film: The Full Monty, The History Boys, Four Lions
Sheffield bands: Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League, The Long Blondes… to name a few!
Major football teams: Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Rotherham United
Closest airports: Nottingham East Midlands Airport, Doncaster Airport, Manchester Airport, Leeds Bradford Airport
Train to London takes: Approx. 2 hours direct
Train to Edinburgh takes: Approx. 3 hours 45 minutes direct

Meet the insiders

Castor David Merino Perez
  From: Guacara, Venezuela
  Age: 35
  Studying: MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Sheffield
  Hallam University




Cheuk Heng Yuen (Cherry)
  From: Hong Kong
  Age: 22
  Studying: MPlan Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield



Best thing to do in Sheffield on a sunny day

Cherry: Visiting the Peak District National Park (below) is definitely the must-do item on your list when you are studying in Sheffield. The views are stunning.

Castor: Enjoy the sunshine in Weston Park and Graves Park, which offer plenty of spaces to have a fantastic time hanging out or playing sports. You could also visit a local farm, or the woods, which are a few minutes from the city centre.

Best thing to do in Sheffield on a rainy day

Cherry: I like to go to a museum – the Weston Park Museum is my favourite, as there are different exhibitions from time to time, so each visit is a different experience! The Millennium Gallery and the Winter Garden are also the nice places to go on a rainy day.

Castor: Valley Centertainment is a great place to go to watch a film or go bowling with friends.

Best place for lunch or coffee

Cherry: My favourite café to go to with friends after lectures is Tamper Coffee on West Street. Try the coffee and the scones!

Castor: Try one of the cafés in the Winter Garden – one of the largest greenhouses in the UK. You’re surrounded by nature right in the middle of the city, which is no doubt one of the best ways to enjoy a coffee.

Best place for dinner

Cherry: There are a large variety of choices of food in Sheffield, but my favourite is Baan Thai on London Road. The food there is tasty and authentic, especially the green curry and the tom yum soup, and it’s atmospheric and nicely decorated – it looks more like a traditional Thai temple than a restaurant.

Castor: West Street and London Road are some of the best places to have dinner, offering a huge diversity of food, a great atmosphere and affordable prices. You always have the chance to try something new!

Best thing to do on a night out

Cherry: Personally, I like going to a nice pub to have a pint of beer and a chat with friends. Lots of my friends also enjoy watching live football matches of their favourite team in the pub too.

Castor: The Viva La Fiesta international and Erasmus party is a fantastic opportunity to socialise with students from different courses and nationalities. On West Street you can also find several great clubs and bars that have a really safe atmosphere.

Best places to go shopping

Cherry: The Meadowhall Shopping Centre, of course – it’s the 8th largest shopping centre in England. It is easily accessible; you can get there by tram from the city centre.

Castor: Meadowhall has plenty of shops, big brands and discounts, but don’t forget to check out the local shops and the Moor Market in the city centre where you can find some bargains.

Best place to go for some quiet studying

Cherry: The Western Bank Library is my favourite place to study. It’s in Weston Park, so you can enjoy the lovely greenery of the park while reading in the silent study area.

Castor: I find my university library is the most convenient and quiet place to study.

Best thing to do with friends

Cherry: Cooking and sharing food together is always my favourite thing to do with friends – especially making desserts! At weekends, my girlfriends and I get together to bake macaroons and cupcakes.

Castor: There are lots of sports centres in Sheffield such as Ponds Forge, where you can go with friends on weekdays or weekends. At weekends, it’s also great to go for a drink in one of the pubs and cafés around town, especially to try out any of the local drinks of the region.

Best place to get away from it all and relax on your own

Cherry: Weston Park is one of my favourite places in Sheffield; I enjoy going on my own to relax in the vast green space of the quiet park.

Castor: The Sheffield Botanical Gardens is just a couple of miles from the city centre, but when you get there you really feel that you have escaped from everything as you immerse yourself in the peaceful, magnificent gardens.

And the final question to our insiders… What’s the number one experience you’ve had in Sheffield that you’d tell your grandchildren about?

Cherry: Winning the Best Dessert Stall Award in the World Food Festival (WFF) organised by the Student Union! There was an open night for the public to taste food prepared by students from different cultural backgrounds. This year, the Hong Kong Society, which I’m part of, won the Best Dessert Stall Award! It was a remarkable experience!

Castor: Definitely my best experience of all has been a trip to the top of the Kinder Reservoir in the Peak District, where we were delighted with its wonderful views.

For more information about events and attractions in Sheffield, visit Welcome to Sheffield. Find courses and scholarships with the Search tool at the top of this page.

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