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12 things to do in Sheffield in the summer

Sewerby Hall and Gardens

Sheffield, a city in Yorkshire in the north of England, is home to around 63,000 university students and has a lively social scene. But the action doesn’t stop after the end of term! Here, Claire Prendergast from the University of Sheffield shares her 12 favourite things to do over the summer…

Find out more about Sheffield in the student insider’s guide to Sheffield.

‘You might think it would be very quiet at our schools, colleges and universities over the summer. But there’s plenty to do – even after the excitement of the Tour de France here in Yorkshire! Here are some of our top tips for enjoying the season’s sunshine, sports and festivals in Sheffield.

1. Pick strawberries at Whirlow Hall Farm

Strawberries are not just for Wimbledon, and one of the best ways to enjoy them is to ‘pick-your-own’ (PYO) on a farm. In Sheffield, we are lucky to have Whirlow Hall Farm within easy reach of the city. You can enjoy the freshest and juiciest fruit with a little bit of effort. But you have to be quick – the season for strawberries is short (usually June to August), so make the most of it.

Take your pick: A punnet of fresh strawberries ©Visit England Images

2. Take a picnic and enjoy some outdoor music or theatre in the evening at Sheffield Botanical Gardens

It is magical to watch a performance in a beautiful location on a warm summer evening, just as the sun is setting. You need to come prepared though – it might rain, but this doesn’t stop us enjoying ourselves!

Picnics in West Yorkshire to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 ©VisitBritain/M.Thornton

3. Watch a cricket match

For many people, enjoying the gentle sound of ‘willow on leather’ (the wooden bat hitting the leather ball!) at a cricket match sums up an English summer. There are lots of free places to watch – or play – including our University cricket ground.

Cricket on a traditional village green ©VisitBritain/Steve Bardens

4. Enjoy an ice cream

Summer means ice cream, and one of our favourites is Our Cow Molly, made on a local farm on one of Sheffield’s seven hills. They have an ice cream parlour on the farm, where they are trying out new flavours all the time – how about Bakewell Tart or Jam Roly Poly? You can also watch the cows come in for milking in the afternoon.

5. Sit in a beer garden

Sheffield has a reputation for its award-winning pubs. On a sunny day, you can sometimes find us enjoying a real ale or a soft drink in one of the lovely beer gardens in our city – the University Arms, Sheffield Student Union’s Interval and Kelham Island are favourites.

Students enjoying a drink in the sunshine ©University of Sheffield

6. Have an afternoon tea

Enjoying a traditional cream tea is a special treat on a sunny afternoon. This will usually be scones with jam and cream, as well as a nice pot of tea. There are lots of lovely tearooms and cafés in the countryside near Sheffield, especially in the Peak District. But if you want to stay in the city, Jameson’s Cafe and Tea Rooms in the Antique Quarter has homemade cakes, old-fashioned china and even a pianist playing their piano at weekends.

A traditional cream tea, complete with scones, jam and clotted cream ©VisitBritain/David Clapp

7. Discover music in the city

Go along to the Tramlines music festival, or check out one of Sheffield’s many gigs. There’s something for everyone – from up-and-coming bands to ‘oldies-but-goldies’ such as Sister Sledge. There’s also the Folk Forest event in Endcliffe Park, which is very family-friendly.

Getting into the music at Tramlines music festival ©University of Sheffield

8. Dance on a train

Once a month, you can catch the Folk Train from Sheffield out to Edale in the Peak District, and enjoy folk music throughout the journey. The music continues at a traditional country pub, before the audience catches the train back to Sheffield. It’s a lovely way to spend a summer’s evening – and all for the cost of a train ticket.

9. Cool off with a swim outdoors

There are a few open-air swimming pools (sometimes called ‘lidos’) in Yorkshire. One of our favourites is in the beautiful village of Hathersage. Catch the bus from Sheffield, and after your swim, relax in the café with fantastic views of the Peak District countryside.

Ilkley Lido, a simming pool in the spa town of Ilkley in West Yorkshire ©Visit England Images

10. Explore the Peak District National Park

Padley Gorge in the Peak District is on Sheffield’s doorstep – jump on a bus and within 30 minutes, you could be enjoying the views of the Peaks. Have a paddle in the water, scramble over rocks, walk through the woodland and get a ‘99’ (a soft ice cream in a cone with a chocolate Flake) from the ice-cream van.

Or if you are feeling inspired by the Tour de France, there are plenty of places to hire a bike in the Peak District. Derwent Cycle Hire is close to the historic Ladybower reservoir, or you could enjoy the traffic-free Monsal Trail. This is a former railway line with breathtaking views, and lots of lovely places to stop for afternoon tea.

Cycling in the Peak District ©VisitBritain/James McCormick

11. Have a stroll around Yorkshire Sculpture Park

A beautiful way to enjoy some art – and it’s free! Yorkshire Sculpture Park is an open-air gallery with work from renowned British artists such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, plus it's just been named 2014 UK Museum of the Year (find out more).

Molecule Man 1+1+1 by American sculptor Jonathan Borofsky ©jonty-wilde

12. A day out at the seaside

Sheffield is a long way from the coast, but there’s no denying summer is the time to head for the seaside! We love a visit to Scarborough to have some old-fashioned fun – sandcastles, donkey rides, a  legendary knickerbocker glory (an ice cream sundae) in the retro Harbour Bar, and freshly-caught fish and chips.’

A view of South Bay in Scarborough, and a donkey named Yorkie ©VisitBritain/Britain on View