If you’re new to Sheffield for the festival this year, well, lucky you! There’s so much to explore in the Steel City - with independent coffee places to get your festival caffeine fix, bars and pubs if you’re more partial to a pint from one of Sheffield’s local breweries, world-class eateries and a place to get the most incredible vegan ‘ribs’ you’ve ever eaten. All of this right on the edge of the Peak District National Park for escaping the city buzz.
Not one, but two large food halls have opened in Sheffield in the last year, providing a vast array of culinary delights and world flavours on offer from local independent kitchens. City Centre food hall, Kommune, can be found in Castle House (also home to Kollider Tech Hub and the National Videogame Museum) just a short walk away from the hub of the Doc/Fest action or head a little further out to Cutlery Works, based in Sheffield’s vibrant Kelham Island district.
Once the beating heart of industry, Kelham Island has undergone a significant transformation in recent years to become one of the “coolest” neighbourhoods in the North of England. The industrial shells of former factories and steel works house everything from indie shopping arcades to microbreweries, bars and galleries- making it a great area to just wander around. Church- Temple of Fun is much more than a bar, while shipping-container restaurant Jöro is steadily building a reputation as one of the best dining experiences in the country.
City of Beer
Like a gateway into the city’s brewing scene, Sheffield Tap sits proudly on Platform 1 of the train station, complete with in-house microbrewery. Close to the Showroom and Site Gallery, The Rutland Arms offers over twenty lines to choose from, while The Devonshire Cat (near Trafalgar Warehouse), The Beer Engine (near Theatre Deli) and Triple Point Brewery Bar are all worth seeking out. Elsewhere, Kelham Island has long been a beer destination in its own right, with legendary establishments The Fat Cat, Kelham Island Tavern and nearby Shakespeare’s providing a vast selection. Beyond Kelham, new brewery St Mars of the Desert in Attercliffe, opens its tap room to visitors on Fridays and Saturdays.
Taking up residence in the former gents’ toilet below Sheffield Town Hall, Public was crowned Best Place to Drink in the UK by The Observer last year, but you may need to book to guarantee yourself a seat. On Division Street you’ll find a parade of lively independent shops and bars, such as Gatsby, Bungalows & Bears, The Devonshire and Forum Kitchen & Bar. Leopold Square is great for alfresco drinks, with several bars on offer, plus live music in the square throughout the summer months. If you’re attending any events at Abbeydale Picture House, be sure to make time to check out quirky Picture House Social, which you’ll find underneath the venue itself.
A lot of Doc/Fest’s key venues are conveniently close to some of the city’s quality coffee houses and best brunch spots. Based in the Site Gallery itself, it’d be rude not to visit contemporary Kollective Kitchen , while the equally tempting Bird House Tea Company and Tamper Sellers Wheel are but a short walk way. Having taken over the ground floor café-bar of the Millennium Gallery, Ambulo has quickly made a name for its all-day fusion dining. Elsewhere, you’ll find popular Marmadukes Café Deli on a cobbled street right next to the Doc/Fest Exchange in Tudor Square, while the city’s famous Steam Yard is just short walk up the hill, tucked away in a courtyard off Division Street.
Doctor Who's Playground
If a packed programme of film screenings leaves you yearning for some fresh air, South Street Park behind the train station is great spot for a breather. Climb up to the top of the hillside amphitheatre and you’ll be rewarded with a view right across the city. Walk a little further and you’ll come face-to-face with the Sheffield’s iconic brutalist landmark, Park Hill, which was made all the more famous recently as the home for the latest series of Doctor Who. Be sure to squeeze in a coffee or a bite to eat at South Street Kitchen.
City Green Spaces
Sheffield’s urban glass house, the Winter Garden is a tropical haven perfect for a tranquillity quick fix, but if you find yourself wanting more space to unwind, there’s some beautiful spaces close to the city centre. Weston Park, home to Weston Park Museum and right next to the University of Sheffield main campus, is great for a picturesque wander. Hidden behind vibrant Ecclesall Road, Sheffield Botanical Gardens is such a stunning escape you’ll find it hard to believe it’s still in the middle of a city. While, further down Ecclesall Road, luscious Endcliffe Park offers the more adventurous a scenic walk out to Sheffield’s glorious back garden, the Peak District National Park.
Peak District National Park
Sheffield is the only major city in the UK with a National Park within its boundary, which means there’s a whole host of outdoor adventure quite literally on the doorstep. If spending a little time in Sheffield’s great outdoors sounds appealing, there are a number of public transport links to help get you into the Peaks, with regular bus services running from the city centre. The Fox House pub, on the edge of the city, is great place for walkers/climbers to alight and check out nearby hotspots such as Higger Tor. Alternatively the Sheffield to Manchester train that runs through the Hope Valley, also offers easy access to any number of amazing walks. For those who like to explore on two wheels, Russell’s Bicycle Shed at Sheffield Train Station offers a variety of bikes to hire, including new a fleet of e-bikes for those not accustomed to Sheffield’s famous hills. For more outdoor experience ideas be sure to check out www.theoutdoorcity.co.uk.