24 Hours in Sheffield
When it comes to planning a short break, I’ll be the first to admit that my first instinct is to travel in Europe and, if you don’t believe me, this year I’ve travelled to Lisbon, The Algarve, Calpe, Altea, San Antonio, Ljubljana and Lake Bled (the latter, multiple times for ‘wedmin’). It’s only in the past month that I’ve started to travel in England and more through necessity; London with work, then Falmouth to choose my wedding ring. Curiosity piqued, when I was recently offered the opportunity to ‘Join the World’ and discover England, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. And so, I spent 24 hours in Sheffield with Erica and Visit England.
For those who are as geographically challenged as I am, Sheffield is England’s fourth largest city and is located in South Yorkshire which, surprisingly, is only an hour and a half’s drive from Manchester. Criminally close. With Google Maps on, A Day To Remember on the stereo and with a tank full of diesel, I set off to meet Erica in Sheffield at ‘Brocco on the Park’, our boutique hotel for the first night of our three-day trip.
Brocco on the Park
As soon as you step through the door, it’s easy to see why Brocco has been awarded the Good Hotel Guide Editor’s Choice accolade. Designed with an eye to Scandinavian minimalism, each of its eight rooms are named after birds. Arriving at midday, I met Erica in her room, helped myself to a coffee from her machine and settled in for a long, overdue catch up. It’s hard to believe it had been two years since we’d last seen each other, when I was happy to oblige Erica with her request to experience Manchester’s street art and Christmas markets.
With a knock on the door, it was time to leave Erica’s and view my room: the Nightjar’s Nest. Again, another large and spacious Scandi-haven with a king-size bed, coffee machine and sofa to boot. Oh, did I mention free cake?Location: Brocco on the Park, 92 Brocco Bank, Sheffield, S11 8RS
After a coffee in the comfort of Brocco, we decided to stroll into the centre of Sheffield, down Sharrowdale Road, a road with cafes, charity shops, eateries and of course, adorned with street art until we reached our first destination, Sheffield’s Winter Garden.
Sheffield Winter Garden
Although the Winter Garden is one of the largest, urban glasshouses to be built in the UK in the last hundred years and its luscious greenery made up of over 2,500 plants was the main reason for our visit: an impromptu photo shoot. Leaves, greenery and the perfect lighting – tell me a blogger who could resist? We made it our first stop before the light fell. Stepping inside the glasshouse we were greeted by teenagers, couples and families and of course, plants, plants and more plants stretching up to the ceiling. Smaller than we expected, we completed a loop of the gardens before putting Erica’s new lens to good use (much to the amusement of the watchful public).Free to enter and open all year round, the Winter Garden provides perfect refuge right in the centre of the city.
Location: Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 2HH
With tired feet, we decided to jump into a taxi for the next part of our visit – Kelham Island. Literally, an island, just outside of the centre of the city and . Surrounded by the River Don and formally an industrial area, Kelham Island has undergone a period of regeneration and now plays host to food markets, brewery and a damn fine pizzeria. Not forgetting its roots, Kelham Island hosts its own museum to provide the eager visitor a glimpse into Sheffield’s industrial past.
With dinner reservations at Craft and Dough to look forward to later, our first stop on the Kelham Island cultural tour was a swift apéritif at The Riverside. Offering a gin cocktail menu at Yorkshire prices, we couldn’t resist sampling a couple of tipples sat outside by the river’s side alongside a soundtrack of mid-noughties indie dance floor hits. Posting a story on Instagram, my inbox was flooded with pub recommendations
When it comes to pizza, it takes a lot to impress me as I have the spoils of Manchester and Altrincham’s pizzerias on my doorstep. That said, reservations at a pizza joint are not to be sniffed at. Not only do Craft and Dough promise luscious and innovative pizza, it’s served alongside craft beer and cocktails.Dream combination.
Location: Craft and Dough, 1A Kelham Square, Kelham Island, S3 8RY
After a restful night’s sleep, I awoke early but refused to leave the warmth of my king-size safe haven, choosing to spend my time cocooned in fluffy, white sheets reading blog posts. Being on the ground floor, it wasn’t long before I heard familiar chatter as Brocco came to life. Being Saturday, we planned a lazy breakfast at Brocco Kitchen. Whether you choose to eat clean and lean, or indulge your sweet tooth, we found there was something for everyone. Predictably, I chose baked eggs which, if you’ve seen my weekend Insta Stories, you’ll know salmon and eggs is a combination I opt for regularly. Combined with my usual flat white and hearty wholemeal bread, it was the perfect set-up for our day of exploring.
Sheffield Antiques Quarter
Founded in an area traditionally known for antiques, Sheffield’s antiques quarter is growing to include more than just antiques. Arriving around midday, it took us a short while to realise we were in the right place: the area looked less than vibrant, until we stumbled on Sheffield Antiques Centre. Deceptive to look at, the centre was like a rabbit warren of antiques and vintage treats, including clothes. While I searched for the perfect piece of mid-century furniture, Erica stumbled on a woollen beret on and a vintage Barbour scarf in complimenting shades of pink.
While I deliberated over whether or not to take home a teak mid-century mirror, we continued to work our way through the centre until we found The Vintage Pantry, a delightful cafe with bunting, rockabilly tunes and chintzy tea pots. It was just like having tea at your nana’s and as such, it would have been rude to turn down a cream tea. Impromptu lunch over, vintage buys snagged, it was time to get on the road to the Peak District.
With our visit to the Peak District firmly set in our itinerary, we fully intended to drive straight there but with so much unseen Sheffield street art I found myself stamping on the brakes and hot-footing it across car parks to snap art that I’d yet to see, even on Instagram. It’s fair to say, John, my street-art loving fiancé was green with envy. It had been over four years since we’d visited Sheffield together, and a lot of the street art we saw then no longer exists. Out with the old and most definitely, in with the new. Never fear, Kid Acne is now here.
Leaving Sheffield, I promised to make my return to this wonderfully vibrant city oozing with character and urban charm. After all, it’s just a relatively short drive from Manchester! A return visit to Brocco on the Park is definitely in order – their staff were warm, friendly and inviting – making it the perfect home from home. Thanks to Visit England for their itinerary which was bursting with ideas and enabled me to join the world in realising the wonder of England once again and also, Erica, the perfect travel buddy. Let’s not leave it so long next time, ey?