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During the great English Industrial Revolution, the northern city of Sheffield was dubbed "Steel City." This was mainly due to Benjamin Huntsman's invention of the crucible technique for making fine steel quickly around 1852. For years, this technique gave the city a huge advantage as England industrialized, and, consequently, it brought the city a lot of money. Although it's no longer the steel-producing capital it used to be, this city has been able to reinvent itself as both a tourist and university town. There are two major universities here, and about 10,000 students travel from around the world to study here. This gives the city a very youthful and multicultural vibe. However, there are many stereotypically "English" things to do and see in this economically and culturally significant area. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the best things to do, see, and eat this warm and welcoming northern city.
Almost every major city in England has at least one wonderful cathedral to visit. "Steel City" is no different. Here you'll find the stunning 13th century Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
to marvel over. Like many cathedrals, St. Peter and St. Paul has a long history. In fact, an Anglo-Saxon cross was actually discovered this area from the 9th century. A parish church was first built on this area around the 12th century, but it was burnt down in 1266. The cathedral was then rebuilt yet again in 1280 and refurbished as the years went on. Some interesting things about this church include the 16th century chancel roof, the medieval altarpiece, and the crypt. 45-minute tours of the cathedral are available if you ask for one in advance.
To learn a bit about about "Steel City's" industrial past, visit the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet
on Abbeydale Road South. During the 18th century, the Abbeydale Works used to produce numerous agricultural tools. Guests to this historic area of the city get to watch experts in period costume use water-powered grinding techniques and explain the nature of industrial work at the time.
Splendid Gardens And Parks
If you're into nature, then you'll absolutely love your time in this city. Believe it or not, the number trees in this city actually outnumbers the human population three-to-one. It's pretty safe to say that this industrial giant is a prime example of harmoniously blending greenery and industry. There are literally dozens of parks and gardens to take in during your visit here, but the best place to start is at the Botanical Gardens
. With over 5,000 species of plants spread out over 19 acres of land, these botanical gardens will certainly keep you busy for a few hours. The gardens were officially opened in 1836, and they have been extensively re-designed over the years. If you're visiting during Christmastime, be sure to check out the wonderful light displays locals put up around these lovely gardens.
Another highly regarded natural parkland in this area is called the Peak District
. This district is one of England's oldest preserved rural national parks. This national park is only a 30-minute drive from Steel City's center, and it takes up an area of approximately 555 square miles. In addition to hiking and enjoying the luscious natural scenery in this area, there are numerous historical points of interest dotted around this park. Just a few famous areas you can visit here include the stately Chatsworth House (which inspired Jane Austen's Pemberley Estate in Pride & Prejudice
), the 12th-century Peveril Castle, and the Georgian spa-town of Buxton
. Officially designated a national park in 1951, Peak District attracts well over 10 million visitors each and every year.
A few other great gardens and parks well worth a visit include the Winter Garden
, Weston Park
, and Rivelin Valley Nature Trail.
The Theatre Scene
Some people visiting this city are surprised to see such a bustling professional theatre scene. Un-officially called "Theatreland," this city has the second hottest theatre scene in the entire U.K., second only to the West End in London. Located east of the city's center, you'll find fabulous theatres such as the Crucible Theatre
, Montgomery Theatre
, and the Drama Studio
. If you aren't into live theatre, no worries. There are also plenty of high-class movie theatres in this city.
Superb Dining Options
Since this city supported mostly steel workers for years, there are numerous cheap eats to be found all around "Steel City." However, for those into fine dining, there are plenty of high-end restaurants in this mighty city. Below, you'll find three of the highest reviewed restaurants in the city.
The most celebrated restaurant in the entire city has to be The Old Vicarage
on Abbeydale Road South. This Victorian country house offers guests a relaxed dining experience in a wonderful rural setting. A few items on this restaurant's menu include roast line caught sea bass, winterberry and sole gin purée, and seared Isle of Skye scallops. The Old Vicarage still has the distinction of being the only restaurant in the city to have earned a Michelin star.
Another award-winning restaurant in this city is called The Milestone
. This so-called "premier gastro pub" can be easily found in the significant industrial area known as Kelham Island. Just a few of the many offerings on this restaurant's numerous menus include pan seared rib-eye with whipped shallot butter and truffle purée, a pan seared loin of pork with apple cider purée and braised red cabbage, and a honey glazed gammon steak with truffle, parmesan chips, and fired eggs.
For those in the mood for a fabulous Japanese meal, head on over to Wasabisabi
on London Road. A few popular menu items include yakitori, saka yaki, and a wide variety of sushi. This restaurant is extremely popular with locals, so be sure to plan your visit in advance.
You are sure to have a great time taking in all "Steel City" has to offer. From the wonderful parks to the informative museums, there's just so much to take in here. If you feel the urge to check out this city for yourself, why not give GOGO Charters a quick call. One of GOGO's staff members will help you figure out a way to comfortably travel into this city in now time.