Sheffield might be better known for things that have been made here – think cutlery, silverware and the invention of stainless steel – than a landscape where more than a third of the city is in the Peak District National Park, and where the five rivers and seven hills Sheffield is built upon create a perfect environment to experience some high-energy entertainment. Whether you want to climb the longest gritstone edge in Europe, or stand-up paddleboard your way along historic waterways, explore the landscape on two wheels of a mountain bike or walk your way through them with sturdy boots, Sheffield has all this (and more) on offer. And with all this just minutes away from the cultural hub, don’t be too surprised if your outdoors one minute, and chilling out in a cool bar the next.
With restrictions easing across England, please continue to follow government guidance and remember to plan ahead and check attraction websites before travelling. Take a look at our top tips on how to escape the everyday responsibly to see how you can make the most out of your day trips and breaks.
Scale the stunning Stanage Edge
This iconic gritstone edge of the Peak District attracts climbers from around the globe and is just a 30-minute drive from Sheffield city centre. There’s a route to the top of the cliff face suitable for most abilities, so join one of the local experts to guide and teach you the moves – Pure Outdoor, Peak Mountaineering and Gritstone Adventures are popular choices. Or, if you prefer, take a walk along the top of the edge taking in the views. Either way, be sure to pack your camera.
A drystone walling course not only gives you a day out in the beautiful local countryside, but you’ll also take away the fundamentals of an ancient craft, have done your bit towards countryside conservation and helped created a valuable habitat for flora and fauna.
This 15-mile loop from the urban to the rural at the southwestern edges of the city is one of the most interesting walks in Sheffield. The route connects central Sheffield with its surrounding countryside, showcasing the natural beauty, greenery and wildlife within its boundaries. It starts and ends at Endcliffe Park, a popular spot near the bustling independent cafes, pubs and shops of Ecclesall Road. Having become a popular yearly multi-stage running event, the route can be taken as a whole or easily broken down into more leisurely sections.
Don’t set yourself up for a fall – take notes from a watersports adventure expert and stand-up paddleboard your way around some of Sheffield’s historic waterways. Take in the fascinating heritage, and a few film locations, as you connect to the city’s industrial past.
Before you shave off your lockdown beard, why not sport it for a round of Viking-esque axe throwing? Forget bowling, this is the perfect early-evening activity to work up an appetite and thirst with. It’s harder than it looks, but it’s most definitely a laugh – and it’s oh so satisfying when you hit that bullseye! In Sheffield, you can give axe throwing a go at Valhalla Axe Throwing and Battleaxe Sheffield.
Take the reins and wander through Sheffield’s Rivelin Valley in the presence of these adorable and cheeky companions. Along with Teddy and Theo, you’ll meet their alpaca and llama friends at Holly Hagg Farm.
Inspired by Canadian Sea to Sky biking adventures, this guided route takes you from Sheffield’s city-centre parks, along woodland tracks, and through amazing moorland scenery up to the famous gritstone escarpment Stanage Edge. There’s almost no riding on roads, and with the battery power from the e-bike giving you an extra little push up the hills, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the views!
With around 250 parks, woodlands and gardens within its boundaries, nearly 60% of Sheffield is green space, which allows Sheffield to lay claim to being the greenest city in Europe. And as leading museums, art galleries and heritage sites lie within the other 40%, why not mix up a day of shopping, art and heritage with lazy coffee and food stops in these urban outdoor getaway spots.
The faded factory names still visible above the cobbled streets of Kelham Island give a glimpse into the industrial past of this man-made ‘goit’. Built to allow the River Don to feed the metal workshops of the 19th century, the buildings are now full of laid-back indie coffee shops and cafes, bustling food halls and bohemian bars. Join the evening crowds for craft beer, cocktails and bites of choice. Or take a more structured approach with a Kelham Island food tour or chocolate-making class.