Visitor boost for ‘bargain break’ city

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Sheffield was given a double boost this week – more people are visiting the city centre and it has been judged to offer the best value city break in the UK.

According to the latest figures, ‘footfall’ in the city centre increased by 10 per cent last month, which local marketing managers believe is largely a result of the Tramlines music festival and activities linked to the Tour de France.

But the wider picture is also looking positive.

Numbers of people in the city centre are estimated to be running 2.8 per cent higher year on year against a national average of minus 0.3 per cent.

The figures come at a time when there remains uncertainty over the proposed retail quarter and part of The Moor is being redeveloped for a shops and leisure complex. At the same time, it would appear that efforts to organise a range of events in the city centre are paying off.

And there are hopes that Sheffield will attract more visitors from outside the city after it was named the best destination for a bargain one-night break from 20 UK locations surveyed by TripAdvisor.

The travel advice site compared the cost of two people having a one-night stay in a four-star hotel in August, plus a pre-meal cocktail, a meal out and a short taxi ride.

The total cost in Sheffield came to £154, ahead of Birmingham, Cardiff and Newcastle in terms of value.

As well as obvious attractions such as theatres, museums, sports facilities, festivals and the Peak District on the doorstep, the city’s reputation for real ale could also be starting to have an effect.

John Hamshere, chief executive of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, said: “I always take people around the real ale pubs in the ‘valley of beer’ around Kelham Island and introduce them to the interesting places to eat around there such as The Milestone.

“Kelham Island Museum, meanwhile, tells Sheffield’s great industrial story and features the utterly unique, and possibly most powerful, working steam engine in the world – I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else.”

Dan Bates, chief executive of Sheffield Theatres, said: “Sheffield is a vibrant city with something to offer every visitor – fantastic parks, galleries, museums and of course the theatre.”

Brendan Moffett, director of marketing at Creative Sheffield, said: “We have seen significant investment in the hospitality sector in recent years with excellent hotels and a top-class food and drink offer, including many award- winning locally produced craft beers.

“We are also proud of our excellent cultural assets from the award-winning Sheffield Theatres and Museums, to popular attractions such as the iconic Winter Garden and Botanical Gardens through to the fascinating heritage of Kelham Island, Magna and the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet.

“Sheffield is also on the doorstep of the beautiful Peak District.

“We have an excellent events and festivals programme all year round. Whether it’s playing host to world events such as Tour de France or World Snooker or the international creativity of Doc Fest and Tramlines music festival, there’s always something happening.

“Above all we pride ourselves on a great Yorkshire welcome.”