The Sheffield locations that have kept me in the city of variety
Originally hailing from deepest darkest Devon, Sam Ward arrived in Sheffield to study, and was instantly at peace in the Devonian-rivaling verdant spaces and sprawling Peak District. But these well-documented scenic landmarks are not all the city has to offer.Having studied, worked and lived- as well as cried and cheered, in the case of the Blades- in numerous different places, these are the ones that will live long in the memory. Currently an apprentice journalist at the Sheffield Telegraph, he takes us on a tour through the locations that keep him tied to this "beautiful" city almost five years on.
It would seem inappropriate not to start with an area that has the word 'hill' in its name, given the history of Sheffield and it having notoriously been built on seven of them. After passing through the beautiful Crookes Valley Park, my favourite in the city, due in part to the former-reservoir, which you should definitely not swim in, you are greeted by an abundance of restaurants. Before visiting one of these, you can quench your thirst at the Broomhill Tavern, family run and dating back to 1830, or at The York with a True North best bitter. I came to the area quite late for a student, only living in the area at the tail-end of and post-studies. It was exciting and full of atmosphere, feeling a sense of community as you say hello to the local cafe owner. In the words of Sir John Betjeman in his poem about Broomhill, "Serene on a Sunday/The sun glitters hotly"- and that is certainly how it feels.
KELHAM ISLAND AND NEEPSEND
Constantly developing, structurally and in popularity, the area boasts a smorgasbord of my favourite pubs, views and events in the city. Amble along the idyllic Ball Street bridge, stop to view local artist Pete Mckee's wall mural, or visit the first weekend of every month for the iconic Peddler night market. The Kelham Island Museum, nicely placed in proximity to the legendary Fat Cat pub, offers a slice of industry and steelmaking history, and the KIAC Art Studios put on something slightly different. Round it off on Rutland Way at Church, Temple of Fun, for a game of FIFA and a vegan kebab- or, if you are not that way inclined, at the Gardener's Rest for a locally sourced pork pie. Many a night was spent at the latter sat in the beer garden (the best in Sheffield) amongst the quirky miscellaneous decor waiting for my friend to finish bar work. I realise this is starting to sound like an extremely biased travel guide, but you'll understand why when you visit.
THE CITY CENTRE
Sheffield's city centre sometimes gets a bad rep- I experienced this first hand when interviewing for a piece on its pros. But there is lots to shout about, I promise. I enjoy scouting out the vintage and second hand shops around Division Street and beyond. You can see a play by the fantastic resident company at one of the Sheffield Theatres, or the fantastic fringe-scene going on at Theatre Deli, DINA and The Cellar. The S1 Artspace in Park Hill is doing an amazing job at championing local artists, as is Foodhall and The Site Gallery. And, if you didn't know, we now have a Premier League team plying their trade in the city centre. But I'll leave that subject alone.
I am placing the Botanical Gardens under this relaxed location umbrella, because the gardens are some of the nicest I have ever been in. And they're free. Water features, a greenhouse of weird and wonderful plants, and a amazingly well-kept verdant plain- and all so close to the buzzing and active Ecclesall Road. The road itself is alive on a Friday and Saturday night, and offers a great alternative to the city centre. The recently opened Eagle is a personal favourite watering hole.
It's a cliche, I know, that people up north are that bit friendlier. But it's a cliche for a reason. I cannot possibly talk about my favourite parts of Sheffield, geographically or otherwise, without mentioning what really keeps me here- and it is everyone I have met since being in the city. Never, ever change.