20 reasons Sheffield is (probably) the best city in the UK
Sheffield by night

Do you love Sheffield? Of course, you do.

With so much character and happiness (we’ll get to that), this city is one of the best places to live in the UK.

From the street art to the folkies, there is no place quite like it on Earth. So, sit back, relax and take a look at all the fantastic reasons we adore the steel city.

1. There’s some epic street art around town

Walk around the streets of Sheffield and you will notice one oh-so-beautiful trend. On the backs of warehouses, shop shutters and down alleys, you will find some of the most epic street art you’ve ever seen. From Kid Acne to Faunagraphic, the steel city is like a walk-through picture book (and we love it).

2. And, a widely eclectic music scene

When you think of the infamous ‘Sheffield music scene,’ two words probably spring to mind: Arctic Monkeys. Well, there is a whole lot more to this city than those cheeky lads. Over the years, we have delivered some of the finest acts in rock, pop and (dare I say it?) folk music. Walk into any bar around town and you’re sure to find a quirky little band strumming away at their guitars.

3. The accent here is reyt good


The Sheffield accent may sound like gibberish to the rest of the UK, but to us up here, it’s pure gold. From the way random shopkeepers call you ‘luv’ (hard ‘u’) to the way people pronounce everything ‘ate’ instead of ‘ite,’ there’s just so much to love.

4. There are trees pretty much everywhere

Apparently, here in Sheffield we have the highest ratio of trees to people in the whole of Europe. That would explain what all those tall green things are doing around the city centre. My basic biology GCSE tells me that trees = oxygen. So, working on that logic, we get more oxygen than the rest of the UK and Europe. Ha, take that Manchester.

5. The city feels like a massive town

There is a certain communal vibe here in Sheffield that I have never known in any other city. Forget six degrees of separation, you are never more than two degrees away from anyone in this town. And, that’s okay. No, it doesn’t have that big city buzz – it has more of a little city whisper.

6. Real ale is really something here

With microbreweries, micro-pubs (oh yeah, now that’s a thing) and, of course, Kelham Island, real ale is kind of a big deal here in Sheffield. For some reason, you steel city dwellers just can’t get enough beer inside your bellies. Aside from the lively ale scene and the rise in craft beer, there’s also a wealth of beer festivals around these parts. You know what they say – when you’re in Sheffield, you’re never more than a metre away from a pint. True story.

7. We have the best ever inner-city festival

Question: What do Alt-J, Ms. Dynamite, The Cribs and The Buzzcocks all have in common?

Answer: They have all played (or will play) Tramlines Festival.

As the winner of the ‘Best Metropolitan Festival’ title at the 2011 UK Festival Awards, this event is officially one of the greatest things about Sheffield.

8. We’re five minutes from the countryside, literally

Whether you have a car or not, the Peaks are literally five minutes away from the city centre. Jump on a local train and head just outside Sheffield, and you’ll find tuns of beautiful countryside. From Castleton to Hathersage, there are many quaint like towns you can visit for a cuppa tea and a scone. After that, why not test your fitness levels and attempt to climb a peak or two? There are few cities in the country that are surrounded by such a wealth of stunning greenery.

9. The handmade pocket knives are pretty cute too

The cutlery making trade dates well back to the 1800’s here in this city. For a long time, Sheffield was famous for its handcrafted knives and the like. Never fear, it’s not all died out just yet, you can still get your hands on some. (Tip: They make excellent gifts for your parents.)

10. Our theatres are the best outside London

Sheffield student guide

The theatres are one of Sheffield’s true treasures. On the corner of Norfolk Street, old meets new as The Lyceum stands proudly next to the modern Crucible. Here, you can watch some of the finest players in the country take to the stage and act out your wildest fantasies (read: actual plays). Also, apparently, there is some snooker event that takes place in The Crucible, but no one ever talks about it. Like, ever.

11. We invented Sean Bean

Ah, who doesn’t love The Lord of the Rings? (Me. I hate it. But that’s beside the point.) You can’t write a piece about loving Sheffield without mentioning this legend that walks the earth. Sean Bean, AKA Boromir, needs no real explanation. He’s one of this city’s real success stories and he always seems to land the most kick-ass roles. Well done to that man.

12. The Full Monty is set in this fine city

Back in 1997, one film would shake the very foundations of Britain. Yes, with its risque title and northern spirit, The Full Monty was a massive box office hit. As if you need another reason to love Sheffield, there is the fact that the film was set right here in this city. The flick was so successful that there’s now a stage play version to boot. Let’s all take a moment to enjoy everybody’s favourite scene – the job centre ‘Hot Stuff’ dance.

13. It’s the happiest city in the UK

According to a 2013 study, Sheffield is officially the happiest city in the UK. When the researchers asked us how we felt, a massive third of us Sheffield lot said that we were happy every day of the week. Because, we’re happy…

14. We have not one, but two great universities

Sheffield University
Geograph / CC

As a University of Sheffield grad, this is hard for me to have to admit, but there are two great universities in this city. Yep, the students are the beating heart of the centre here. These guys add a certain zest to the place. They bring with them their own weird sense of style, poor time keeping and a chirpy (our-dreams-have-yet-to-die) attitude.

15. The hills are a blessing in disguise

When you first come to the city, you will likely loathe the hills. If you’ve come from somewhere normal (i.e. somewhere flat), you might find that walking around town is a bit of a struggle. Nevertheless, the hills are a blessing in disguise. Not only do they offer an epic workout whenever you walk home, they also provide some of the most stunning views of the city.

16. Apparently, we have a decent folk scene

You will be hard stretched to find a city with as many folk sessions and festivals as we have here in Sheffield. Yes, there is a truly vibrant folk scene in this city, and with it you will find a whole host of people who love the quirky little genre of music. Nobody knows what came first – the folkies or the festivals – but they all gather here to dance, sing and play their music relentlessly.

17. We have a whole lot of vintage shops

Brag-Vintage-Sheffield

If you want your look to be totally unique, there are enough vintage shops in Sheffield to keep you occupied for at least a day and a half. From Brag Vintage to Cow, there’s so much secondhand choice that you may not know where to start. Keep an eye out for the bargain rails, too. ‘Any dress for a tenner’? Um, yes please.

18. Sheffield Wednesday have the cutest back story

In Sheffield, you’re either Wednesday or United. But, let’s face it, we’re all Wednesday aren’t we? If you happen to be an owl, you will know that your FC has the cutest (not to patronise the team’s great history) back story ever. Originally a cricket club, the Sheffield Wednesday team formed as a way to keep the club going throughout the winter months. That was way back in 1867 and since then the team has become one of the northern favourites.

19. Our clubs aren’t half bad either

The clubs in Sheffield are some of the most varied around. If you want to listen to indie classics, get yourself down to Plug. Like heavy metal? Head on over to sticky, icky Corp. Fancy some Motown? Well, you’ll love the Leadmill. Enough said.

20. Two words: Hendersons Relish

Of course, there is no way I could write this piece without talking about the real reason we all love Sheffield. Above the pubs, clubs, theatres and hills, there’s one aspect of the steel city that stands out. Yep, Hendersons Relish is more than a sauce – it’s an institution here. There has even been a documentary about this fine condiment. If there’s not a bottle of the brown stuff in your cupboard, you’re not a true Sheffield lover. You should be ashamed of yourself.

NO, it is nothing like Worcestershire Sauce. Rude.

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Main Image: Sheffield / Flickr / CC