Sitting on the edge of the Peak District National Park, Sheffield is known for being a gateway city to endless green countryside. However, there’s plenty to enjoy out in the fresh air in and around the city centre itself. If you’re wondering what to do in Sheffield that isn’t under cover, take your pick from our favourites.
There’s plenty of outdoor fun to be had in England’s greenest city!
Magna Science Centre
The Magna Science Centre is set in a vast former steelworks building in the Rotherham area and boasts over 100 interactive exhibits based around the elements of air, earth, fire and water. In the summertime however, the main attractions are the two huge Sci-Tek and Aqua-Tek playgrounds. Sci-Tek is a wonderland of science themed climbing frames, trampolines, slides, roundabouts and more. Aqua-Tek is an outdoor water adventure where kids can cool off under sprinklers, buckets and showers. If spending a sunny day in the science centre isn’t for you, you can pay just for entrance to the playgrounds. Just do be sure to return as it’s an educational and fun attraction that’s well worth visiting.
Tropical Butterfly House
You’re invited to ‘encounter the exotic’ at the Tropical Butterfly, Wildlife and Falconry Centre in North Anston near Sheffield. You’ll meet all manner of wildlife, from mini beasts to meerkats. You’ll make your way around the park and wander through the tropical butterfly house where you’ll be surrounded by free-flying butterflies and tropical birds. There’s a full timetable of animal encounters and shows that you won’t want to miss. The Camelot play area, Splash and Play Zone, nature trails and Dinosaur Trail also break up the animal attractions nicely. If the good weather is tempting you to go outdoors Sheffield boasts its own tropical paradise at this popular attraction.
Parks and Gardens
As you’d expect for somewhere dubbed ‘England’s greenest city’, Sheffield has a wealth of parks and gardens that are ideal places to enjoy when the sun is shining. The Botanical Gardens at Broomhall are very pretty and home to a beautiful glasshouse, while kids will love the playgrounds and the resident animals at Graves Park, which is the city’s largest public park. Also on the outskirts of the city, Endcliffe Park and the Rivelin Valley Nature Trail are both natural havens boasting waterfalls, wooded areas and streams. The Rother Valley Country Park has lots of water based sports available on its lake, including family canoes, pedal boats and rowing boats. There’s also an adventure playground and mini train at Rother Valley, meaning little ones are guaranteed a great day out.
Heeley City Farm
It’s pretty unusual to find a working farm so close to the city centre, but Heeley City Farm is exactly that, with plenty of animals to see and pet. This inner city farm has been developed to offer animal experiences to a community that might otherwise not get the chance, and is well worth supporting. Admission is free so be sure to treat yourself to a home cooked meal in the café. There’s also a playground for under 8s. Alternatively, the Mayfield Alpacas Animal Park is another nice day out for animal lovers, with plenty of alpacas (as you would expect). There are also horses, meerkats, exotic birds, farm animals and even reindeers in residence.
The Peak District
Its close proximity means that it would be a shame to visit Sheffield and not spend some time in the Peak District National Park, a magnificent expanse of countryside that’s one of the most visited National Parks in the World. The Hope Valley area of the Peak District is easily reachable by car or train with nearby highlights including Mam Tor Mountain, Peveril Castle and the villages of Hope and Edale. If you feel like cooling off after your hiking adventures, Hathersage open air swimming pool sits just below Hope Valley, ten miles south-west of Sheffield. The water is heated, so you can take a swim in countryside surroundings even on not so sunny days, and there’s a playground and a café onsite, making it the perfect place to spend all afternoon.