Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Sheffield
14th July 2023
Known as Steel City, Sheffield is an iconic place to head to for a long weekend as you can explore the city’s history in the steel industry and the green, modern cityscape you see today.
There’s so much to see and do with award-winning theatres, festivals and art galleries being just some of the places you can visit during your stay. Being the compact city it is, Sheffield is also renowned for being accessible and easy to get around for visitors who suffer from mobility problems and utilise aids like walk in showers and stairlifts to get around their homes more easily.
If you want to access Sheffield as a wheelchair user or have limited mobility, read on to learn about some of the best restaurants and attractions you can visit during your stay.
How to get to Sheffield
Travelling to Sheffield by rail
The mainline station in Sheffield has fast direct links to London, and there are hourly fast trains to Manchester City Centre and Manchester International Airport.
Travelling to Sheffield by road
With motorway links with the M1, junctions 33 and 34, the city is accessible via car. There are also regular national coach and National Express services to the city from around the UK.
Travelling by air
Four international airports are around an hour's drive, meaning the city is easy to reach from overseas destinations and other airports across the UK. The airports that are close to Sheffield are:
- Manchester Airport
- Leeds Bradford Airport
- East Midlands Airport
- Birmingham Airport
Best accessible attractions to visit
Sheffield has many amazing attractions, and here are some accessible places you can head to.
The Sheffield Arena was built in 1991 to host the World Student Games & was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The arena can hold a capacity of up to 13,600, which makes it the largest indoor arena in the region.
Hundreds of shows take place at the arena every year, and during a visit to Sheffield, you can look to see what event is taking place. For example, you can watch sports teams and events such as the Sheffield Steelers ice hockey team, darts and boxing events, or you can watch musical superstars perform and some of the country’s best theatre shows.
If you use a wheelchair or have limited mobility and are looking to find out information about the Sheffield Arena’s disabled access, then there is plenty of information available on their access page. Sheffield Arena is a purpose-built venue offering excellent facilities for visitors with access issues, as there are accessible parking spaces available at the arena, accessible toilets, lifts to access the concourse, and special viewing platforms for wheelchair users.
The Crucible Theatre
The world-famous Crucible Theatre is a Sheffield landmark you must head to during your visit to the city. This iconic theatre was originally opened in 1971, but in 2010 it underwent a £15.3 million redevelopment to modernise its facilities.
With a distinctive stage that’s surrounded by seating on three sides, you will not be more than 20 metres from the action.
The theatre has a reputation for creating unforgettable productions, from classic dramas to shows that will be the next big thing.
The World Snooker Championships are held at the Crucible every year, and if you’re a snooker fan, you could coincide a weekend break to the city with the championships.
The Crucible Theatre is very accessible, with level access points, ramps, lifts and accessible toilets available for all visitors with limited mobility to use.
The Millennium Gallery is the premier destination for art, craft and design, and here you can get a great insight into Sheffield’s unique heritage.
Visitors can see the metalwork which made the city famous all over the world as well as displays of contemporary art and design.
The gallery also hosts some of the finest touring exhibitions, and this includes displays from the V&A, Tate and National Portrait Gallery.
Exhibitions at the Millennium Gallery include Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, the Ruskin Collection, The Sykes Gallery: Metalwork Collection and Christopher Dresser: Pioneer of Modern Design.
The gallery has full wheelchair access from its Winter Garden and Cadman Lane entrances as well as the Arundel Gate entrance. In addition, those who struggle to walk for long distances or an extended period can benefit from the ample seating available in the gallery's main foyers.
Sheffield Botanical Gardens
The Sheffield Botanical Gardens has 15 different areas featuring collections of plants from across the globe. There are plants from the Mediterranean, Asia, and the US, as well as woodland and rock-and-water plantings that visitors can see.
The gardens aren’t only home to the national collections of Weigela, Diervilla and Sarcococca, but several listed buildings are located here. These include the Grade II listed curvilinear Glass Pavilions, some of the earliest ever built.
Despite the botanical gardens being opened in 1836, the attractions are extremely accessible to visitors with mobility issues. People in wheelchairs can access all parts of the gardens, and there are mobility scooters available to hire for free.
If you’re looking for a gentle stroll or want a beautiful getaway in the centre of Sheffield, the botanical gardens should be on your bucket list.
ALSO READ: Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Leeds
Best restaurants in Sheffield
Sheffield is well known for being home to several top restaurants that serve food from around the globe. Here are just some of the most popular and accessible ones you can visit.
Part of a family of Mediterranean-inspired pubs and restaurants, Ego will offer you freshly cooked Mediterranean dishes, wine and cocktails.
Being located in the heart of Sheffield city centre, in the beautiful Winter Gardens, the restaurant is close-by to attractions such as The Crucible and The Lyceum.
The menu offers a mixture of cuisine from France, Spain, Italy and Morocco, while its a la carte menu offers fish and seafood options, steaks, pizza, pasta and paella.
Ego is renowned for being an accessible restaurant for visitors who have mobility problems. There is a ramp to the entrance, which is flat throughout, as well as boasting nearby car parking and accessible toilets.
Taking inspiration from street vendors in India, Urban Choola is famed for serving authentic Indian cuisine with a contemporary twist. It serves high-quality, fresh, seasonal ingredients that are finely spiced and full of flavour.
The restaurant is regarded as one of the best in the city, and it has won multiple awards for its diverse food. So, if you are looking for somewhere to eat whilst you are in Sheffield, Urban Choola is one eatery that you should try to eat at.
The restaurant is accessible to diners with limited mobility as there is space for wheelchair-users to manoeuvre their chair, there are accessible toilets, and the entrance to the restaurant is flat.
Pitcher & Piano
No matter the occasion, Pitcher & Piano welcomes you day or night. You can head to the restaurant for a Sunday roast or head to the bar for drinks on a Friday or Saturday night.
The menu is extensive, and you can choose from sharing meals to small or large plates. The food ranges from nachos and chargrilled chicken skewers to Avocado Caesar Salad and hand-battered fish and chips – the choice is endless.
The Pitcher and Piano restaurant in Sheffield is accessible to guests with limited mobility and wheelchair users as there is an accessible entrance, accessible toilets, and there is enough space to move around the restaurant if you have a mobility aid or a wheelchair.
Best accessible tours
There are lots of accessible tours in Sheffield that visitors with mobility issues can go on, and below are the ones which are recommended.
Tour of St Marie's Cathedral
With fine carvings, sculptures and beautiful stained-glass windows, there is much to discover at St Marie's Cathedral in Sheffield. There are accessible tours of St Marie’s Cathedral available, led by the cathedral’s experienced guides.
Guided tours of this hidden gem are highly recommended as it has a fascinating history and impressive architecture – some of which were designed by the world-famous architect Augustus Pugin.
The cathedral itself is very accessible, with automatic doors at the main entrance allowing level access for wheelchair users, accessible toilets and changing facilities, wide aisles, and sitting and resting areas available.
Kelham Island Food Tours
If you are a foodie, consider going on guided food and drink tours around the historic district of Kelham Island.
With Kelham Island Food Tours, you can explore the district and its wealth of small food and drink producers. Here you can visit Sheffield’s first and only urban cheesemaker, micro-bakeries, coffee roasters, and local gin and beer producers.
There are a number of accessible tours you can go on, and here are some of their most popular ones:
A & G Passenger Boats
If you want to put your feet up, then a trip with A & G Passenger Boats is a great option. Here you can cruise from Sheffield’s city centre at Victoria Quays, and by mooring in the heart of the city, it is easy walking distance to the city’s hotels and other top attractions.
Sheffield Boats run trips for a variety of occasions, and the facilities are excellent, especially for those with mobility problems. There is a full kitchen and licensed bar, as well as low windows, accessible toilets and wheelchair access.
These trips allow you to access parts of Sheffield and the surrounding area that you may not otherwise see.
Other activities to do in Sheffield
Explore Sheffield City Hall
The Sheffield City Hall is a Grade II listed building that was designed in 1920 by E. Vincent Harris and is one of the city's central squares.
The city hall has played host to a variety of concerts and performances, and some of the biggest names in music have performed here, including the likes of Elton John, the Beatles, Kylie Minogue, and Bon Jovi, to name just a few.
Even if you are not going to watch a concert or a performance, Sheffield City Hall is well worth exploring as it is full of history, and you can look at the incredible architecture that is on display inside and outside the building.
The Sheffield City Hall has disabled access, so visitors with limited mobility can visit the iconic building without having to worry about not being able to get in. There are accessible entrances into the buildings, and lifts are available, allowing visitors to access the ballroom. Accessible toilets and seats for wheelchair users are also available.
Get a great insight into Sheffield’s industry
The Kelham Island Museum was first opened back in 1982 and is located in one of the city's oldest industrial districts.
Here you can explore industrial Sheffield and walk through interactive galleries that tell you about the early beginnings of the city to the powerhouse it became. Visitors will also get an insight into what it was like to live and work in the city during the Industrial Revolution, the Victorian Era and the two world wars.
Some exhibits and attractions that you can see at the museum are:
- See the pioneering Sheffield Simplex cars and more in the Transport Galleries.
- Step back in time as you stroll along the cobbles of Little Mesters Street.
- Explore the Hawley Tool Collection, chronicling centuries of skilled craftsmanship and precision manufacturing.
- See the Crossley Gas Engine and Die-Sinkers Workshop in action.
- Find out about life on the home front in Sheffield in the 1916 House.
The museum caters for visitors with limited mobility as there are blue badge parking bays at the museum; there’s a firm and level footpath that has recently been installed over the cobbles and automatic doors and lifts throughout the building.
Visit the Peak District National Park
Just 30 minutes away from the Steel City is the Peak District National Park, which boasts some of England’s most spectacular scenery.
From the spectacular views and amazing geology to picturesque villages and towns, you can do many things during a visit here.
The Peak District boasts an extensive public transport network, and this gives visitors to Sheffield a perfect chance to visit the countryside without worrying about driving.
For people who are less mobile or have young families, the national park provides visitors with information and ideas about what they can do during their visit. There are Miles without Stiles routes in the park, and this is perfect for wheelchair users and those of you who are less mobile.
If you decide to drive to the national park, then there are lots of disabled parking bays in the car parks and accessible toilets available throughout the park.
ALSO READ: Accessible weekend breaks across the UK
As this guide has highlighted, there are lots of accessible attractions, restaurants and activities that you can do in Sheffield, and hopefully, this guide gives you some ideas if you are visiting the Steel City.
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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.