A Local’s Guide to Sheffield

We rounded up a selection of native musicians, artists, DJs, independent business owners and more for their tips on how to make the most out of your time in the Steel City.

Richard Hawley
Pitsmoor-born crooner and ex-guitarist with PULP and Longpigs.

Something as simple as a connection with nature can really change your mood.

Obviously, students will get bombarded with leaflets for this club or that club. I think they’ll work it out themselves what’s cool for them. I want to talk about the fact that young people, these days especially, are under a massive amount of pressure. So it’s important to find few places where they can go to unwind – and Sheffield has plenty of those.

What with studying and partying and everything, there will be times where they’ll need to go somewhere to chill out or relieve stress. The students who have come to this city have chosen one of the greatest cities in the country for that stuff because we’ve got over four million trees and hundreds of green public spaces, woodlands and parks. I know loads of older ex-students that stayed here after finishing degrees because they enjoyed paragliding, cycling, running, stuff like that. You’ve got places like the Botanical Gardens, which is an incredibly beautiful Victorian public park that up until recently was quite run-down. If you go to the shop and buy some monkey nuts, you can stand there, put a nut in your pocket and squirrels will run up your leg and take it out. It sounds daft, but something as simple as a connection with nature can really change your mood.

I really enjoy the peace and calm you can get by following the river; there’s the Five Weirs Walk, and you’ve also got the Sheffield Round Walk that goes all the way around the city. I know I’m known for fairly wild behaviour, and in my dotage I still indulge in fairly off the wall stuff, but as I get older I realise the real beauty in being surrounded by so many trees. In other cities, you have to make big plans to encounter wildlife and nature, but in Sheffield you’d have to make big plans to avoid it. I love the cafes that you get in the nature spots; there’s a great place in Graves Park, there’s one in Endcliffe Park too, but my favourite is Forge Dam, where I walk to almost every day.

Stuff like that doesn’t cost anything, it’s free. Even if you can’t afford a cup of coffee you can kind of go up there and just sit. It’s simple things like that that everyone can enjoy, whether you’re a rock star or a student, butcher, baker, candlestick maker – it’s a leveller and that’s what’s good about this city: it’s not socially exclusive.

This could be a cliché, but it’s true: people up here are very friendly in general, and I hope younger students don’t get intimidated by the brusque northern accents because actually underneath we’re soft as a bag of tits. And that’s it really, enjoy the odd venture when you’ve got some time, you might need it for health reasons or you might just want to chill out and enjoy it for its own sake. That’s my advice. I’ve circumnavigated this beautiful blue spinning sphere we find ourselves on many times, and it’s an adventure, but I enjoy the roots of it. Students will discover all the pubs and clubs and bars themselves, they don’t need me to tell them, and some of them will be shit and some of them will be good – but that’s the way it goes, innit?

“Paradise awaits you at the city limits” – Head here for more advice from some of Sheffield’s finest

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