As all students know, university life can sometimes be hectic and exhausting. What better way to rest and recuperate than with an exciting day out or a weekend away? Here are some of my favourite places to visit near Sheffield – and they can all be reached easily by train or bus. So dig out your rucksack, grab a map from your local library and start planning your mini-break or day-trip in one of the many attractive towns, cities and countryside locations!
York is the perfect city break for Sheffield students – a picturesque walled city complete with Roman heritage, romantic cobbled streets and a magnificent Gothic cathedral. York is fantastic for shopping, with many eclectic boutiques and quirky independent cafés waiting to be discovered. Don’t miss the Jorvik Viking centre (it’s definitely worth going on the mini-ride around a reconstructed Viking York), and make sure that you take part in one of the many York ghost walks around the city after dark – these walks offer a spooky introduction to some of York’s most famous spectres, including the famous ghostly Roman legion which haunts the Treasurer’s House.
Accessible by bus from Sheffield Interchange, Castleton is the perfect destination for outdoor types – a tiny village packed with cosy pubs and friendly tea rooms. Nestled in the beautiful Hope Valley, Castleton gets its name from Peveril Castle, an imposing Norman fortress which looms above the village. Castleton is an ideal base for walkers, runners and cyclists looking to explore the delights of the Peak District before returning to enjoy a scone, a pint or a pub lunch! The village is also home to four caves, including Peak Cavern and Speedwell Cavern, which are popular tourist attractions. For those looking to spend the night, I recommend the local YHA youth hostel Losehill Hall, a refurbished Victorian mansion with extensive grounds.
A trip to the seaside is a great way to de-stress and clear away the cobwebs! There’s something about the sea air which never fails to put me in a really positive mood; maybe it’s the dramatic views of the ocean and the endless horizons.
In fact, Scarborough has long been associated with health and well-being; the Scarborough spa was established in the late 1600s, with visitors coming from far and wide to take the waters in an attempt to improve their health. This led Scarborough to become one of the first true seaside resorts in England; the popularity of the town reached a peak in the nineteenth century, and the magnificent Victorian architecture which lines the sea front is a testament to this golden age in Scarborough’s history.
You can travel from Sheffield to Scarborough by train (the journey takes about two hours), making the town an ideal base for exploring the Yorkshire coast. There is a regular bus from Scarborough to Robin Hood’s Bay (a scenic fishing village) and Whitby (an attractive seaside town and historic port).
Situated on the River Wye, Bakewell is a bustling market town in the heart of the Peaks, which – like Castleton – can be reached easily by bus from Sheffield Interchange. The town is famous for Bakewell pudding – a jam pudding with a pastry base and a filling of egg and almond paste, which was originally invented by mistake following a misunderstanding between the mistress of a local inn and her cook.
Visitors to Bakewell can explore the Monsal trail, a traffic-free route for walkers and cyclist through the stunning limestone dales of the Peak District, which runs along the former Midland Railway line. The view from Monsal Head over Headstone Viaduct is particularly spectacular.
Chatsworth House is a stately home in the Derbyshire Dales, which has been the home of the Cavendish family since the sixteenth century. With its magnificent façade and Baroque splendour, Chatsworth represents an awesome feat of architectural brilliance; although the original Tudor mansion was constructed in the mid-1500s, the house was further developed in the late 1600s and early 1700s. The historic garden covers more than one hundred acres, with both contemporary and historic features, including fountains, sculptures, rockeries and the famous Cascade. It is thought that Jane Austen was inspired by Chatsworth when she wrote Pride and Prejudice during a visit to Bakewell, basing Pemberley (Mr Darcy’s residence) on the stately home.
As I’ve shown, Sheffield residents are exceptionally well-placed when it comes to tourism, and you don’t have to travel very far to take advantage of some of the most popular attractions and hidden gems. So, what are you waiting for? With such a broad range of fascinating places to explore – offering fresh air, breath-taking views and unique heritage – there’s no excuse not to get out of Sheffield for a day (or two!) and explore some of England’s best-loved places!