A couple of weeks ago I handed in the last of my essays for the semester. Nearly five years on from when I first came to the University of Sheffield, I feel as though I almost perfected the art of being too busy. I have to work to keep myself fed, so I have had no choice but to juggle a solid 16-hour week with my studies and STAR. I always knew that with good organisation, this can be done. What I didn’t realise was how important it was to factor in time off and time socializing in my schedule. This semester I made it a point to leave myself at least a day a week completely free – one of the best decisions I have made. Taking an obligatory day out a week meant that I had to do a little bit more every other day to compensate. But found that I felt a lot more in control of my chaotic life just by taking a day out a week from it all.
On my days off I took myself away from my bedroom which I now associate with work. I also tried to make these days off as inexpensive as possible. This took more creativity than I first expected. Here are a few of the trips that I recommend:
OUR COW MOLLY
My birthday falls in April. This year I was lucky enough that the one sunny day in four weeks was my birthday. After a lazy morning, we drove over to the Our Cow Molly farm shop, just on the outskirts of the city. For anyone who lives in Sheffield and hasn’t heard of Our Cow Molly, they are Sheffield’s local milk farm. They make incredible ice cream too, which is what we went out for. I had their honey ripple ice cream (OMG. I DIED AND WENT TO HEAVEN.). Because of the time of year, we also got to see new-born lambs and calves.
Don’t wait as long as I did to get round to going there, it’s right on our doorstep! Here’s more.
One Saturday we went down to the train station all set to hire bikes from Russel’s bicycle shed for only £5 a day! The plan was to then hop on a train out into the peaks and cycle around. Turns out they’re not open on the weekends (unless you book an appointment in advance) – not ideal for an impromptu ride in the Peaks. If you’re well organised or need a bike during the week, here’s where to go.
I was set on cycling that afternoon, and after a lot of hunting we found Cycle Penistone C.I.C. Penistone is easy to get to by train and is on the Trans-Pennine cycle route. By the time we got there, it was late in the day so we got bikes for 2 hours at £10 each. Hiring for a day is £16.
While it’s not as cheap as Russel’s bicycle shed, the service was great. The guy who dealt with us was friendly, very helpful and was flexible about our 2 hour limit. Do check them out.
CHATSWORTH TO BAKEWELL
This was another trip where I was lucky to have friends with cars, we drove out to Chatsworth house. There are buses from Sheffield that stop right outside the estate. I have been inside the house a few years ago, and it is worth seeing. But on this trip everyone was on a budget so we wondered around the estate. There’s a lot to see around and the countryside is beautiful.
I, of course, climbed into a tree…
After a picnic lunch, we decided to go to Bakewell. The walk was only an hour long and very pretty at that. At the other end, Bakewell tarts and tea went down a treat!
Another week we got the bus out to Hathersage and walked over to Stanage Edge. Stanage Edge is a popular day out in the peaks, especially for rock climbers. I have been there before, but always by bus, which comes in at £5 each way. Why not go by train? I only thought of this after we were out in the Peaks. Turns out a return train trip, if you have a rail card, is only £5. The bus ride doesn’t break the bank, but it is long. The train ride was only 20 minutes long, and at half the price of a bus trip it only makes sense to take the train!
Money tips aside, we came across a fantastic little surprise at the end of the walk. In the car park at the end of the walk was Sunshine Pizza Oven. They have mobile wood-fired pizza ovens that they drive to a number of locations most weekends of the year. If mobile pizza didn’t sound good enough, the pizzas looked amazing, weren’t expensive and catered to all – Meat, Vegetarian, Vegan and even Gluten Free! They also had home-made cakes, and hot and cold drinks. You can read more about them here . I for one cannot get over them, I think they’re the best thing I’ve discovered this year!
Another go-to distraction of mine that deserves a mention is the Film Unit. The tickets are only £3 and the selection of films is generally amazing!
On my to-do list is the monthly folk train. Every fourth Tuesday of the month, the 19:14 train from Sheffield to Edale and the 21:28 back to Sheffield are taken over by a folk band! All it costs is the train ticket – only £5.55 for a return trip if you have a railcard!
In other words, you CAN have lots of great days out on a budget.