best things to do in Sheffield with kids
It’s been a few years now since I started this blog and along the way, we have found some of the best things to do in Sheffield. I’ve put together a big roundup list of these to share with you, all in one place. I recommend you all of these to visit at least once. 🙂 There’s some real gems! Personally, I think these are some of the very best things to do in Sheffield with kids… what do you think?
And don’t forget there’s so many more lists & guides for you to read to find more days out. Like this 100+ things to do for Sheffield families, 20 free days out in South Yorkshire, 20 best places to go in Sheffield infographic, and find out what our top rated 2018 days out and trips were in this post.
Let’s get started!
Please note: this list is just about my most favourite things to do in Sheffield. There is sooo many more things to see and places to go, so please do read more about that here.
best things to do in Sheffield with kids
I’ve never had a bad day out at Forge Dam. The walk from Forge Dam to Endcliffe Park (either way) is my favourite walk to do with my family in the whole of Sheffield… for many reasons. It’s a few miles long but straight one from end to the other so it’s very easy to follow. There’s cafes and playgrounds on both ends, the woods at Forge Dam are just amazing to paddle, get lost and wander through, the magic tree door at Forge Dam, Shepherd Wheel workshop, sunflowers in the Spring, snow drops in the Winter… and beautiful colours in Autumn. We really love it all year round.
Walking and playing at Rivelin Valley Park
We live in Hillsborough not far from the Malin Bridge side of Rivelin Valley Park and I highly recommend you explore in the woods here. We love it and enjoy a lovely walk from the Malin Bridge side, right through the woods all the way up to Rivelin Valley Park cafe and playground. There are so many places to paddle in the woods, stepping stones and hidden things to see.
In the summer, there is a free splash pad with paddling pool. The playground is big, old but decent and always fun. The cafe is nice with hot and cold food, indoor & outdoor seating. Just past the cafe, the heritage and nature trail continues and you could walk right up to the Peak District.
Seeing the ducks at Low Bradfield and walking at Damflask Reservoir
The first time I ever went to Low Bradfield, only a few years ago, I honestly couldn’t believe how beautiful it is and right on the doorstep from us. It’s still S6 but feels miles away in the countryside, despite being so close to Sheffield. I love that.
Low Bradfield is a lovely little village with a bowling green, small playground, cafe/deli, pub, Damflask Reservoir and Adgen Reservoir, places to paddle and see the ducks. There is a bridge (Smithy Bridge) and just besides that is the best place to see and feed the ducks, have a picnic and paddle. There’s a few picnic tables, the scenery is amazing and it’s always relaxing. You can easily have a few hours in Low Bradfield just pottering about, or you can go down to Damflask Reservoir for a walk.
Day out at Weston Park Museum & Crookes Valley Park
The best museum for little kids in Sheffield is Weston Park Museum, and it’s free! Always free, has a cafe, indoor picnic room, gift shop and activities on for kids (including crafts, Santa worksop and discovery days). I think every child in Sheffield should go to Weston park museum! It’s an easy day out, it’s free and you can eat indoor or outdoor. So, tick, tick, tick! (Oh and there’s a Starbucks for a cheeky coffee & cake afterwards…)
Weston Park Museum has loads of space outdoor to explore, have a picnic, see the ducks and enjoy a little walk around. That’s why I love it so much; you can combine indoor & outdoor in just one day without going far. And if you want a playground, Crookes Valley Park just behind the museum has one.
IKEA, Centertainment and Meadowhall
I think there’s loads to do around the area of Meadowhall & Centertainment. Well, actually there’s loads to do just in Meadowhall. Meadowhall has changed a lot since I was younger and I really like it now. There’s a soft play and climbing wall centre “Rock Up”, a free mini soft play down the Lanes, an amazing outdoor “Riverside Adventure Playground“, the Vue cinema, loads of places to eat and good shops. Just nearby is Jump INC trampolining and Air Haus inflatable park.
In the same area, IKEA is always a good place to go for a wander. Who doesn’t love IKEA, let’s be honest. And Centertainment is just next door… with places to eat, CineWorld & IMAX, bowling, Paradise Island adventure golf, Lazer Quest and Monkey Bizness Soft Play.
Exploring Kelham Island Museum
I really like a day out at Kelham Island Museum. And cutlery works is just nearby which is a fantastic place to eat out… double whammy.
Kelham Island Museum is free for under 16’s. It has loads of engines including the River Don Engine in steam, an indoor play area, dressing up, old workshops, tools and Little Mesters. It is interactive, fantastic for a rainy day and has a cafe.
There is a really good toddler group “Kelham Tots” that is fantastic value for money and I really recommend that.
Going into town
Love a day out in town! There’s so much to do. We always end up spending all day in town just milling around going to all the different places, whatever the weather.
I like Millennium Galleries (free), Winter Gardens, Peace Gardens (good fountains for hot weather!), Gell Street playground, going to the theatre (The Montgomery is fantastic for children friendly theatre shows), Waterstones, Moor Market for lovely food, cinema, Sheffield Central Children’s Library and the festivals and food markets throughout the year. Going to other places from town is really easy because there’s good transport links, so we often combine a trip into town with something else close by like Centertainment, Meadowhall and Norfolk Park.
A lovely wander around Sheffield Botanical Gardens
This rates highly on my list. I love Sheffield Botanical Gardens so much. It’s a special place to me for many reasons. Everyone should go… many times over! The glass houses are just wonderful, we love a walk through them looking at all the different exotic plants and flowers.
Then meandering around the gardens looking at all the different trees, learning the names of plants, following paths going this way and that, seeing the fossil tree and dinosaur foot, the fish in the rock garden, having a picnic, visiting the good toy shop, feeding the squirrels! We just love it and it never gets old.
Doing something historical: Sheffield Manor Lodge
Love going to see Sheffield Manor Lodge! I liked the Easter event last year, the summer school holiday craft events, and I’ve got the Christmas one on my list to visit this year. It’s good to go any day when they’re open, though. We loved a family tour we did earlier this year which took us inside the Turret House.
There is so much space to explore at Sheffield Manor Lodge. Plus a lavender maze, small discovery centre, good big sand pit with toys, and outside the discovery centre in the main grounds (open to the public) some climbing equipment and a slide. Then if you walk all the way down there’s a farm and Rhubarb Shed Cafe.
Having all the fun at Tropical Butterfly House
Tropical Butterfly House is rated #1 thing to do in Sheffield and I have to agree, in terms of attractions. I’ve loved it here since I was a little girl, and now I love to go there with my family. We love the tractor rides, special events, outdoor play especially the playground and sandpits (all year around in the water play area), butterfly house and reptiles, dinosaur trail and fairies.
There’s always something new at tropical butterfly house and you can really see the money they put into keeping it a lovely place to visit. Read our latest review here. I really like it. There’s a cafe, a coffee house and a gift shop. Or you can eat your own food in the picnic room.
Seeing the animals and having yummy food at Heeley City Farm
Another one for animals but on a very smaller scale is going to Heeley City Farm. It’s small and free to visit. I just love it here. I like the family friendly, relaxed yummy cafe that has vegetarian/vegan food, the small playground next to it for little ones, the garden centre, the pond area down at the bottom, the indoor animal house to see the giant spider, bunnies and replies, the lovely birds… should I keep going?
The park over the road is great to expand the day even more and has a playground; Heeley People’s park.
Walking around the walled garden in Hillsborough Park
Hillsborough Park is our local park and it’s a good one. We love going to see the walled garden, it’s just beautiful and everyone should go there. It’s a hidden gem. Lovely flowers, little paths leading to different areas, picnic benches, squirrels, a nature area with pond and water feature. It’s just a nice place to go and relax, walk around and see what you can see.
In the rest of the park has a library, a playground, loads of grassy spaces for picnic or running about, a pond with ducks, and swimming is just across the road. We often combine with Hillsborough leisure centre. 🙂
Playing at the adventure playgrounds in Norfolk Heritage Park
I really like Norfolk Heritage Park, and always have. It’s one of my favourite parks in Sheffield. It’s big! I like it because it’s never hugely busy, the playgrounds are fantastic, there’s big open spaces with views over the city but then woodlands too, a good cafe in a building called ‘centre in the park’, flat paths going around and it’s close to town. It’s near the tram stop and easy to get to. 5/5 🙂
Getting the bus out to Longshaw Estate and climbing the rocks at Padley Gorge and Mother Cap
Longshaw Estate has a Sheffield postcode and I’ve always said it’s technically in Sheffield and so… I’m including it ;). I love going for a walk at National Trust’s Longshaw Estate… it’s an easy way out into the Peak District. There’s so many trails at Longshaw Estate all way marked and on flat paths. Toliets, a cafe, visitors centre and car park just make it an easy place to go.
For kids they’ll absolutely love the boggart trail which is basically just a lot of little nature play areas and pretend troll areas in bendy trees or ditches, to find and play in. Who am I kidding, adults love it, too. 🙂
You can just walk around Longshaw Estate on one of the trails but our favourite thing to do is the 1/2 mile walk from the cafe down past some bogarts and the duck lake, to Padley Gorge. Now that has to be one of my most favourite things to do right there. 🙂
Double (or triple?) whammy would be adding in a climb on the rocks. There’s loads at Padley Gorge, it’s boulders galore, and you could scramble down to Grindleford but I really like going up to Mother Cap at Surprise View car park. Another great place for a bouldering walk is Lodge Moor.
And there we have it, my favourite things to do in Sheffield and what I think is some of the very, VERY best things to do in Sheffield with kids. I’m so lucky to live here and I really hope that this list has inspired you to go to all of these places and love them as much as we do. 🙂