Sheffield hidden gems – days out & places to go with kids
Sometimes when you’ve been living in Sheffield all your life (or for a while!) then you think you’ve done and seen everything.
However, I now know this is far from the truth! I was born & raised in Sheffield and thought I knew it well. But then, after I’d had my son and 3 years have passed, I’ve learnt there is lots more to see here than meets the eye!
I have found so much to do since I have been inspired to go out and find them with a little one. Things I never knew were here in Sheffield or just walked past before, not batting an eyelid.
Here are just 10 of those ‘hidden gems’ I’d like to call them; places you might know of, but didn’t know if it was worth a visit… or perhaps you didn’t know about them at all. I’ve really enjoyed these and recommend you check them out!
I would really love to hear your little finds so leave a comment with them down below. I could have kept this list going but eventually it would have turned into a ‘things to do in Sheffield‘ list: stop me before I get carried away!
Sheffield hidden gems – days out & places to go with kids
Sheffield Manor Lodge/Manor Farm, S2 1UJ
Sheffield Manor Lodge was built in 1516 and is a unique Sheffield visitor attraction with Tudor Turret, farm, wildflower meadows and cafe. Although the Manor Lodge ruins/attraction itself is only open for special events and opening days, the grounds around the attraction are open to the general public as any park would normally be.
And there are some fun things to find there. Rocks to climb, little paths to run along, good views of Sheffield, steel structures, ropes to climb and a big slide, cow sculptures, muddy puddles and Rhubarb Shed Cafe.
The farm is currently under renovation and will reopen summer 2019. £1 entry will be charged per adult (kids free) to contribute to the upkeep of the farm. The farm will be open Monday to Thursday during the summer holidays, 29th July to 29th August.
The events at Sheffield Manor Lodge are well worth considering, and during school holidays there is usually craft sessions on. The crafts cost a couple quid but then you are free to explore the lodge and ruins; including a sand pit with sand toys and lavender maze.
Cholera Monument & Clay Woods
Part of the Norfolk Heritage Trail, Cholera Monument & Clay Woods is tucked away just behind Sheffield Station. It’s a small area of unspoilt woodlands, with wonderful little paths; all surfaced and one wheelchair friendly. The monument overlooks the city centre with fantastic views.
There are some good ‘hiding places’ for little ones to explore in the trees and the walk from there connects you to Norfolk Heritage Park.
Alfred Denny Museum, University of Sheffield
Alfred Denny Museum is open to the public once a month for free tours, the first Saturday of the month and it’s quite cool! The Alfred Denny museum was established in 1905 and named after the department’s first Professor of biology, Alfred Denny. The museum is in a university building just a few doors down from Weston Park Museum.
Tours are at 10am, 11am and 12 noon run by a student of the university and in small groups; you can book online for upcoming tours here.
Why is it good? Well, the museum is really small (just one room, actually) but there is LOTS to see in there! It’s jam packed full of cabinets and specimens, taxidermy and animal skulls of all kinds. Because the museum is so small, you can really take your time to see everything and kids can spend more time learning about what they’re looking at. I took Eric when he was only just about 3 years old and he loved it!
He loved the sea life specimens, mostly, and the animal skeletons. He also liked looking at all the different fossils and talking about them.
I would definitely go back; tours are free of charge and it was fascinating.
Hillsborough Park Walled Garden
Until 2018 I had no idea the walled garden even existed, and if I did then I would have made the trip to go especially. The walled garden is part of Hillsborough Park (which is already great; with it’s library and playground!) and it is so lovely for a stroll around.
The walled garden dates back to 1779 and is now well looked after by Friends of Hillsborough Park.
Inside the walled garden is where fairies live! And trolls, squirrels and birds. We love going there tot talk about magical creatures and make up stories. We often do this free trail.
There are wonderful little areas to explore with steps, picnic benches, a tunnel, water features, pretty flowers, a boat used as a plant pot and a fairy house in the “squirrel park” as we call it.
The walled garden is open 9:30am-4:30pm April-September, closing on Fridays at 2:30pm. And October-March Monday-Friday 9am-2:30pm.
Gell Street playground, City Centre
We found this a few years after living in town, but before having a baby, despite many years going into Sheffield city centre had no idea there was a playground just behind west street.
I love this playground… it’s so convenient when you’re in town, it’s always quiet, clean, and has new equipment. There’s swings, spinning dish, small trampolines, climbing frames and slides. In the nice weather people have picnics there and in the autumn it is covered in huge leaves; perfect for stomping around in.
Gell Street playground is on Gell Street, just off West Street behind West One Plaza and Devonshire Green.
Kelham Island Museum “Kelham Creators” toddler group
Kelham Island Museum have a toddler group once a month, the first Tuesday of the month and it’s fantastic value for money!
The sessions are £4 for adult and child, which includes all day museum entry, the group activities, snack time and refreshments. There is usually a part of the group which involves going around the museum on a trial of some sort.
The group session is based in the Melting Shop indoor play area at Kelham Island Museum. This is a great little space with slide, ball pit, puzzles, building blocks and train. Lots of people have no idea it’s there.
Waterstones Orchard Square Book Shop Cafe
I find this to be so child friendly and a lovely cafe in the city centre. Not only is the childrens section of this Waterstones cafe just lovely, but the cafe is nice, too. There is a colouring in table and toy box in the cafe at the back, kids snacks/drinks and lovely coffees.
During school holidays there’s free story times and often other activities, too.
This is a great find. Highfield Adventure Playground is a community space next to Mount Pleasant Park. The playground has a nature garden with toddler climbing frame and slide, tyres, swing rope, sand and water play, adventure playground equipment, toilet facilities, refreshments and it’s staffed.
Visiting is free and it’s open 3 afternoons a week term time. Tuesday 3-6pm, Friday 3-8pm and Saturday 1-4pm. Extended opening during school holidays can be expected and this news is on their website and/or Facebook page.
Countryside still in Sheffield is what I like to call Low Bradfield. You can get to Low Bradfield within 15 minutes or less from Hillsborough… and it’s beautiful!
A lovely little village with rolling hills in the landscape, Damflask reservoir for a walk, a village playground and great places to eat (School Rooms Deli which has a slide and bouncy castle, The Plough which has a climbing frame and beer garden).
In the summer we love going there for a walk/play and a picnic on the village bowling green. The bridge is so cute and picturesque. There’s picnic benches in an enclosed area by the bridge off the road, and lots of friendly ducks!
A free museum open weekends (and bank holiday Monday) on the Porter Valley, just up from Endcliffe Park. You could easily pass it on a walk from Forge Dam to Endcliffe Park; but don’t! Go inside and take a look, the history is fascinating and friendly volunteers will tell you some great stories about the workers of the past (and some of them have left their uniforms behind!). The water wheel is interesting for kids (and all ages!).
I love Sheffield and think our city is jam packed full of interesting and fun things to do for all ages… but specifically, families! Whether it’s a hidden gem or a family favourite, there is so much to do here in this friendly city. Trips With a Tot celebrates just that and brings together 100’s of ideas for things to do for families in and around Sheffield.
We love free days out, especially, and think you should never be stuck at home bored when there is so much to see outside.