If I asked you to name a Northern city in the UK, I can pretty much guarantee that you wouldn’t say Sheffield. In fact, I don’t think I had ever been to the centre of Sheffield until recently. Here are the highlights of my trip that you can do in 24 hours.
We stayed at Mercure Sheffield St Pauls Hotel and Spa which is located centrally and exceptional for a 4 star hotel. We stayed in a Privilege room which means the most comfortable king size bed, a Nespresso machine for that much needed morning caffeine and exceptional views of the city.
For me, it is the little touches in a hotel that make it unique and Mercure have this absolutely nailed. From fresh flowers on the night stand, chocolates at turndown, free wifi and usb charging points next to the bed, they have everything you could possibly need. In fact, you wouldn’t actually need to leave this hotel room if you didn’t want to. Trust me though, you’ll want to. And that needs to start with the hotel restaurant.
We enjoyed a three course meal starting with Salted Beef Terrine. On its own it was a little dry but the pickled vegetables and lime mayonnaise added a nice touch of acidity to round out the dish well. The main of Sage & Garlic Confit Pork Belly went down well with the whole table. I felt the crackling needed a bit longer as it wasn’t as crispy as it could have been but the apple and black pudding fritters served with it were just genius. The apple took away some of the richness that I usually don’t like about black pudding and the coating was lovely. For dessert we were served a rhubarb extravaganza! Rhubarb & Polenta Cake, Rhubarb Jelly, Rhubarb and Raspberry Ice Cream with a Rhubarb Tuille. So much rhubarb could have been overkill but the sweetness of the tuille and ice cream helped to balance it out for a light end to the meal.
When the hotel rooms are this good, there is no need to go to the restaurant for breakfast. Get room service! Eggs benedict and Starbucks hot chocolate were on the menu and the perfect fuel for a wander around the city.
Next to the hotel you will find Sheffield’s Town Hall with their own walk of fame! Celebrities who hail from Sheffield have their own stars in front of the this beautiful building and they add a little something to the building that you wouldn’t get from other town halls.
Another beautiful building is the Sheffield Cathedral. For someone who is not remotely religious, I absolutely adore churches. There is something about the peacefulness and serenity, paired with the exquisite brickwork and stained glass, I could stay for hours. Sheffield Cathedral is so friendly, we were welcome to walk around and take it all in for as long as we wished, and you should do this. Make sure you hunt out the golden birds that adorn the ceiling.
The Winter Gardens is actually accessible from the side of the hotel so you would be crazy not to pop by for a visit. This temperate greenhouse is home to over 2500 plants from around the world but make sure you also keep your eyes out for the mystical creatures chilling out in the trees.
Sheffield is well known for its steel industry and the women of the industry are depicted in a statue in Barker’s Pool. It honours all the women who worked tirelessly through two world wars and kept the city’s industry going. Next to it you will also find a pretty fountain that is made of glass, so almost looks like it is floating.
When you have taken in the sights and shopped in the numerous vintage stores, head back to the hotel for an afternoon tea. Typically Northern, the sandwiches are well filled with hearty fillings such as egg mayo and ham with cheese. The macarons are so pretty and delicate, the scones fluffy and light. It was the perfect way to say goodbye to this beautiful city and a reminder that I need to return soon, for more Sheffield gin and a little more hunting in the Winter Garden. Will I see you there?
Massive thanks to Anoushka for allowing me to share some of her photographs. I was invited to stay at the Mercure Hotel as a guest.