© Benjamin Elliott

Neighbourhoods & communities

Just like Rome, Sheffield is built on seven hills. This makes strong legs and healthy appetites - but also means there are very particular feels to the different communities settling in different parts of the city, giving great variety for living or visiting. It’s often what makes people fall in love with the city - and is why we are commonly referred to as the world’s biggest village, because you’ll always bump into people you know.

Below are just a few of the neighbourhoods that are renowned for their particular brands of Sheffieldn-ness.

Kelham Island and Neepsend

We can’t not start with the area that was crowned the UKs best neighbourhood in 2019 (beating Hackney Wick in London and Ancoats in Manchester). That was particularly for Kelham Island, but as it has grown through the breweries, coffee places, street markets, skateparks, music venues and residential housing schemes that make it up, it’s boundaries have bled into Neepsend and Pittsmoor too. Whilst the River Don intersects it, technically it is not an island, but it feels very much a space in and of itself due to the old courtyards exemplified by places like Globe Works, now home to a multitude of makers, bars and restaurants. This contrasts with new ventures like Krynkl, a series of shipping containers doing much the same thing as the courtyards but with a different aesthetic. All of this has made Kelham and Neepsend some of the most desirable places for younger generations to live and play, creating attractive streets and developments like Little Kelham directly over the water from the Kelham Island Museum where the old Bessemer converter dominates the landscape and remains one of the few still visible in the world today.

Read more about the neighbourhood and how it works at the Kelham Island and Neepsend Community Association website, or find out about the great places to visit there at This Is Kelham.

Parkhill

Once a utopian social housing project of the same mould as the Barbican in London, complete with it’s own morgue, police station and school, Urban Splash are now mid-way through their total redevelopment of one of the dominating features of the city’s skyline.

The decline of the original project left a bitter taste in the mouths of many, and whilst the new development may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s bright approach, inclusion of social housing, integration of a nursery, businesses and art spaces and stone’s-throw location to the train station and city centre, make it one of the most desirable places in the city.

There’s plenty more history here, but the best approach is to just soak it up yourself, and ask some people around the area for more local stories. And what better place to do so than in South Street Kitchen, where the food, coffee, and selection of beers will make it difficult for you to leave.

Ecclesall Road & Nether Edge

Ecclesall Road is the ‘long way up’ in the Sheffield Half Marathon, spanning right from the centre of town all the way up to the Peak District - with Nether Edge nestling alongside it half way up, and Endcliffe Park bang in the middle. With shops, bakeries, cafes, pubs, bars and hang-outs all the way along both Ecclesall Road and Sharrowvale Road (parallel to it), and the Park Run in Endcliffe Park on Saturday mornings, it’s always a bustling place for residents, students and visitors.

The Botanical Gardens branch off at one point too for a hidden retreat and the famous bear pit, whilst on the other side is the leafy Nether Edge - surprisingly close to the city centre and Abbeydale Road. Huge old stone houses and lots of windy side streets make it a popular place for a wander, with some great cafes and pubs in between too.

Abbeydale Road & Antiques Quarter

On the other side of Nether Edge is Abbeydale Road - another main artery into the city and out into the Peak District, going through many neighbourhoods on the way. Abbeydale Road has undergone a major resurgence over the past 20 years and is a major presence of the Antiques Quarter - a closely bunched group of shops, emporiums and junkyards for hoarders and collectors alike. 

The community feel of the road has led to several more independent shops, bakeries, bars and pubs springing up, and now the area has become a centre in it’s own right with the Asian influenced restaurants at one end, through tea rooms, bottle shops, bakeries and pubs - as well as bars with ping pong, pizza and live music along the way. As with other neighbourhoods, things are always changing, but there’s a good run down of what’s on offer here.

Heeley and Meersbrook

Another couple of neighbourhoods that blend into each other, each featuring fantastic parks and great community spirits. Meersbrook Park has unparalleled views of the city, and is a great example of terraced housing in the tradition which northern cities have become synonymous. Whilst Heeley People’s Park is a phenomenal testament to the Heeley Development Trust and the restorative work communities can bring to places. Yet again, great establishments abound, including the Tram Shed, the Sheaf View and Brothers Arms to keep residents and visitors alike fed and watered.

Broomhill & Crookes

Two more neighbourhoods sharing a back yard are also deeply ingrained in the student communities of the city, yet many will tell you that in this city the integration of students is what makes them work in their own ways.

Broomhill sits atop the Children’s Hospital, stretching out towards the lush suburbs of Fulwood and Ranmoor. Home to one of the cities most iconic old music shops, Record Collector, and plenty of other fun places to shop and eat in between, you’ll feel very detached from the city centre whilst only being a roll down the hill to University roundabout and the tram stops.

Crookes is even further up the hill, and has a distinct community feel thanks to places like the Community Farm, vegetarian cafes, packaging free food shops and independent cafes and pubs. Weekends are easily passed without the need to venture too far up in this part of town.


Image credit: Roger Butterfield

The Upper Don Valley

Not so much a neighbourhood as a main thoroughfare into the city, starting at the Fox valley and going right through Kelham into the city centre. There are currently plans afoot to create one continuous pedestrian and cycleway the whole way along this 12 mile stretch - you can watch more on the video below.

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