Top tips for travelling from Sheffield

Sheffield is in the ideal location for exploring the rest of the country and travelling abroad! Read Ariel's advice for getting around the UK from Sheffield.

An aeroplane on a runway.

Starting university can be hard, especially if you’re moving far away from home. Whether you’ve made the brave decision to move to Sheffield, or you fancy going on holiday with your course mates to explore the amazing cities in Europe, you’ll have to get to Manchester Airport, the closest airport to the University of Sheffield.

My name is Ariel, and I’m a first year student of Business Management and Economics at the University of Sheffield. I recently had the opportunity to visit Amsterdam in The Netherlands, and decided to document my journey coming back from the airport, to help both people going to Manchester Airport, and people arriving for the first time. As an international student myself, I arrived in Manchester Airport and stepped into what would be a life full of adventures, new experiences, and amazing people to meet. It doesn’t matter if you’re an international student traveling to your new home, or just coming back from holiday, these are the things I wish I knew before arriving to Sheffield.

1. You can get to Sheffield by train

One of the things I wish I knew before I moved to Sheffield is that the UK has an extensive railway system, and you can be in the centre of Sheffield in under an hour from Manchester Airport. The service usually runs from Manchester Airport to Manchester Piccadilly, and from there you’ll have to change platforms to find your train going to Sheffield Station. Pro tip: Make sure you have enough time to switch trains!

Even though this might sound complicated, don’t let yourself be intimidated into not taking a train. I can assure you it’s an enjoyable experience, and help is available if needed (which we’ll get to in a bit). If you’re carrying luggage, trains tend to have luggage storage at the start and end of each carriage. 

The outside of Sheffield station

2. Make sure to book your train in advance, and try getting an open return if possible

One of the really important things you should do when booking your train ticket, is booking it in advance. Not only will this guarantee you good prices, but you’ll also be able to make a seat reservation and plan your trip ahead of any disruptions there might be that day. This is something you want to watch out for. Unfortunately, it is not rare for there to be strikes affecting trains, so be sure to check your journey beforehand. 

Another useful tip is to book an open return for your train ticket - this means that you get to choose whenever you get on the train based on the conditions of the ticket. This will lower your chances of you missing your train. (WATCH OUT: Trains only run from 5 am to 11:59 pm, keep this in mind when planning your trip!)

3. Get a railcard

If you are between the ages of 16 and 25, I would definitely recommend buying a railcard, especially if you’re planning on going on trips to explore the UK. A railcard will set you back £30 for a year, or £70 for 3 years, which allows you to choose your preferred duration. This might sound like a lot, but trust me, it’ll save you big time. With the railcard, a third of the tickets fare is discounted, so the railcard basically pays for itself after a few journeys! I use mine to go to London all the time!  You can get your railcard online or on the Trainline app, and it's available digitally, so make sure to have it on you when the inspector checks your tickets!

4. Don't be afraid to ask!

This one might feel a little silly, but it is easy to get shy around busy inspectors or rail officers. People in the north tend to be very friendly, and staff will more than happily answer any of your queries or guide you in the right direction if you ask, so don’t be shy! If you have any questions about your ticket, train departures or delays, these are your guys.

5. You can get to and from the train station with Sheffield's city tram line

One of the main things I wish I knew before all those Uber charges to and from the station is that Sheffield’s city tram can get you to Sheffield Station within minutes. It even has its own stop! The stop is called Sheffield Station, and is accessible through both the blue and purple lines. I usually take the blue line from University of Sheffield stop (the stop in front of the Information Commons) towards Halfway, and when returning, take the blue line towards Malin Bridge from the station. You can always download the app TramTimes to see when the next tram is coming, and if the route is not so clear for you, Google and Apple maps provide great insight getting around the city. (Remember to get your 18-21 Zoom Travel card for free on Travel South Yorkshire for reduced fares.)

A photograph of Sheffield's tram at the cathedral stop

6. Make the most of it!

Most importantly, make the most out of it! Traveling can be stressful, but with organisation and good advice, you can make traveling to and from Sheffield a breeze.

Written by Ariel Habed Saballos in November 2022.

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