Culture, leisure and sport in Sheffield

Art gallery, Sheffield

Learning doesn't start and stop at the doors of the lecture theatre. Sheffield is a city built on ideas, where you can go on experiencing new things every day.

Expand your mind with cutting-edge theatre and film. Push your body harder and further with world-class sporting facilities. Or just forget about all that and go shopping.

30 things to do in Sheffield

Or why not try...

In the cinemaFilling up on film

Celluloid thrillseekers find plenty on offer at the dozens of screens across Sheffield – and there are big student discounts aplenty. Pick from the blockbusters at the Odeon, Cineworld or Vue, or Sheffield's new nine-screen cinema The Light. For fans of independent film there's a real gem in Curzon Sheffield and the Showroom cinema, both slap bang in the city centre. A fabulous art deco building, the Showroom has been voted by Guardian readers the best indie cinema in Britain. Curzon Sheffield has a rooftop bar. Plus, we have our own independent cinema conveniently located deep within the heart of our Students' Union.

Our tip: Sheffield Doc/Fest, a mind-blowing, multi-venue annual festival of documentary films covering subjects from Chicago street gangs to the lives of scientists in Antarctica and teenage poets from Leeds.

Crucible and LyceumThe play's the thing

Sheffield is a regional powerhouse for drama. Theatre fans love the intimacy of the famous Crucible and its pioneering productions. The magnificent Lyceum has a hugely varied programme, hosting everything from opera and ballet to West End musicals. Smaller productions shine at the Studio, Library Theatre and the cosy, Victorian Lantern Theatre. Our Drama Studio hosts a varied calendar of events including professional touring theatre productions, student performances and amateur dramatics. There are a range of performance venues at the University.

Our tip: Have a go yourself! Sheffield University Theatre Company is open to all students, whatever you're studying. Act, design a set, build props, do make-up, sound or lighting, have fun and find friends.

Cycling in the Peak DistrictA breath of fresh air

Love the outdoors? Half of Sheffield's population lives within 15 minutes' walk of open countryside. Popular student areas like Crookes and Broomhill are within easy reach of the city centre – but turn the other way and you can literally walk out of town and into the Peak District National Park. Cherished by cyclists, campers, climbers and anyone who just likes a nice stroll, the Peak features some of Britain's most spectacular landscapes. The pubs and cafes aren't bad either. Take a look at some of Sheffield's top outdoor highlights with the online guide Sheffield: the outdoor city.

Our tip: Take a 15-minute train ride to the lovely Peak village of Grindleford, hike up Froggatt Edge or ramble out to Baslow, then come back and glug a pint of tea at the famous (if slightly bossy) Grindleford station cafe.

FootballSporting spectacle

As well as two professional sides in Sheffield Wednesday and United, the city is a hotbed of grassroots football and the birthplace of the modern game. Experience the fabled atmosphere of the Crucible at the world snooker championship every year. Choose from ice hockey with the Sheffield Steelers, both codes of rugby with the Sheffield Tigers and Eagles, the famous Sheffield Sharks basketball side, and speedway at Owlerton Stadium – the fastest track in Britain.

Our tip: Watch some real football! Founded in 1857, Sheffield FC are the world's oldest club. Just across the city you'll find Hallam FC playing at Sandygate – the oldest football stadium on Earth.

Devonshire Green frisbee

Crowd at VarsityIt's the taking part that counts

If sport means more to you than just watching, Sheffield's your place – whether you're a serious competitor or just in it for fun. Try out the city's Olympic-standard swimming pool. Or push yourself harder with the world-class facilities hosted at the English Institute of Sports – from athletics to volleyball to women's boxing. Whatever your game, sharpen it in Sheffield – Britain's first National City of Sport. Find out more about sport and fitness at the University.

Our tip: When you've checked out what's on offer around the city, try something a bit different. Our Students' Union has nearly 50 sports clubs tackling everything from fell running to korfball.

Sheffield's Winter GardenGalleries, museums and exhibition spaces

If contemporary art floats your boat, the Site Gallery is a gem – but with Jarvis Cocker as a patron you'd expect no less. And Museums Sheffield offers four great venues. There's the spectacular Millennium Gallery for art, crafts and history. The Graves Gallery's breathtaking collection of visual art spans centuries and continents. Local history is on show at Bishops' House. And next to the University there's Weston Park Museum, mixing natural history with science and local geography. Everywhere's free to get in, of course. Next to the Peace Gardens and the Millennium Galleries you'll find Sheffield's award-winning Winter Garden where you can explore 2,500 plants from around the world, catch an exhibition or have a coffee and put your feet up.

Our tip: Get genned up on the industry that built Sheffield, with a visit to the Millennium Gallery's metalwork collection. A little knowledge of cutlery goes a long way around here.

Shopping in a record store in SheffieldGo on, treat yourself

Are you a big chain store person? Fill your boots at Meadowhall – one of the largest shopping centres in Britain, just a few minutes from town by bus, tram or train. Or are you into little independent stores? Division Street's your place, with all the vintage and boutique clothing, footwear and accessories a girl or boy could wish for. Please note, furthermore, that if you end up living in the Broomhill area, as many of our students do, it has the greatest Oxfam in the known universe.

Our tip: The several excellent vintage clothing emporiums around Division Street and West Street are cherished by students looking to stand out from the crowd with a bit of retro glam.

More on where to go in Sheffield

Explore theatres, museums, cinemas in Sheffield and top places to go for coffee, food, music or shopping with Our Favourite Places, an independent guide to the creative city of Sheffield.

If you're looking for outdoor adventure, visit Sheffield: the outdoor city.

Visit us on an open day

Watching snooker outside the Crucible