Whether you’re a single mum, or just a mum who wants to go on some adventures alone with her kids, it can be a bit tricky knowing where is accessible and child friendly. This mum & kids travel series will help you navigate some of the most popular UK destinations and shed some light on what it’s like to travel alone with your kids.
Sheffield, often referred to as the ‘Steel City’ lies on the edge of the beautiful Peak District in South Yorkshire, and is a hive of activity. The people of Sheffield are passionate and have built a wonderful community that’s exciting to experience. There are plenty of green spaces throughout the whole city, and the Brutalist architecture is fascinating to look at as you explore. You’ll find art spaces and independent shops a-plenty, along with lots of delicious places to eat. Overall, Sheffield is a fantastic place to visit, but what’s it like with kids?
Getting around Sheffield is pretty easy and public transport is refreshingly simple to navigate. There is a large train station which is walking distance from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, as well as busses and trams throughout the city. The trams in particular are an easy option for mums with buggies as each tram car offers a large designated space for wheelchairs or buggies. Unlike some other tram systems in the UK, there is only a minimal gap between trams and the platforms, meaning it’s easy to push a buggy on and off with no help.
Depending on what you want to get up to in the city, you might not even need to rely on public transport. If this is the case, all of the main pedestrian areas of Sheffield are pleasant to walk around and feel safe at all times.
What To Do
Sheffield is a wonderfully green city and you’ll find nooks of greenery, trees, and planters all over the place. One of the best places to visit with kids is the Winter Garden which is in the central location of St Paul’s Square and is fully accessible for buggies. This is effectively a huge greenhouse that you can take a few minutes to walk around and explore. Children can often be found playing on the paths inside the Winter Garden, or admiring the sculptures among the greenery. While walking around the garden might only take an adult a few minutes, it’s a brilliant place to sit and have a sandwich, do a little scavenger hunt, or get out a sketchbook and have a quick draw. It’s also a wonderful place for any nursing mums to stop on a bench for a feed break!
Attached to the Winter Gardens is the Millennium Gallery, which is a sleek gallery space. There are usually several exhibitions here so take a look and see what’s on. Like the Winter Gardens, this area is also fully accessible for buggies, although the gift shop area has some tight corners that might be a bit of a squeeze.
Just outside the Winter Gardens and Millennium Gallery is St Peter’s Square, and the Peace Gardens. Here, there are many little fountains that small children are often fascinated by, and on a nice day children love to run in and out of the water feature in the Peace Gardens while parents look on with a coffee in hand.
If you want a really interactive way of exploring the city then download the Sheffield Treasure Hunt Trail. It’s recommended for children of ages 4+ and will take you on a hunt around the city centre, lasting a few hours!
For slightly older children, take a look at the National Videogame Museum. Located in the City Centre, it’s easy to get to and will provide a few hours of really fun engagement!
When it comes to places to stop for a changing or feeding break, there aren’t an enormous amount of options. Sadly, this is the case in many cities, but it’s worth noting that there is a baby room in the high street Boots store!
What to Eat
Sheffield is full of wonderful places to eat, so you won’t be stuck for choice. Some of the smaller independent eateries don’t have fantastic access, and don’t have room inside for a buggy. In these instances, places are usually more than happy to box up whatever your order is so you can take it away and eat it in one of the many green spaces on offer. Try out Steamyard if you’re looking for a great independent coffee shop, or Marmadukes if you fancy a light lunch.
If you want a tried and tested restaurant or café to eat in, you’ll find most big chains along the high street. Pizza Express, Nandos, M&S Café, and Wagamama all have great kids options and high chairs on request if you’re wondering where to go.
Where to Stay
If you want the very best experience of exploring Sheffield with your kids then consider staying somewhere in the city centre. So many of the wonderful things to see and do are in the centre that it’ll make your life much easier if it’s all on your doorstep.
There are several hotels located around St Paul’s Square which is a prime location. They all have decent access for buggies, and provide cots in hotel rooms if you ask. It’s worth checking how big the rooms are before you book if you’ve got a buggy with you as it’ll be good to know if you’ll need to fold it up every time you go back to your room or not. If you plan on having breakfast at your hotel, make sure to ask if highchairs are provided, and let the staff know you’ll need one!
Most staff will go out if their way to help solo mums, especially if they have small children with them, but it’s always worth letting staff know ahead of time if you’ll need help with anything.
Sheffield has a lot to offer for mums with kids, and it’s easy enough to get around the city centre. If you can, stay somewhere centrally to make your life easier! Be prepared for some of the small independent shops and cafés to have limited accessibility and space, but the people of Sheffield are wonderful and will usually go out of their way to help out where possible!
Please leave us a comment below if you think we’ve missed anything out, and let us know where else you want us to cover!