Visit Sheffield! Lonely Planet tourism guide heaps praise on urban renewal

Michael Palin in the Winter Garden
Michael Palin in the Winter Garden
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A CITY on the move – that’s a leading travel guidebook’s verdict on Sheffield.

For years the Steel City has held a reputation as a vast, gritty, industrial urban centre, the workshop to the world.

But a definitive new travel guide to the UK has described Sheffield as a city that is well on the way to reinventing itself, building on its heritage to create a modern, new metropolis.

The ninth edition of the Lonely Planet to Britain, published today, says: “Steel is everywhere in Sheffield.

“Today, however, it’s not the steel of the foundries, mills and forges that made the city’s fortune, nor the canteens of cutlery that made ‘Sheffield steel’ a household name, but the steel of scaffolding and cranes, of modern sculptures and supertrams, and of new steel-framed buildings rising against the skyline.

“The steel industry that made the city famous is long since gone, but after many years of decline Sheffield is on the up again – like many of northern England’s cities it has grabbed the opportunities presented by urban renewal with both hands and is working hard to reinvent itself.”

Author David Else added: “The blast furnaces and the coal pits may have closed long ago, but the hulking reminders of that irrepressible Victorian dynamism remain, not only in the old steel works and pit-heads – some of which have been converted into enthralling museums and exhibition spaces – but also in the grand civic buildings that grace Sheffield’s city centre, fitting testaments to the untrammelled ambitions of their 19th-century patrons.”

Coun Paul Scriven, who oversaw some of the projects that changed the city as former leader of Sheffield Council, said: “From my experience visitors are always surprised and impressed.

“Many come here thinking they will be walking onto the set of the Full Monty.

“It’s taken years to shake off the inaccurate 1980s image, but I think we are finally getting there.”