Why to visit Sheffield - Theatre, concerts, cinema and food among main reasons to visit city
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We asked The Star's followers what draws them to Sheffield city centre - and, regrettably, what puts them off.And we were bowled over by hundreds of responses, many of them positive about the city centre's regeneration as well as honest about its shortcomings, in one of our most popular polls yet.
Understandably readers felt the city centre had changed hugely in recent years, and pointed to boarded-up shops and wooden hoardings, scaffolding and building work giving the area an offputting appearance.
But lots still said there is plenty to be positive about, lots of redevelopment and investment, and many good reasons to venture into town for some hard-earned leisure time shopping, eating, or to take in a play or a gig.
“I went into the city centre this morning,” said Patricia Chapman, “and I was amazed at how nice Orchard Square looks. Fargate looks like a building site but it looks like some new shops are coming, hopefully.”
Sarah Moulds said: “I love Sheffield city centre, it's diverse and buzzing! There are lots of good eating and drinking places. Everyone needs to stop being negative.”
“I've also started to really enjoy the new market on The Moor, followed by fish and chips on a side street nearby,” he said. “I pop into the Winter Garden for a stroll around, and I like browsing the Millennium Gallery shop for all things Sheffield and local.”
Nick Smithson said: “We always enjoy a trip to town, plenty to see and do. Theatres, museums, the Cathedral, bars, parks, sports, eateries, leisure facilities, music venues and an excellent tram service - although it could be extended.”
Jane Steele set her sights on next Spring when she said: “Definitely the snooker at the Crucible theatre attracts me to the city centre! I'm back at the Crucible next year and I should be on the TV - I'm five rows from the front.”
And Scott Royal was upbeat when he said: “Nothing puts me off. I ignore the moaners who think it's still 1965. Support it. Use it. Stop moaning.”
Steph Hodkinson said: “Like many cities, the centre lets it down. However there are lots of great eateries that are worth it, like Smoke barbecue and some independents.”
Mark Hetherington felt the city centre is 'really lagging behind most others', but added: “There has been some progress, and Sheffield does have some great pockets of areas.”
The new Clean Air Zone came in for a bashing from several readers who said it now deters them from driving into Sheffield.
“Food and drink attracts me in as me and my partner love a good night out,” said Mark Chappell. “But the CAZ doesn't attract me as I have to pay to enter in my van.”
Simon Morris agreed. “I was going to visit Decathlon in a camper van conversion that does less than 3,000 miles a year. It would have cost me £10 to go, so I didn't, and that shop lost sales.”
The closure of John Lewis was a big reason cited by lots of readers for visiting the city centre less often these days.
“Go and look around Leeds city centre,” said Lucy Birch. “I'm not saying it's perfect by any means but it's far better than ours. I blame poor decisions by the council years ago, and now we are playing catch-up. Also, why shop in Sheffield, when we can go to Meadowhall with free parking and great security? It's a no-brainer for me, especially after the closure of Cole Brothers.”
Julie Taylor agreed when she said: “Sheffield Council needs to take a leaf out of Leeds' book - great shops for everyone's pocket.”
Marie Round was frank when she said 'absolutely nothing' attracts her to the city centre.
“We went on Sunday to find a lovely new shop - Sostrene Grene off The Moor - that had opened. The shop was great, but surrounded by a dump of a city. We won't be visiting again for a while.”
Tony Lomas was feeling nostalgic when he cast his mind back five decades to the city centre of yesteryear.
“Sheffield city centre was at its best in the 70s for me,” he said. “I remember the tram as a kid - they should have kept them instead of the system Sheffield has now.”
May Lok agreed that vintage trams would have been a tourist attraction, had they been retained. “It would have been a novelty, like Amsterdam has,” she said.