Family travels nearly 200 miles to visit Sheffield's National Videogame Museum

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The National Videogame Museum, based at Castle House on Angel Street, received more than 50,000 visitors last year.

Among them was a family who came up from Essex, which is some 189 miles or a three hour drive away.

“We do get a lot of people from Sheffield visiting but also from all over the country”, said Christian Beckett, NVM communications officer.

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“One family even visited all the way from Essex after hearing about us on BBC Radio Six!”


Attractions at the five-year-old museum promise parents will have just as much fun as the kids.

There are more than 100 games to play, which have been carefully curated by the team into sections focusing on themes such as Sonic The Hedgehog or Super Mario.

Classic video arcade games such as Time Crisis, and no less than 14 different versions of Space Invaders, are on display.

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The museum is part of a list curated by Sheffield Business Improvement District of the best city centre attractions to spend a rainy day.


Another highlight is Lane 7, on Matilda Street.

For families into their sports, this destination is up the right alley. Lane 7 combines ten-pin bowling with ping pong, shuffleboard and more for a one-stop games destination.

When the showers stop for a while, Sheffield’s newest park in the city centre offers free outdoor fun nearby.

Pounds Park on Wellington Street is named after Sheffield’s first Chief Fire Officer, John Charles Pound. The park features a climbing boulder reminiscent of a Peak District rockface, and two pyramid towers housing exciting play equipment.

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Fat Hippo (American Burger)Fat Hippo (American Burger)
Fat Hippo (American Burger)

Little ones are guaranteed to love the musical paving and multi-featured sandpit sections.

Sheffield city centre has also a strong cinema scene, with four to visit.

For those with younger children, The Light offers ‘family specials’ costing from just £3.75 a ticket at weekends and in school holidays. There’s also a play area at the bar.

Proudly independent, The Showroom shows an eclectic range of films, with parent and baby screenings among the attractions.

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Poinds ParkPoinds Park
Poinds Park

Curzon is contemporary, cosy and cool with a hidden rooftop terrace.

The blockbuster of the herd is the immersive ODEON Luxe, with ten screens, reclining seats and kids’ film screenings at weekends or school holidays.

There’s another national museum in town at West Bar.

The National Emergency Services Museum brings the fascinating history of our nation’s emergency services to life.

Kids can climb aboard a fire engine, use their imaginations to help solve a detective’s case and dress up to their hearts’ content.

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Don’t forget to tour the Mega Machines in the outdoors area, and to ring the (very loud) bell.

National Videogame MuseumNational Videogame Museum
National Videogame Museum

Rainy days are made for cuddling up with a good book.

And Sheffield Central Library on Surrey Street has thousands to choose from.

The library also hosts many events, including a storytime session for parents with preschoolers on Mondays, a young people’s writing group and Autism Friendly hours.

When it comes to family dining on a rainy day, you can’t go wrong at a food hall.

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In the city centre there are two, Kommune and Sheffield Plate.

Kommune is next door to the videogame museum and Sheffield Plate inside Orchard Square shopping centre.

Both celebrate authentic street food from diverse cuisines. And the benefit of dining in a food hall is that everyone can eat a different dish together.

Kommune’s operations manager Denisa Veghova said the midweek £5 lunch deal was a big hit.

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“The most popular traders with families tend to be the pizza from Urban and the burgers from Fat Hippo”, she added.

“The doughnuts from Project D are also very eye-catching.’

Both food halls have branched out into hosting events.

Kommune hosts a Kids’ Cinema every Sunday, where for £3 they can enjoy a movie and a doughnut, while Plate is expanding its live music shows.

At Ponds Forge International Sports Centre on Sheaf Street, there’s plenty to try.

Ride some waves or float around a lazy river at the flagship leisure swimming facilities, which also include a baby pool.

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The centre also offers coach-led lessons in everything from trampolining to martial arts.

Just a few minutes walk away is a space combining two free attractions in one, The Millennium Gallery and Winter Garden on Arundel Gate.

At the gallery spend some time discovering fascinating artefacts brought to the city by writer John Ruskin and tour one of the finest metalwork collections in the world.

Shoppers can also indulge in some retail therapy at the store - which stocks locally produced gifts.

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And the gallery leads straight into the picturesque Winter Garden, one of the largest temperate glasshouses in the UK.

Even when it is bucketing it down outside, the botanical setting is warm and has plenty for little ones to see.

Across the street is Graves Art Gallery, home to a dazzling collection of work.

Featured artists include Grayson Perry, Bridget Riley and Avinash Chandram and there is a vibrant programme of regularly changing exhibitions.

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Finally, another free option is the #LookUpSheff augmented reality art trail.

It’s a celebration of the changing city centre and Sheffield’s creative scene.

All you need is a smart phone - and possibly a raincoat - for the trail across Barkers Pool, Central Library, Owen building and The Diamond.

See the full list of rainy day destinations at