Ruff Guide to… Sheffield

Whether you know it as Steel City, the Outdoor City or the Real Ale Capital of the World, Sheffield is one of the most underrated places in the UK. It may be renowned for its strong industrial heritage but these days, the South Yorkshire city is at the cutting-edge of all things cool. It is also incredibly dog-friendly. More than a third of Sheffield is located in the Peak District National Park so great walks abound. There are also hundreds of dog-friendly pubs, cafes and attractions to keep you busy. Keep reading to find out more…

Sheffield's grand Town Hall
Sheffield’s grand Town Hall

Dog-friendly Sheffield: the must-sees

Seek out the Sheffield Legends Walk of Fame and see how many famous names you recognise. This collection of plaques on the ground, outside the Town Hall in the city centre, honour Sheffield’s famous sons and daughters from sectors such as the arts, sport, media and business. The plaques are just like the ones you’d find in Hollywood – although maybe not quite as well known! Actor Sean Bean, Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill and goalkeeper Gordon Banks are among those who feature in the line-up.

If football is your thing, be sure to take in a game at Sheffield FC, which welcomes dogs inside its ground. The club, which was founded in 1857, is the world’s oldest. And while it may have been eclipsed by Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United in the years since, footie fans ought to make a pilgrimage here for the history alone. Standing spectators are welcome at the club’s current ground, in Dronfield. And handily, The Coach & Horses pub right in front of it welcomes pets too. Match tickets generally start from around £7.

Cute baby goat at Heeley City Farm, Sheffield
One of the cute residents at Heeley City Farm, Sheffield © Heeley City Farm

Animal lovers will enjoy visiting Heeley City Farm with their four-legged friend. Dogs on leads are welcome at the urban farm and rare breeds centre, which is home to goats, pigs, ducks, chickens and more. The farm, which has been going for more than 40 years, is also a charity that works closely with the local community and hosts numerous events. Be sure to visit the onsite Farm Kitchen cafe, which serves delicious veggie and vegan food. It’s free to visit the farm but donations are always welcome.

Dogs are also allowed at the Abbeydale Miniature Railway. The attraction, which is run entirely by volunteers, is located in Ecclesall Woods – the jewel in Sheffield’s woodland crown. The railway opens on certain weekends throughout the year and has two different tracks to ride on. Lots of themed events take place here too, so be sure to check the website to see what’s on. Refreshments are available onsite and visitors are also welcome to bring their own food, which can be enjoyed in the picnic area. Train tickets cost £1.50 per ride.

Sheffield Steelworker mural
Sheffield’s Steelworker mural

Culture vultures should check out the Our Fave Places website, which has a number of self-guided tours put together by locals, ranging from street art to architecture. Buildings geeks will love visiting the Winter Gardens, the quirky Charles Street car park – once voted one of the world’s coolest – and the revamped Park Hill housing estate. You won’t be able to miss the shiny circular hubs that make up Sheffield Hallam University’s Students’ Union either. Fun fact: they once housed the National Museum of Pop Music.

The Sheffield Botanical Gardens, off Ecclesall Road, are also a great place to visit with your dog. Spread over 19 acres, the gardens boast more than 5,000 different species of plant and have beautiful Victorian glasshouses to discover. Visitors can stroll through 18 different sections, from a fragrant rose garden to a Prairie-style area. There’s even a Grade II listed Bear Pit – one of the only remaining examples of such a thing in the UK. Dogs must be kept on lead in the gardens, which are free to visit all year round.

The Mi Amigo memorial in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield
The Mi Amigo memorial in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield

Dog-friendly Sheffield: the best walks

Sheffield isn’t known as the Outdoor City for no reason. With more than 800 parks and gardens and miles of riverside pathways to explore, there’s always a new walk to discover. We are big fans of Endcliffe Park, in the Sharrow Vale area of the city. Here, you’ll find a lovely mix of open space, woodland and tinkling streams. The park is also home to the Mi Amigo memorial, which pays tribute to the 10 US airmen killed when their plane crashed in the park during WW2. Endcliffe Park Cafe is a great place to grab a coffee, too – and it’s dog-friendly.

Forge Dam Park in Fulwood is another lovely place where you can enjoy a walk before refuelling at the onsite Forge Dam Cafe. Both Endcliffe and Forge Dam are Porter Valley Parks, and there are five in total. The interconnected parks run alongside the Porter Brook and can all be enjoyed on the Sheffield Round Walk. This 15-mile loop links the city to the countryside and is split in to four different chunks, each of which is three to four miles long. The first section, from Endcliffe Park to Forge Dam Park, is one of the most popular.

Sheffield Manor Lodge
Sheffield Manor Lodge is a wonderful place to visit on a walk © Sheffield Manor Lodge

Be sure to check out the Norfolk Heritage Trail, too. This three-mile trail takes you through centuries of Sheffield history and showcases some of the city’s hidden historic gems. It starts at Sheffield Manor Lodge, which was a deer park in Tudor times, and finishes at Sheffield Cathedral. The trail, which should take around two hours to complete, takes its name from the Dukes of Norfolk, who once owned much of the land. To download a map, click here.

Graves Park – the largest open space in Sheffield – is well worth visiting too. This huge park, which spans more than 240 acres, is located to the south of the city. It is also where you’ll find the Graves Park Animal Farm, but be aware that the farm is not dog-friendly. Sheffield is also the gateway to the Peak District where there are plenty of wonderful walks to enjoy, whatever your ability. For more recommendations when it comes to things to see and do, check out our Ruff Guide to the Peak District.

Raising a glass in the Shakespeare's Pub, Sheffield
Raise a glass in Shakespeare’s Pub, Sheffield

Dog-friendly Sheffield: the best pubs and cafes

Craft beer fans will love Shakespeare’s Pub, which always has a great range of brews on tap. Dogs are very welcome inside this award-winning pub, which is sandwiched between the city centre and Kelham Island. We loved the traditional feel of the pub, which doesn’t serve food but has a selection of filled rolls behind the bar and a great courtyard garden. It also hosts a number of events upstairs, such as live music and comedy nights.

The Fat Cat is another Sheffield institution, known for its real ales and hearty food. The pub, in the heart of Kelham Island, is where the Kelham Island Brewery originally started out and its food is a big hit with veggies and vegans. We couldn’t get over the prices when we visited – you can get a decent meal here for less than a fiver. Nearby, in Neepsend, is community-owned pub The Gardener’s Rest, which has a great riverside beer garden.

Food hall Kommune, Sheffield
Kommune is one of several popular food halls in Sheffield

Food halls are big business in Sheffield too – and a great idea, especially if you’re dining out as part of a group. They’re mainly housed in old industrial buildings so are big, open-plan spaces. All are amazingly dog-friendly too, which is great. Cutlery Works in Kelham Island, Kommune and Sheffield Plate – both of which are in the city centre – are among the most popular. Here, you’ll find stalls serving everything from wood-fired pizzas to fried chicken and tacos.

Opposite Cutlery Works you’ll find Church – Temple of Fun – a warehouse-style eatery where the food is 100% vegan. There is always lots going on at Church, from DJ nights to life drawing classes. The Sunday Service is particularly special, however – as you might expect! Dogs and their owners are very welcome most of the time, but not after 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays as things can get a little bit lively.

South Street Kitchen, Sheffield
South Street Kitchen, Sheffield

Vegetarians and vegans will also love South Street Kitchen in Park Hill. This modern, glass-fronted cafe specialises in Middle Eastern cuisine and has regular regular pop-up event nights, plus an amazing mezze menu every Friday and Saturday. The cafe staff are big dog lovers and it overlooks the city’s South Street Park, making it the perfect place to combine a walk with a coffee and a cake.

In the Hillsborough area, be sure to check out Molly’s Cafe & Deli and Pangolin Craft Beer, both of which picked up gongs at the annual Dog Friendly Sheffield Awards 2021. Molly’s serves a delicious Anglo-Polish fusion menu and Pangolin, which is a great place to go for a pint come rain or shine, gets a doubly big paws-up from us for accepting dog food and treats for the local pet food bank.

The Holy Chow at Mowgli - chickpea dish served in a loaf of bread
Vegan showstopper The Holy Chow at Mowgli, Sheffield

Mowgli, the restaurant owned by TV chef Nisha Katona on trendy Ecclesall Road, also welcomes pets. You can sit in cool swing seats while you enjoy its unique Indian street food. Those with big appetites should try and finish the Holy Chow – a vegan showstopper consisting of spiced chickpea, potato, spinach, fresh ginger & mango served in an entire loaf of bread. The Lescar – a trendy dog-friendly pub – is also close by, in Hunter’s Bar.

The Abbeydale Road area in Nether Edge is also particularly cool and has lots of independent places to eat and drink. Dogs are welcome at the Nether Edge Pizza Company, Four Corners Canteen and Two Thirds Beer Co. The speakeasy-like Picture House Social, under the Abbeydale Picture House, is also surprisingly dog-friendly and beach-themed cafe Lotte on the Edge allows pets both inside and out.

Room at The Psalter, Sheffield
A typical dog-friendly room at The Psalter

Dog-friendly Sheffield: where to stay

The Psalter is a boutique hotel in the leafy suburb of Nether Edge. The rooms are stylish, the staff are young and friendly and the food and drink is excellent – and well-priced. Dogs are very welcome to stay at the hotel and there’s a big jar of treats they can tuck in to on the bar. Budget travellers will be pleased to know pets are very much allowed at the Ibis Budget Sheffield Centre St Mary’s Gate, just outside the city centre.

Dogs will also receive a warm welcome at the Mercure Sheffield Kenwood Hall Hotel & Spa in Nether Edge. This historic hotel – which markets itself as ‘Kenwoof Hall’ – has 12 acres of grounds for pets and their owners to explore. Visiting pooches will be given their own beds, bowls and treats and they can also dine from a special doggy menu. There’s even a doggy pit stop station where you can stock up on treats and towels to clean muddy paws.

Kelham Island Airbnb, Sheffield
A dog-friendly Kelham Island apartment © Airbnb

Prefer a bit more space to spread out? That’s not a problem in Sheffield as there are some lovely Airbnbs available to hire. There are several pet-friendly apartments in Kelham Island, many of which are housed in converted industrial buildings close to some of the city’s coolest pubs, bars and food markets. We particularly like the colourful one-bedroom apartment, pictured above, for both its facilities and location but there is no outdoor space.

If that is what your dogs need, however, try the Fernbank Suite just outside the city in Woodseats. The spacious one-bedroom apartment is attached to the owner’s property but is set in six acres of gardens, orchards and fields where you can safely exercise your dog. Stay here and you’ll have private access to six rooms, including a large conservatory with direct access to the grounds. There are some great walks to be had from the door, too.

Kelham Island, Sheffield
The former industrial district of Kelham Island has been given a new lease of life in recent years

How do I get to Sheffield?

It takes approximately four hours to drive to Sheffield from London and the south, via the M1. From the north, the most direct road to access the city is the A1(M). The London to Sheffield train takes around two hours, with East Midlands Railway services leaving St Pancras International every 30 minutes. There are also fast trains from Manchester that take approximately 50 minutes. See TransPennine Express or Northern Rail for timetables.

Sheffield is also well served by coach companies such as National Express and Megabus. And if you’re travelling by air, there are four international airports less than an hour away from the city – Manchester Airport, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, East Midlands Airport and Leeds Bradford Airport.

Where can I find out more?

The Dog Friendly Sheffield website is a mine of information for anyone visiting the city with their four-legged friend. The comprehensive site is packed full of information about pet-friendly places to eat, drink and visit, all of which are helpfully listed by area. For more general tourist information, check out the Welcome to Sheffield website.

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