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Sheffield has evolved from humble beginnings as a small market town in the late 13th century into one of the most vibrant locations in the north-eastern region of England. In the 19th century it was a leading steel production centre and industrial powerhouse. Several museums themed on this time of prosperity as well as 1,000 heritage buildings and unique draws such as the Winter Garden ensure Sheffield is not about to lose its appeal any time soon. With car rental, the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales and their diverse delights are accessible using Sheffield as a base.
Who to Book With
Hertz, Enterprise, Budget and Avis all have offices and rental facilities in the city. Other suppliers include Burnt Tree Vehicle Rental. Booking online usually unearths some great daily rates and saves wasting time telephoning all the different suppliers. The suppliers’ hire depots are mostly on the outer side of the ring road that goes around the city centre.
Best Time to go
Due to the vagaries of English weather it is probably best to visit between June and mid-September. During the school summer holiday period, between mid-July and late August, roads in and around the city are busy and vehicle rental and accommodation rates are dearer.
Need to Know Essentials
When collecting your rental car you will be asked to produce these items:
- Both parts of your UK driver’s license if it is a photocard one
- A passport, household utility bill or other means of ID
- The credit or debit card used at the time of booking
- A printed voucher or the unique reference number for the booking
Sheffield is not difficult to drive around, although at peak times or when roadworks are in progress traffic soon snarls up. Once outside the city, roads are usually clear and it does not take long to reach regional tourism draws. There are a number of car parks in and around the town centre, but they are certainly not cheap with rates per hour ranging between £1.20 and £3.00 at multi-storey facilities close to the shopping centres.
Sheffield’s town centre is compact enough to walk around. The main bus station, the railway station and places such as John Lewis’s, the 500-year-old Old Queen's Head pub and several museums are all close together. Sheffield’s original trams stopped running in 1960, leaving buses and taxis as the only town travel options. In the mid-1990s this situation was rectified when the Supertram light-rail tram system came online.
Sheffield Midland Railway Station is a hub for train services in this part of the country and has direct services from places as far apart as London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Norwich. Trains to and from London St Pancras via Leicester run twice an hour in the daytime. The station is to the east of the town centre.
Buses and Trams
Sheffield is served by a number of bus companies which include First South Yorkshire and Stagecoach. Routes go to most of the outlying parts of town. Sheffield Interchange is the main bus station in town. There are also three Supertram lines, also operated by Stagecoach.
Taxis are a popular transport choice in Sheffield and there are plenty of them on the road. City Taxis is the largest firm with a fleet of 850 vehicles. The firm takes telephone and online bookings, although the latter service requires users to register their details. There are taxi ranks in town and at the train station. The flag fare for the first mile travelled is £3.80 and then £1.30 for each subsequent mile.
In addition to the plentiful attractions for visitors in Sheffield, there are lots of other places to go for those with a car hire. Sheffield abuts the pristine vistas of the Peak District where the spa town of Matlock, Peveril Castle, the Blue John Cavern and Cromford Mills are among many visitor draws. Chatsworth House is one of the UK’s national treasures and less than 33kms from Sheffield.
Chatsworth House - This dates from the 1680s and is one of the finest stately homes in the country. The Sculpture Gallery is one of 30 magnificent state rooms open to the public. The mansion is set in a 1,000-acre park which features a garden packed with cascades and grandiose fountains. A farmyard and adventure playground, and a maze keep youngsters amused.
Peveril Castle - This was built in 1176 and although now a ruin is still an elegant edifice. It sits above the pictorial village of Castleton and the rolling hills of the Peak District. A medieval toilet, a visitor centre with exhibits and displays illustrating the castle’s history, as well as a gift shop selling wonderful keepsakes are among great reasons to visit.
Blue John Cavern - This is actually a series of caverns where blue john stone is still mined. The caverns have been tastefully illuminated to allow visitors to appreciate them, but still see where they are going. Visitors can buy jewellery and ornaments with the rare stone set in them.