Sheffield has reinvented itself as a green destination, heightened by its location near the Peak District National Park.
But it’s not just the surroundings worth visiting; the city itself is ever-changing and busy with events. It’s a great city for live music, theatre, exhibitions and festivals.
This guide lists all the details you need to know for planning a visit to one of the many winter events in Sheffield.
This includes the Sheffield Christmas Market, the Victorian Christmas Market at Kelham Island, Handmade for Christmas and the Sheffield Cathedral Lights and Christmas Tree Festival and switch-on.
Sheffield Christmas Market 2023
Sheffield Christmas Market, taking place in the city’s centre, combines the city’s distinctive charm with the merry spirit of the festive season.
As you explore the market, you can admire around 50 beautifully lit chalets adorned with Christmas decorations and lined up in the city centre.
You won’t want to miss the big draw — the Sleigh Bar, a traditional Alpine-style bar where you can savour a hot mulled wine or a German beer.
Children can visit Santa’s Grotto, a dedicated space where they can meet Father Christmas.
Dates and Information
Sheffield Christmas Market dates: 16th November to 24th December 2023.
Location: Fargate, Pinstone Street and The Moor.
The Moor: Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 6pm. Friday and Saturday: 10am to 7pm.
Pinstone Street: Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 7pm. Friday and Saturday: 10am to 8pm.
Bars: 11am to 10pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas Tree Lights: Switch-on date: 28th November 2023, from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.
Santa: Yes, at Santa’s Grotto.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Alpine bars, the Big Wheel, Santa’s Grotto for the kids and the Manger Christmas light show.
Specialities: Locally brewed beer, Yorkshire pudding wraps, Hungarian chimney cake and Spanish-style churros.
Where to stay: Leopold Hotel is a well-rated, reasonably priced hotel, located only 2 minutes from Fargate.
Hotels near Sheffield Christmas Market
Sheffield city centre is ringed by several roads with the Peace Gardens at the very centre. I would suggest staying anywhere between Sheffield Cathedral and the Moor. The Moor is an indoor farmers’ market and food hall. These areas are good options if you’d like to stay near the Christmas markets.
I recommend staying at Leopold Hotel. It’s a 2-minute walk to Fargate, the start of the Christmas markets and a further minute to the Peace Gardens. The Moor is just past the Peace Gardens.
Plan your Christmas holiday with the help of my guide to the best Christmas markets UK. Discover where to go, things to do and the best ways to experience UK food, history and culture.
Sheffield Cathedral’s annual Christmas light show continues its tradition this year. You can celebrate Christmas in an awe-inspiring setting as the lights dance and flicker at Starlight.
The Cathedral anticipates welcoming friends and families to enjoy this special Christmas tradition under the spectacular light illuminations.
In addition, there is the Christmas Tree Festival at the cathedral, where you’ll see 40 decorated Christmas trees.
Sheffield Cathedral Illumination: 5th to 9th December 2023.
Location: Sheffield Cathedral, Church Street.
Opening times: 5pm to 10pm.
Price: Adults: £7.25. Children aged 4-16: £6.
Tickets: Order online here.
Christmas Tree Festival: 5th December 2023 to 2nd January 2024.
Kelham Island Christmas Market
On your visit to Sheffield in December, I highly recommend setting aside some time to explore the Victorian Christmas Market held at the Kelham Island Museum, a brief 20-minute walk from Sheffield’s historic centre.
This bustling market springs to life during the first weekend in December, displaying an assortment of over 80 stalls.
Each stall exhibits Sheffield-made wares, quality gifts and seasonal goods, perfect for filling stockings and finding unique presents for your loved ones.
While browsing the stalls, you can savour various street food options, ranging from traditional hog roasts to wood-fired pizzas.
After a busy day shopping, feel free to unwind in the Millowners Arms with a refreshing drink or warm up with a cup of mulled wine.
No Christmas market would be complete without a dash of festive cheer. Engage in the joyful atmosphere with local brass bands, musicians, choirs, and carollers on the Music Hall Stage.
Keep an eye out for walkabout characters, traditional dancers, and even the striking Snow Queen on stilts.
If you’re visiting with family, there’s a range of activities to keep everyone entertained. Kids can get involved with Christmas crafts in Santa’s Grotto, enjoy miniature engine rides on the Kelham Flyer, and snap festive pictures in the Selfie Sleigh.
Lastly, explore the museum galleries to learn about Sheffield’s steel history. You’ll witness the power of the River Don Engine, an impressive exhibit that roars into action every hour, vibrating the museum floor beneath your feet.
Victorian Christmas Market dates: 2nd to 3rd December 2023.
Location: Kelham Island Museum.
Opening times: Saturday: 10am to 6pm. Sunday: 10am to 5pm.
Santa: Yes, at Santa’s Grotto.
Tickets: Adults £8, children under 16 free. Buy tickets at the door on the day.
Handmade for Christmas
During your Christmas visit to Sheffield, you might like to explore Handmade for Christmas at the Millennium Gallery.
Held annually, this event is a hallmark of Sheffield Museums and celebrates the diversity of British contemporary craft.
The event’s focus is the sale of high-quality craft and design created by skilled designer-makers.
Handmade for Christmas will present handcrafted items across different materials, from ceramics, glass, and metalwork to textiles and wood.
The range of products includes unique pieces and small-scale productions, catering to various budgets.
The event is open to applications from UK-based craftspeople and designer-makers, with a particular emphasis on those based within a 100-mile radius of Sheffield.
These individuals produce high-quality, innovative, and contemporary work, making it a perfect opportunity to discover local talent.
Handmade for Christmas dates: 21st October to 24th December 2023.
Location: Millennium Gallery
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 5pm. Sunday: 11am to 4pm.
Admission: Free entry, donation requested.
Welcome to Sheffield has information regarding events and the best ways to experience Sheffield at Christmas. Their site is especially useful for finding places to eat out, including new openings, interesting food halls and craft food and drink makers.
Sustainable Travel Tips
To make your Christmas trip to Sheffield more sustainable, there are several practices you can adopt. Here are some tips tailored to Sheffield’s festive offerings:
Green Hotels in Sheffield
Some hotels in Sheffield focus on sustainability by relying on renewable energy. Choosing to stay in one of these eco-conscious places helps conserve natural resources and reduce emissions.
Mindful Eating at Markets
The markets are packed with tempting food stalls. Try to control portion sizes to avoid food waste. Many vendors are accommodating and allow you to choose the amount you want, reducing unnecessary waste.
At Handmade for Christmas, commit to buying only what you’ll use or need. The event features crafts that are often locally made, reducing transport-related carbon emissions and supporting Sheffield artisans.
Sensible Dietary Choices
Many eateries in Sheffield specialise in dishes made from locally sourced, organic and plant-based ingredients. Making the choice to eat at these places supports the local agricultural sector while also lessening the carbon emissions from food transportation.
Sheffield has an effective tram system along with buses that can take you to most parts of the city. Using these modes of transport lowers your carbon footprint, especially when visiting places like the Sheffield Cathedral Lights and Christmas Tree Festival.
Most markets, including those in Sheffield, allow you to refill your water bottle. Carrying reusable containers and bags helps you cut down on single-use plastic.
Sheffield has more to offer than just its Christmas events. Spend time exploring less frequented districts; this not only provides a more rounded view of the city but also helps distribute tourism income more widely.
Arts and Culture
Take some time to experience Sheffield’s local culture. The city has numerous art galleries, live performances, and exhibitions, especially during the Christmas period. Engaging in these activities benefits the local arts scene.
Quality Over Quantity
Rather than hurrying to see and do everything, focus on fewer activities. A slower pace is not only more relaxing but also less taxing on the environment due to reduced travel.
If you want to leave a Sheffield Xmas Market review, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Sheffield, UK. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.