One of my mottos is to “never waste the weekend.” I believe that when you’re working 9-5, those two days a week are the time for exploring, not sitting on the sofa. I try to keep myself busy and I never want to hit Monday feeling like I’ve wasted my two days out of the office, but rather I want to start the week fresh, positive and excitedly sharing my adventures. IKEA totally understand this mentality, so they reached out to me to invite me to “experience everything” that the city of Sheffield has to offer, ahead of the launch of their latest UK store.
To celebrate the launch of IKEA's new store, the genius marketing team had created a tour of Sheffield, packed full of pop-ups and installations with IKEA products, called the #WonderfulEveryday. Outside the train station, Allen the Peregrine Falcon, created from hundreds of allen keys, gazed over the entrance to Sheffield. The Pots of Wonderful spelled out "The Wonderful Everyday", welcoming visitors to Sheffield with a Hollywood-esque sign. In the train station waiting room, the seats were adorned with cushions, faux fur throws, curtains, pot plants and book shelves filled with books connected to Sheffield, free for every traveller to take on their journey. Not only were the pop-ups amazing but it was a great way to explore Sheffield – so although the installations are now gone, Sheffield is still a great location to visit.
You can’t visit Sheffield without a visit to the giant shopping centre Meadowhall, filled with every high street shop you could imagine. Unfortunately, this shopping mecca seems to have affected the centre, which was much quieter than I was expecting of a city centre, but there is still plenty to see in the middle of Sheffield if you aren’t there to shop. I loved exploring the Peace Gardens, the perfect spot for a tranquil moment, and the South Street Park Amphitheater, where the Pots of Wonderful spelled out the "Wonderful Everyday" in huge floral letters but also offered great views of the city of Sheffield.
For dinner, we opted for Oisoi, just a short walk of a few minutes from our hotel. There was almost too much choice on the menu, as everything sounded delicious, but I finally chose a starter of katsu chicken fillet with Japanese mayonnaise followed by a classic Malaysian chicken curry. The service was excellent, the food packed full of flavour and I would highly recommend a visit for a restaurant unique to Sheffield. It wouldn’t be a weekend away without some drinks and we headed further into the centre to experience the nightlife of Sheffield. After a few mainstream pubs, we discovered Bungalows and Bears - great music, good beer and a cool vibe.
We stayed in the central Jury’s Inn, the perfect city centre hotel for a weekend exploring Sheffield. The room was perfect for a one night stay, with comfortable beds - and with a great breakfast, Sunday got off to a good start too! The town centre was a short walk away and everything was truly on your doorstep.
My favourite place to visit was the Winter Garden, an oasis of calm in the centre of the city. A giant plastic sculpture of an e-coli hangs from the ceiling, surrounded by plants, trees and flowers. The beautiful wooden beams sweep overhead and IKEA had scattered cushions around the benches, encouraging you to stop and appreciate the amazing space that surrounded you.
Sheffield is a city I hadn't explored properly before but a great option for a weekend away in the UK. It's got a great balance of shopping, restaurants, bars and gardens throughout the city so there's sure to be something for everyone. There's plenty to explore to keep you busy for a two day trip up North - oh and time for a sneaky trip to IKEA too!
This post is in collaboration with IKEA, who invited me to visit Sheffield to experience their Wonderful Everyday Tour.