Sheffield, 167 miles from London, is a city full of surprises. Once one of the steelmaking capitals of the world, this South Yorkshire city has more trees per capita of population than any other European city. And while its heavy engineering steel industry was a casualty of the 20th century, its high tech steel and handcrafted metalwork production is booming. If you are looking for fine craftsman-made hunting knives, specialist cutlery or artisan metalwork this is the place to visit.
It's also the gateway to the Peak District National Park, home to two important universities and two professional football clubs. So you could have several good reasons to go. Here's how to get there.
How to Get There
East Midlands Trains run direct services to Sheffield Station from St Pancras International Station approximately every half hour. The journey takes between two and two-and-a-half hours with round trip advance fares in April 2018 starting at about £35 when purchased in advance as two one-way tickets. And, do be sure you ask for two, one-way tickets, because a standard round-trip (called "return" in the UK) ticket for the same journey on the same day was priced from £123.
UK Travel Tips The cheapest train fares are those designated "Advance" - how far in advance depends upon the journey as most rail companies offer advance fares on a first come first served basis. Advance tickets are usually sold as one-way or "single" tickets. Whether or not you buy advance tickets, always compare the "single" ticket price to the round trip or "return" price as it is almost always cheaper to buy two single tickets rather than one round trip ticket. The East Midlands price for one round-trip ticket on this route was £123.80 in April 2018, compared to £35 for two "singles."
Pairing up low fares of single tickets with the time you want to travel to come up with the lowest round trip price can sometimes be a challenge - especially as the lowest fare tickets are only available on a "while they last" basis. If you let National Rail's computer supply the brainpower, you can save yourself a lot of aggro - not to mention a lot of money. Let the Cheapest Fare Finder calculate a ticket price for you. If you can be flexible about time, you can save even more. Make sure to tick the "All Day" boxes on the right in the fare finder tool to find the cheapest fare.
National Express run regular coach trips to Sheffield Coach Station from London Victoria Coach Station. Coaches leave London approximately every two hours and take between three and a half and four hours. Tickets can be booked online. The fare, for April 2018, is about £12 each way. But if you are willing to travel at unsociable hours, there are £4 and £5 one-way tickets to be had.
UK Travel Tip National Express offers a limited number of promotional fare tickets that are very cheap (as low as £5 each way for some trips). These can only be purchased online and they are usually posted on the website a month to a few weeks before the trip. It is worth checking the website to see if these bargain-priced tickets are available for your chosen journey. And, as always, a bit of flexibility about dates and time can save you money.
Sheffield is 167 miles north of London via the M1 and A roads. It takes a little over 3 hours to drive. Keep in mind that gasoline, called petrol in the UK, is sold by the liter (a little more than a quart) and the price can be more than $1.50 a quart - in fact, sometimes a lot more. Before you decide to hop into a car for this journey, it's worth nothing that the M1 is:
- one of Britain's most congested motorways
- is regularly used by swarms of articulated lorries and
- is almost always having roadworks done somewhere along its length,
Once you commit to the M1, the exits (called junctions in the UK) are far apart to it's hard to get off when stuck in traffic (and mega traffic jams are an M1 specialty).