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    Car hire in Sheffield - the gateway to Yorkshire

    A city full of industrial heritage, Sheffield is located at the edge of the Peak District National Park and over a third of the city is situated within the park's boundary, making it one of the greenest and healthiest places in England. Oozing with urban finesse and a razor-sharp creative edge, this flourishing city of around half a million people was just a minor provincial town before the industrial revolution. It is now one of the largest cities in England and a fast-growing sightseeing destination.

    After Benjamin Huntsman discovered a way of making crucible steel in 1740, Henry Bessemer developed a technique to mass-produce steel in 1856, followed by the invention of 'stainless steel' by Harry Brearley in 1912 which further increased Sheffield's dominance in the industry. When Sheffield’s steel industry was at its height in the nineteenth century, the pollution generated by the factories meant that suburban developers took to the surrounding hills to create places to live, which is when the city we know today started to take shape.

    Sheffield is the centrepiece of South Yorkshire, a land of dramatic landscapes, world-class museums, outdoor pursuits and a rich diversity of period architecture. With its thriving music, film and visual arts scene, plus a very independent and dynamic underbelly, the city is overflowing with character and creativity. Nowadays, many of those old factories have been converted into venues as part of Sheffield’s thriving arts, cultural and culinary scene, and the symmetry between the city’s industrial past and modern cultural life is more distinctive than in most other places. A good selection of top-notch museums and visitor centres portray different aspects of Sheffield's long and fascinating story.

    Already a thriving town by the late 13th century, Sheffield proudly retains much of its medieval complexity and the inner city has remained largely unchanged since the late-19th century. Of prime interest are the city’s magnificent medieval Anglican cathedral, the vast Millennium Galleries (four major museums under one roof) and Graves Art Gallery just east of the Winter Gardens, along with the exciting Kelham Island Museum. Use your car hire in Sheffield to drive to the wonderful Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and Shepherd Wheel for an interesting perspective of the city’s rich heritage.

    Situated in the heart of South Yorkshire, the city is mostly famous for its cutlery, to which the earliest references date right back to 1297. It has many well-tended parks (over 50 in total) and a beautiful greenbelt area blessed with an abundance of woods and forests that cater for a broad range of outdoor activities. It’s also a convenient base from which to explore the beautiful Peak District, one of England’s most popular touring regions. Just west of the train station are the tropical Winter Gardens (the largest urban glasshouses in Europe) and the bustling central square known as the Peace Gardens surrounded by the Town Hall and many other historic buildings.

    Sheffield is one of the most fascinating places in the north of England, so book your car with Auto Europe and enjoy the freedom of the city by exploring the centre and all its cultural attractions before taking a drive into the lovely South Yorkshire countryside. With over 60 years of experience, Auto Europe is leader of the global car rental market offering over 24,000 pick-up and drop-off locations in more than 180 countries around the world in order to offer our customers the widest choice of vehicles at the best possible rates. For help with your itinerary, please get in touch with our rental specialists on +441233225114 and for more information about driving around Sheffield and elsewhere in England, please consult our guide to driving in the United Kingdom. You can also see what others have thought of our service on our car hire reviews in Sheffield page.

    How's the traffic in Sheffield?

    Sheffield is hilly which means that many of the city's roads have steep gradients with snow and ice common hazards during the winter months. Be prepared for hill starts when moving off from on-street parking. Some of Sheffield's roads in the city centre are sometimes subject to a certain amount of traffic congestion during the morning and evening rush-hours. The major roads in Sheffield are the Inner Ring Road (A61) which forms a complete circle of dual-carriageway around the city centre. The inner ring road and its approach roads all have brown signs indicating which additional signs you should follow for particular attractions and neighbourhoods, for example: "Follow Cathedral Quarter for City Hall & Cathedral." Follow the appropriate signs, even if they seem to take you half-way around the city, and you will eventually be directed to off-street paid parking close to the desired attraction. Alternatively, there are some cheaper car parks on what would otherwise be wasteland at the fringes of the city centre; these are easy enough to spot from the inner ring road. The Outer Ring Road (A6102) forms a semicircle of single and dual-carriageways around the city through the eastern suburbs, while the the Sheffield Parkway (A57/A630) is a dual-carriageway that conveniently connects the inner and outer ring roads with the M1 motorway (at junction 33). Passing through Broomhill and the city centre, the A57 is the main link to the popular Peak District in the west, heading east along part of Sheffield Parkway before deviating south-east through Handsworth, Beighton, the M1 junction 31 and on towards Worksop. Access from outside the city is most commonly via the M1 motorway which runs along the city's eastern boundary and separates Sheffield from neighbouring Rotherham. The cities of Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham are all roughly 30 miles (48 km) from Sheffield, in different directions.

    Where can I park my car hire in Sheffield?

    Sheffield City Council operates a number of car parks in the city centre, as well as the majority of on-street parking spaces. Ticket machines continue to accept cash but additional facilities to pay by chip and pin, plus contactless cashless payments are now available. It is also possible to park your car rental in Sheffield and pay for it by smartphone. In addition, there are several conveniently-located Park and Ride options that offer visitors a safe, stress-free and convenient way to travel in and around Sheffield and elsewhere in the South Yorkshire area.

    Sheffield Airport

    Located 19 miles east of the city, Doncaster Sheffield Airport is a purpose-built international airport inaugurated in 2005 on the site of the former RAF Finningley air base. Significant investment has resulted in a brand-new terminal and with one of the UK’s longest runways, the airport has the capacity to handle all types of international aviation including charter, scheduled, long-haul, freight, general and business aviation. It offers a wide range of modern amenities, including WHSmith's, a large World Duty Free store and an extensive foreign currency exchange facility. For passengers with time enough for refreshments and/or a light snack, The Finningley Windmill is the best choice with wonderful views over the airfield.

    Sheffield Airport (DSA)
    Telephone: +44 01302 625500
    Address: First Ave, Doncaster DN9 3RH, UK

    What to do in Sheffield

    A vibrant city bursting with character and plenty of tourism potential, Sheffield's emerging cultural scene features award-winning theatre, a good range of quality craft beers, a deep-rooted musical legacy (Def Leppard, Joe Cocker, Arctic Monkeys, Human League, Pulp, Heaven 17 and ABC, to name just a few), world-class festivals, major street art and much, much more. Here follows a selection of some of the must-see attractions you cannot miss whilst visiting the city;

    • Sheffield Botanical Gardens: Established in 1836, the world-famous Sheffield Botanical Gardens feature over 5,000 plant species in a prime location just off the city centre. Covering 19 acres, the park's several winding paths take the visitor on an exploration through over 18 different garden areas based on geographical and botanical themes. Highlights include a well-preserved fossil of a tree-like Lepidodendron (possibly 312 million years old) displayed in the Evolution garden and various glasshouses with plants from Australia, Asia, and South Africa.

    • Kelham Island Museum: Part of the Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, the popular Kelham Island Museum depicts the city's industrial past with a fine collection of steel and silverware from the past 300 years. Local artisans work on the premises and the museum's star attraction, the huge River Don steam engine built in 1905 and used at one of the local steel mills, is regularly seen moving around in all its splendour. The island itself contains everything from a museum, galleries, breweries, a rock climbing centre, professional recording studio, restaurants and several pubs.

    • Sheffield Cathedral: Standing on the site of an early 12-th century parish church, the city's magnificent cathedral designed in the late-Gothic Perpendicular style was built in the mid-15th century. Inside the cathedral lies the marble tomb of the Earl of Shrewsbury who died in 1538 and now rests between his two wives. The unusual black oak portable sedilla (the seat used by the bishops) in St Catherine's Chapel also dates from the 15th century. The cathedral has 14 bells which are rung regularly to announce the Thursday and Sunday services.

    • Weston Park Museum: Sheffield's largest museum, Weston Park was originally established in 1875 to house the Mappin Art Gallery, an impressive collection of artworks donated to the city by a local steel magnate. The building's importance grew over the years and today it houses Sheffield's impressive array of museums on themes as wide as natural history, archaeology, social history and decorative art collections. Here you can discover the real story of Sheffield, from its geological roots to the people, politics and music that shaped the modern city.

    • Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet: Just three miles south-west of the city centre, the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is a perfectly-preserved 18th-century Victorian village where visitors can learn about the traditional production of steel scythes and other implements. The complex comprises warehouses, staff cottages, water wheels, tilt hammers and Britain's last crucible steel furnace which remains completely intact. Another highlight is the historic Shepherd's Wheel located on Porter Brook that gives visitors the chance to get close to one of the country's last remaining water-powered grinders.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Sheffield

    Beyond Sheffield's modern cityscape exists some of the most picturesque landscapes and memorable touring areas in the whole of England. Pick up your rent a car in Sheffield and enjoy a relaxing drive west to the Peak District National Park, an enchanting place of great diversity and some of the loveliest spa villages in western Europe. The Peak District provides good access to some of the country's most illustrious cities, namely Manchester and Liverpool.

    Elsecar Heritage Railway.

    About 10 miles from Sheffield, the Elsecar Heritage Railway is dedicated to preserving the heritage of one of the region's oldest railway lines. Highlights include an impressive collection of old locomotives and rolling stock that once belonged to the South Yorkshire Railway company. Its location next to the Elsecar Heritage Centre offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in a world of antiques, history and crafts from the former ironworks and colliery workshops after a memorable ride on the railway.

    Magna Science Adventure Centre.

    The first of its kind in the UK, the award-winning Magna Science Adventure Centre is located at the Templeborough steelworks in nearby Rotherham just 10 miles to the north-east of Sheffield. Set in this cavernous space are 4 pavilions where you can explore the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. Besides seeing lightning bolts and fiery tornadoes, here you can have fun firing a giant water cannon, launch rockets, board an airship and spin in a gyroscopic chair. The original steelworks provides a dramatic backdrop for the ultimate interactive experience - the Big Melt - a 12-minute show running at regular intervals throughout the day.

    The Yorkshire Dales.

    Rich in caves, waterfalls and pretty stone villages, the Dales is a land of imposing castles and artisan crafts ranging from homemade cheese and chocolate to some of the best beers (real ales) in the north of England. It’s also a place of deep valleys (known as dales) with roads meandering between dry-stone walls and patchworks of hay meadows and field barns. Other parts are covered in heather moorland and dotted with distinctive hills, such as the much-loved Three Peaks. Take a ride on the Settle to Carlisle railway which cuts across the region with tunnels and viaducts, including the iconic Ribblehead.

    National Coal Mining Museum

    England's last deep coalmine and a must-visit attraction, the National Coal Mining Museum is housed in the old Caphouse Colliery located 25 miles north of Sheffield. Visitors are invited to pick up a miner’s lamp and don a hard hat before descending 140 metres underground to learn how coal was extracted in days gone by. Here you’ll discover the different ages of mining, from Victorian times when women and children worked underground alongside men, and find out about the role of pit ponies and how modern machinery completely changed coalmining.

    Geographic Information & History

    Nestling in the eastern foothills of the Pennines, Sheffield is one of the most geographically diverse cities in England. A natural amphitheatre created by several hills and the confluence of no less than five rivers, visitors will find fine views of both the centre and the surrounding countryside. Sheffield is rare for the fact that it is approximately one-third urban, one-third rural and on-third located in the Peak District, and another curious claim to fame is the fact that the city has more trees per person than any other place in Europe, outnumbering people 4 to 1! Reflective of that is the number of woods and forests in and around the city, over 170 in all, plus 10 municipal parks and gardens.

    The name Sheffield is Old English in origin, deriving from the River Sheaf whose name is a corruption of shed or sheth, which means to divide or separate. ‘Field’ is a generic suffix from the Old English word feld, meaning a forest clearing. Although humans may have lived in the area for at least 10,000 years, the earliest physical evidence of habitation in the city dates from the pre-Roman period. Under its Norman lords in the late-11th century, Sheffield began life as a town rather than a village at the confluence of the rivers Don and Sheaf and the area was known by the Anglo-Saxons as Hallamshire before the medieval town grew up around its 12th-century castle. Significant urban growth only occurred after the Industrial Revolution and with that the surrounding villages steadily grew. By the 18th century, Sheffield had become a thriving market town and following a period of prolonged development it became the country's leading cutlery producer.

    How to get around Sheffield

    The city's public transport system (comprising buses, trams and trains) is an excellent way to get around town and a suitable alternative to driving your car hire in Sheffield around every day during your stay. All services are deregulated and operated by private enterprises. However, all of these companies are under licence to Travel South Yorkshire who are the main source of unbiased travel information, updates, timetables, journey planners and city transport maps.


    Buses are almost exclusively operated by the large public transport operators First Group and Stagecoach. They generally run every 10-20 minutes during the day and every 20–60 minutes in the evening. Buses are generally reliable if a little expensive. It is advisable to arrive a few minutes before the bus is scheduled to depart. If you wish to use all the city's public transport for one day, then you'd be advised to opt for the South Yorkshire Day Tripper travel pass which includes local train travel (after 9:30am). Alternatively, the Sheffield City Wide ticket offers travel on all buses and trams and is ideal for people visiting the city and planning to see all the main tourist sights.


    The Stagecoach Supertram network has regular stops throughout the city centre. The Meadowhall/Middlewood (yellow) route covers all major sporting venues and Meadowhall, one of Europe's largest shopping malls. The Halfway/Malin Bridge (blue) route serves some of Sheffield's most interesting suburbs, one of the city's oldest parks (Norfolk Heritage Park) and the historic Rivelin Valley. Supertram stops have clear route indicators and on-board tram staff are always on hand to sell tickets and help visitors get to where they need to go. Furthermore, South Yorkshire saw the launch of the country's first Tram Trains that offer a direct service from Sheffield city centre to Rotherham Central and Parkgate, travelling on street tramlines and the national rail network.


    Located on the south-eastern side of the city centre, Sheffield train station is a ten-minute walk from the city centre or five minutes by tram. It provides a fast and efficient entrance to the city with fast and very direct links from London St Pancras International departing every 30 minutes from early morning to late at night with a journey time of just over 2 hours. Furthermore, the Eurostar link from Paris arrives at London St Pancras International, which means you can be in Sheffield in just 5 hours after leaving Paris. There are also hourly high-speed trains from Manchester's city centre and direct services from Manchester International airport. Regional train operators also make it very easy to reach Sheffield from any direction, including TransPennine Express and Northern Rail services. Located next to the Supertram Interchange, Meadowhall Station is located at the Meadowhall shopping mall in north-west Sheffield and offers good access to the Arena and Valley Centertainment leisure park. Most long-distance coaches and city buses, including the free bus, stop at the Sheffield Interchange, which is a two-minute walk from Sheffield station.


    There are no regular night bus routes in the city, and all tram services terminate around midnight, so a reliable 24-hour taxi service such as City Taxis and Sheffield Taxi Services will be required to get around quickly and safely. Black cabs can be easily hailed in the street in the city centre (especially around the railway station, High Street, Barker's Pool and West Street) and West End (especially around the University and Broomhill), as well as on some of the main routes into the city. Alternatively, Uber and other peer-to-peer ride-sharing services are also gaining in popularity in and around Sheffield.


    Cycling in Sheffield can be an exhilarating experience with pedal power proving to be an increasingly popular way of getting around. Sheffield is compact and densely-populated, meaning that most parts of the city lie in close proximity to the centre and are quite reachable by bicycle.

    Useful links

    Sheffield Tourist Info

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