Norfolk Park is the city’s best-kept residential secret. On the hillside overlooking the city centre above Sheffield station you’ll find faded but still glorious early-Victorian mansions and elegant stone houses, just a stone’s throw from rolling green parkland and quiet woods.
For the inquisitive, Norfolk Park comes complete with its own Heritage Trail. It starts up at Manor Lodge – once host to a captive Mary Queen of Scots, today its grounds bloom into beautiful wild flower meadows in summer. It then follows quiet residential streets, heads through a cemetery, park and monument grounds, passes the much talked-about Park Hill flats, and ends at Sheffield Cathedral.
Intrepid explorers may want to take on the full trail, but for everyone else we’d recommend sticking to the section closest to Sheffield station. Within minutes you’ll be rewarded with an exceptional view of the city centre – an ideal way to bid farewell to Sheffield before catching a train. And for those free to amble, tree lined avenues and rolling parkland await a little further on. Autumn is the best time to visit the park: it’s a great place for kicking up leaves.
Head for the tram stop at the rear of Sheffield station, with Park Hill on the skyline above.
Follow the steps up the landscaped South Street amphitheatre ahead, turning right through the gates leading to the Cholera Monument (you won’t miss the handsome pinnacle). The monument was erected in 1835 to commemorate the 402 unfortunate victims of a cholera epidemic, buried in a mass grave nearby.
Enjoy the view from the monument. Turn back now if you need to catch a train – otherwise, take a short stroll to the right through charming Clay Wood.
At the other end and a little further up the road to the right, you’ll spot the gates to the park that gives the area its name: Norfolk Heritage Park. Sheffield’s first public park (and one of the oldest in the country) was reclaimed from scarred industrial land by local big cheese the Duke of Norfolk and opened to help clear the lungs of Sheffield’s workforce in 1848. In 1897, Queen Victoria was carted around the park in a royal procession.
Do a lap, enjoy the view, and head back out the way you came in.
Retrace your steps back down towards the station.