It’s summer! Six weeks of holidays stretching ahead, and whether you’re looking for things to do for the whole holiday or just a few days, The Outdoor City is THE place to be over the summer for families.
Check out our bucket list for activities with the kids – it’s mostly cheap or free and mostly accessible by public transport. We’ve also found some options for letting your kids have fun in the outdoors in someone else’s care while you get some work done or have a bit of peace and quiet (we all love our kids, but everyone needs a break sometimes)!
Sheffield’s woodland is there every day of the year, Ecclesall Woods and Whitely Woods in the South West, Greno woods in the North… to name but a few. Use your own imagination any day of the week, or if you like someone else to come up with the ideas and do the organising, there are loads of wild play options where someone else does the leg work for a small charge (typically £3-5 per child). Check out the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s events for wild play at Ecclesall and Greno woods throughout the holidays, or try the Bogtastic Family Fun Day at Longshaw on Wednesday 16th August. If drama’s more your child’s thing, Grow Theatre are in Ecclesall Woods .
Woodland skills and survival
Could you survive in the woods? Learn how to make a fire, build shelters and make basic tools with sessions for all ages with Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust in Greno woods, on dates throughout the holidays.
Take a walk on the high side
Did you know Sheffield has its very own high ropes adventure course? Suitable for children from 1.1m tall upwards (though little ones under 1.4m need to be accompanied on the high ropes), Altitude high ropes course behind Ice Sheffield might lack the leafy tree canopy of further flung competitors, but it’s just as fun, it’s close and it’s a bargain, costing a fraction of the price.
Or on the ground
There are too many walking options to list, but if you want someone else to plan your route for you, try one of our Run Routes, with marked routes all across the city – why not visit somewhere you haven’t been before? The Shirebrook Valley route (Sheffield’s ‘forgotten valley’) is close to some great ponds for pond dipping, as well as a wildlife open day on 5th August. If you need to know your route is buggy friendly or suitable for little legs, Little Sheffield have put together a range of family friendly walks, and have also put together a nature trail across Norfolk Park, Weston Park and Hillsborough Park, with an activity booklet you can download from their website.
Sheffield might be a long way from the sea, but there are plenty of options for cooling off when the sun’s out. Longshaw’s Padley Gorge and Burbage Brook have got to be some of our favourite places to paddle on a sunny day, and Millhouses Park and Rivelin Valley water play parks are great fun too. For swimming there are plenty of wild swimming options, or the fabulous Hathersage Swimming Pool and if you’re feeling like something more adventurous, Sheffield Cable Waterski at Rother Valley Country Park has wakeboarding, water-skiing and water assault courses.
Volunteer your time
We all love Sheffield’s outdoors, but it doesn’t look after itself. Give something back, and have fun at the same time on a volunteer day, or learn all about it through talks, walks and demonstrations on Monday 31st July’s World Ranger Day at Longshaw.
Check out our list of some of the city’s best climbing opportunities for kids and families, not forgetting the artificial boulders that are scattered around our fair city. Mini Climbing Works has a range of summer holiday activities, including reduced entry and a young climbers’ climbing festival on Thursday 31st August (pre-booking required).
Get on your bike
Sheffield is built on seven hills, but there are still plenty of parts that are flat enough for a family bike ride. Endcliffe Park and the Porter Valley through Whiteley Woods to Forge Dam is always a favourite, or if you’re made of sterner stuff Sheffield has an excellent mountain bike trail suitable for competent children at Lady Cannings, and more challenging trails for skilled riders at Parkwood Springs and Greno Woods. Further afield, the Monsal Trail is brilliant for a first family bike ride (we like to start at Hassop Station).
Stay and play options
If you need the kids out of your hair, outdoor childcare options for the summer holidays include Wildwood Activities for 7 to 12 year olds and Sheffield Woodland Kindergarten has holiday club options for children from 2 to 8 years old. If you want your kids to climb someone else’s walls, The Foundry and Mini Climbing Works both have holiday club sessions.