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A large Yorkshire city located in the foothills of the Peak District and famous for the production of high-quality steel

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Sheffield might not be the largest city in Yorkshire - that honour goes to Leeds - but it is still a huge city, with half a million residents within its borders. The wider metropolitan area surrounding the city is home to nearly 2 million people.
Sheffield grew up around a cluster of hills. Water would flow quickly down these slopes, making them the perfect places for water mills. Thanks to this, local industry boomed, and the city became a thriving warren of activity. It was especially famous for the production of high-quality steel. In the last few decades, though, Sheffield's character has begun to change. The heavy industry has tailed off somewhat, and the city has begun to form a new character, with help from its large student population, and its wealth of ambitious building projects.
In truth though, there are still many concrete buildings in Sheffield that leave something to be desired. But the city is also filled with a surprising amount of greenery. In fact, it is reputedly the greenest large settlement in England, with more trees per person than any other city in Europe.
The most notable illustration of this fact is at the Sheffield Winter Garden, which is a huge greenhouse in the middle of the city. It's the largest urban glasshouse in the entire continent. Queen Elizabeth opened it in 2003, and since then it has become the city's pride and joy. It hosts over 2000 species of plants within its 70-metre length. Another popular place in the city centre is the Peace Gardens, just outside the town hall. Its fountains and open spaces are particularly popular during the summer. Both of these gardens are very close to the Millennium Galleries, which is the city's biggest art exhibition centre. This is just one of a range of cultural attractions, which include theatres, museums, and live music venues.
All in all there are enough attractions to make this city a very interesting place to stroll around. Keep your eyes peeled for the Walk of Fame, which honours famous and successful people from Sheffield, in a similar vein to the Hollywood version. Plaques have been awarded to such celebrities as Michael Palin, the comedian and travel presenter, and Gordon Banks, the World Cup-winning England goalkeeper.
Of course, there are also a wide range of shops and markets, which will be only too pleased to separate you from your cash. The city's shopping highlight is arguably the Meadowhall Centre, just a short bus or train ride away. It features nearly 300 stores, which altogether draw in around 30 million shoppers per year.
Sheffield also has a wide range of sports teams and facilities, from its two Championship football teams, to its artificial indoor ski slope, which is Europe's biggest. One of the most famous venues in the city is the Crucible Theatre, which hosts the annual World Snooker Championships.
Sheffield is known for its proximity to the Peak District. Unusually, one third of the city actually lies within the district's borders. This is unique in the UK - no other city contains part of a national park. There are surprisingly good bus and train links from the city, to even the more rural areas of the park, which makes it very easy to explore the green fields, the quaint little villages, and the traditional market towns.
Visitor Information
Sheffield Winter Garden is open daily from 8am to 6pm. Entry is FREE. Surrey Street, Sheffield S1 2LH. Tel: 0114 250 0500

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