A Sheffield Street Art Walk

City Centre

Starts at Sheffield station, Sheaf Street, S1 2BP

Head out from Sheffield station on a short tour of some of the artworks that brighten up our city's streets.

Take me there

In Sheffield we’re blessed with the perfect cocktail for fine street art: suitable buildings, a diverse range of talented artists and a general appreciation for creativity. Collectively, these artists are adding a colourful, cultural depth to the transient urban skyline. Their artworks range from bright, to mysterious, to humorous, to fantastical. By transforming the facade of a derelict factory or brightening up a dreary gable end, they encourage people – whether commuters, residents or visitors – to stop and look at their surroundings. After all, the journey is just as important as the destination.

Street art is scattered across Sheffield, but for this short walk we’re concentrating on one area in the south-west of the city centre, with a few extras thrown in at the end for anyone up for walking further afield.

The tour starts at Sheffield railway station. Walk up past the large water sculpture outside the station and turn around to face Park Hill flats in the background. Perhaps the most visible and talked about piece of graffiti is daubed across one of the "streets in the sky" between two of the blocks. The words "I love you. Will you marry me?" are lit up at night – scrawled on the bridge many years ago, they're now a permanent addition to Park Hill.

Turn back towards the city and cross the main road at Sheaf Square. Take a left along Paternoster Row, passing between the Showroom Cinema and Sheffield Hallam Union. On the side of Yorkshire Artspace on your left is a piece of work by internationally renowned Sheffield-based artist Kid Acne. The slogan "You’ll Thank Me One Day" is plastered, bold as brass, across the side of the building – it's so great, it's one of our top 3 Sheffield artworks.

A short distance further up Brown Street you’ll see a trippy, slightly eerie, piece on the side of the Rutland Arms by Phlegm, an artist who has left his distinctive mark in many places around Sheffield. Opposite, on the junction of Brown Street and Sidney Street, you'll see Florence "EMA" Blanchard's Particles – a blue-green wallpaper, speckled with diamonds, it wraps its way around Access Space.

Continue along Sidney Street and, immediately on your right, in the archway of a white brick building occupied by APG Works, is another piece by EMA: this time of a moustached man who welcomes you through the arch. Incidentally, the studio, gallery and framers at APG Works sell copies of work by a number of artists featured on our walk, including EMA and Kid Acne.

Walk on down Sidney Street to cross Matilda Street. On your left is the former Matilda Tavern, which, since closing, has become the canvas for some entertaining street art. Further along Sidney Street on your right is the unmistakable work of Rocket01 – this popular piece, a portrait of Charles Darwin (pictured above), is one of a few paintings of famous faces by the artist.

Turn the corner onto Jessop Street. Here, as well off to the right down Eyre Lane, are the Bloc Billboards. An extension of the Bloc Projects gallery space, these billboards host the work of contemporary artists, and are changed every couple of months.

Head back along Arundel Street towards the city centre. Pass the Street Food Chef (or stop by for a burrito break) and cross Furnival Street. On your left you’ll find another Rocket01 portrait, this time of Patrick Moore. David Attenborough's nearby, too – to find him, head down Charles Street towards the metal-clad Sheffield Hallam Union and take a look at the gable end of the estate agents' on your right.

Back on Arundel Street, pass the university and walk up to the Millennium Gallery on Arundel Gate. Various artists have decorated the entrance in recent years, and right now it's EMA's turn. Her colourful shapes cast light on the ground as you enter – and it is well worth entering, with excellent exhibitions on throughout the year.

Once done, head back down Howard Street towards the station. On the left you’ll spot Faunagraphic’s tribute to Harry Brearley, one of Sheffield’s most famous sons and the inventor of stainless steel.

UPDATE: In October 2016, the Feature Walls festival brought a bunch of international artists to Sheffield to create even more spectacular works of street art. Use this map to find these new additions to the Sheffield streets.

Further walking:

Beyond this walk, these pieces are well worth looking for in and around Sheffield city centre:

Stay Bright, Backfields (off Wellington Street) – designed by Emily Forgot and painted by Peter Barber, this mural, on the side of the Brewhouse, is the result of a nationwide contest by Dulux. It references the city’s industrial past, while brightening up a city-centre side street for the present. 

Rare and Racy, Devonshire Street – catch Phlegm's pieces here (round the back as well as on the shop front) while you can: these buildings are sadly scheduled to be demolished in the near future. There's more of Phlegm's fantastical work nearby on Westfield Terrace too.

The Birth of Hip Hop, South View Road – Kid Acne’s playful cartoon brightens up this residential street.

Imagine, Norfolk Bridge, The Wicker – Bill Drummond has translated and painted the words "imagine waking tomorrow and all music has disappeared" around the world. The former KLF musician and artist graffitied them here during his time as Sensoria Festival’s composer in residence in 2011.

The Sheffield Snog, Broad Lane – Pete McKee is well loved in Sheffield and this piece adorns the side of one of his favourite boozers: Fagan's.

The Riverside, Mowbray Street – on the Don side of the pub a monstrous kraken (another of Phlegm's) emerges from the water. It's so well-loved the pub named a beer after it.

Ping Pong Girls, Green Lane, Kelham Island – their bats are looking a little weathered these days, but Kid Acne's characters are always a joy to chance upon. You'll likely come across a few of his Stabby Women around the city too.

At any one time there are plenty of other great works of art painted and pasted about the city – many of which come and go over the space of a few months. Take a look at the #sheffieldstreetart tag on Instagram for some current pointers, and let us know of any others you discover.

Written by Will Roberts; May 8, 2015
Photography by Will Roberts.