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Sheffield's Golden Mile!
Ecclesall Road (Sheffield)
Member Name: micksheff
Ecclesall Road (Sheffield)
Advantages: Vibrant part of the city, good atmosphere
Disadvantages: Expensive boutique shops
Ecclesall Road is a vibrant area of Sheffield that has come to be known by many in the city as "The Golden Mile". It extends from St Mary's roundabout close to the city centre to Hunter's Bar roundabout and hence, as its nickname suggests it is about a mile long.
Traditionally, Ecclesall the surrounding area from where this road derives its name, was one of the more affluent suburbs of Sheffield but in recent years many of the large houses have been converted into flats and this is now an area with a high student population.
All along the length of Ecclesall Road there are shops, café's, bars and restaurants and at night time this area comes alive, whilst during the daytime it is busy with shoppers, but if you want to escape from this hustle and bustle there are several different options available nearby.
Three of the city's largest recreation areas lie directly off Ecclesall Road. These are the Botanical Gardens, Endcliffe Park and in my opinion one of Sheffield's finest little gems, the Sheffield General Cemetery.
Ecclesall Road is within easy walking distance of the city centre, leading off from the bottom of one of the main pedestrianised shopping areas known as The Moor. From here a subway crosses under the busy dual carriageway, St Mary's Gate and as you come up for air at the other side, you have arrived at the bottom of Ecclesall Road.
The first thing that you will quickly notice is that there is a very lively street life, many of the café's and bars have tables and chairs that spill out onto the pavement and especially during the summer months, there is an almost Mediterranean ambiance.
The Pamona is a popular bar that is found at the end of Ecclesall Road closest to the city centre. It is a popular meeting point, especially on a Friday or Saturday night, for people either moving onto the centre or continuing on down Ecclesall Road. Next, we find a Varsity Bar. This is one of two Varsity Bars in Sheffield and like most of these chain pubs it is clearly aimed at students, with discounted drinks for card holders. More or less directly across the road from here we find the Nursery Tavern, another favourite haunt of students. The Nursery Tavern along with Varsity and the Pamona complete the trio.
Of these first three pubs the Nursery Tavern is my favourite as it has a lovely beer garden to the rear and there are always good drink offers available, they also serve decent food too. I rarely wander into the Varsity Bar but I do occasionally visit the Pamona, especially on a Sunday night when they often have live local bands playing.
A short walk further along and you pass the former Wards Brewery, which has now been converted into luxury living apartments. When I was a kid the smell of the hops from here was synonymous with this part of the city and when it closed at the end of 1999 many people wondered what would become of this building.
All along Ecclesall Road there are small, trendy boutique style clothes shops where the goods are minimal and the prices sky high. None of the upmarket chain names are represented here, these are instead independent retailers but many of them are locally well established names that have been around for many years. There are also several up market wine bars and bistros where the prices reflect the type the of clientele that they attract.
The Berkeley Shopping Centre is a precinct about halfway down Ecclesall Road. It is dominated by a Tesco supermarket but there are also other shops, including a Blockbuster video rental, florists, a hairdressers and estate agents. These shops are built underneath flats that provide further living accommodation in the area.
Beyond the Berkeley Shopping Centre there are more bars including a Café Rouge, one of two in Sheffield, Champs - a sports bar, and several fast food outlets including a KFC. Close to the furthest end of Ecclesall Road from the city centre, close to Hunters Bar Roundabout is where my favourite pub in this area is to be found, the Porter Brook Cottage. The Porter Brook Cottage has a lovely rear beer garden that overlooks the Porter Brook, the river from where it gets its name. This is a great place to sit out when the weather is fine and if you are lucky you might even see a Kingfisher or a Dipper, which is quite incredible considering its close proximity to the city centre.
Overall I would certainly recommend Ecclesall Road as an alternative to the somewhat staid shops and bars of the city centre. There is usually something going on in Ecclesall Road, and if there isn't then you can simply people-watch.
Ecclesall Road is very well served by buses including services 81, 82, 83 and 84 that leave the main Sheffield Interchange Bus Station every few minutes at peak times.
Summary: A popular shopping area in Sheffield