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It’s the home of steel, Michael Palin, the oldest football club in the world and possibly Britain’s fittest woman, the Olympic gold medal winner Jessica Ennis-Hill.
What more could you ask of Sheffield? Well, it’s also come top in the latest survey of the best value UK cities for a night out by the travel review site TripAdvisor.
At just under £154, on average, for a couple of cocktails, a meal for two, taxis and a four star bed for the night, an evening’s entertainment in the northern city cost a whopping half less than it typically would in Edinburgh (the most expensive city in the survey) and was 42% cheaper than in London.
With the exception of the Scottish capital – where prices were probably inflated over the hugely popular Festival season – the survey results showed a clear north-south divide when it comes to the cost of having fun. Other northern cities among the cheapest top 10 were Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.
When it came to splurging, meanwhile, those classic tourist centres Cambridge, Oxford and Bath sat with the Scottish and English capitals – plus Brighton and Southampton – among the priciest cities for a night on the tiles. Stately Chester and York were the only northern cities among the costliest 10, with Glasgow as the second Scottish entry.
But for a really bargain-basement night out, you might have to hop – rather speedily – around the UK. The cheapest meal among all the surveyed cities was in Brighton, where a starter, main and a bottle of wine was a shade over a pleasing £54.
And the priciest bill for dinner? That would be in Belfast, where a meal for two cost almost half as much again – at around £73 – as in the good-time coastal English city.
But perhaps you’d be better off staying in the Northern Irish capital and smuggling in sandwiches. The city that built the Titanic was decently priced for a four-star hotel room: at £105, accommodation in Belfast was the 10th cheapest in the survey and by far the cheapest of the three capitals. (Read our top 10 guide to Belfast, which includes the moving museum dedicated to the doomed ocean liner as well as some of the city’s best pubs.)
At the other end of the scale, not London, but Edinburgh soared above the rest of the surveyed cities for hotel costs (again no doubt affected by the Festival crowds). It was the only city where a four-star stay went over the £200 mark – and, at £233 a night, quite a long way. Cambridge was the next priciest for a comparable hotel room (at just under £180), with the British capital (at around £168 on average a night) coming only in third place.
And the cheapest city to stay in? Step forward again, Sheffield! Four-star rooms there were a pleasant £69, followed by Birmingham and Cardiff in the cheapest accommodation league.
Speaking of Sheffield, did James Bond ever visit? If not, he should have done. A martini (the cocktail TripAdvisor used as its spirit measure, so to speak) in the northern ex-industrial powerhouse was the cheapest of all the cities surveyed, by more than a pound. A pair of the cocktails there would cost you around £13.20 – shaken, presumably, or stirred.
As for the current Mr Bond, Daniel Craig, he hails from Chester, an otherwise pretty northern city that 007 might in fact want to avoid. The suave spy would have to stiff up almost £17, on average, for a double of his favourite tipple, including a drink for his glamorous and no doubt lethal date.
And if Bond was visiting M in London? At £22.60 on average for two cocktails – the priciest in the survey – the drinks would definitely be going on expenses.
But we haven’t even mentioned getting around on our average urban British night out. You don’t want your date thinking you’re cheap – so transport has got to be by taxi, and Sheffield scores here yet again. At around £7.60, an average ride in the bargain basement city was almost £2 cheaper than the next most expensive location – Glasgow.
It will come as little surprise to anyone who’s ever flagged down a black cab in the capital, but London was the dearest city for a cab ride out and back home – at a little over £18, more than twice the cost in fabulously good value Sheffield.
When taking any break in the UK it pays to shop around for the best deal, comparing hotel prices and the cost of getting to your chosen getaway by air, road or rail.