Sheffield has been a regular destination for years – it is a centre of excellence for ice hockey. This month I have to the city twice to support my son and his ice hockey team.
I have used a few hotels with mixed results. The Holiday Inn a few years ago was dreadful. Last year the Novotel was a big success.
For this month’s first visit, I had one night in the Novotel. It was expensive. £184 including breakfast. That is almost double what I would usually be paying – anywhere, never mind a Novotel. As before, it was very good. The location suits me – a 5 minute walk to the railway station and about the same to the tram line which takes me to and from Ice Sheffield.
I had dinner at the Novotel when I arrived – it was great. £14.99 for a 3 course menu, so it was good value for money too. I blew any savings on a couple of glasses of wine.
I travelled there and back by train. I used Trans Pennine Express on the way south from Edinburgh, with a change of train in Manchester. Journey time was about 4.5 hours, with a 5 minute connection!
The return journey was on CrossCountry Trains via Newcastle, but I did not have to change. The journey time was just over 4 hours.
All those trains were right on time.
Prices are a bit meaningless as it all depends how far in advance you book, and whether you are flexible enough to travel when it is cheapest. I have reached the time in life where a Senior Railcard comes into play, so I get big discounts.
On my second trip I stayed at the same Novotel for two nights, at half the price.
I drove to Sheffield and back. It takes about 4.5 hours each way – in distance it is 295 miles (472 km) in each direction. I would always prefer the train (or a plane) for that distance but it was Easter weekend and the British trains are often madness at this time. The flight times just did not work out.
I only drive about 750 miles in a month, so it was a bit of an adventure for me. I reckon I spent about £60 on fuel, and my lease costs for that kind of mileage would be about £100. The train would have been cheaper. So would the plane.
Sheffield has two tram lines – or light rail, I think. The yellow line goes past Ice Sheffield – £2.50 each way or £4.20 for a day ticket. They have conductors on board to sell you tickets, so there is no need to worry about messing around with ticket machines.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2019