Smell and the City

Urban smell enthusiasts

Smell and the Steel City: How Does Sheffield Smell at Christmas time?


Image: Sheffield Christmas Markets, one of a collection of Christmas Cards by local artist Brian Smith:

Is it really starting to smell a lot like Christmas? Here’s your chance to find out with a lunchtime smell walk in Sheffield City Centre, 12.30 this Thursday 12th December meeting at the Winter Gardens (Millennium Square entrance).

Every year the start of the festive celebrations are accompanied by a flurry of articles announcing the smells of Christmas, see for example the Top Ten Smells of Christmas which includes a real wood fireplace, the smell of eggnog sprinkled with nutmeg and of course, the smell of Christmas trees as some of people’s holiday favourites. Smell certainly draws a lot of attention in the retail and marketing sector when thinking about festive in store experiences, and in a study by Spangenberg et al. (2005), ambient festive scents were found to have the most impact in influencing people’s behaviours and perceptions when accompanied by – wait for it – Christmas tunes… no surprises there then!

This Thursday lunchtime I’ll be leading a public smell walk in Sheffield City Centre in an attempt to check out what smells people really can detect in the city during this festive period, what they think of them and how these relate to the outdoor environments where we sniff them out.

The walk is open to all, should take no more than an hour, and sensible footwear and a bottle of water are advised (but not essential!).

And if you can’t make it, I would still love to hear of any smells you think we should sniff out in Sheffield City Centre as part of the walk: email me at or contact me on Twitter @VictoriaHenshaw or Facebook

But for those of you unable to make the walk, never fear, here’s a DIY smell walk map of the University of Sheffield campus which I developed back in 2011. Happy sniffing!


4 comments on “Smell and the Steel City: How Does Sheffield Smell at Christmas time?

  1. Kara C. Hoover
    December 9, 2013

    Reblogged this on The Smell of Evolution and commented:
    I would love to go this Smell Walk. Instead, I am inspired to write a blog this week about the smells of Christmas (a la the mince pie Smell of the Week series I did a few years ago)!

    • smellandthecity
      December 9, 2013

      Aaah we would have loved to have you come along! Maybe you can run one in Alaska? 🙂 We’ll have to compare Christmas smells from our various parts of the world…

  2. Kara C. Hoover
    December 9, 2013

    Sadly, in the Alaska interior (where Fairbanks is), the temps drop down to -30F/C or more so that an inversion traps all the smog in the valley killing all other odors! I miss smelling in the winter here (not to mention the fact that most of your face is covered)! And, I usually fly south for the long holiday break!!

  3. smellandthecity
    December 9, 2013

    Blimey sounds interesting, and a little reminiscent of Grenoble France (although there it is far less cold). Don’t suppose you’re anywhere near Vancouver or Toronto in January are you? I’m over there for conferences (Vancouver) and an event in Toronto with Ryerson University, looking forward to it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on December 9, 2013 by in Smell and the City Project.
%d bloggers like this: