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Visit Nottingham

Home of Robin Hood, focal point of the kitchen sink drama movement and one of the most compact and convenient city centres in the country, Nottingham’s come a long way since Alan Sillitoe revealed the inner life of the working man in his 1958 novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. The book’s opening passage, which shows the “hero” falling-down drunk after a drinking contest in a Nottingham pub, could have been written at any point in the late 20th century to describe the raucous hypercolour of the city’s nightlife. But thanks to massive investment, two universities and a cultural and artistic resurgence, the stamping ground of the Merrie Men is well rounded and vibrant once more.

Up and coming districts house musicians, artists and young professionals, who spend the weekends wheeling designer pushchairs around Nottingham’s dozens of spectacular public spaces. Venerable manor houses sit at the heart of public parks. Nottingham’s alive and well.

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Top Attractions in Nottingham

Nottingham Castle

Nottingham Castle sits right in the heart of the city, and includes exhibits detailing the history of the building...

Nottingham Castle

The Galleries of Justice Museum

The imposing Galleries of Justice Museum sits in the Lace Market in the heart of the city, and is routinely...

The Galleries of Justice Museum

City of Caves

Below the streets of Nottingham, you’ll find a surprise: a massive network of manmade caves and tunnels...

City of Caves

Wollaton Hall

Wollaton Hall is Nottingham’s most awe-inspiring stately home – and in a city well endowed with fine...

Wollaton Hall
Nottingham University by Matt Buc
Nottingham University by Matt Buc
 https://flic.kr/p/iYKFW9
Nottingham Trent University by Mr Thinktank
https://flic.kr/p/e6Y4AB
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem by Ed Webster

Visit Nottingham on a weekend and you’ll still find the city centre overrun with merrymakers – only now it’s a more cultured and friendly crowd, patronising the acres of night-spots around the pedestrianised market square.

Nightlife

Local bands rock pubs, clubs and purpose built venues, hipsters groove to the sounds of old-skool hip-hop in vinyl bars or get funky in cocktail places and speakeasies. The stag and hen Nottingham of yesteryear still exists, but it’s smartened up its act and learned a thing or two about having a good time.

Twin Universities

The city’s youthful vibe is largely due to its twin universities – the University of Nottingham, and Nottingham Trent. Both supply Nottingham with large student bodies, which start off renting houses in Sneinton and Carlton before growing up, getting jobs, and moving out to the hip and happening suburbs of Sherwood and Mapperley or the upscale satellite village of West Bridgford. Superb examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture house shabby-chic refurbishments complete with tasselled lamps, restored fireplaces and antique shop knick-knacks – and the young families who live and work in them crowd the hills of the city’s parks, or the ample beer gardens of its pubs, when the weekend sun is shining.

Ancient and Modern

Home to some of the oldest drinking establishments in Britain – including the legendary Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, which is hacked into the foundations of the Castle – Nottingham’s well-contained centre is full of surprises. Behind the unforgiveable concrete monstrosities of the Broadmarsh and Victoria shopping centres, you’ll find medieval arcades and secluded church gardens – while on the hill going up towards Sherwood is one of the most dramatic cemeteries in England, a Gothic masterpiece built in a descending spiral like the gateway to Dante’s Inferno. Everywhere you look, there are buildings that have rung to the hooves of knightly steeds or sheltered the working populace of mills and breweries. If ever there was a town combining the ancient and modern, the sacred and profane, this is it.

Ancient and Modern

Home to some of the oldest drinking establishments in Britain – including the legendary Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, which is hacked into the foundations of the Castle – Nottingham’s well-contained centre is full of surprises. Behind the unforgiveable concrete monstrosities of the Broadmarsh and Victoria shopping centres, you’ll find medieval arcades and secluded church gardens – while on the hill going up towards Sherwood is one of the most dramatic cemeteries in England, a Gothic masterpiece built in a descending spiral like the gateway to Dante’s Inferno. Everywhere you look, there are buildings that have rung to the hooves of knightly steeds or sheltered the working populace of mills and breweries. If ever there was a town combining the ancient and modern, the sacred and profane, this is it.

Visit Nottingham

A solid sporting heritage, significant intellectual chops and an enviable mixture of verdant spaces and post-industrial chic, Nottingham’s a place that draws the visitor in quickly. Come once, and you’ll want to come again.

Nottingham Trams by Ed Webster
Nottingham Trams by Ed Webster

Nottingham’s closest airport is East Midlands. You’ll get there in roughly half an hour, and can fly out to many European and some global destinations.

By train

Nottingham train station is in the heart of the city, and connects it to London St Pancras. Travellers can also connect with trains going to Sheffield, Crewe, Leicester, Derby and Leeds. You cannot get a fast London to Sheffield train from Nottingham train station, though.

By car

The M1 has junctions for Nottingham. The A1 runs close by (at Grantham). Coventry, Birmingham and Derby are only short car or bus journeys away.

By bus

National buses stop at either the Broadmarsh or Victoria shopping centres, depending on the route.

Internally, buses run through the city centre and out to its many districts on a very regular, and very affordable basis. Buses are often colour coded to help identify their routes, and it can be particularly cost effective to catch buses that run on common university routes.

By tram

There’s also a reasonably extensive tram system, which carries major routes into the city centre from outlying districts. The tram is reasonably priced and stations are well located. Beware of trams travelling at road level when driving or walking through the city centre.

On foot and by taxi

Nottingham’s centre is so compact you can walk across it easily in les than half an hour. Many of the city’s attractions are outside the centre, however, and it’s quite common to be staying in a district and wish to travel to the heart of town – for both, taxis are simple and cheap if you’re travelling in a group. It is recommended that you carry the number of a private hire firm and book your cabs in advance: except on Friday and Saturday nights, when your only real chance of getting a taxi is to hail one at a taxi rank.

https://flic.kr/p/azYqBP
Wollaton Hall, Nottingham by Ryan Lea

Nottingham’s history is visible as far back as the 11th century – it’s from this period that Nottingham Castle dates. The Castle was built by the Anglo Saxons, and figures largely in the history of the Crusades.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem

According to legend (or possibly local advertising), Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, a pub hewn into the foundation rock on which the Castle sits, was a stop-off point for thirsty knights on their way to the Holy Land. The Trip also claims (along with The Salutation, another central Nottingham pub) to be the oldest drinking establishment in the United Kingdom.

Architecture

Nottingham’s ancient architecture is well preserved, particularly the churches in the centre of the city, and some old shopping streets. The bulk of its impressive buildings, though, date from the Industrial Revolution and the city’s dominance of the lace trade. The Lace Market area of town is now an upmarket complex of apartments and bars, all housed in the attractive red brick buildings that used to house lace factories and trading posts.

Park Estate

History is nowhere more evident than in the Park Estate in the centre of town – a walled-off Victorian estate whose buildings are largely listed. The estate still uses gas lighting on its streets, designed to resemble the Victorian originals.

Notts County

Nottingham’s first football club, Notts County, was founded in 1862: the County ground (Meadow Lane) is on the banks of the River Trent, just 300 yards away from the ground of Nottingham Forest. Notts County are the oldest football club still playing.

Modern Nottingham

Nottingham’s current layout – a compact city centre surrounded by satellite districts – is the result of latter 20th century urban sprawling. The suburbs of Sneinton, Carlton, Colwick Park, Wollaton and West Bridgford were all originally outlying villages, but have been incorporated into the boundaries of the city. Because of this, several notable stately homes (including Wollaton Hall) are now part of the Nottingham landscape.

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