Thanks to the legend of Robin Hood, Nottingham is a well known city. And yet it is far from a big tourist destination like other cities in the U.K. I am not sure why as it has quite a few places that are unique and worth a visit! So let’s explore all exciting things Nottingham has in store!
Nottingham is located in central England’s Midlands region, basically in the heart of the country. Which makes it really convenient to travel from and discover so many other amazing places within only few hours drive, but only after you are done exploring rich history and fascinating places of Nottingham!
Before we moved to Nottingham I had no idea about caves under the city!
There are more than 800 caves discovered, some dated more than 1000 years. There is an ancient city under the city… some of the caves are opened for tours.
All caves are man made which makes it even more fascinating. Over the centuries people used them for all sorts of reasons: from dungeons to bomb shelters. The history of the caves dates back to the Dark Ages and some of the caves were still inhabited until 1845, when the St. Mary’s Enclosure Act banned the rental of cellars and caves as homes for the poor. Today you can visit and explore some of those caves by buying a tour at City of Caves A part of the tour underneath the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre exhibits the last remnants of Drury Hill, one of the streets in the former 19th Century slums of Narrow Marsh.
2. National Justice Museum
Great place for families (for small kids it might be not as interesting) to learn about fascinating history of justice and punishment through time. We attended the re-enactment of court session and learned about some interesting cases. There are also caves underneath the museum building for you to explore!
3. Old Market Square
The main square of the city where all fun events such as Nottingham on Sand (in summer) and Christmas Market (in winter) take place.
Its prominent feature is the building of Nottingham City Council.
If London has its famous Big Ben, Nottingham has Little John! It is placed within the dome of the Nottingham City Council. A 10.5-tonne bell designed by world-famous bell designers John Taylor Co of Loughborough in 1927.
4. Wollaton Hall and Deer Park
One of the gems of Nottingham is Wollaton Hall and Deer Park.
It has beautiful architecture, eye catching garden and abundance of space for riding bicycles or scooters, nature paths where you can spot deers and a small lake with variety of birds.
Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house of the 1580s. It is standing on a small but prominent hill in Wollaton Park. The house is now home to Nottingham Natural History Museum (free entrance) and Nottingham Industrial Museum (Adults-£3, children 0-15 free) in the outbuildings.
What makes it even more interesting is the fact that it was a filming location for quite a few movies including The Dark Knight Rises (2012)! So now Wollaton Hall is also known as Wayne Manor.
The ground hosts many different events and festivals during summer months.
And there are also caves under the structure, which we haven’t been to yet as they are only open on some special occasions.
5. Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem
This historic pub is nestled into the castle rock on top of wich the Nottingham Castle is located.
The pub is claimed to be the oldest pub in England. Supposedly it has been established in 1189, although it wasn’t proved.
The pub is attached to several caves, carved out of the soft sandstone. These were believed to be used as a brewhouse for the castle, dating from the medieval period.
6. Nottingham Castle
Nottingham Castle (planned to be re-opened on 21.06.2021) is sitting on top of an impressive rock in Central part of the city. Before the renovation began the castle was a home to the Art Gallery.
To be totally honest we were a bit disappointed as we expected something more medieval and more fitting into stories of Robin Hood. There was once a medieval castle but that castle was totally destroyed after the Civil War, the medieval castle was replaced by a mansion in 1674.
What I found the most fascinating about the castle is the fact that there are multiple caves under the castle as well and visitors can explore them with a guided tour. During that tour you will learn some historic facts, interesting stories and some stunning speculations!
Outside Castle wall you can find the statue of the most famous outlaw- Robin Hood!
Even more, Nottingham has its official Robin Hood who usually can be spotted at different events around Nottingham!
8. Pitcher & Piano
Pitcher and Piano is a bar and restaurant, located inside a striking Grade II-listed church in Lace Market.
It was beautifully restored and now offers stunning environment for its visitors.
The church was used as a place of worship until 1982. Later it became a Nottingham Lace Museum, but it became unprofitable. Shortly after Pitcher and Piano opened its doors for a very unusual dining experience!
9. Sherwood Forest
You can’t think of Robin Hood without thinking about Sherwood Forest!
Sherwood Forest is located north of Nottingham, less than an hour drive.
This beautiful ancient woodland attracts visitors all year round.
It has newly built visitors centre with a cafe and gift shop, as well as a nice new playground in the shade of beautiful old trees.
Nothing can be more therapeutic than a stroll in the nature. Add some legend to the nature and it becomes magical!
The Legend of Robin Hood and his Merry Men is still living among those gentle giants with annual Robin Hood festival and most famous tree of the Forest- Major Oak, where the most famous thief and his men used to hide!
The Major Oak is the biggest oak tree in Britain, with a canopy spread of 28 metres, a trunk circumference of 11 metres and an estimated weight of 23 tonnes. No one knows exactly how old the tree is but it is estimated that it is somewhere between 800 – 1100 years old. This tree is massive, see two last photos above and notice actors standing in front of the Major oak! Only in comparison, the size of that tree can be really seen on the photos.
10. Newark Castle
The very first castle we visited after moving to the U.K. was Newark Castle. Located in the east part of Nottinghamshire, on the river Trent. This ruined but still beautiful medieval castle gave me chills of excitement. Just thinking how old these walls are and how much history had happened within those walls made us want to see as many sites like this as possible!
The castle has a very long history.
There was a fortified Saxon manor here at least as early as the 10th century, that was replaced by a motte and bailey earthwork fortress around 1073.
The most interesting part of the history of the Newark Castle in my opinion is the fact that the castle once belonged to King John (THE infamous King John, Robin Hood stories are everywhere here!) , and it was here that he died in 1216 after his infamous “surfeit of peaches” or simply put -dysentery.
Nottingham is a vibrant city with life full of art and culture. There are two well known Universities : University of Nottingham and Trent University, making the city very diverse.
There are museums, art galleries, concert hall, ice arena and theatres. It was once the center of Lace making industry, one of the districts still carries that legacy in its name-Lace Market.
So do visit Nottingham and discover the Land Of Robin Hood for yourself.