Nottingham, England Travel Guide: Top Things to Do and See in England
Nottingham is a thriving and vibrant city situated in the heart of England. Bursting with art, culture and music it’s the perfect place to enjoy a well-deserved minibreak and can be a smaller, quieter alternative to the capital. As the hometown of Robin Hood, Nottingham has a rich and colourful history that aches to be explored.
What to do in Nottingham, england
- Nottingham Castle – Originally founded by William the Conqueror, this 17th Century Ducal Mansion is the jewel in Nottingham’s crown. The museum and art gallery often host temporary exhibitions and visitors can also participate in a guided tour of the manmade caves beneath the castle.
- Newstead Abbey – Situated just a few miles north of the city, this imposing medieval abbey was founded as a monastic house in the late 12th century. Lord Byron lived here at various times throughout his life and visitors can view the Byron Collection which includes some of the romantic poet’s manuscripts and letters. The property also has an extensive park and gardens.
- National Justice Museum – A fun and educational attraction for all the family. Based at Nottingham’s historic courthouse and jail, visitors can take part in interactive activities and meet historical characters. The building was once voted as the most haunted in the UK and can be hired out for overnight paranormal investigations.
- Nottingham Contemporary – This art gallery is free to visit and has new exhibitions every month which often touch on cultural and historical themes.
- Wollaton Hall – This Elizabethan mansion is situated in the grounds of Wollaton Park which has deer, a large pond and formal gardens. The hall has an interesting natural history exhibition and visitors can also participate in a guided tour of the house for just £5.
- Sherwood Forest – Home of the Major Oak, a mighty tree which according to local folklore was where Robin Hood and his merry men slept. The country park also has a visitor centre.
- Bromley House Library – Situated next to the city’s main public library on Angel Row, this Grade II listed Georgian Townhouse is easily missed. Founded in 1816 it has over 40,000 books, grand winding staircases and a quiet garden. Guided tours are available every Wednesday for £2.
- City of Caves – The National Justice Museum also provides the opportunity to visit the city’s network of caves with a guided audio tour. These manmade caverns have had various uses over the years such as a tannery and an air raid shelter.
- Lost Property – This is a secret cocktail bar situated in the city’s caves under The Mercure Hotel. Access is possible from Carlton Street in Hockley. Just look out for a black door in between two reds.
Where to Eat
- Fox Café – A charmingly decorated café in Hockley perfect for fox lovers. The menu has a wide range of breakfasts, sandwiches and salads with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Sometimes the staff even wear ears and tails!
- Alley Café – Sequestered down an alley on Angel Row, this veggie café becomes a bustling bar at night. The menu includes pizza, burgers, smoothies and shakes.
- The Coffee House of Nottingham – Tucked away in a back street, this charming eatery is situated just down from Alley Café. With an extensive list of coffees from all over the world and an inventive sandwich menu there’s something for everyone.
- Yamas – A Mediterranean style mezze and tapas restaurant in the city centre. The menu includes meat platters, octopus and a wide range of veggie dips and sharing plates.
- Encounters – This cosy traditional style restaurant on Mansfield Road offers an A La Carte menu at a reasonable price. Perfect for a romantic dinner date.
Where to Drink
- Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem – Dating back to 1189 AD, this pub claims to be the oldest inn in England. In old English “trip” meant a stop on a journey so the name means “a stop on the way to Jerusalem.” Cellar tours available.
- Ye Olde Salutation Inn – Another contender for the oldest pub accolade. During the English civil war both factions established recruiting rooms in this inn.
- The Bell Inn – An ancient pub and Grade II listed building situated on the edge of the Market Square.
- The Malt Cross – A former Victorian music hall with impressive period features. Food is also served till 8pm on weekdays.
- Rock City – A nightclub and live music venue which has gigs by some of the biggest artists.
- Nottingham Playhouse – A world class theatre with a wide programme of drama, comedy and music.
- Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall – Two venues offering cultured evenings out with classical concerts, plays and musicals.
- The Glee Club – A comedy club situated by the canal which showcases both amateur and top-class comedians. A guaranteed night of laughs.
- The Dice Cup – A board game café on Mansfield road. A wide range of games for all the family with vegan friendly food and drink options.
- Nottingham is a UNESCO City of Literature with connections to the writers DH Lawrence and Lord Byron. It has a writers’ studio and hosts an annual literary festival.
- The city has close links with the tale of Robin Hood; the notorious outlaw and vigilante who stole from the rich to give to the poor. Historians still debate over how much of the legend is fiction, but visitors today can make up their own minds.
- Nottingham boasts a National Ice Centre and is the hometown of renowned figure skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean who won Gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics.
- Nottingham was once the home of a world-famous lace making industry and an area in the city centre is still called The Lace Market.
- The Raleigh Bicycle company, one of the oldest in the world and founded in 1885, is based in Nottingham.