This is a city of thousands of hidden gems, from fascinating caves to curious alleys, from secret bars to boutiques. Stroll the ancient streets, admire the extraordinary architectural treasures of Watson Fothergill and explore the award-winning parks and green spaces. Discover the vibrant world of music and art and dine al fresco with food from around the world, all in the heart of England.
Robin Hood: Live the Legend
You just can’t visit Nottingham without learning about the legend of Robin Hood. But put down your history book: You can meet the man himself on a whirlwind tour to discover how simple ballads dating back more than 700 years became one of the greatest stories ever. The award-winning, theatrical Robin Hood Town Tour, led by expert guide Ezekial Bone, takes you to key sites associated with the legend, from the brooding architecture of Lace Market to the steps and tranquility of Old County Jail. Church of Santa Maria.
The tour ends at Robin’s favorite place, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, the oldest inn in England, built into the side of the ancient Castle Rock. Need refreshment after all that adventure, so raise a glass with Robin as you sample some of the best brews in the kingdom.
Explore the gruesome history at the National Justice Museum
If you think museums are boring, think again: the award-winning National Justice Museum is a must-see. Forget boring and dusty storefronts, this is a place that really brings history to life with extraordinary immersive experiences. Immerse yourself in Nottingham’s fascinating history of law and justice, crime and punishment as you explore the labyrinthine Shire Hall and County Gaol, where costumed characters stalk the walls and hide in cells to tell their stories. Take part in fun and interactive games and activities, watch live classroom performances, and explore their vast collections for a day you’ll never forget.
Descend into the city of caves
A relatively compact city, Nottingham is actually much bigger than most travelers realize. That’s because the city is built on soft sandstone, and its industrious residents have been mining it since the Dark Ages, carving everything from cave dwellings to prison cells and breweries. Our ancestors built an amazing underground underworld with over 500 caves that you can still explore today.
Your journey to the City of Caves takes you through the winding passageways of Nottingham’s largest network of sandstone caves, where you can discover the social history and their fascinating uses over the centuries, from dwellings, cellars, WWII air raid shelters and even the only underground medieval tannery in the country.
Be inspired by international art at Nottingham Contemporary
Culture vultures and art lovers alike will love the exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary, one of the UK’s leading contemporary art galleries, described by The Guardian as ‘Britain’s most inspirational gallery’. The gallery is free to enter and regularly hosts changing international art exhibitions, so get ready to experience new perspectives and broaden your horizons.
Housed in an iconic building designed by award-winning architects Caruso St John, its concrete facade is embossed with a lace pattern as a tribute to the city’s industrial heritage. Just next door is the Pitcher and piano, housed in a beautiful Grade II listed church – the perfect spot for a post-show cocktail under the beautiful stained glass windows.
Spend an evening outdoors in the heart of Hockley
Nicknamed ‘Nottingham’s Soho’, vibrant Hockley exudes bohemian charm and bustles day and night with an eclectic mix of quirky businesses, from vintage clothes shops to mystery bars, second-hand bookshops and jewelery boutiques. Follow the colorful rainbow street and discover beautiful street art around every corner.
Hockley’s vibrant atmosphere makes it a great spot for alfresco dining, and on the street-facing terrace of the award-winning tapas restaurant Bar Iberico you can simply sit and watch the world go by. You’ll be transported straight to sunny Spain as you sample rustic tapas from chorizo to crispy cauliflower squid – not to mention a glass of sangria!
Get lost in the lace market
The streets of Kantmarkt have more than a thousand years of history, making it the oldest part of the city. Formerly the city’s industrial hub, the Lace Market takes its name from the intricate lace it produces, which was famous around the world and put Nottingham on the fashion. The factories are home to creative businesses, stylish bars and independent restaurants. A perfect break from the city, you might just want to get lost in the cinema streets – you’re sure to find some hidden gems.
Where to stay
The Lace Market Hotel is an elegant Georgian building overlooking St Mary’s Church, where Robin Hood is believed to have been captured by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Filled with plush furnishings and ambitious design, it’s a wonderful place for a family vacation or romantic getaway.
Alternatively, Hart’s Hotel is an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Set within the ancient ramparts of Nottingham Castle, this boutique hotel has its own garden with stunning views over Nottinghamshire. It’s also a great alfresco spot for Sunday lunch.
Nottingham is conveniently located in the heart of central England. It has excellent air, rail and road connections, and its compact nature makes it very easy to explore on foot. It also has an extensive and award-winning tram and bus network, which enables quick and easy travel in and around the city.
Will you be back for more?
You can’t resist booking a return trip to Nottingham, and there’s no better excuse than the re-opening of Nottingham Castle in early 2021 following its £30m refurbishment. Take part in an epic retelling of the story of Robin Hood, rebellion and creativity through virtual reality, interactive activities, costumed characters and more. The view from the Terrace Café is also the perfect opportunity to take a break with a coffee and cake while admiring the rest of the city.