If you've heard of Robin Hood, you will be no stranger to the mention of Nottingham and Sherwood Forest. Infamous for it's part in the legends of the robber who takes from the rich and gives to the poor, Nottingham is now one of the most bustling cities in the Midlands of England and is really a city that has someone for everyone. Whether you are looking for historic roots and museums, amazing architecture or modern shops and bars- Nottingham is the place to head for your next weekend away.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Nottingham is easily accessible either by car or train. We found some really cheap parking right in the city centre at NCP Maid Marian Way which charged us £5.50 for 24 hours- the car park is absolutely fine, but the corners are very tight and quite small spaces!
Alternatively, trains run regularly right into the city centre. If you are planning to travel by train, I'd recommend getting a railway card! They save you up to a third on your trips- I have the ages 26-30 one, which cost £30. You can buy one here.
WHERE TO STAY:
We stayed at The Roomzzz Aparthotel in the city centre. It was £100 for one night so definitely wasn't the cheapest option but we were booking last minute on a bank holiday weekend so options were sparse! However, in the end I did feel like it was good value for money. We split the cost, so was £50 each and the room was super comfortable with a small kitchen which had a stove and dishwasher! This meant we were able to save money by having dinner in the hotel room. The price also included breakfast which was a 'Grab and Go' style. Options included croissants, yoghurt, fruit, coffee and juice. Tap here to check out the hotel.
Whilst there are lots of free things in Nottingham to walk around and look at, most of the best experiences do cost. To make sure you can see everything, and including money for coffee, drinks and food, I would budget around £40- £50 per day, not including accommodation. But of course you can do it much cheaper than that!
Make sure you head up to Nottingham Castle! Unfortunately, when we visited, the Castle was shut undergoing a £30 million renovation, but it is open again from the 21st June 2021! You can book tickets for a tour of the historic castle here.Tickets are £13 for an adult, £9.50 for a child and £12 for concession.
If you are on a budget, it's still worth strolling up to see the castle walls, and don't miss the statue of Robin Hood outside the castle walls! Be prepared to queue for a photo.
Old Market Square:
Wander through Old Market Square, which feels like the social hub of Nottingham! Interestingly, it is the largest public space in the UK after Trafalgar Square, and is a key point in the city for transport and social links. Different shopping streets spiral off it, and the main square is constantly filled with people milling around eating and drinking. The square is overlooked by the majestic Town Hall, which is well worth a visit in itself.
City of Caves:
I was amazed to discover the miles of ancient caves that exist under modern day Nottingham! The tour takes you deep into the winding passageways of a labyrinthine world and explores the lives of people who worked - and lived - in the dark underworld. It also explores the different uses the caves have had during history, including WW2 air raid shelters and a medieval tannery.
The only thing I would point out is that the tour is run via audio guide through an app you download onto your phone. After an entire day of travelling and wandering around Nottingham, we didn't have enough battery on our phones and the only other option was a paper booklet with the audio transcribed. So make sure that you either have enough battery on your mobile, or ask for the paper copy!
Entry is £8.75 for adults and £7.65 for children (under 5's go free) but you can also purchase a joint ticket for the National Justice Museum. I would say this is well worth doing- we started just with the caves and ended up switching to a joint ticket. You can buy the singular ticket for just the caves here or a joint ticket here.
Green's Windmill and Science Museum:
Stroll 15 minutes out of the city centre to visit the picturesque Green's Windmill and Science Museum. The windmill originally belonged to George Green, who later went onto become one of the greatest scientists of his time and whose work is known around the world. The windmill is steeped in history and is a wonderful way to step back through time in Nottingham.
Admission to both the museum and the mill is absolutely free! So is well worth heading up to for beautiful views over Nottingham, and a great free activity in the city.
The lace trade is a huge part of Nottingham's history, so make sure you head over to visit The Lace Market which was once the centre of the world's lace industry during the British Empire. The area is now a protected heritage site and in modern day houses a variety of cafes, shops and restaurants.
National Justice Museum:
I would say the National Justice Museum is the biggest 'must see' in Nottingham! We originally looked at the website and as we were on a budget, decided to opt for just doing the caves. But on our final morning in Nottingham, we changed our mind last minute and transferred our ticket to a joint one and it was so worth it!
The museum dives deep into the history of the justice system in England, ranging from when the most common form of punishment was to be shipped off to Australia, through to capital punishment and the the different ways prisons have been run throughout history. The museum is super interactive, with sections being recreated by actors! You also have the chance to see a real court room and prison cells. We were advised to leave about an hour to look around the museum, but we ended up spending over two hours exploring. Tickets are £10.95 per adult, £7.95 for children and £9.95 for concessions. Buy tickets for just the Justice Museum here, or a joint ticket here.
Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem Pub:
This famous pub is rumoured to be the oldest inn in England! It lies nestled beneath the cliffs, almost giving the illusion that the pub is growing out the side of the cliff. It gains its unusual name as its location is said to be where King Richard the Lionheart and his men gathered before travelling onto Jerusalem in 1189AD.
The pub is best described as a cross between an inn and a museum, mixing together items of Nottingham's history, bars and cosy snugs. Make sure you drop in for a drink, or a meal everyday between 11am and 10pm!
There are so many other amazing must do’s in Nottingham! We didn’t even touch on the infamous night life and the numerous bars, which is just yet another excuse to return. I can definitely say that Nottingham is a city that I will be returning to again and again!