Have you been working really hard and are in dire need of a break? Or perhaps you’re looking for a different place to celebrate a birthday? Well look no further than my home city – Nottingham.
A persistent rumour that there were 10 women to every man meant that it used to be the go-to place to head if you were on the pull. Whilst I can assure you that that isn’t true (sorry guys and gals!), it’s still well worth a visit. Here’s just a few reasons why.
Obviously, we must start with the most important thing – Nottingham is proud to be the home of the country’s most iconic hero outlaw!
Why not learn more about the city and its legend on one of Ezekial Bone’s character-led Robin Hood Tours. You can choose the multi award winning Robin Hood Town Tour to explore the city, delve into its history and discover the truth of the ‘Hooded Man.’ Or plump for Nottingham in a Nutshell if you’re after a quick, whistle-stop tour of the city centre to discover the best attractions, bars, restaurants and quirky places you otherwise might have missed.
Although the castle is currently closed for refurbishment (due to open in 2020/2021), you can still visit the iconic Robin Hood statue for a selfie and then head over the road to the Robin Hood Experience, a hands-on family museum with costumes & artefacts dedicated to the local outlaw.
And a visit to Nottingham wouldn’t be complete without a trip out to Sherwood Forest to marvel at the Major Oak which, according to local folklore, was where Robin Hood and his merry men slept – it’s about 800–1000 years old and in 2014 was voted ‘England’s Tree of the Year.’ If you get your timings right, you could visit on the annual week-long Robin Hood Festival that’s also held there.
Nottingham is home to one of the largest contemporary art institutions in the UK. Nottingham Contemporary has been described as “the most inspiring gallery in the UK” by The Guardian and was shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2019. Its unique, RIBA Award-winning building has welcomed over two million people and presented more than 50 exhibitions of international art since opening in 2009.
There are also a wealth of smaller galleries including City Arts, which helps communities and artists to create and explore art of all kinds, and the Bonington Gallery which, nestled in the heart of the Nottingham University City Campus, has showcased the very best in visual and performing arts from across the world over the past 50 years.
And certainly not forgetting the fabulous Broadway Cinema, a not-for-profit organisation nationally recognised as the cultural leader for independent cinema, arts and technology in the Midlands. They are dedicated to curating the best UK and international films, are a course provider for the BFI Film Academy UK Network Programme – and have the world’s only Paul Smith-designed cinema auditorium!
Nottingham takes its independent scene seriously – so much so, that it runs an annual campaign each summer designed to showcase, promote and celebrate Nottingham’s unique mix of independent businesses.
Our city side streets, elegant arcades and busy markets are home to some of the most exciting and unique places to shop in the country. We even have our own dedicated Creative Quarter, THE destination for students, businesses, investors, locals and visitors to work, learn, live & have fun.
And fashion also deserves a special mention. Once the world-famous centre for lace and hosiery and the home of design-royalty Sir Paul Smith, Nottingham has all fashionistas covered. The city is bustling with vintage boutiques, alongside the high street favourites – and boasts some superior, next level charity shops for you to pick up some pre-loved bargains.
Nottingham is famous for its culinary diversity and organic, local produce. Any foodie will be spoilt for choice in our thriving food and drink scene – in fact over 70 new bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs opened in Nottingham in 2018.
From little English tea rooms to vegan cafes; hidden cocktail bars to gin tasting in the city’s caves; traditional tapas to modern Mexican, we take our dedication to food and drink in the beautiful of surroundings very seriously!
If you’re feeling flush, Nottingham is home to two Michelin starred restaurants. But if you prefer the more traditional, you might like to give the Nottingham Real Ale Trail a try, ending at England’s oldest inn, built into the rocks of Nottingham Castle, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem.
Whatever your style and budget, and whatever tickles your taste buds, you can find it in Nottingham.
We may be best known for Robin Hood, but Nottingham has a rich and diverse history.
Experience the romance and mystery of Newstead Abbey, which was home to the notorious ‘mad, bad, and dangerous to know’ Romantic poet, Lord Byron or visit the beautiful Wollaton Hall, which you might recognise as Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Batman trilogy
Just outside the city you can find Southwell Workhouse, the most complete Victorian workhouse in existence and Southwell Minster, one of the UK’s most beautiful cathedrals which is also home to the original Bramley apple tree, planted more than 200 years ago. (Yes, we love our trees!)
And literary fans can take a tour of the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum, where you can find out about the inspiration behind one of the 20th century’s most controversial novelists, as well as getting an excellent insight into the lives of Victorian mining families.
These highlights are just the tip of the iceberg, but hopefully I’ve whetted your appetite for a trip to my fabulous home city of Nottingham.
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