If you were growing up in the 1980s, you may remember a certain TV advert for a brand of cough sweet, where a gentleman tried to buy a train ticket to Nottingham, but couldn’t make himself understood because of his rotten cold.
You may also be aware of Nottingham more through its association with the man in tights, Robin Hood and his Merry Men.
Why go there?
The city of Nottingham has much more to offer visitors than mercenaries who wear tights and live in the forest though. The city has a rich heritage of industry, including lace-making and cycling (the Raleigh Chopper comes from Nottingham)
The city itself dates back to 600AD and was granted its city charter in 1897 as part of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee celebrations. Today, it is a rich and vibrant city and a fantastic destination for tourists, sports fans and those of us who like to have a little bit of retail therapy.
By air – Nottingham is served by two airports, East Midlands Airport and Robin Hood Airport. East Midlands Airport serves Scotland, Ireland and most of the major European cities, and Robin Hood Airport also serves a number of European cities. Both airports have good transport links with the city centre.
By rail – East Midlands Trains is the main operator within the city, and also runs a number of services to other major cities in the UK, including London, Manchester and Liverpool. Journey time from London St Pancras is approximately 1 ¾ hours and prices for a single adult ticket start at £24 (correct as of 22.05.13). From the opposite end of the country, journey time is just over 5 hours and involves changing trains at Manchester. Prices start at £122.50 for an adult return (prices correct as of 22.05.13).
By tram – Nottingham has a great tram network around the city centre, the Nottingham Transit Express lets you get around the city centre quickly (less than 8 minutes).
Sherwood Forest – we couldn’t really talk about a trip to Nottingham without a mention of Robin Hood, and where better to experience the legend than his legendary home of Sherwood Forest. Not only is the 450 acres of forest the home of Robin and his men, it also contains some of the oldest oak trees in the UK, including the Major Oak, which according to legend was the tree which was Robin’s hideout. The oak is aged between 800 and 1,000 years old and is weighs approximately 23 tonnes, its weight has been supported since the Victorian era by an elaborate scaffolding structure. Visit the forest’s official website for further information on events throughout the year.
The Lace Market – one of the most important industries which allowed Nottingham to become the thriving city it is today. The Lace Market area in the city occupies a quarter-mile area right in the city centre and is thought to be the oldest part of the city. The area contains a number of red-brick Victorian warehouses which were characteristic of the industry and you can visit many of the buildings which played a part in the lace-making history of Nottingham.
Somewhere to rest your head
If you’re enjoying a few days in Nottingham then you’ll need a base so you can explore everything the city has to offer. The Nottingham Belfry from QHotels is one of the best hotels in Nottingham and offers guests a warm welcome in this modern, luxurious setting.
Nottingham Belfry has 120 stylish and contemporary rooms with great features, including comfortable beds and 32” flat screen TVs with satellite channels and free internet access, which will help you research your trip around Nottingham.
Visit the Nottingham Belfry website for further information and to book your stay with them.
What to do
There is such a wealth of things to do within Nottingham you may have trouble narrowing it all down, but here are some of the highlights:
Galleries of Justice Museum – this museum is based within the city’s former courthouse and jail and brings alive some of the terrible history of England’s justice system. The museum uses a mix of guided tours and interactive exhibits to give visitors a great day out. The site of the building has been in the Lace Market district since the Saxon period and Sheriffs of Nottingham were recorded as far back as 1125. You can go on a number of tours at the museum, including the Crime and Punishment Tour and the Ghost Tour. Visit the website for tour times and prices.
DH Lawrence Heritage Centre – one of Nottingham’s most famous sons, the writer DH Lawrence is regarded as one of the finest authors in the English language. The DH Lawrence Heritage museum lets you find out more about the author who created Sons and Lovers and the highly controversial Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which caused a national scandal when it was published. The Heritage Centre houses various exhibits and artefacts from Lawrence’s life. The Centre is open Tuesday to Sunday, and opening times vary according to season.
Nottingham Castle – situated on Castle Rock, Nottingham Castle has been a fixture of the city since the Middle Ages. One of the most historically important castles in England, it was built in 1067 on the orders of William the Conqueror. In its time Nottingham Castle has played host to Henry II, Richard the Lionheart and Prince John. Although it ceased to be a royal residence in the 1600s and left mostly derelict, a ducal mansion was built on the site in 1660 and remains to this day, where it houses the Nottingham Castle Museum. The castle is open 7 days a week and various opening times apply depending on the time of year. You can find out more about opening times and events on the castle’s website.