Nottingham is well known worldwide as being the home of Robin Hood, and the unlikely hero’s presence is felt throughout the city, whether taking a town tour or admiring the statue that guards Nottingham Castle. However, Nottingham is just as famed for its contemporary features, including its shopping scene, the nightlife and the amazing opportunities to enjoy art, music and theatre.
Whether you’re a visitor for the first time or live around the corner, it’s worth turning yourself into a tourist and taking a trip of discovery to see what the largest of our trentbarton land cities has to offer.
The Royal Centre, including the Theatre Royal and the Royal Concert Hall, plus the Nottingham Playhouse, have theatre, music and live performances covered. Each venue is distinct in its programming, with the Theatre Royal billing popular plays and musicals, the Royal Concert Hall showcasing music and comedy talent and the Playhouse boasting a more daring dramatic programme.
The Nottingham Contemporary is a relatively new addition to the city’s culture scene, with the gold-lace gilded building becoming an instant landmark. Inside you’ll find modern art exhibitions curated to be as inclusive as possible. The Lakeside Arts Centre also deserves a mention for theatre, art and dance just outside of the city centre – jump on indigo and we’ll get you there in less than ten minutes.
Whatever you want to do,Nottingham is vast and varied enough to offer it all in abundance.
Shopping is a big draw to Nottingham, with the city boasting two large shopping centres, the Victoria Centre and the Broadmarsh, as well as designer meccas The Exchange Arcade and Bridlesmith Gate, home to Nottingham’s own Paul Smith. You’ll find all the big name brands in Nottingham, from high end to high street faves. You’ll also find a smattering of quirky gift shops and vintage stores – try browsing in the Hockley area for retro and vintage gems.
After a bargain? Try the indoor market at the Victoria Centre – or the brilliant local Farmers Market visits Old Market Square on the third Friday and Saturday every month.
Nottingham is the place for live music fans in trentbarton land to be. Motorpoint Arena welcomes the biggest musical superstars, whereas the likes of Rock City, Bodega, Malt Cross and Rescue Rooms have a deserved reputation for promoting fresh new talent on the rock and indie scene.
Nottingham is also home to England’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, as well as a more contemporary, and thriving, night scene of pubs, bars and clubs. The Lace Market and Hockley areas are really good places to head for an after dark experience that’s a cut above.
You’ll find every cuisine imaginable in Nottingham, from coffee and croissants in French Living and Le Petit Paris to a gourmet six course tasting menu at Merchants restaurant in the Lace Market Hotel.
Head to Low Pavement if you fancy a taste of Italy, or nibble at tapas at Delilah’s on Victoria Street. There’s a number of superb indian restaurants along Maid Marian Way including 4550 Miles from Delhi and MemSaab, as well as the Curry Lounge on Upper Parliament Street – which was made famous on Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares (it’s turned itself around quite nicely since then!). There’s more star spotting possible at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse inside Alea Casino a few doors away too. But, no matter what takes your fancy, you really won’t be spoilt for choice in Nottingham - it really is a foodie’s paradise.
It’s easy to have fun in Nottingham, whatever your age. The Cornerhouse takes an ‘under one roof’ approach to having a good time, with bars, restaurants, the Cineworld cinema and a casino, whereas The Broadway Cinema in Hockley is the place to see quality cinema from around the world. You can get your skates on at the National Ice Centre, or try to strike it lucky at 1st Bowl on Belward Street (the UK’s largest bowling alley!). You can skate (including skate hire)
The City of Caves and The Galleries of Justice Museum are also worth a mention, if you fancy doing something a bit different in the city centre. And, of course, Nottingham Castle is one of the most commanding features of the city – don’t forget to say hello and have your pic taken with Mr Hood while you’re there (doing your best bow and arrow pose – obviously).
Nottingham boasts some really good parks and green spaces to escape to, including Highfields Park and University Park (get there on indigo), or take a quick ride on the two to go and see the star of The Dark Night Rises - Wollaton Hall - and its wonderful Deer Park, where you can get up close and personal with wildlife (ride the two). The Forest Recreation Ground on calverton connection or the threes is a huge open area and home to the annual Goose Fair. Meanwhile, Nottingham castle grounds are also picnic-worthy, as is The Arboretum, which is the closest park to the city centre.
Nottingham Playhouse by Drew Baumohl
Nottingham Broadway cinema by Ashley Bird