A Quick Guide To Nottingham

Nottingham is a great English city for a mini break, let me guide you around visiting all the best spots and learning about the most excellent history.

A Quick Guide – What To Do In Nottingham

Nottingham has long been on the map for our green-smocked friend, Robin Hood, and it is an East Midlands city rich with history and culture. Most recently it has gained status as a foodie destination since more and more independent restaurants and eateries are popping up, acquiring their own fan clubs across Nottingham.

However, it’s often overlooked as a place to visit in England, overshadowed by more popular historical northern towns like Stratford Upon Avon and York. Yet Nottingham has plenty to offer to the discerning tourist: lots of places to visit and fun things to do for everyone, no matter your age. And sooo many options of places to eat and drink too. 

Take a look at our quick guide to Nottingham…

Things To Do In Nottingham

Nottingham would be a great choice for a day trip or even a UK mini-break – it’s a city with a buzz and a great place to bring the family. Alternatively, book a room at the boutique Hart’s Hotel and make Nottingham your next romantic getaway. There’s always plenty going on and here are just a few suggestions…

  • Take our free self-guided walking tour to get a feel for the city of Nottingham and learn more about it’s past and Royal connections. It takes in the main sights and a few hidden gems too.
  • England’s largest medieval forest made Nottingham the green city it is today. Visit one of our many parks, or nearby Sherwood Forest and the National Trust’s Clumber Park.
  • If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Nottingham have a read of our list here – there’s even plenty of ideas for rainy days!
  • Visit the home of Batman – Wollaton Hall and Deer Park, a real Nottingham gem.
  • Shop till you drop! Nottingham is a popular choice for UK Hen Weekends as the shopping is just too good. Intu Victoria Shopping Centre has all of the High Street brands you could ask for and there are lots of independent shops around the city, and in particular in the area’s known as Hockley and the Lace Market.
  • Nottingham Castle is under renovation right now but there are still several other tourist attractions about the city. Our favourites are the National Justice Museum and the Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery.  
Things to do in Nottingham - visit the Contemporary art gallery
The Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery

Eating Out In Nottingham

Nottingham has established itself as a bit of a foodie city in recent years with cool independent restaurants popping up all over the joint. There is no shortage of places to eat – the only question is ‘what do you fancy?’

  • It’s not quite lunchtime yet, not to worry – the city is home to several excellent coffee roasters and your choices of where to have your flat white and a cheeky slab of cake are almost endless.
  • There are a good handful of quirky restaurants in Nottingham which we recently wrote a post about – you know, like eating your dinner on a swing or in a tuk-tuk. You catch my drift?
  • If you’re in Nottingham between Friday and Sunday, don’t miss the Nottingham Street Food scene at the back of Intu Victoria Centre – the fried chicken and rum cocktails are especially to die for.
  • Independents like Bistrot Pierre, World Service, Annies Burger Shack, and Sexy Mama Does Cicchetti will not disappoint – quality Nottingham restaurants that have stood the test of time and will still be around in another 20 years.
  • If you’re looking for the best Indian restaurant in Nottingham, you’ll find the top two back-to-back on Maid Marion Way : Mem Saab and The Calcutta Club don’t compete as neighbours, they compliment each other. I guarantee you won’t be able to choose your favourite!
  • Good pub grub? Try Southbank City for quality, The Cross Keys for traditional fare including a great Sunday roast and The Hand And Heart for posh pub food.
zaap, nottingham - one of the coolest places to eat with kids
5 reasons to visit Nottingham, one of the best English cities
where to eat in nottingham

Nottingham Nightlife

Many make the trip to Nottingham for a night out on the tiles. It’s fun, safe, the music scene is thriving and there are some great bars. 

  • For gig’s and concerts try the Bandsintown app for music at Rock City, the Rescue Rooms, the Bodega, the Motorpoint Arena and a few more smaller venues. There’s also the Theatre Royal and The Playhouse if you’d rather see a bit of great theatre.
  • Fancy a secret drink? Keep your party habits to yourself at one of Nottingham’s hidden bars in Hockley. Our favourites; The Hockley Arts Club and The Boiler Room, both on Carlton Street.
  • Have a read of our recommendations of the best bars in Nottingham in this recent blog post.
best bars in nottingham - coco tang

Day Trips From Nottingham

Being in the centre of England certainly has its advantages as far as location is concerned. Nottingham sits adjacent to several pretty area’s of English countryside, including the Derbyshire Dales, the Peak District, Leicestershire’s historically royal stomping grounds and the ancient Roman settlements of Lincolnshire. Here are just some suggestions for places to visit within an hours drive of Nottingham…

  • Bradgate Park in Leicestershire is the historical hunting grounds of the royal Grey family back when medieval was in fashion. Teeming with huge deers and stags to the backdrop of stunning Charnwood Forest, Bradgate Park makes for a pleasant stroll with copious amounts of great country pubs nearby to replenish any lost liquids post-constitutional.
  • Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall are both under an hours drive from Nottingham and demonstrate two of the finest stately homes in the UK. Both have very interesting pasts, including many royal connections and famous characters of bygone years. Pack a picnic so you can make the most of the Capability Brown’s landscaped gardens and get lost in the Chatsworth maze.
Hardwick Hall - a day trip from Nottingham
Hardwick Hall – ‘more glass than wall’
  • Both the Peak District and Derbyshire Dales lay claim to some of the prettiest and dramatic landscapes in the UK. Some of the best hikes in this area include Dovedale, the Tissington Trail, Shining Tor and the very dramatic Ladybower ReservoirSome of these aren’t for the faint-hearted but you will be rewarded with some of the most breathtaking views in England. Nottingham is certainly surrounded by some impressive landscapes.
  • Not too far from Nottingham is the equally historic town of Lincoln. It’s famous for its castle and cathedral but it’s such a pretty little city it’s well worth a day trip visit. The nearby town of Horncastle might be of interest too if you love a good rummage around antique shops – curiosity’s galore and plenty of places to finish off with a good cuppa and piece of cake.

one of the best places to see in lincoln is Steep Hill

Where To Stay In Nottingham

Being quite a compact city, most hotels in the city centre are within walking distance of all the main attractions. But some area’s are better than others so have a read of our guide to the best 3 hotels in Nottingham, whether you are visiting with the kids, here for a romantic mini-break, or looking for a hotel close to some of the gig/concert venues, ie. Nottingham Motorpoint Arena. We’ve got it covered and done the leg-work so you don’t have to!

So there you have it – our quick Nottingham guide! Everything you need to know to get the best out of a visit to our little historic city. Any questions, send us an email – we’ll try to help wherever we can with local tips and advice. 

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A Nottingham City Guide - Things to see, do and eat in this historical English city. #Nottingham #England

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