Chris Slade, from The Nottingham Experience, takes us on a grand tour of the city
Having lived in Nottingham for all of my adult life, I like to think that there is not much I don’t know about the city. I have walked through its streets while out shopping, socialising or on my way to work – and I have even stopped to admire the impressive buildings from time to time. But after taking a walking tour with historian and guide Chris Slade, who runs the Nottingham Experience, my eyes were opened to some truly fascinating facts about our city.
One evening, myself and three colleagues met Chris, who has recently celebrated 25 years of the Nottingham Experience, in the Lace Market. The area was once at the centre of the British Empire’s lace trade and our guide described the evolution of textiles and lace-making in Nottinghamshire, from its origins as a cottage industry to the invention of the framework knitting machine by William Lee of Calverton which led to the explosion of lace-making during the Industrial Revolution.
As we slowly meandered through the winding streets, we stopped to look at the historic and intriguing buildings along the way, including St Mary’s Church, the Shire Hall and County Gaol (now the Galleries of Justice) and Nottingham Contemporary. Without wanting to give too much away we learned how the city’s original name, Snotingaham, which was derived from the name of an Anglo-Saxon lord, became Nottingham. We also saw what might possibly be the narrowest two way street in the country and were given a glimpse of the nooks and crannies, passageways and sandstone rock formations that you are likely to miss if you don’t stop and look.
The walk culminated at Nottingham Castle, which of course is a ducal mansion rather than a castle in the traditional sense. Standing just outside its impressive gates and grounds we learned so much about its almost 1,000 years of turbulent history, including its pivotal role in the English Civil War.
After the tour ended and I made my way home I couldn’t help but look at all the landmarks around the city in a new light. Whether you are visiting Nottinghamshire on business, for a holiday or, like me, are a local resident then you will learn so much from one of Chris’ award-winning tours. In fact, we can’t wait to go another one!
Chris offers tours based on various themes including Robin Hood, lace-making, Lord Byron, Sherwood Forest, caves as well as leisure trips, familiarisation ‘red carpet’ tours, half-day and full day experiences and many more. To read some of his glowing reviews click here.
Tours can be taken either on foot or in Chris’ car and he holds a blue badge, making them accessible for everyone. For a full list of services visit The Nottingham Experience website. To save 5% on one of Chris’ tours please quote EX2014 when booking. Call 07710 293348 for more information and to book.