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20 Highlights in Nottinghamshire for 2017


From a world-exclusive Dinosaurs of China exhibition to the launch of the National Justice Museum, 2017 will see a host of new openings and major events happening in Nottinghamshire.

Dinosaurs of China exhibition

The Dinosaurs of China is a world exclusive exhibition, coming to Europe for the first time in the summer of 2017.  It features some of the best preserved dinosaur fossils and specimens never before seen outside of Asia, and will bring to life the story of how dinosaurs evolved into the birds that live alongside us today.  Hosted at Nottingham’s historic Wollaton Hall, with a complementary exhibition at Lakeside Arts, this must-see exhibition runs from 1 July to 30 October. Dinosaurs featuring in the exhibition include a Gigantoraptor – at four metres high and eight metres long – the largest feathered dinosaur ever found! Many of the species on display are new to science, only discovered and named in the last 20 years, with some as recently as 2015.

National Justice Museum, Nottingham

Following a £1million Heritage Lottery Fund supported project and a brief closure to enable development works to take place, the National Justice Museum, Nottingham will reopen on 11 February 2017.  Formerly the Galleries of Justice Museum, it houses the UK’s largest collection relating to law, justice, crime and punishment. An exciting range of new exhibition areas will enable the museum to showcase even more of the collection and visitors will also be able to enjoy a range of brand new fun, interactive activities and exhibitions suitable for all the family.  The museum’s grand Victorian courtrooms; 17th century dungeon; 1800 prison cells and dayrooms; 1833 prison wing; and the 1905 police station, all add to the visitor experience.  Its rich history led to the museum being voted the most haunted building in the UK in 2014.

Light Night 2017

Nottingham’s annual Light Night (Friday 10 February, from 5pm to late) celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2017 and to mark the occasion, the biggest ever transformation of the city will be taking place.  New art work will line the streets and specially created satellite zones with their own local feel will branch out into new parts of the city. See Nottingham brought to life after dark through a series of illuminations, spectacles, music, street theatre and much more. The event grows larger every year, with thousands of visitors expected to join in the evening of discovery, community and light!  Make a night of it with music and performances in many of the city’s cafes and restaurants, and outdoor street food stalls adding to the festive after dark atmosphere.

Brick Wonders – Ancient, Natural and Modern Marvels in Lego

A new LEGO model exhibition opens at The Harley Gallery from 22 January to 2 April following the phenomenal success of last year’s Brick City.  Created by Warren Elsmore, the exhibition will take visitors on a journey through history and around the globe featuring both old and new wonders of the world. The seven wonders of the ancient world, including the Lighthouse at Alexandria and The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, are recreated in full to great effect. In all, the show will present more than 70 fantastically detailed models. As well as ancient wonders, visitors can marvel at the recreation in miniature of some of the world’s most spectacular natural landmarks from The Great Barrier Reef and The Great Wall of China to the Matterhorn. Seven modern inventions are also represented through the LEGO creations – from a Model T car and a light bulb to the international space station.

Brand new luxury Spa for Ye Olde Bell Hotel

In Spring 2017, Ye Olde Bell, a superb 17th Century AA Four-Star Rosette hotel in Barnby Moor, Retford,  will open its brand new purpose built £multi-million luxury spa to further enhance its facilities. The hotel, located in the north of the county, has been passionately restored over recent years with great respect for its history whilst bringing it firmly into the 21st century and the spa is a fitting addition to the aspirations for the hotel.  It will be one of the top spas in the country with an impressive indoor to outdoor vitality hydropool, the only one in the UK with a bespoke ‘Snowstorm’ experience in addition to ‘Sabbia Med’ sunlight therapy and everything else you would expect in a spa of this calibre.

UK Corporate Games 2017

The UK Corporate Games – Europe’s largest annual multi sports festival for businesses – will be hosted in Nottingham – VisitEngland’s Home of Sport – for the first time ever in 2017.  It is expected to attract around 5-6,000 participants to the city from all over the UK.  The Games will be taking place across multiple sporting venues from 6 – 9 July 2017 and participants can choose to enter one of the 23 sports on offer – from volleyball to soccer, squash to table tennis and golf to cycling.  Many of the sports will be taking place at The University of Nottingham’s new £40m David Ross Sports Village at the University Park campus, which played a pivotal role in securing the Games bid.  It features a state-of-the-art fitness centre, equipped with an extensive gym, a 20 court sports hall, multiple glass squash courts, an indoor sprint track, two dance studios and a climbing wall.

Transformation of Nottingham Castle

Work on the Nottingham Castle Transformation project is due to commence in 2017, if the round two funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is successful. The transformation will play a huge part toward establishing the site as a world-class visitor destination, celebrating its unique and nationally-significant history with tales of power, protest and rebellion across the centuries.

The revitalised site will tell the Castle’s story and explain its role in the birth of social and democratic ideas. Celebrating Nottingham Castle’s diverse 1,000 year heritage, it will capture the drama of the Castle site; increasing access to the unique caves and restoring dramatic gallery space providing exceptional exhibitions of the city’s world class collections. The project is focused around three themes:

  • Exploring 1,000 years of history: inviting visitors to enjoy the Castle landscape, discover the unique caves, the site and its medieval remains and the charm of the Brewhouse Yard Cottages.
  • Rebellion: Focusing on Nottingham’s history of dissension, revolt and rebellion and our iconic outlaw, Robin Hood.
  • The Power of Art and Making: Highlighting the museum’s founding principles and the extraordinary creativity of a city home to craft and industry of various kinds.

A funding decision from the HLF is expected this month. If given the go ahead, the project will be the most significant heritage regeneration project in England.

Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre

An RSPB-led consortium recently submitted a planning application to Newark and Sherwood District Council for a new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest which will be discussed by the district council soon. The consortium also features The Sherwood Forest Trust, Thoresby Estate and Continuum Attractions.

The consortium successfully won a bid in August last year as part of a procurement process organised by Nottinghamshire County Council to design and build the new centre and manage Sherwood Forest Country Park on behalf of the county council from early 2018.

Nottingham to host joint international men’s and women’s tennis event in 2017

In 2017, Nottingham Tennis Centre will host a combined men’s and women’s top-level tennis tournament for the first time in 44 years.  Taking place between Saturday 10th and Sunday 18th June 2017, the week-long tournament will comprise the women’s $250,000 WTA International Aegon Open Nottingham alongside a men’s $150,000 ATP Challenger Tour event. This will give tennis fans the opportunity to see both WTA and ATP level tennis in the same week for the first time since 1973. Tickets can be bought now at 2016 early bird prices (valid until 31st December 2016) so don’t miss out on securing the best seats in the stands in the build up to The Championships, Wimbledon!

Hit the beach in Nottingham this summer

Nottinghamshire might be the most landlocked county in the country, but it doesn’t stop the city from celebrating the seaside each year. Nottingham’s popular urban beach will be returning to Old Market Square between July and September this summer, bringing all the fun of the seaside to the heart of the city. Complete with sand, a children’s paddling pool, deck chairs, seaside rides, food vendors and a beach bar, the Nottingham urban beach attracts thousands of families and visitors to the city each summer.  This free to visit beach also hosts a number of fantastic events, including live music performances and entertainers.

Nottingham Comedy Festival

The Nottingham comedy scene has been growing rapidly in the past few years and this increasingly popular event celebrates its 9th annual festival in 2017.  It will be held between 3 – 11 November and the organisers are proud to include many local acts, which is something they will be continuing over the next few years. The festival brings together all forms of comedy and the line-up includes well known names as well as brand new artists. In 2016, the festival offered 101 shows in 21 venues across the city.

Splendour Festival

Nottingham’s largest family friendly festival returns to Nottingham’s historic Wollaton Park on Saturday 22 July.  Previous line-ups for this sell-out event include Jess Glynne, The Specials, James, The Human League, Jake Bugg, Madness, Pet Shop Boys, Calvin Harris and The Darkness. Plans are already underway to make next year’s festival even bigger and better.

The Vikings 

From November 2017 to March 2018, the University of Nottingham Museum at Nottingham Lakeside Arts, will host a major touring exhibition on Britain’s Viking history as part of the British Museum’s National Programmes. Developed in partnership with York Museums Trust, the exhibition will showcase some of the British Museum and Yorkshire Museum’s finest pieces from their collections of Viking material. The University of Nottingham Museum will also be displaying regional collections, examining the local impact of Viking culture set within the broad context of their invasion and settlement in Britain.

Riverside Festival

The Riverside Festival (4 – 6 August) is Nottingham’s biggest free festival weekend offering three days of family entertainment, including street theatre and entertainers, live music, steam engines and organs, a street fun fair and craft fair plus a variety of food and drink stalls. This unique and fun festival covers one mile along the banks of the River Trent, at Victoria Embankment, adjacent to Trent Bridge.  Whilst the programme has not yet been set for 2017, one of the highlights is always a spectacular firework display on the Saturday evening.

Cycle Live

Cycle Live Nottingham enjoyed its best year yet in 2016 and is aiming to make the 2017 event, on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June – even better. The capacity of the 125 mile Sheriff route in the Great Notts Bike Ride has been increased with entries already open. The event is also aiming to inspire the female population of Nottinghamshire as the Maid Marian route has been increased to 75 miles long, outstripping the shorter Robin Hood! The weekend is set to see the largest mass participation cycling event in Nottinghamshire return to the Victoria Embankment and sees something for every level of cyclist. From beginners to casual cyclists to those who enjoy challenging and undulating endurance rides – there’s a route for all!

Ikano Bank Robin Hood Marathon & Half Marathon 2017

Sunday 24 September will see the return of the Ikano Bank Robin Hood Marathon, Half Marathon, Mini Marathon and Corporate Challenge and thousands of runners will be taking part. Although the 2017 marathon route is yet to be revealed, it is once again set to see entrants run right past all the iconic landmarks the City has to offer as well as some of the most picturesque and stunning parkland, including the Race Village with the start and finish area next to the River Trent on Victoria Embankment, Nottingham Castle, The Park Estate, Wollaton Park and Colwick Park.

International cricket at Trent Bridge

Nottingham’s world famous Trent Bridge will once again host international cricket when England faces South Africa for the Investec Test Match Series between 14 – 18 July and on 21 September for a One Day International when England faces the West Indies. Book your ticket to catch world-class cricket action in the stunning setting of Trent Bridge, one of England’s most historic grounds, and the venue where England secured its Ashes victory against Australia in the summer of 2015.

Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall transformation project

Work on Nottingham’s Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall £3.3m transformation continues in the summer of 2017 when Phase 2 of the building work will be taking place, including accessibility improvements to ensure the new facilities can be used by everyone.  The project will make significant improvements to the buildings, including a refurbishment of the Royal Concert Hall’s foyer bars.  It also  aims to increase daytime use of the venues by improving facilities and underused spaces such as meeting rooms, foyer spaces, the café bar and roof terraces. In addition, a new street-level outdoor seating and performance area will be created undercover of a new canopy.

Festival City in October 2017

Whilst the programme for 2017 has not yet been set, it is hotly anticipated that Nottingham will become the UK’s Festival City once again in October, with more festivals and major events taking place across the city throughout the month than any other city in the UK.  2016 saw the biggest ever line-up of events with more than 20 festival and major events, including, what is believed to be, the UK’s first-ever Caves Festival. From family fun to music, arts to beer, to videogames and comic book heroes, Nottingham’s festival fever really does offer something for everyone. From a three-day medieval pageant at Nottingham Castle; the GameCity Festival, a celebration of all things gaming; and the UK’s oldest travelling fair – Goose Fair, the city comes alive in October with a series of fantastic events.

Winter Wonderland

Each year, from November to January, Nottingham’s Old Market Square is transformed for the Winter Wonderland.  Outdoor ice skating is at the heart of this festive event, with stunning views of the magnificent domed Council House, which is especially lit for Christmas. Enjoy live music at the traditional bandstand, wander around over 50 Victorian styled market cabins with an array of quality Christmas gifts from local traders and craftspeople, enjoy mouth-watering treats amid authentic Christmas trees, or pay a visit to one of the onsite bars.  A new skate-up Ice Bar was introduced for 2016 for visitors to enjoy a fully frozen experience including glasses and furniture made of ice.

Visit www.experiencenottinghamshire.com for details of events and attractions in Nottinghamshire.

Posted on 09 November 2016

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