Itchy City’s search for Robin Hood
On a recent visit to Nottingham, in search of Robin Hood, Itchy was delighted to instead find Blondie, segways, tapas, hot tubs, art galleries, caves, picnics and much more…
On the first night of our adventure we stayed at the idyllic Sherwood Hideaway, located on Thoresby Estate in the legendary Sherwood Forest, a drive from Nottingham town centre. Here we found rows of perfect, secluded wooden cabins, filled with wood burning fires, luxury bedrooms and the best showers we’ve ever experienced. Itchy was also lucky enough to stay in one of the Rustic cabins, which meant that we could luxuriate in our own personal hot tub as soon as we arrived – bliss.
Within 10 minutes we were standing in Sherwood Forest with a glass of rosé, waiting for Debbie Harry and co to take to the stage, thanks to The Forestry Commission’s excellent idea to run open air concerts in their spectacular forests. And, boy, did she own it. The forest itself was pretty awe inspiring; how often do you listen to live music surrounded by fifty-foot oak and birch trees?
The next morning, after a quick breakfast, we ventured back into the forest, this time for a Go Ape Segway tour. We donned helmets and hopped into the geeky looking vehicles with a mixture of trepidation and childlike excitement… After a short training period, we were led through a specially designed forest trail, reaching speeds of up to 30mph. We absolutely loved it, especially because of the beautiful surroundings, and didn’t want to step off of our Segway.
We headed to Nottingham Contemporary art gallery to check out their current exhibition, and also the cafe, Couture Nottingham. With delicious food, a great atmosphere and outdoor tables for sunny days, it was the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before exploring the city.
The Galleries of Justice tour, which extends into an underground prison, was both fascinating and embarrassing, as the character actors seemed to want to involve Itchy at every stage, from reading out scripts with the Sheriff of Nottingham in the court room to improvising with Matron in the prison cells. If you enjoy engaging with history, this is the place for you.
We never quite made it to the Broadway Cinema, which was highly recommended to us, but after such a packed day we were quite happy to dine, drink and sleep… We found very reasonably priced pitchers, as well as a ridiculously exciting jukebox, at Bodega, and then a fun and inventive themed cocktail list at Brass Monkey, but the best cocktails were eventually found with our dinner. Iberico Tapas, which is Nottingham’s only Bib Gourmand entry in 2013’s Michelin Guide, was the perfect romantic setting for a Saturday night treat, with its underground chambers and soft leather seating making us feel like we were in a completely different country. If you get a chance to eat here, grab it.
We nearly overslept after the excitement of Saturday, but that didn’t stop us making it to the City of Caves‘ first tour of the morning, where we discovered Nottingham’s secret underground cave network – one of the only surviving of its kind.
After our morning history lesson, we were ready for some tasty treats, so we headed to Homemade Cafe on Pelham Street. We had heard rumours of the perfect brownie hiding away in this little independent cafe, but nobody warned us about their incredible milk shakes. We don’t want to gush too much, but if you like food, you’ll love Homemade Cafe.
We took to the road and found Highfields Boating Lake, part of the University quarter. Here, we tried our hand at rowing around the picturesque lake on a very cute wooden rowing boat. Itchy highly recommends a visit if you want to woo your lover, while also showing off your muscles as you row.
We finished our perfect weekend by listening to a classical concert from the university’s Philharmonic Orchestra, next to the boating lake, with a freshly made picnic from The Pavilion Cafe at Lakeside Arts Centre.
It was hard to say goodbye to Nottingham, but we have a feeling we’ll be back for more one day. After all, we never did find Robin Hood…
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