My favourite spots in Nottinghamshire by Mike Kirrage

Southwell Minster, credit Marie Bunting, 19.11.2012

This week we are sharing Mike’s favourite places in Nottinghamshire. If you would like to share your ‘favourites’ with us, email us at or use the comment section below. You may feature on our blog and our various social media platforms.

Mike Kirrage established the Gate to Southwell Folk Festival in 2007 which takes place from the 6-9 June this year.  He was formerly licensee of the Cross Keys at Upton and comes from a long line of respected Nottinghamshire publicans.

The Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, Newark
Having been born and brought up in the Olde White Harte in the Market Place, I have a long and recurring connection with the neighbouring parish church. Bell ringing practices on a Sunday night were for me a prelude to school the next day, though the ‘crocodile’ style trips from the Magnus school, for the end of term service were memorable. I’m sure you’ll still find boys names carved on the backs of the remaining pews. It’s well worth delving into the history of this magnificent building and if you can persuade the verger to let you go up, the view from the tower is amazing giving a novel insight into the development of this historically important town.

 The Woodlark Inn, Lambley
There are still lots of good pubs in Nottinghamshire and with my background it’s difficult to pick just one. In the end it was a toss-up between The Black Horse at Caythorpe, (a wonderful building dating back to Elizabethan times I’ve been told) and the Woodlark. What makes the Woodlark special is that despite serving (excellent) food, it still manages to retain the feel of a proper country pub where you can enjoy a chat and a pint. The public bar is a real blast from the past. It’s not a pub I get to visit often but I admire their commitment to old values.

Rufford Country Park
I’ve been visiting Rufford for years, long before it got smartened up with extra facilities and you had to keep your dog on a lead! It’s still the perfect place for a not too long walk round the lake and an ice cream. The more recent additions, the gallery, buttery and sculptures blend in and make for a relaxing few hours. 

I have to include my adopted home town, the ‘hidden gem’ of Nottinghamshire. Whilst dominated by the Minster, it has lots of other interesting buildings and hidden pathways linking the different areas of the town, which make it a pleasure to wander round. The people are warm and friendly and there are plenty of good pubs. All in all the perfect place to stage a folk festival*! 

*Weekend and day tickets for The Gate to Southwell Folk Festival on 6-9 June can be purchased online.

[Southwell Photos: Credit to Marie Bunting]


Posted on 30 April 2013
Featured author: Lynzi E-Marketing Officer

Often found roaming the Notts countryside. Spaniel Lover. Stargazer. Sweet tooth.

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