My Favourite Spots in Nottinghamshire by Stephen Holland

Arboretum Gravestone

This week we share Stephen Holland’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.

Stephen Holland is the partner/manager for Page 45 a comic and graphic novel shop in Nottingham city centre.

“It’s not quite Père Lachaise, but the Arboretum Cemetery boasts one particular gravestone which – once properly considered – will have your jaw on the floor. A tree, you see [featured image], has grown up behind the grave then absorbed the upper inches of the headstone in its bark in what now resembles a flow of molten, cellulose lava.

Thenceforth it cooled then continued to grow, tugging at the stone ‘til it snapped. It snapped vertically. Can you imagine the force it took to do that? Now, while the foundations of the monument remain resolutely buried with the body it commemorates, its crown has been pulled away revealing a schism in between.

Call me a fanciful romantic, but that to me is the power of life over death.

Alley Cafe BarThe gastronomic equivalent to Page 45, The Alley Café’s service could not be more personal nor the atmosphere more relaxed. The food is vegetarian with a vegan option, yet just as tasty as if you’d roasted a suckling pig marinaded in scrumpy then… please note, I can’t cook. All I will say is this: Hemp Burgers! Also: organic lager, wine and cocktails!

On the café walls you’ll find a rotating roster of young artists’ drawings, paintings, photographs or (for all I know) knitwear, given vital early exposure and available to buy. How cool is that? Old-school patronage and opportunity! Additionally, the music is chilled and played with such consideration so that you can still natter.

I’m so lucky that I live in Lady Bay, the village-like enclave between the River Trent and the quiet town of West Bridgford just south of the city centre. It’s no more from my front door than a two-minute stroll to the fields adjoining the river, and in autumn in particular the view across the Trent to the hills of Carlton and Sneinton are spectacular: a dazzling blaze of fiery, sylvan splendour. Pop down to Trent Bridge itself, by all means, but then proceed east rather than west and you’re there.

Radcliffe-On-Trent’s stretch is best explored late Spring or early Summer. There the river has cut its way between hillside and plain and, once you’ve dropped down onto its paths, you can encounter cute Coot and Moorhen chicks “meeping” away at their moms… or a density of dragonflies far more diverse than I ever knew existed.

Hold on, no! I’m not going to be so crass as to advertise ourselves, but I was asked where my favourite places in Nottingham are, and why. My favourite place in the whole wide world (including Venice and the leafy, sun-flecked boulevards of Aix-en-Provence) is honestly the shop floor of Page 45 itself.

I created this business selling beautiful graphic novels, but I hate its high-command offices and cannot bear to be anywhere other than in its trenches. I love people almost as much as I love Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, and I adore delivering extemporised shop-floor recommendations whenever someone new to comics comes in and asks for something tailor-made to their own predilections.”


Posted on 12 March 2013
Featured author: Lynzi E-Marketing Officer

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

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