Ten things to do in Nottinghamshire
With a very long list of things to do in Nottinghamshire, here is my round-up of top 10 things to do on any visit to the county.
City of Caves: A well kept secret is that Nottingham is actually built on more than 400 man-made, sandstone caves which date back to medieval times. In fact, it has more man-made caves than anywhere else in Britain and visitors to Nottingham are always keen to discover what lies beneath. Descend far below street level and discover how the caves were used as tanneries, bomb shelters and homes from the expert guides or on an audio tour at the City of Caves attraction.
Galleries of Justice Museum: An enthralling, if gory, experience awaits you at Nottingham’s old courthouse and gaol. The Galleries of Justice Museum is the only museum of its kind in Europe; it was once home to the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham and is the only venue where you can delve into the city’s horrible history through performances, audio tours and exhibitions. Explore five floors’ of history, put your family on trial in the Victorian law court and venture down below street level into the cells and dungeons to hear about the terrible conditions endured by the prisoners.
Nottingham Castle and Robin Hood Statue: Set high upon the Castle Rock and commanding spectacular views over the city, Nottingham Castle is not to be missed! The magnificent 17th century ducal mansion now stands as a municipal museum, the first of its kind outside London, housing beautiful works from around the world. Enjoy a 45-minute tour which includes the labyrinth of secret caves and tunnels that lie beneath the Castle. You can’t leave Nottingham without having a photograph with the famous Robin Hood statue either. He has stood in the shadow of the Castle since 1952 as an iconic centrepiece for Nottingham’s rich history.
Framework Knitters’ Museum: Nestled in the pretty village of Ruddington you’ll find an unexpected delight which charts the area’s social and industrial history. Machine knitting was invented in Nottinghamshire in 1589 by William Lee and the museum is a time capsule to a time when Nottingham was the lace making centre of Europe. Visitors can see the difference in living conditions for the manager’s family and the workers, with cottages and displays of both on the site. There are also live demonstrations on the framework knitting machines and a historic hosiery display, including Queen Victoria’s stockings!
The Workhouse: National Trust property, The Workhouse, is a popular attraction in Southwell, suitable for all the family. This atmospheric 19th century workhouse is the most complete of its kind in existence and rich in the history of the many paupers who lived and worked here. Visitors can discover how society dealt with poverty through the centuries and explore the segregated work yards, day rooms, dormitories, master’s quarters and cellars. There is also an opportunity to see a recreated, working 19th century garden and find out what food the paupers would have eaten.
Wollaton Park and Nottingham Industrial Museum: Nottingham’s Wollaton Hall is a spectacular Elizabethan mansion and was chosen by Warner Bros as the set of Wayne Manor in the 2012 Dark Knight Rises Batman film. Set within a 500-acre deer park, Wollaton Hall has free admission and is the perfect place to sledge in the snow or kick back with a picnic in the summer with friends and family. If you’re visiting on a weekend, be sure to also visit the Nottingham Industrial Museum which celebrates the rich industrial heritage that made Nottingham internationally famous.
Creswell Crags: Located in North Nottinghamshire, between the villages of Creswell and Whitwell, the glory of Creswell Crags is not to be missed. A world-famous archaeological site set in a limestone gorge honeycombed with caves and smaller fissures, and home to the world’s oldest ice age art. Discover the woolly mammoth and what the Crags were like during the Ice Age before taking a tour of the Robin Hood Cave, the largest cave on site. Visit the onsite museum where you’ll be amazed by the state of the art displays of the most important finds from the caves.
Sherwood Forest: The county’s legendary son, Robin Hood, is well-known throughout the world as well as his legendary hide-out. Sherwood Forest is a 450-acre country park which incorporates beautiful birch trees alongside more than 1,000 veteran oaks, most of which are over 500 years old. The largest and most famous of these is the Major Oak. Throughout the year, there are numerous events which take place in the woodland and a cycling trip through Sherwood Forest comes highly recommended.
Newark Castle and Newark: Newark may only be 30 minutes by train from Nottingham, but this picturesque market town feels a world away from city living. Newark Castle forms a striking sight on the banks of the River Trent and has stood proudly on the banks of the river for nearly 900 years. The 12th century castle and gardens are free to visit and from here a walk along the River Trent is a highlight for many. During the visit, discover more about the Castle’s history and go along on a guided tour that is conducted by the expert Castle Rangers every week.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem: Enjoy a pint of tasty real ale and enjoy divine food while sitting in a cave! Said to be the oldest Inn in England, its painted sign shows that it dates back to the 12th century. It sits at the foot of the magnificent Nottingham Castle, and there are numerous ghost stories about visitors who never left. The pub attracts tourists from around the world who are fascinated by its rich history.