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Visit the UK’s newest UNESCO City of Literature: Nottingham

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2016 is the perfect time to plan a literary themed break to Nottingham, after the city was announced as an official UNESCO City of Literature in December 2015.

Now officially part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Nottingham’s impressive literary heritage, nurturing creative community and immersive literary venues and experiences have been recognised through this new accolade. Nottingham is one of 17 cities worldwide to hold the title City of Literature, and plans are underway for a number of activities and events to celebrate the new permanent status.

Nottingham has a vibrant literary scene and a love of words – celebrated in the city’s annual Festival of Words which returns in November 2016. Many famous authors have called Nottinghamshire home over the centuries – from ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ romantic poet Lord Byron to controversial author D.H. Lawrence, Alan Sillitoe, J.M. Barrie and Graham Greene.

Top literary experiences and events in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire:

Stay in Byron’s Backyard: Book a break at the Gardener’s Cottage in the beautiful grounds of Newstead Abbey, the home of romantic poet Lord Byron. This NEW self-catering cottage is the original Gardener’s Cottage, a charming Grade II listed building overlooking the Rose Garden and refurbished to a very high standard. The Cottage opens for bookings Easter 2016. http://www.newsteadabbey.org.uk/hire-us/gardeners-cottage

Visit the ancestral home of Lord Byron and his final resting place: Newstead Abbey is the ancestral home of Lord Byron, on the outskirts of Nottingham. Set in 300 acres of landscaped grounds with numerous themed gardens including a Walled Garden, French Garden and hidden Japanese Garden, the Abbey dates back to the 12th Century. The Abbey is open every weekend for visits, and the grounds are open daily, or take part in one of the many regular events to learn more about Byron’s life at Newstead Abbey. http://www.newsteadabbey.org.uk/ Just a 15-minute drive away is St Mary Magdalene Church in Hucknall, the final resting place of Lord Byron and his famous daughter, mathematician Ada Lovelace. Take part in the fantastic self-guided tours of the church, where you can find out about Byron’s life and loves, see statues and artefacts celebrating the poet, and hear readings of his poetry. http://hucknallparishchurch.org.uk/

200 years of Bromley House Library: Tucked away on one of Nottingham’s busiest streets behind a discreet door you’ll find one of the city’s best kept secrets – Bromley House Library, an historic subscription library which celebrates 200 years in 2016, set within a Georgian building. With over 40,000 volumes on everything from fiction and theology to natural history and French literature, the earliest book in the collection was published in the 16th Century. Bromley House Library is also home to a secret city-centre garden. To enjoy the beautiful library, take part in one of the FREE weekly tours (Wednesday 2.30 and 4.00 booking in advance advised) or attend one of the 200th anniversary celebration events and weekly talks, including an outdoor Shakespeare theatre performance (April 2016) and a family fun day (August 2016). http://www.bromleyhouse.org/

Discover DH Lawrence country: DH Lawrence was brought up in the small mining community of Eastwood, and many locations in the area inspired the settings for his famous, and often controversial, novels. Pay a visit to the DH Birthplace Museum, where you can see his family home, a snapshot of what life was like for the Lawrence family. Follow the Blue Line Trail, a self-guided walk in the area, which takes in many of his novels settings, such as Moorgreen Reservoir, a pretty and melancholic stretch of water which appears in many of Lawrence’s novels, but under different names. The nearby Teversal Manor is also said to be the model for Wragby Hall, the home of the Chatterleys in D.H. Lawrence’s most famous novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. http://www.experiencenottinghamshire.com/dh-lawrence

Find our Neverland: The Arboretum just outside Nottingham’s city centre is said to be the inspiration behind J.M. Barrie’s classic children’s tale Peter Pan. Barrie worked on the Nottingham Journal from 1883 to 1884 and the park, which features a Victorian circular aviary, Chinese bell tower, lake and bandstand, could have formed the basis for Neverland. Why not take a stroll around this beautiful park and let your imagination run wild? There are over 800 trees to discover, some of which are from the original collection planted in the 19th century, and enough winding paths and open spaces in which to truly escape the hustle and bustle of the city. On Pelham St in Nottingham, you’ll find a plaque marking the place where Barrie lived while in Nottingham.

Take a tour with our storytellers: Join one of Nottingham’s many tour guides, as they bring to life the stories and legends of the city. Hear tales of Nottingham’s most famous literary legend, Robin Hood, on a Robin Hood Town Tour or on a Robin Hood Cave Tour at Nottingham Castle. Discover the haunted sites of the city on the Nottingham Ghost Walk, or head underground on a dungeon tour with Madame Parboiled. Find out more about Nottingham’s guided tours and walking trails: http://www.experiencenottinghamshire.com/things-to-do/tours-and-trails

Catch an original play at a Nottingham theatre: Nottingham has a thriving theatre scene, with new locally-written, produced and directed productions regularly premiering in the city. The Nottingham Playhouse is renowned for its creative programme, and is a must-visit to see Nottingham playwriting at its best. First up this year is Any Means Necessary written by Kefi Chadwick (5 – 20 February 2016), which centres on the events surrounding a group of environmental activists and the 2011 court case which charged them with trespass at nearby Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station. This real-life event set in Nottingham uncovered a national scandal that has led to a full police apology and an admission that their officers’ behaviour was an abuse of the women’s human rights. http://www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/

Lowdham Book Festival (18 – 25 June 2016): In its 17th year, the Lowdham Book Festival brings together authors from around the UK and beyond, with sessions for avid readers, book lovers, and children. http://www.lowdhambookfestival.co.uk/

Byron Festival (1 – 10 July 2016: Celebrate the life and work of one of the UK’s most controversial authors with this 10-day celebration in the town centre of Hucknall, his final resting place and at Newstead Abbey. Special tours, readings, open air performances and children’s activities. http://www.newsteadabbeybyronsociety.org/

Southwell Poetry Festival (15 – 17 July 2016: Taking place in the pretty town of Southwell, this poetry festival offers readings, workshops, performances, children’s events and a poet in residence. http://www.visitsouthwell.com/

DH Lawrence Festival (September 2016): Celebrate one of the UK’s most controversial authors with this ten-day-long celebration in his hometown of Eastwood. A programme of talks, exhibitions, readings, special events and workshops will explore the different facets of D.H. Lawrence’s works and personalities. Previous editions have seen special exhibitions of some of Lawrence’s rare writings and paintings. http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/dhlheritage

Festival of Words (November 2016): The Festival of Words is Nottingham’s leading celebration of words – written, spoken and performed – with a number of events across the city in major venues, restaurants, cafes and bookshops. The Festival celebrates Nottingham love of words, with international guest speakers, local authors, writing workshops and a range of interactive session.

A folder of images relating to Nottingham, City of Literature, is available HERE.

Stay up to date on plans for Nottingham City of Literature at: http://www.nottinghamcityofliterature.com/

For further information or to arrange a press visit, please contact Erin Huckle, PR Manager, Experience Nottinghamshire on: erin.huckle@experiencenottinghamshire.com / 0115 962 8304 / 07411 355 293

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Posted on 18 January 2016

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