We Won – Nottingham is Officially England’s Home of Sport!
It’s official… Nottingham is England’s Home of Sport!
Following months of campaigning, VisitEngland has announced the winner of its quest to find the nation’s sporting capital – and amazingly, Nottingham has taken the prize, fighting off competition from Manchester, Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Rugby and London.
We’re already known across the globe as the home of Robin Hood – but thanks to the public’s support, we’ve added a fantastic new string to our bow.
Considering Nottingham’s won twice as many European Cups as London, has more sporting venues per head than any other in Europe, and has been the venue for incredible drama like England’s Ashes triumph over recent months – it’s no surprise that the underdog’s come out on top – earning a whopping 38% of the public’s vote.
So in honour of our city’s fantastic new title, here are 20 of our favourite sporty things to see and do in England’s Home of Sport.
1. Believe in miracles with us
All good sporting fairy tales need an underdog, and Nottingham Forest featured in perhaps sport’s greatest David vs Goliath triumph.
The footballing genius of Brian Clough transformed Forest’s bunch of no hopers from Division Two strugglers to back-to-back European Cup winners – in just five seasons.
Snap a photo with the statue of the great man himself, before reliving the fairy-tale by popping into a cinema to see I Believe in Miracles – the new film which documents Forest’s success, and was released last week to huge acclaim.
2. Visit the world’s oldest professional football club
Sat a stone’s throw apart, Notts County and Nottingham Forest both have illustrious histories.
The black and white stripes of Notts County – the world’s oldest professional football club – were adopted by none other than Juventus – while Nottingham Forest’s exploits at the peak of world football will never be matched.
Take your seat for a game at Meadow Lane or The City Ground, which sit on either side of the River Trent.
We’re also 2015’s City of Football – and the City of Football Festival is on now! It runs until the end of October.
3. Experience cricket’s Broad appeal
Nottingham’s current sporting icon, Stuart Broad – holding his face in disbelief as he tore through the Aussies at Trent Bridge – was undoubtedly the sporting image of the summer, but we’re cricket crazy all year round here in Nottinghamshire.
Catch a game at historic Trent Bridge – the world’s third oldest test cricket venue – where England will take on Sri Lanka and Pakistan in One Day Internationals next year.
Or, cheer on stars like Broady, Alex Hales and James Taylor, as they provide plenty of fireworks for the Outlaws.
4. Get your skates on
In two minutes of sporting perfection, Torvill and Dean charmed the world, earning the only perfect score in Olympic skating history.
The Nottingham duo’s performance in the 1984 Winter Olympics still ranks as one of the nation’s favourite sporting moments – and you can see the famous outfits glittering on display at Nottingham Castle.
The dazzling duo trained at the National Ice Centre – which produces a steady stream of top quality athletes – and you can follow in their trail by taking intensive skating lessons.
5. Jump on-Broad the Tram!
While many sporting heroes have statues dedicated to them – there aren’t too many who can say they have a tram to their name!
Nottinghamshire sporting heroes, including Carl Froch, Stuart Broad and Bendigo Thompson – who was a Champion of England in Bareknuckle Boxing back in 1835 – have all been honoured with their own trams.
6. Take a ride in Sherwood Pines
Nottingham is the birthplace of the Raleigh cycling brand, and has hosted everything from a Tour of Britain finish, to the Milk Race and Cycle Live events this year.
If you’re inspired to get on your bike, try out the city’s cycling network, which has just received a £6.1m upgrade.
Or head out to Sherwood Pines to let loose amongst the stunning scenery, taking on thrilling trails and twisting descents.
7. See the Panthers in action
The Panthers are one of Nottingham’s premier sports teams – join the crowd as they prowl out onto the ice!
The next generation are also coming through at the National Ice Centre – the first twin Olympic-sized ice rink in the UK. Take a lesson on the ice, and catch up with the Ice Stars – who were the heroes of a recent CBBC series.
8. Make a splash at the National Water sports Centre
Countless Team GB Gold Medallists have been nurtured on the glass smooth waters of the National Water Sports Centre – which provides state of the art facilities for rowers, kayakers and open water swimmers.
Book yourself in to battle against the artificial white water rapids, or take a seat and feel the roar of the engines, as the World Powerboat Championships skim across the water.
9. Watch the Dragon Boat Race
During one day of frenetic action, the normally peaceful waters of the River Trent are transformed, as crashing, chaotic dragon boat races take place, thrilling the crowds on the riverbank.
Take your seat and get inspired to try out the fastest growing water activity in Britain.
10. Enjoy world class disability sport
Few locations can match Nottingham’s pedigree for hosting top quality disability sport. This summer alone, the city’s hosted the Cerebral Palsy World Games, the first ever World Deaf Tennis Championships, and the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships.
With public sessions available for everything from goalball to dance and swimming, there’s a sport for everyone in Nottingham.
11. Try out a new form of cricket!
Did you know that the ECB’s Table Cricket sport was invented at the city’s Nottingham Trent University?
This unique adaption of the sport – designed to be accessible to all – opened up cricket to a whole new group of players with disabilities.
12. Try the new Harvey Hadden Sports Village
This newly revamped, state-of-the-art sports facility is a pleasure to behold, and it recently hosted hundreds of athletes from across the globe, who came to compete in the Cerebral Palsy World Games.
With a 60m indoor running track, and a publicly accessible 50m swimming pool that has the ability to split in half if needed, this is a truly world class addition to Nottingham’s sporting venues – and it’s open for you to try!
13. See Olympic archers competing in Nottinghamshire
Where better to host the European Archery Championships than Robin Hood’s backyard?
Britain’s best archers sharpen their skills each year when the British Open fires into town.
Next year will be extra special, however – as Europe’s finest take aim at an Olympic spot, when Great Britain hosts the European Archery Championships for the first time since 1978.
14. Take aim in Sherwood Forest
Live out your own Robin Hood fantasies by trying archery for yourself in the shadow of the Major Oak, deep in Sherwood Forest.
Whether you want to try it for fun or competitively, you can learn the technique behind firing an arrow straight and true – right at the heart of the Robin Hood legend.
15. Make a racket at Nottingham Tennis Centre
Test out your sharpest serve, on the indoor, outdoor and grass courts of Nottingham Tennis Centre.
The UK’s largest public tennis centre features no fewer than 39 courts, and never fails to serve up an ace.
Book a court to yourselves, or join a lesson with a top coach to hone your skills.
16. Take your seat at the ATP Aegon Open
The fantastic facilities at Nottingham Tennis Centre also host some of the world’s best players, when the ATP Aegon Open scorches into town.
See some of the world’s top seeded male and female tennis stars commanding the courts, during what’s an unmissable event in Nottingham’s sporting calendar.
17. Sink a putt in Batman’s backyard
You’ll feel like a superhero as you crack drives down Wollaton Park Golf Club’s lush fairways.
Wollaton Hall itself provides a spectacular backdrop to the course, and don’t be surprised if you feel a sense of déjà vu while playing – the grand hall was used as Bruce Wayne’s home in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises film.
18. Test your endurance and run the Robin Hood Marathon
Brave or crazy? We love to push ourselves to the limit here in Nottinghamshire – and the Outlaw Triathlon gives you the perfect chance to do something incredible.
The distances are dizzying – a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle ride and a 26.2 mile run! This is an event for real outlaws.
Or, why not pound the streets of Nottingham, and raise money for charity, as you join thousands of others for the festival of running that is the Robin Hood Marathon?
Nottingham’s streets fill with colour, fancy dress and crowds each year, during this much loved street race for all abilities.
19. Take a tour of our Sporting Venues
Get a guided, behind the scenes look at the trophy cabinets, of Trent Bridge and the City Ground, and take a fascinating journey back through the city’s incredible sporting history.
See the European Cups gleaming, and extraordinary artefacts from the city’s sporting heritage.
20. Watch rugby at the bay
Nottingham Rugby Club ply their trade at Lady Bay, and with 138 years of professional rugby proudly behind them, history is woven deep into their green and white kit.
Why not purchase tickets to their next home game and join in with the Rugby fever that’s gripped the nation in the year of the England Rugby World Cup?