I think it comes as no surprise to anyone that I love Nottingham. It’s such a great city, and there are so many unique things to do there. However, it probably isn’t the first city that jumps to people’s minds when they’re considering a UK city break. But that needs to change because I can guarantee that anyone who visits Nottingham will have a fab time there! In this post, I’ve rounded up some of the very best places to visit in Nottingham. So read on and start planning your weekend away.
This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Lola Sherwin.
1. Attenborough Nature Reserve
Address: Barton Lane, Attenborough, Nottingham NG9 6DY
Phone number: 0115 972 1777
Yes, this nature reserve is named after our beloved Sir David Attenborough. This automatically makes it one of the best places to visit in Nottingham, right? In fact, he opened the park himself in 1966! Best known for being home to a number of bird species, Attenborough Nature Reserve provides many rarely sighted birds with a home. The reserve covers an enormous 350 acres and is located on the site of what was once a former gravel pit. It has since been converted into a hub for flora and fauna.
The reserve is run by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust who do fantastic work to help preserve the wonderful wildlife in Nottinghamshire. Located less than 4.5 miles away from Nottingham city centre, it’s one of the best places to visit in Nottingham for those able to travel a little bit out.
2. Old Market Square
Address: Old Market Square, Nottingham NG1 2DT
Phone number: 0115 841 5554
This lovely square is the largest public space in the UK after London’s famous Trafalgar Square. And it’s fair to say it rivals it in terms of beauty! Front and centre of the square is the impressive Council House. Crowned by a dome, it’s the focal point of this part of the city.
The square hosts events such as the city’s Winter Wonderland and a number of farmers’ markets throughout the year. It seems there is always something happening in this beating heart of Nottingham. The square is filled with shops, bars, coffee shops and more, making it is the perfect place to start your day in Nottingham. Make sure you try out one of the best bottomless brunches in Nottingham before you leave. The Tourism Centre is also located by the square, just in case you need any additional info during your time here!
3. Wollaton Hall & Deer Park
Address: Wollaton Hall & Deer Park. Nottingham NG8 2AE
Phone number: 0115 876 3100
Wollaton Hall is a spectacular Elizabethan mansion set on extensive grounds where deer can be found roaming freely. The Hall was the setting for Wayne Manor in the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises. And with all its grandeur it’s not hard to see why.
The Hall is also home to Nottingham’s Natural History Museum, which has been located here since 1926. It also houses the Nottingham Industrial Museum, meaning there is plenty of history to explore inside the walls of this stunning building!
Daily tours of the Hall are available to visitors, and while wandering through the rooms of the Hall, you’ll feel like you’re living in your very own period drama. Trust me! Wollaton Hall also has its very own walled botanical garden, which is situated by the stable block and is maintained by volunteers.
4. The Lace Market
The Lace Market area of Nottingham was once the centre of the lace industry in Britain. These days, it is one of Nottingham’s most important heritage zones, and the beautiful red-brick buildings are home to some of the city’s best shops and restaurants. As well as lace-makers, of course!
Along with Hockley, the Lace Market is the oldest area of Nottingham city, having over one thousand years of history coursing through its streets. You can book a walking tour of the streets at the Tourism Centre if you so wish. But it’s equally fun to roam the pretty district of your own accord, keeping an eye out for one of the many hidden gems.
Hockley is Nottingham’s bohemian hotspot, and its Victorian buildings house everything from tattoo parlours and record stores to second-hand bookstores and vintage clothing stores. Some of the most amazing places to visit in Nottingham are tucked away in the streets of Hockley. So it should certainly be on your list of places to visit while you’re in Nottingham.
One such gem can be found in the shape of Broadway Cinema, which is a cultural leader for independent cinema, arts and technology in the Midlands. Hockley hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, including the popular multi-venue music festival Hockley Hustle. The district is also brought to life during the city’s Pride event each year.
6. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem
Address: Brewhouse Yard, 1, Nottingham NG1 6AD
Phone number: 0115 947 3171
No trip to Nottingham would be complete without paying a visit to the oldest inn in Britain, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. One of the best indoor activities in Nottingham, you can tie it in with a trip to Nottingham Castle, as it’s nestled below the castle, tucked into the towering sandstone cliffs. There are loads of cosy nooks and crannies in this lovely little venue that take you back in time.
When you visit, you really feel as though you can feel the history of the place seeping out of the walls. It’s quite fun to think you could be sat in the same seat as a famous knight once sat before heading off to battle! History aside, it’s just an all-round nice pub. So if you’re craving a good pint after a long day of seeing the sights, then make your way down here and relax.
7. Nottingham Castle
Address: Nottingham Castle Trust, Lenton Road, Nottingham NG1 6EL
Phone number: 0115 876 1450
The striking Nottingham Castle sits atop Castle Rock and has 40-metre-high cliffs to its eastern and western sides. It has been around in some format or another since 1067, so if you want to walk through a piece of living history, then this is the place to do it.
The castle has staged many a historical event in its time, including the final showdown in the legends of Robin Hood. Fine art from across Europe can be seen in the Long Gallery of the Castle, and the display includes some fantastic works created by artists from Nottinghamshire itself. The castle has also been used as a royal residence from time to time in the past. So if you want to follow in the footsteps of royalty, then make your way to Nottingham Castle for a dose of royal life.
8. The Arboretum
Address: Nottingham Arboretum, Waverley Street, Nottingham NG7 4HF
This beautiful Victorian park was opened by the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1852, and it has a certain magical quality about it. It is Nottingham’s oldest public park and has remained largely unchanged since it was designed over a century and a half ago.
The park is home to over 800 trees from 60 different species. And as you wander through the trees you will come across small lagoons and cannons from times gone by. There’s also a stunning pagoda-style war memorial in the park’s centre which houses a bell, said to be looted from a Cantonese temple.
J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, lived and worked in Nottingham in the 1880s, and it is widely believed that the beautiful Arboretum inspired Barrie’s fictional setting of Neverland. What could be closer to a real-life fairy tale than that?
9. Sneinton Dragon
Photo Credit: Black and White
Address: Sneinton Hermitage, Nottingham NG2 4BT
This striking 7-foot-tall stainless-steel creation is a sculpture by Nottingham born artist, Robert Stubley. The impressive dragon has a 15-foot wingspan, and it is perched on the corner of Manvers Street and Sneinton Hermitage. The sculpture was commissioned in 2006 during an urban regeneration project in the city. During the project, local residents were asked what piece of street art they would like to represent the vibrant community of Sneinton, to which they naturally responded that they wanted a dragon.
There is some discussion that the dragon is meant to be representative of a metaphorical monster called “Slum”. This monster was dreamed up in the Edwardian period as a symbol of the high mortality rates and poverty rates in the area. During this time, overcrowding had become an issue after the village had been absorbed into the city of Nottingham. Whether it’s a representation of that monster or the locals just liked the idea of having a dragon on the corner is up to you to decide.
10. Nottingham’s Caves
Address: 18 Angel Row, Nottingham NG1 6HL
Phone number: 0115 947 5241
Nottingham has an extensive network of underground caves below its streets. One of the known entrances into the gloomy underground world of the caves is through The Bell Inn, a pub which has stood at the edge of the city’s Old Market Square for nearly 600 years. The pub is rumoured to be haunted. And it’s no wonder that such rumours about it have circulated given the spooky atmosphere you feel when you descend into the depths of the caves below it.
Nottingham has the highest number of man-made caves in all of Europe. And while the Bell Inn Caves are lesser known than some of Nottingham’s other caves, they are equally as mysterious and well worth the trip for anyone who wants to take a peek into the city’s history. The caves were used for various reasons including as dormitories for monks and for brewing and storing ale. A relatively large portion of the network is well-preserved to this day.
To access the Bell Inn Caves, you need to go through a storeroom which is next to the men’s toilets in the pub. From here, follow the stairs to sink deep into the caverns, and slip through the trap door if you dare go still further. “At your own risk” tours can be taken of this spooky maze. Enquire at the bar during quieter hours or at the Nottingham Tourism Centre.
11. Green’s Windmill
Address: Windmill Ln, Sneinton, Nottingham NG2 4QB
Phone number: 0115 915 6878
Green’s Windmill can be found in Sneinton. It was built by the father of notable scientist and mathematician, George Green, in 1807. And over 200 years later it is still a thing of great beauty and public interest. In 1947, the mill suffered bad fire damage, and it was not restored until the 1980s. In 1986, the windmill became a working mill again, and to this day it can be seen at work.
As well as making a pretty picture, the mill is also a museum and science centre which teaches new generations about the work of George Green. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Nottingham for families!
12. Clumber Park
Address: Worksop, Nottinghamshire S80 3AZ
Phone number: 01909 476592
This beautiful National Trust property is open throughout the year to visitors. With over 3800 acres of parkland, farmland and woodland for you to roam through, Clumber Park is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Nottingham.
Much of the original Clumber Park estate has survived, including some beautiful 19th-century glasshouses, despite the mansion being demolished in 1938. Ticket prices are £4 for adults and £2 for children. And if you don’t fancy exploring on foot, you can hire bikes to cycle across this beautiful park. Prices start at £8 for 2 hours.
13. University Park Campus and Highfields Park
Address: University Park Campus, Nottingham NG7 2RD
The University of Nottingham has one of the most beautiful campuses in England if I do say so myself! Highfields Park is the crowning jewel of the campus, with a huge lake which is delightful to walk around. On summer days, you can take a rowing boat out onto the lake. It’s the perfect way to see more of this gorgeous park.
The stunning Trent Building looks out over the park. And there are ample opportunities for a good Instagram photo in this beautiful part of Nottingham. Be sure to spot the small waterfall and stepping stones you can use to cross the lake!
As you can see, there are so many fantastic places to visit in Nottingham. Whether you’re a tourist spending the weekend there or you’ve lived there all your life but haven’t got out to explore much of the city and its surroundings, I hope this list prompts you to go and see what this lovely city has to offer!