Best Places to Visit in Nottingham
Nottingham is the county seat of Nottinghamshire, built on a series of hills on the north bank of the River Trent. The city has a long tradition as a center of trade and manufacturing and is known for its fine lace.
More recently, it has become a popular cultural destination with numerous attractions, including two large theaters and several art galleries. It also hosts many major festivals and events, the most popular of which is the annual Nottingham Goose Fair.
Known as the ‘Queen of the Midlands’ for its wide streets and picturesque parks such as the Botanic Gardens, Bentler and Colwick Park, Nottingham is an ideal base from which to explore the nearby Sherwood Forest, the legendary home of Robin Hood. In fact, the image of this most famous English folk hero is ubiquitous, and while the once huge woodland gathering place has now been greatly shrunk, it gives the city a truly unique feel.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Nottingham and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Nottingham
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Nottingham:
1. Lace Market
A short walk from the Old Market Square is the historic Lace Market. Once the center of the English lace industry, this fascinating area is now protected as one of the city’s most important heritage sites. Today, these former red-brick warehouses and showrooms are home to many shops, restaurants, boutique accommodations, and yes, lace makers.
In addition to these fun activities, the neighborhood is home to some of the city’s top sightseeing opportunities, including a tour of the old courthouse that now serves as the National Museum of Justice. An exciting walking tour of the Lace Market can be booked at the Nottingham Tourist Centre.
2. Nottingham Castle
Nottingham Castle has stunning views of the city and is famous for its bronze statues of Robin Hood and The Happy Men by Nottingham-born sculptor James Woodford. The original castle was destroyed by parliamentary troops in 1651 and was replaced by an Italian palace belonging to the Duke of Newcastle.
Today it houses two major collections: the Sherwood Foresters Museum, with its impressive collection of medals and regimental uniforms, and the Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. The latter’s treasures include beautiful 6th-century Anglo-Saxon brooches, medieval ceramics and alabaster carvings, and 17th- and 18th-century stoneware.
There is also an ethnographic gallery (including emerald jewelery from New Zealand, Burmese bronze sculptures, and Indo-Persian steelwork). The painting collection at the Long Gallery includes works by Charles le Brun, Richard Wilson, William Dyce, Marcus Stone and Ben Nicholson.
The Nottingham Life Museum at Brewhouse Yard is just meters away and well worth a visit. This group of 17th-century cottages showcases the history of the Nottingham people.
Address: Renton Road, Nottingham
Official website: www.nottinghamcastle.org.uk/
3. City of Caves
In the sandstone below Nottingham are numerous caves, including the magnificent 322-foot Mortimer Cave just below the castle. Part of the major attraction in the City of Caves, this particular formation is named after Roger Mortimer, the lover of Edward II’s wife, Queen Isabella (the legendary place where Mortimer hid from a jealous king).
In total, there are more than 450 caves below Nottingham, the largest known cave complex in the country, used for storage and defense for centuries. Accessed from Mount Garner, the fascinating caves can be visited on a public tour.
Location: Mount Garner, Nottingham
Official website: www.nationaljusticemuseum.org.uk/venue/city-of-caves/
4. National Justice Museum
A must-see in the Lace Market is the popular National Museum of Justice. It is located in the city’s former courthouse and prison, a building that has been in use since 1780.
Highlights of the museum include the courtroom and a 14th-century prison. There are also fascinating exhibits on crime and punishment. Be sure to check out the presentation on Robin Hood.
Other attractions worth visiting include the Nottingham Center for Contemporary Art, a modern art gallery, and the National Ice Center, one of the largest ice rink facilities in the country.
Address: Nottingham High Walkway
Official website: www.nationaljusticemuseum.org.uk
5. Theater Royal and Royal Concert Hall
Nottingham’s Theater Royal has been the focal point of the city’s social and entertainment life since it opened in 1865. Since then, the iconic building has grown in size and function and is now at the center of cultural facilities, including the more modern Royal Concert Hall.
Alongside theatrical productions featuring everything from musicals to murder mysteries and Shakespearean tragedies, locals and tourists alike are popular with traveling ballet performances and concerts. If you’re traveling in Nottingham with the kids at Christmas, be sure to check out their ever-popular pantomime, a tradition that’s been around since 1971.
Address: Nottingham Theater Square
Official website: https://trch.co.uk
6. Highfields Park
Part of the University of Nottingham, Highfield Park is a stunning 52-acre green space filled with exotic plants and trees. Fun things to do here include boating, hiking, picnics, lawn bowls, croquet, and shooting. Kids can relax in the playground, and the Lakeside Arts Center hosts special events.
Another park worth visiting is the Botanical Gardens, home to beautiful gardens and some of the city’s most popular festivals. Nearby is the Church of Our Lady, the oldest church in the city, famous for its 19th-century glasswork. At the same time, Barnabas is the second largest religious center in the city after the Roman Catholic Church.
Address: University Avenue, Nottingham
Official website: www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/HighfieldsPark
7. D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum
In the Eastwood area of Nottingham, D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum brings together three unique attractions that focus on the famous British writer. The Blue Line Trail is a self-guided walking tour modeled after the Freedom Trail in Boston that connects the Heritage Center to the Birthplace Museum.
The museum hosts wonderful exhibits about Eastwood’s social history during the author’s lifetime, including reproductions of Victorian classrooms, a grocery store, and a model of a mine shaft that visitors can climb. There is also an art gallery, bistro and meeting space.
Also of interest is a showcase of family life in the mining community that shaped Lawrence’s formative years and the opportunity to see the rooms where the family lived. Personal items and some of Lawrence’s original watercolors are also on display.
Address: 8a Victoria Street, Eastwood, Nottingham
Official website: www.lleisure.co.uk/d-h-lawrence-birthplace-museum/
8. The Great Central Railway
The Great Central Railway (GCRN) is about 10 miles long from Ruddington Fields station to East Lough and Loughborough, making it a great trip when visiting Nottingham. Highlights of this heritage railway include many fully restored steam and diesel train engines and rolling stock, as well as fully functional workshops, vintage buses, cafes and shops.
Model train enthusiasts will want to check out this attraction’s grand miniature railway layout. Travelers with children should plan ahead and try to participate in fun activities such as a special Santa and Christmas train.
Address: Mere Way, Ludington, Nottinghamshire
Official website: www.gcrn.co.uk
9. Robin Hood Way and Sherwood Forest
The 104-mile Robin Hood Trail stretches from Nottingham Castle to Sherwood Forest and passes many attractions related to the legendary Robin Hood. The trail also passes Clumber Country Park and Rufford Abbey, as well as Robin Hood Hill, Rogue’s Wood and Fountain Valley.
The highlight, of course, is to spend time in the famous Sherwood Forest, the most important regional landmark associated with Robin Hood. Today, more than 1,000 acres of this famous woodland surround the village of Edwin Stowe, including the 450-acre Sherwood Forest Country Park.
Visitors come each year for events such as the week-long Robin Hood Festival. Highlights include the Middle Ages and the entertainment of characters, including knights and court jesters.
Other attractions include the Sherwood Forest Arts and Crafts Center and the 1,000-year-old Major Oak. You can also visit Thynghowe, a medieval meeting place where people came to settle disputes.
Address: Stallmansfield Road, Edwin, Nottinghamshire
10. Papplewick Pumping Station
Considered one of the finest examples of British Victorian industrial design, the Papplewick Pumping Station is an excellent example of 19th century craftsmanship. It has a number of original features, including a decorative cooling pool and a boiler room with six Lancashire boilers, all set on formally landscaped grounds.
The magnificent engine room is home to the original twin spar engine built by James Watt in 1884. Here, visitors can explore a combination of Victorian engineering and artistic design, including beautiful stained glass windows, elaborately decorated columns, and polished mahogany and brass.
Another engineering feat can be seen at Bestwood Country Park. The park is home to the Winding Machine Room, the last remnant of the massive coal mine that once dominated the landscape.
Address: Hedrig Lane, Ravens, Nottingham
Official website: www.papplewickpumpingstation.org.uk
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Nottingham. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Nottingham, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.