The following recommendations were sent in by Ross, who happens to own his own travel business across the pond. Between being a native of Nottingham — and running the travel business — I am confident that Ross’ suggestions of things you won’t want to miss are right on target. Here’s hoping you’ll get to visit one day!
- Sample a Fine Pint in England’s Oldest Inn! Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem (below Nottingham Castle) is England’s oldest inn, serving food and drink for over an incredible 800 years! A real highlight is the Medieval food night (finger-licking food crusade-style) — be it lamb chops, pork cutlets, or oven-baked chicken drumsticks served with hot roasted spuds. And to drink? Flagons of the finest ale served up by the establishment’s very own serving wenches, authentic to the fullest! What a scrumptious number 1 in the top 10 things to do in Nottingham.
- Nottingham Castle — Home of the ‘Sheriff of Nottingham’ Just above the city, Nottingham Castle has a vibrant museum and art gallery housing collections of silver, glass, decorative items, visual arts, paintings, and Nottinghamshire archaeology and history. This is also the home of the legendary ‘Sheriff of Nottingham’ and, believe it or not, there is still a Sheriff of Nottingham today — however, it is now purely a symbolic role. Be warned: the guides here are some of the most boring you will meet!
- Explore Nottingham’s City Caves Enter and explore a whole new world in the caves underneath Nottingham city and descend into the dark depths of the original Anglo-Saxon tunnels. These caves have been used and adapted over the centuries by local people to escape and take refuge from the world above. During World War 2 on 8 May, 1941, 500 high explosive bombs were dropped over Nottingham in a fearsome blitz; thousands of people sought refuge and retreated to the safety of the shelters built in the caves.
- Visit Sherwood Forest — the Home of Robin Hood Once a royal hunting forest, this is the legendary home of the outlaw Robin Hood. Today, it’s part of a national nature reserve because of its national ecological importance. There are 900 veteran oak trees here, including the famous Major Oak. This forest veteran is a huge oak tree thought to be around 800 years old. In a 2002 survey, it was voted “Britain’s favourite tree.” According to local lore, its hollow trunk was used as a hideout by Robin Hood’s men. What can I say, I’m a tree-loving kind of guy and have to say that this is one beautiful tree and certainly worth a visit.
- Take Some Spare Pants on a Nottingham Ghost Tour Join a ghost tour and let yourself be led into parts of the city where the street plan is nearly 1,000 years old, hear fascinating stories about ghosts and the odd gory execution whilst looking over your shoulder in the graveyard; this, of course, is a must do! Don’t forget your spare pair of pants.
- Take a Poke Around the Bad Boy Poet’s Home at Newstead Abbey Best known as the former home of the poet Lord Byron. Visitors interested in the poet Byron can see his private apartments as well as letters, objects, and furniture that belonged to the poet. You can have fun trying on replica period costumes in the Dressing Up Room or marvel at the expansive paneling in the Great Hall. Personally, I think you can’t beat sitting out in the sun enjoying lunch in this beautiful English setting. My tip, though, is not to bother viewing the Japanese gardens as they are, in my view, not very Japanese. Having said that, I have never been to Japan, but you can trust me.
- Sample a Ghost Supper at the Galleries of Justice if You Dare! The only museum of its type in all of Europe! It has preserved the site of Nottinghamshire’s old courthouse and county gaol as well as maintaining a vast collection of spine chilling artefacts relating to crime and punishment over the last three centuries. Go deep within the gaol to discover unsolved mysteries and see if anything paranormal happens to you. With unexplained sounds, smells, sensations, and apparitions reported frequently, it won’t only be the storyteller giving you the heebie jeebies!
- The Shakespeare Festival Every year in August, Nottingham Castle provides the perfect backdrop for the Shakespeare Festival. These productions are performed in beautiful Elizabethan costumes by a cast of Britain’s finest professional Shakespearian actors. They include live music, action, exciting sword fights, and hilarious comedy all set in the stunning natural surroundings that Shakespeare intended for his plays. I recommend this greatly as an evening with Shakespeare is an experience in itself. (Shakespeare himself won’t be there.)
- Visit Wollaton Hall, Gardens, and Deer Park Standing on a natural hill three miles west of Nottingham City Centre and built by Sir Francis Willoughby between 1580 and 1588, Wollaton Hall is a beautiful Elizabethan mansion set in 500 acres of spectacular gardens and parkland. Explore the magical home, stroll around the gardens, and if you get bored, you can chase the deer around the park. Be warned though that these deer don’t fear easily and may even end up chasing you instead; you may be wondering how I know this.
- Go to a Nottingham Forest Football (Soccer) Match If you have never been to a live football match before, then head over to the ‘city ground’ and watch two times European champions Nottingham Forest. There is nothing quite like a live football match; soak up the atmosphere, enjoy a half time pie, and cheer on the Reds to victory. Having said this, I am actually a Liverpool fan, so don’t expect to see me down there!
From the pictures I’ve seen, I know that Nottingham is a beautiful area. After reading the tips from Ross, I’m inclined to believe there are a lot of cool things to see and do, as well. Hopefully I will have a chance to visit one day.