Nottingham is one of three major cities in the East Midlands of England, the others being nearby Leicester and Derby. Its prosperity was historically derived mostly from the lace making and coal-mining industries, little of which now remains. Nottingham has moved towards a more service-based economy. In the sixties it was famed for having a gender imbalance.
The centre of Nottingham lies on the River Leen and its southern boundary follows the course of the River Trent, which flows from Stoke to the Humber. According to the 2001 census, Nottingham has an estimated city population of 275,100. The Nottingham Urban Area conurbation (which includes surrounding suburbs outside the city boundary, and neighbouring towns) has a population of 666,358 (2001 Census). Nottingham is a member of the English Core Cities Group.
The heart of the city is the Old Market Square, which underwent a major redevelopment in 2006. Most of the main shopping streets are around the square. The Council House, whose tall dome can be seen for miles around, is at the top end of the square. The inside of the Council House is the Exchange Arcade, a shopping centre. A bohemian quarter of the city known as Hockley has arisen in recent years, situated close to the Lace Market area. Nottingham receives a lot of tourism, mostly because of the legend of Robin Hood, visiting Sherwood Forest and Nottingham Castle.
- East Midlands Airport - Nottingham, Leicester, Derby (IATA: EMA) lies 12 miles (19km) south-west of Nottingham and flights are available to many international destinations. The Skylink Hockley bus runs between the airport and city centre every 30 minutes 04:00-22:59 and hourly 23:00-03:59. The bus journey takes approximately 30–40 minutes, depending on traffic conditions, and costs £3 single, £5 same day return, £6 for return travel within 1 month.
- Birmingham International Airport (IATA: BHX) is approx. 40 miles from Nottingham and serves all major international destinations.
- Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport (IATA: DSA) lies to the north of Nottinghamshire.
Nottingham is on the main line out of London St Pancras. The cheapest tickets between London and Nottingham are available from EM Trains but must be bought well in advance. There are also regular connections to Birmingham, Derby, Leicester, Crewe, Sheffield, and Leeds. Note that trains from London to Sheffield do not stop at Nottingham.
Turn right out of the station for an easy 5 minute walk to the city centre.
The Nottingham Tram runs from Nottingham main line station through the city centre and out to Hucknall park and ride and Phoenix Park park and ride to the north of the city.
From the south, travel on the M1 and exit at junction 24 or 25. From the North take the M1 junction 25 or 26.
There is a choice of 7 Park and Ride sites with over 4000 spaces, located at easy points around the City .
Bus operators offer services to most other UK destinations.
GorillaBus operates services to Liverpool, Manchester, Yorkshire and Birmingham. Prices start at £1, and must be pre-booked online.
National Express provides cheap advance tickets on a Nottingham-London route, often for as little as a pound each way if booked early enough online. National Express also offers cheap tickets (called funfares) to many other major cities from Nottingham.
Nottingham has extensive bus services provided by two main companies, trentbarton and Nottingham City Transport (NCT), running from the Broadmarsh and Victoria Bus stations as well as key termini in the city centre such as Old Market Square, Parliament Street and Carrington Street. Fares: NCT+tram-only £3 day ticket or £3.40 Kangaroo ticket which is valid on any bus, tram and train within Greater Nottingham. Fares on some NCT buses are only £1 with a valid student card. Most NCT buses do not give change. Most Trent Barton buses do, just ask the driver.
Nottingham Express Transit  is the city's modern tram system. It runs from Nottingham railway station (Station Street) in the south to Hucknall in the North and with a branch to Phoenix Park (M1 Junction 26 Park and Ride site) to the northeast. The system has a number of Park and Ride sites along it, which make travel into the city centre easy. An all day tram-only ticket costs £3.50, all day tram+NCT bus is £4.00, single tickets are £1.90 but £2.50 before 09:30, Mondays to Fridays. Tickets are bought from ticket machine on platforms. The system is set to be expanded over the next few years, reaching to the suburb of Clifton and the town of Beeston.
The city centre is best explored on foot as many of the historic streets are pedestrianised or have good pedestrian access.
Museums and galleries
- Nottingham Castle (Warning: it is not a castle, but a small stately home with only the original gatehouse remaining from the castle.) Museum is a must-see and provides a fascinating insight into the history of Nottingham. The fine mansion also houses the country's first municipal art gallery and the beautifully maintained gardens are ideal for a lazy summer's day stroll. The walls around the 'castle' also offer spectacular views over the Trent valley. The famous Robin Hood statue is located just outside the castle walls.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn. Off Maid Marian Way - One of various pubs claiming to be the oldest pub in Britain, the "Trip" traces its existence back over 800 years. Built into the sandstone caves under the castle, it is charming and well worth a visit if you happen to be in the city. It is located at the Brewhouse Yard, home to the Museum of Nottingham Life which shows the social change in Nottingham that has occurred over the last 300 years.
- City of Caves is an award-winning visitor attraction which is accessed from the upper mall of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. It consists of a network of caves, carved out of sandstone that have been variously used over the years as a tannery, public house cellars, and as air raid shelters. Nottingham has more man-made caves than anywhere else in Britain.
- The Galleries of Justice are well-worth visiting for a fascinating look at the sometimes rough justice meted out in years gone by.
- Nottingham has a small contemporary art gallery that's normally worth a look called The Angel Row Gallery. The art ranges from thought provoking, to the plain bizarre and it's located next to the Central Library Building unsurprisingly on Angel Row, just off Old Market Square.
- Wollaton Hall is a beautiful Elizabethan mansion in a large suburban deer park, Wollaton Park. The hall itself houses the city's Natural History Museum whilst the Industrial Museum is housed in an outbuilding. This is now fully open following restoration works. The Hall was also used in the 2012 film, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises as Wayne Manor.
- Nottingham Council House is where Nottingham city council meet. It is located in the Old Market Square and tours are free. (Note, you have to book in advance)
Historic sites out of town
Newstead Abbey. The beautiful home of local poet Lord Byron is located 12 miles north of the city. It is well worth a visit, and the website supplies extensive information on how to travel to the site. Lord Byron was buried in Hucknall Church, and his tomb can be seen inside the church which is situated at the end of Hucknall's high street, a few minutes walk from the Hucknall tram stop.
- Sherwood Forest Country Park is the ancient royal hunting forest situated to the North of Nottingham, stretching throughout Nottinghamshire and up to South Yorkshire. The remnants of Sherwood form a number of country parks and estates. Clumber Park, about 30 miles north on the A614, is a vast area of parkland and woods owned by the National Trust, good for walking and cycling (bicycle hire available). Sherwood Pines Country Park houses a CenterParcs village, a Go Ape aerial assault course, and woodland walking. And Sherwood Forest Country Park has the historic "Sherwood" which visitors may be looking for - the Major Oak which was said to be the hideout of Robin Hood and his band of outlaws. The tired visitor centre is due for replacement, and many visitors are surprised to find the Oak is actually in the Birklands, an area of birch trees. The Thoresby Hall estate is run by Warner holidays as a "just for adults" centre, and Welbeck Abbey is now a military college.
Theatre Royal, Theatre Square, NG1 5ND, ☎ . Opened in 1865 this is one of the finest Victorian theatres in the UK. The Theatre Royal is Nottingham's main touring house, offering a wide range of productions including musicals, opera, ballet, drama and the annual pantomime. Auditorium seats 1186 on four levels. Licensed bars, cafe and restaurant.
Nottingham Playhouse, Wellington Circus, Derby Road, NG1 5AF, ☎ . Opened in 1963 to the designs of Peter Moro and heritage-listed as Grade II*, the Playhouse is one of the most architecturally-striking modern theatres in the UK. Its resident company has acquired a national and international reputation since 1948. Main auditorium seats 750 on two levels, Studio seats 90. Licensed bars and restaurant. Outside the theatre is the 'Sky Mirror' public sculpture by Turner-Prize winner Anish Kapoor.
Lace Market Theatre, Halifax Place, near Fletcher Gate, NG1 1QN, ☎ . Small, independent amateur theatre with an excellent reputation for its range of productions. Main auditorium seats 118, Studio seats 50. Licensed bar.
Nottingham Arts Theatre, George Street, NG1 3BE, ☎ . Community theatre offering about 10 productions per year, including comedy, drama, musicals and opera. Main auditorium seats 320, Studio seats 50. Coffee Bar.
Lakeside Arts Centre, East Drive, University Park, NG7 2RD, ☎ . Further out of town, in University Park is the 225 seater Djanogly Theatre. The diverse programme includes drama, dance, comedy, jazz, world music and family events. Cafe.
Broadway, 14-18 Broad St, NG1 3AL, ☎ . Four screens, cafes, bars and a mix of independent, foreign-language and mainstream releases.
Cineworld, Cornerhouse, Forman St, NG1 4AA, ☎ 0844 815 7747. Has 14 screens, including an IMAX facility.
Savoy Cinemas, 233 Derby Rd, Lenton, NG7 1QN, ☎ . Four screens, a licensed bar and due to its location is popular with uni students.
Screen Room, Broad St. Was the world's smallest cinema (just 21 seats), closed in January 2011.
Showcase Cinemas, Redfield Way, Lenton, NG7 2UW, ☎ 0871 220 1000. A 12-screen American-style multiplex just off the A52/Clifton Boulevard ring road.
- Go ice skating at the National Ice Centre
- Catch a game of Ice Hockey at the National Ice Centre home of the GMB Nottingham Panthers, the oldest and best supported team in the UK. Get your tickets in advance and ask for tickets at the 'bowl end' in order to be in amongst the locals (and at the end where the 'Panthers' shoot twice). If you happen to be visiting Nottingham at the same time that they are taking on arch rivals the Sheffield Steelers then get your tickets in advance as these games nearly always sell out - prepare yourself for 7000 people screaming on their team and a war on the ice - these teams do not like each other (though there is never any fan based violence).
- Another Hockey match worth going to is the Nottingham Trent University vs University of Nottingham Varsity match held once a year and is the biggest varsity outside North America.
- Visit Holme Pierrepont, home to the National Watersports Centre.
- Watch International test cricket at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground near the banks of the River Trent.
- Nottingham Tennis Centre hosts the Nottingham Open each year in the week running up to Wimbledon.
- Watch football at The City Ground or Meadow Lane, homes of Nottingham Forest F.C. and Notts County F.C. respectively
- Nottingham Activity Centre the professionals choice for quality clay shooting. Stag and Hen, Corporate and private tuition available
- Try your hand at Clay Shooting at Nottingham & District Gun Club
Parks and activities
- In the summer you can hire a rowing boat on the beautiful grounds of The University of Nottingham.
- Nottingham Castle has extensive grounds, which are planted beautifully in the summer time. Each summer open air theatre performances are held in the grounds.
- The Nottingham Arboretum (between Nottingham Trent University tram stop and High School tram stop) hosts open air music in the park at weekends in summer.
- Nottingham's Goose Fair is held on the Forest Recreation Ground (at the Forest tram stop) on the first weekend of October each year. It is one of Britain's largest funfairs and has existed more than 700 years, but nowadays you won't see any geese! Entry is free. To see it at its best, go after dark, although it's likely to be less busy during the day.
- The Forest Recreation Ground also plays host to the city's annual Bonfire Night fireworks display, which also has a funfair.
- The Riverside Festival at Victoria Embankment is held on a weekend at the start of August each year. It features live music, markets and fairs topped off with a huge fireworks display.
- The varsity sports series between the city's two universities, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University, is the largest outside of North America.
- Nottinghamshire Pride is held annually in the last weekend of July at the Forest Recreation Ground. The event consists of numerous stages of music and comedy, as well as many stalls and stands from organisations, including food and drink areas! It attracts people not just from the Nottingham area; but from neighbouring counties and regions such as South Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Nottingham is therefore a gay friendly city and is accepting of LGBT people with a notable gay visibility. (The city has the third highest percentage of people in same sex partnerships, according to the 2001 census, of the eight English core cities after Manchester and Bristol.) It is referred to as the gay capital of the Midlands - or "Queen of the Midlands"; and the LGBT community are down to earth and friendly; as is the general culture of Nottingham.
- LBC is a monthly electronic music event held at The Bodega featuring upcoming artists from all over the world. Entry is fairly cheap and is predominantly aimed at the student population of the city. Recently featured in The Guardian, it is seen as Nottingham's forward thinking Music and Arts event.
Nottingham has two large excellent shopping centres at either end of the City Centre "The Victoria Centre" and "Broadmarsh". The Victoria Centre is the more modern of the two, and has more shops & facilities, although Broadmarsh is on the eve of a huge redevelopment which will more than double its size. Between the two are the main shopping streets: Lister Gate and Clumber Street are home to High Street names, while designer labels can be found on Bridlesmith Gate, Victoria Street and in the Exchange Arcade, within the Council House on Market Square. The alternative shopper will find Hockley Village a haven, focused around Goose Gate, the cities Bohemian district. To buy a Nottingham memento, go to the Lace Centre on the corner of Castle Gate, opposite the Robin Hood statue, to buy traditional Nottingham lace.
With regards to the alternative music and fashion scene, Nottingham is highly regarded and caters well for obscure and eclectic tastes. Selectadisc, just a short walk from the Market Square is one of just two in the country, the other being in Soho, London. Selectadisc is widely considered to stock the best indie and alternative music selection in the city, yet it is commonly felt that, for more helpful and down-to-earth staff, the Fopp store (on the next road) is more reliable. Now one of just six Fopp stores in the country, this store often stages in store sessions and offers a wide selection of independent DVDs and fanzines and CDs from unsigned acts. Void, Wild (and its sister store Wilder) and the local favourite Ice Nine can all be found in the bohemian district of Hockley. These stores can often become busy over the weekend in particular, but many original retro and vintage fashion items can be found for very cheap prices here.
Gusto, 2 Gedling Street, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nottingham NG1 1DS, Open Monday to Saturday until 7:30 PM. Simple and authentic Italian food in this deli located just east of the National Ice Centre. Terrific pizza and pasta and friendly Italian staff. £5 to £7 per main. Generous portions.
Annie's burger shack, The Navigation, 6 Wilford Street. An eating institution to a number of locals. Currently located in The Navigation, this doubles up as a place for high quality burgers (generally in the £10 range) and real ale with canal side seating.
Wagamama, The Cornerhouse, Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4DB, ☎ . Open late every day. Chain serving affordable Japanese-style ramen, as well as fried noodle and rice dishes. £5 to £8 per main. It's usually busy and cafeteria-style benches mean you will rub elbows with your fellow diners.
The Kean's Head, 46 St. Mary's Gate, Nottingham NG1 1QA, ☎ . Open daily from late morning until late. This small pub in the Lace Market area serves simple but tasty food, ranging from sandwiches to traditional English pub food to more Italian-influenced fare. £4 to £8 per dish. Non-smoking, and an excellent selection of beers to match your food.
- The Alley Cafe, 1A Cannon Court, Long Row, Nottingham, NG1 6JE, +44 115 955 1013. This small bar and restaurant located on a tiny alley on the north-western part of Old Market Square serves vegetarian and vegan meals and sandwiches, £4 to £10 per meal. Draught beer served as well.
Nottingham also has the usual range of chain restaurants and bars that you can find in many cities across the UK - for a budget meal (and drink) JD Wetherspoons is always worth trying - there are also a number of budget restaurants along Mansfield Road not far from the Victoria Shopping Centre
There is a pedestrianised street full of eateries of varying quality next to the Cornerhouse. These restaurants range from a Pizza Hut and a Subway, to a brassiere (Punchinellos) with an excellent pre-theatre menu. There is also a wide variety of takeaways in Nottingham, catering for many different tastes.
Cafe Rouge, 31 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham, NG1 2GR, ☎ . Relaxed, informal dining with good service and handy for the Lace Market area of Nottingham.
Mintons Tearoom, 100 Church Road, Greasley, Nottingham NG16 2AB, ☎ . Very friendly cafe with homemade cakes, hot meals, and a wide selection of drinks. Beautiful English countryside just outside of Nottingham.
Hart's Restaurant. Owned by Tim Hart of Hambleton Hall fame. At lunch time the Hart's formula includes "lunch for less" with two or three courses from a shorted menu for £16 - £18 per person. There are various fixed price menus in the evenings too. Meal prices for two with three course and wine in the evening will approach £80+.
- World Service Similar formula to Hart's - some of the owners used to work there! Regularly top of the pops in the "Nottingham Restaurant of the Year" awards.
Apart from Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (allegedly built in 1189) which is below the castle and often on the tourist trail there are over 100 licensed premises in the square mile around the centre of Nottingham. A good place to start is the trendy Lace Market area east of Market Square where you will also find many good restaurants. Pubs around the Market Square tend to appeal to younger drinkers with a Wetherspoons and Yates's Wine Lodge, but the area on the canal side around the Canal House pub tends to be a little more discerning. The Hockley area also provides a range of pleasant bars to suit a range of budgets. The Cornerhouse complex (near the Royal Centre tram stop) contains some really nice bars, particularly Revolution, and close to this is The Orange Tree on Shakespeare Street. Slightly further out of the centre in the multicultural and vibrant area known as Sneinton is a wonderful pub called the Lord Nelson with a great garden and real ales. The other historic pubs include The Bell, situated in the Market Square, and the Salutation, on Maid Marian Way, both of which can trace a long history and lay claim to having resident ghosts. Ask at a quiet moment for a tour of the Salutation's cellars, dug by hand into the sandstone rock below the pub and used in centuries past as a secure brewing area. Rock City hosts one of the biggest student disco nights in town, with standard dance/pop music, when popular live rock bands aren't playing in town. For a different experience, try 'The Pitcher and Piano' bar, with a slightly more mature crowd. Originally a large Anglican church it has been stylishly modernised but still contains the church's architectural history with gothic decor and stained glass windows. Juju is good dance bar, that is open till 3 or 4am on the weekends, with free entry.
Igloo Hostel. For £15.00 a night, the Igloo is a very nice hostel and a great choice to spend one or more nights in Nottingham. A 5 minute walk from the centre of town, It's very clean and has 24 hot water in all the bathrooms. It has a fully equipped kitchen with stove, oven, fridge, toaster, and the most important equipment in a kitchen: a radio. The Igloo provides free tea, and coffee all day as well as free wifi and internet. It also has a comfortable, friendly common room, with a TV and many DVDs if you are tired and want to rest and watch something. Lots of books and board games can be easily found as well. A board with several tips of good cheap places to eat and drink can be found in the common room. Downstairs, the Games room offers a Ps2, Pool table and Fooz Ball. Unquestionably, a very good and friendly place!
Midtown Hostel. £16 a night Midtown Hostel has lots of good things going for it. It's clean, in a great location (just 1 minute walk from the main square), hot water in the showers, free internet, decent kitchen (does have oven, does not have stove, has large fridge to store food in), PS2 and a few games, and free coffee and tea. The beds are reasonably comfortable (but some do squeak). Reports of noisy parties at night.
Britannia Hotel. Nottingham.
Days Hotel Nottingham, 17-31 Wollaton Street, Nottingham, NG1 5FW, ☎ , fax: 0115 912 8080, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 2pm (early check-in by arrangement), check-out: 11am (late check-out by arrangement). This Days hotel features non-smoking rooms that include bath and/or shower, work desk, TV with freeview and complimentary broadband. Some rooms have been adapted to allow for easier access. Full or continental breakfasts are available for £10. £79.95 (up to two children can stay free of charge, or for 75% if staying in a separate room..
Jury's Inn, Waterfront Plaza, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3BJ, ☎ . Car parking is roughly five minutes from the hotel grounds, with many shops and restaurants close by. Well-equipped room with TV, hair-dryer, coffee/tea and biscuits and internet access.
Holiday Inn Express, 7 Chapel Quarter, Nottingham, NG1 6JS, ☎ . This hotel is in the centre of the city centre and is of the high standards of the Holiday Inn chain, with a spacious room, comfortable beds and friendly staff. From £70.
Rutland Square Hotel, St James Street, Nottingham, NG1 6FJ, ☎ . Check-in: 2pm, check-out: 11am. The Rutland Square Hotel, Nottingham has an enviable location in the heart of the city, retaining its period elegance, whilst offering comfortable accommodation. £40 - £60 pppn.
Park Inn Hotel Nottingham, ☎ . Comfortable hotel less than a mile from the city centre.
SACO Apartments, The Ropewalk, Nottingham, NG1 5BB, ☎ . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 10:00. Conveniently located near the city centre with easy access to Queens Medical Hospital and the University of Nottingham. Thankfully there are no surprises in the rooms as they meet their website descriptions and pictures perfectly, with friendly reception staff and all the facilities you need, even for a long-term stay. from £64 per night.
Village Nottingham, Brailsford Way, Chilwell, NG9 6DL, ☎ . Offers over 130 bedrooms, a health club, the Verve Grill restaurant, the Victory Pub & Kitchen, the Vibe Cafe and a hair salon. The hotel also has 11 meetings & conference rooms. Booking is available online.
While overall a safe city, Nottingham has been highlighted by the media for gun and knife crime in its suburbs, acquiring the (mostly tongue-in-cheek) nickname 'Shottingham'; although the actual incidence in 2004/5 was 19 offences per 100,000 population (compared to 50 per 100,000 population for both Greater Manchester and London) . It is best to avoid walking late at night through St Ann's (a council estate northeast of the Victoria shopping centre) and The Meadows (between the railway station and the river). Normal precautions for large western European cities should be undertaken by individuals after dark, especially for lone females.
- For keen walkers, Matlock and the Derbyshire Peak District can be reached in about an hour by car. The Trans-Peak bus will get you to the peak district from Broadmarsh Bus Centre and back again if required and costs 7.50
- Derby is a neighboring city and is easily accessible by rail.
- Lincoln is not too far away.
- Sheffield, about an hour away from Nottingham by rail or road, is a slightly larger city and a popular cultural and shopping destination.
- There are direct trains from Nottingham to the famous seaside resort of Skegness.