Top 7 things to do in Nottingham

Travelling and visiting England’s cities? Here’s the essential list of the best things to do in Nottingham!

Located in the East Midlands of northernEngland, Nottingham is – with just 308,700 inhabitants and 729,977 people in the urban area (2011 data) – the seventh largest city in the UK. It is one of the few industrial cities in Great Britain to have retained a trace of its medieval past, while becoming an outpost of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the course of its long history, the city was successively occupied by the Romans, subjected to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercy, at the mercy of Viking raids, dominated by the Normans, influenced by the Carmelites before becoming a leading English city in contemporary times. Situated between Birmingham and Leeds, Nottingham has many attractions to offer visitors.

If you’re looking for things to do in Nottingham, here’s a non-exhaustive list of things to do in and around the city.

Also read on the Nottingham guide:

1. Nottingham Castle

Château de Nottingham

Photo credit: Flickr – Arran Bee

Nottingham Castle is a must-see when visiting Nottingham: it was built in the 12th century on the foundations of a first castle erected in 1067 after the Battle of Hastings on the orders of William the Conqueror. Situated high above the city, it boasts a vast network of underground caves.

The castle is famous for the legend of Robin Hood, telling the story of the confrontation between the bandit and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Today, the castle museum displays Bronze Age artefacts, Greek and Roman antiquities and paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries. In the park, you’ll find the ruins of the ancient medieval wooden castle. A statue of Robin Hood (« Robin the Rogue », mistranslated as Robin Hood) takes us back to the famous legend of the hero, who is said to have been held prisoner in Nottingham Castle by the town’s sheriff.

2. City of Caves

"Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem" , City of Caves, Nottingham

Photo credit: Pixabay – 6277974

Nottingham’s underground caves are one of the city’s major tourist attractions, attracting large numbers of visitors every year. A vast network of caves cut directly into the rock, they were used over the centuries as tanneries, public house cellars and air-raid shelters during the Second World War. The town’s oldest pub, « Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem », dates back to 1189 and was built under the castle.

3. Old Market Square

"Old Market Square" , Place du Vieux Marché, Nottingham

Photo credit: Flickr – Dun.can

Located in the heart of Nottingham’s city center, Old Market Square is the town hall square, recognizable by its domed building. It is the second largest public space in the UK after London’s Trafalgar Square. If you’ve come to visit Nottingham for a while, you’ll be sure to drop in for a stroll or a beer on the terrace. It’s also home to a Ferris wheel offering breathtaking views over the rest of the city. With a surface area of 22,000 m², it is said to be the largest public square in the whole of the United Kingdom: it’s a bit like Mexico City’s Constitution Square, in English.

4. Council House

Council House, Nottingham

Photo credit: Flickr – Addy Clarke

Council House is the town hall on the Place du Vieux Marché. This Greek-architecture building houses several shops and paintings depicting the city’s history, including Robin Hood and William the Conqueror. Its 61-metre-high dome is reminiscent of French, Italian and American institutional buildings, such as Washington’s Capitol, the Parisian Pantheon and the Roman Pantheon. Built between 1927 and 1929 in a neo-baroque style, it’s a landmark not to be missed when visiting Nottingham.

5. The Arboretum

Parc The Arboretum, Nottingham

Photo credit: Flickr – Mr Thinktank

Located north of the city center, Parc Arboretum is one of the city’s most important green spaces and oldest park. More than 1,000 specimens of century-old trees live there peacefully. Numerous cultural events are held here throughout the year, including the Green Festival in September, a renowned music festival. If there’s nothing going on when you visit Nottingham, you can still enjoy beautiful walks away from the concrete and urban hustle and bustle.

6. Brewhouse Yard Museum

Musée Brewhouse Yard Museum, Nottingham

Photo credit: Flickr – alan feebery

If you’re a history buff, don’t miss this museum, which traces the town’s sometimes turbulent past. Reconstructions of rooms and stores dating back to the 17th century offer a glimpse into the economic and social life of days gone by, a leap back 350 to 400 years.

7. Sherwood Forest

Forêt de Sherwood, Nottingham

Photo credit: Flickr – Nilfanion

Located in Nottinghamshire to the north of the city, on the road to Sheffield, this forest is said to be legendary for being the place where Robin Hood hid out with his companions and victoriously confronted the Sheriff of the City of Nottingham.English Nature – the British government’s nature conservation agency – designated the forest and its wealth of oak, birch and fern flora as a National Nature Reserve in 2002.

How do I get to Nottingham?

To visit Nottingham, the nearest airport is around 30 km away: East Midlands Airport, which also serves Derby and Leicester in Leicestershire, offers 30 scheduled national and international flights. Find a cheap flight on the website of our partner Ulysses

To get to Nottingham by train from France, you’ll have to cross the Channel Tunnel. The Eurostar line from Paris or Lille reaches the city via London. Please note that you’ll need to book two separate tickets (Paris-London and London-Nottingham) with Go Euro and ACP Rail.

Where to stay in Nottingham

The best places to stay and visit in Nottingham are Basford and Sherwood to the north of the city center, Wollaton and Lenton to the west, and Beeston to the southwest. Are you looking for a hotel? Visit this hotel comparator , which offers the best deals available on the market. For those who prefer a typical pied-à-terre, you’ll find what you’re looking for on Airbnb.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Nottingham,gb