Visit Nottingham - City of Legends

1 March 2022

Nottingham is a city for those who love stories. It's the home of Robin Hood, who took from the rich and gave to the poor. This generosity is reflected in its people as you are always greeted with a warm welcome from the friendly locals.

Robin Hood lived in Sherwood Forest with Maid Marion and his band of merry men. He sought to right the wrongs of Sheriff of Nottingham and King John and give hope to the people of Nottingham.

This brings us to another fictional legend associated with the city - Batman. Wollaton Hall, just outside the city, is the location of Bruce Wayne’s Grand Manor, where the Hollywood film Batman was filmed. Unrelated - there is also a Gotham in a village called East Leake.

Nottingham Castle’s story began in 1068 when William the Conqueror ordered its construction. In 1663, after the restoration of Charles II, Nottingham Castle was purchased by William Cavendish, the Duke of Newcastle, who rebuilt it as a Renaissance-style palace completed in 1678 and was regarded as one of England’s first and finest Italianate houses. Then a fire destroyed it in 1831 but it was reopened as an art gallery and recently underwent a major refurbishment as a visitor centre, making it a top day out for all the family.  

Sir Richard the Lionheart is said to have stopped by before the Crusades in 1189 for a drink at The Old Trip to Jerusalem – said to be England’s oldest inn, carved into the walls of Nottingham Castle.

It's an excellent traditional pub for real ales. Deep below it you can explore Nottingham’s subterranean caverns at the City of Caves, many of which are said to be haunted.

Other famous old pubs include The Old Salutation and The Royal Children. Meanwhile, The Bell in Nottingham Market Square was built in 1492 and is a great place to drink and eat. All these places have their own tales associated with them.

The children of Nottingham all know the tale of Goose Fair, which has been visiting the city since 1284 and takes place from the first week of October. Traders used to sell geese but now the fair is characterised by fairground rides, stalls and mushy peas and mint sauce – a Nottingham favourite.

More stories can be found at the National Justice Museum nearby presents an extensive and grisly history of crime and punishment.

Housed in Nottinghamshire’s Grade 2 listed old Shire Hall and County Gaol. Visitors can take part in a live court enactment as well as seeing how prisoners were treated.

This museum of crime is in the heart of The Lace District, an important place in Nottingham, where , intricate lace has been spun for some of the finest addresses in the country.

It all became possible with the invention of the knitting frame by William Lee of Calverton in Nottinghamshire. The Lace Market was established when Richard Arkwright established a small cotton mill in Hockley in 1768 and the mill workers needed a place to live.

This led to the creation of grand redbrick buildings which stand to this day and are home to many of the city’s trendy nightspots.

Nottingham folk are friendly and have a dialect of their own. Their signature greeting is ‘Ayup me duck’, and if you are in the company of true Nottingham folk you become one of the fold.

Get a mash on’, is put the kettle on, ‘mardy’ is being grumpy, ‘gerramoovon’ means hurry up, ‘gerritdaynya’ is begin your meal, ‘yo jammi sod’ means you lucky person, while ‘tarrah’ is goodbye.

Creativity pulses through Nottingham’s veins and it has many famous sons and daughters including film director Shane Meadows, cricketer Stuart Broad, boxer Carl Froch, singer songwriter Jake Bugg and actress Vicky McClure, to name a few. Paul Smith also opened his first store here.

Nottingham locations have also been featured in Hollywood blockbusters for instance Wollaton Hall features in The Dark Knight Rises, This is England and Bronson.

This is a city with a rich sporting heritage. Trent Bridge is one of the premier locations in the country to play cricket.

And on either side of the river are two football clubs, one the former oldest league clubs in the country – Notts County – aka The Magpies and Nottingham Forest aka the Reds.

Speaking of fairytales, no one can forget how Nottingham Forest rose to fame in 1980 when under the stewardship of the late and great Brian Clough they lifted the European Cup.

Nottingham also has its own horse racing track and greyhound racing, as well as a tennis centre and the National Water Sports centre where James Cracknell once trained.

This is a city of rich cultural offerings with a free modern art gallery called Nottingham Contemporary, full of compelling exhibitions from international artists. Catch international movies at Broadway Cinema, or a spectacular concert at Motorpoint Arena, or a show at one of the four city centre theatres.

There are plenty of places to shop in Nottingham.  Victoria shopping centre, now called Intu, has many stores under one roof, while many shopping outlets are scattered throughout the city and the market square.

Nottingham is a city renowned for its gastronomy, nightlife, shopping, culture, arts and sport.

There are Michelin-starred establishments like Sat Bains with Rooms and Alchemilla or a variety of bespoke restaurants such as Annie’s Burger Shack or Harts Restaurant.

There’s also a wide range of pubs and bars, in this city which is a popular stag and hen location.

From secret cocktail bars to champagne bars, there are plenty of places to enjoy a drink throughout the centre of town from waterside pubs in Via Fossa, to The Pitcher and Piano – inside a former church, to watering holes in the fashionable Lace Market and Hockley areas of town.

Stay the night at the Lace Market Hotel, a red-brick Georgian townhouse built at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution with 42 en-suite bedrooms.

Overall, Nottingham is a great place to visit and spend time. It is full of history and heritage and generosity pulses through the veins of its people. The most famous son of all is Robin Hood, who is a beloved hero in the eyes of many around the world. Stop off in the city of legends and write your own adventure story.