Robin Hood

Nottingham is most famous for its associations with the medieval outlaw Robin Hood. Less well known is that this friendly city in the heart of England is also a haven for shoppers, night-club goers and lovers of cuisine, culture and sport.

Find out more about the legendary rogue and his moll, Maid Marion, at Nottingham Castle, and also at Sherwood Forest, where the Major Oak, thought to be one of Robin's hideouts, still stands tall. At the Tales of Robin Hood attraction, all age groups can have fun on this animated ride through Robin's medieval wonderland. The city celebrates its associations with the outlaw at the annual Robin Hood Pageant.

Robin is not the city's only unique ‘attraction'. Billed as the only place in the country "where you could be arrested, sentenced and imprisoned", the Galleries of Justice take you on a unique interactive journey through 200 years of crime and punishment.

More fascination lies underground – in an amazing labyrinth of man-made caves. This City of Caves has been used for a variety of purposes over its 1,000-year history, and is now an interactive subterranean experience. View the mystical spring where druids worked their magic; experience the sights, sounds and smells of a medieval tannery, peek into the harsh reality of Victorian life, when the caves became slum dwellings for the poor, and see how the caves were used as air-raid shelters during World War II.

The cultural heritage of Nottingham is rich, and this is reflected in its diverse range of museums and galleries. Among the best are the Nottingham Castle museum and art gallery, with the added bonus of lovely grounds with stunning views across the city, Green's Mill, home of eminent mathematician, George Green and Wollaton Hall, a testament to the great Elizabethan architect, Robert Smythson. Close to the Brewhouse Yard Museum is what is reputedly the oldest pub in England, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, established in 1189AD. The exciting life of 19th-century popular aristocratic hero, Lord Byron, is traced at Newstead Abbey, which lies to the north of the city.

Nottingham may be steeped in history, but it also has a lively contemporary arts scene, and quality exhibitions are always on at the Angel Row and Surface galleries. Exciting new work from South Asian and Afro-Caribbean artists is showcased at APNA Arts and EMACA Arts. The Lakeside Arts Centre has a year-round programme and film buffs should not miss the Broadway Cinema, showing art movies and world cinema. The Royal Centre and the Nottingham Playhouse both present a range of top quality theatre, including visiting international productions of drama, West End musicals, dance, opera, ballet, concerts and comedy.

The massive National Ice Centre and Nottingham Arena regularly bills spectacular ice shows (including the fantastic Disney on Ice, October 14-19) ice hockey matches and big-name rock and classical music concerts.

An annual event (over 700 years!) is the Goose Fair, a massive gathering of the best fairground rides and entertainment in Britain.

The city's industrial past is founded on lace and Nottingham lace is justly famous throughout the world. Visit the Lace Centre, where you can see lacemaking demonstrations, try your hand at making some for yourself and buy exquisite souvenirs of your visit.

The elegantly restored Lace Market district, once home to factories and warehouses, now bustles with stylish shops, traditional pubs, chic cafes and splendid restaurants and has become the place to see and be seen in. Another place perfect for a relaxing stroll is the Canalside, with its attractive waterside views and yet more bars and restaurants.

For cutting edge fashions, go to Bridlesmith Gate, pop into Paul Smith's original shop on Byard Lane or see what takes your fancy at Zara. For big brand names sample the all weather shopping at the Victoria and Broadmarsh Centres. The Old Market Square has frequent lively markets including a Christmas Craft Fair (December 4-24).

Night owls love Nottingham. There are night-clubs, late bars, live music and comedy venues galore. The Cornerhouse offers a complete night out with bars, restaurants, a 14-screen cinema and the biggest nightclub in town, all under one roof.

Sporting fans need not feel left out. Nottingham Racecourse has a busy calendar of race meetings; the Nottingham Tennis Centre hosts major international tournaments and the National Water Sports Centre holds world class competitions in everything from powerboating to white water canoeing.

Nottingham has direct coach and rail links with London, while the newly named Nottingham East Midlands Airport, with its growing number of flights from continental Europe, is just 25 minutes drive. Birmingham International Airport is easily accessible by rail or road. Anyone searching for a short break in Nottingham this autumn will be able take advantage of a great value offer. A two-night break starts at just £62 per night for TWO people B & B, staying at the internationally acclaimed Holiday Inn hotels at Castle Marina or Nottingham City Centre and you can book by calling the central reservations number on 0800 405060, and quote “VisitBritain” short break rate. This offer is subject to availability and terms and conditions apply (refer to www.experiencenottingham.com/specialbreaks.asp for details)


This article was kindly donated by Visit Britain. Some editing has been carried out to delete outdated links etc.