Nottingham is a dynamic mix of history, shopping and nightlife, surrounded by beautiful countryside. Although a settlement since pre-Roman times, the city is associated with the legend of Robin Hood and his Merry Men in most people's minds. Nottingham's prosperity in recent centuries was based on lace-making and coal-mining.
East Midlands Airport is 29 km from Nottingham City Centre. Skylink Buses operate a regular shuttle service, 24 hours a day. Air Lingus, Ryanair and Thomson Airways all fly into this airport. Birmingham International Airport and Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport are both around an hour's drive away.
Nottingham Train Station is within walking distance of the city centre. Regular trains run from London St Pancras, operated by East Midland Trains. There are also frequent services from Birmingham, Derby, Leicester, Crewe, Sheffield and Leeds. Local buses also stop at the station.
National Express Coaches operate a frequent coach service to Nottingham from most major cities in the UK, including London Victoria, Birmingham and Edinburgh. GorillaBus offer a cheap service from Liverpool, Manchester, Yorkshire and Birmingham. Coaches leave from Broadmarsh Bus Station.
Nottingham has one of the best local bus services in the UK. The hub for local buses is the Victoria Bus Station. Providers are Nottingham City Transport and Trent Barton. There is also a tram service which runs from the station, through the city centre, to both Hucknall and Phoenix park and rides which are on the peripheries of the city centre. There are 5 other park and rides located around the city. Taxis are available from stations and taxi ranks. Much of the historic centre of Nottingham is pedestrianised, making exploring easy and pleasant. Nottingham actively encourages cycling and there is a Citycard Bike Rental scheme, with many cycle hubs.
With plenty of history and attractions slap-bang in the middle of the city and its surroundings, Nottingham is a great place for a day out. Convenient access to many locations makes it easy to plan your visit so you can leave the car at home. We’ve handpicked ten suggestions for Nottingham days out this autumn – some obvious, and some a little more outside of the box.
If it’s the sound of crunching leaves and stunning surroundings you’re looking for, then look no further. Spreading across 500 acres of land, Wollaton Hall and Park offers visitors of any age plenty to do and see.
Animal lovers, in particular, will be in for a treat. The park is home to over 200 wild deer, which are commonly seen around the grounds. Don’t let rainy days get in the way either. The Natural History Museum, located in the manor house, contains a generous amount of interesting exhibitions and programmes. And there’s a bonus for movie buffs. The Elizabethan manor may be recognisable to Marvel fans as it was the setting for the Wayne Manor in the 2012 movie ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. If you’re keen to stay outdoors, however, explore the park at your leisure via a walking tour. There is even a Segway tour on the last Sunday of the month. With an on-site cafe as well as a picnic area, Wollaton Hall has everything needed for a fun, cheap family day out!
Steeped in history, Nottingham Castle offers plenty for a day out. Legend has it that Robin Hood escaped the castle after being imprisonment there many times so it’s no surprise that tours, storytelling sessions, and many other Robin Hood-themed events take place throughout the year. There’s still more to entertain the kids, though! The medieval-themed playground is complete with enough contraptions to tire them out. From climbing-frames, table tennis, slides and more, they’ll be chuffed you brought them. After all that storytelling and playtime, have some respite with some stunning views. The cafe in Nottingham Castle offers visitors delicious food along with a 360-degree view of the city. The perfect place for a cup of tea and a slice of cake on a cool autumn day.
If the autumnal weather ignites the sensation to burrow underground, then Nottingham is the place to be. The city has more caves than anywhere else in the U.K. The City of Caves offers the opportunity to dig deep and discover some of the city’s 500 caves. Explore the original sandstone caves with characters Annie and Archie, the archaeologists. You can also opt for an independent audio tour. This day out in Nottingham is perfect for those looking to leave the car at home as the museum is located in Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, smack bang in the centre of town.
The oldest public park in Nottingham, the Arboretum offers a relaxed day out away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Legend has it that the park was the inspiration for J.M. Barrie’s ‘Neverland’. Why not see for yourself if you can spot any magical similarities? There are also numerous events held throughout the year. For those who fancy themselves as explorers, the ‘Tree Trail’ is a great route for discovering some of the most interesting areas of nature in the park. Some sections can be a little steep, so this is more suited to older kids and adults.
Step back in time and discover what made Nottingham the city it is today at this volunteer-run museum. The attraction is divided into five sections with plenty of hands-on displays. With many artefacts being showcased, it’s easy to gain great insight into what really made Nottingham tick in the past. The interactive museum also allows visitors to play a part in history itself. Exhibits include an old-style phone, where visitors can call each other and watch the inner workings as they’re connected, and a replica of a morse code transmitter.
Best known as Robin Hood’s neck of the woods, this forest contains 450 acres of woodland trails and wildlife. Among the leafy trails and trees are references to the heroic outlaw himself.
If you want to dive a little deeper into the life of the folk star, then a walk to the Major Oak is a must. As a standout feature of the woods, this tree is supposedly the site where Robin Hood and his Merry Men took shelter according to local legend. In fact, the tree is so well-regarded that it was given the title of ‘England’s Tree of the Year’ in 2014! Keep an eye out for the birds too, as the forest is home to a vast array of bird species. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, head to Forest Table restaurant for the best roast in the woodlands.
Looking for more of an adventurous day out in Nottingham? The Adrenaline Jungle offers just that. The activity centre allows visitors to experience one of the UK’s most important forests in a different light. Forget soothing strolls under the orange hue trees, and put your armour on. It’s time to get your hands dirty. Feel the excitement as you play paintball around the assault course. Or quad bike through the forest trails. Hood enthusiasts can also try their hand at archery. No matter what you decide to do here, you’re guaranteed a great day out.
For a much more relaxed day out, why not pay a visit to this stunning 12th-century house, situated on 300 acres of beautiful grounds packed with waterfalls and lakes.
Newstead Abbey was home to the acclaimed romantic poet Lord Byron from 1808 to 1814. The Abbey hosts a collection of letters, portraits and even the very desk at which Byron penned much of his work. It’s not all romance, though, as the site plays host to a range of events including food festivals, an outdoor theatre and more, so there are plenty of reasons to pay Newstead Abbey a visit. The grounds and cafe are open every day, while the house is only open during weekends and school holidays. Check the website before setting off to avoid disappointment.
Get your skates on and prepare for a tumble at the U.K.’s self-proclaimed home of ice sports! Throughout the week, the arena is open to the public for ice-skating, while on Friday and Saturday nights it transforms into a club on ice. Don’t fret if you’re not confident enough to shake it out on the ice just yet. For those wanting to improve, private skating lessons are available to help you brush up on your technique. However, if gracing the ice isn’t for you then you can always watch the professionals in action. The National Ice Centre is also home to the Nottingham Panthers, the city’s ice hockey team. You can check their website for upcoming matches.
This eco-friendly visitor centre is the perfect place to embrace the great outdoors and help you do your bit for the environment. Kingfishers, ospreys and bitterns, the most endangered birds in the U.K., make appearances over the course of the year and. it’s not uncommon to see other species such as badgers, otters and bats roaming the reserve. Take advantage of the volunteer-led nature walks on the first Sunday of the month and explore the best places to spot wildlife with expert guides. Alternatively, follow one of the park’s designated nature trails which are designed to ensure sightings of many rare and interesting species along the way. All in all, animal lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will adore this spot not far from Nottingham itself.