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With its spa getaways, famous forest, beer festival, lace market, shopping and vibrant culture scene, Nottingham is packed full of great things to do. And some rather surprising ones too.
The city is a mix of old-style grand and sleek contemporary design. The neo-Baroque Nottingham Council House is worth a look and the DH Lawrence Pavilion at the Lakeside Arts Centre with its ‘upturned boat’ roof is truly iconic.
Relaxing and rejuvenating aren’t perhaps what you’d usually associate with a buzzy city break, but the beautiful backdrop of lush countryside and woodlands of Sherwood Forest boast some of the best spas in the UK. Discover chilled out pools, luxurious health clubs and top-to-toe bliss out pamper places.
And why not bring your own band of merry men (or women) down to the 450 acre country park of Sherwood Forest - legendary home of Robin Hood and an awe inspiring nature reserve of ancient oak trees. This is the perfect place for cycling, walking, nature trails, adventures at the new outdoor waterpark, adrenalin-fuelled activities, wonderful walks and some tree climbing, of course!
Head back into the city to shop until you drop. Start out at the Old Market Square - the largest public space in the UK after London’s Trafalgar Square. Shopping streets spread out in all directions from the square - also the setting for major events and celebrations and regular farmers’ markets. Looking for quirky, interesting fashion finds? Discover a haven of chic boutiques and designer labels in the Bridlesmith Gate area.
The Nottingham Caves
After all that pampering and shopping, how about something a little more unusual. If you’re the curious type, take a subterranean tour of the Nottingham Caves. Accessed from a shopping centre, it’s hard to believe these caves were first dwelt in during the Dark Ages. If going underground thrills you then take a tailor-made guided tour of the city’s caves or a memorable tour of the many secret passageways beneath Nottingham Castle.
Emerge into the sunlight and head for the Lakeside Arts Centre for arts, music, theatre and comedy. The Djanogly Gallery is a major space for curated and touring shows, retrospectives and groundbreaking new art. Love contemporary art? Then head for Nottingham Contemporary - one of the largest arts centre's in the UK. There are many smaller and community galleries too and you can find fine and decorative arts on display in Nottingham Castle. Watch dance, cabaret and theatre at the Theatre Royal.
Music fans will want to turn up the volume when they visit Nottingham. The Capital FM Arena is a big venue on any national tours. Mid sized gigs and club nights happen at the legendary Rock City. Try Bodega too. And of course there’s a mass of cool little bars, clubs and late night venues all waiting for you to discover. Nottingham’s nightlife scene is buzzing with an eclectic mix of entertainment, music and enjoyment and it flies the Purple Flag for variety, safety and cleanliness after dark.
If you’re not too tired out by your late night adventures, then get your skates on at the National Ice Centre opened by Nottingham’s famous ice dance couple, Torvill and Dean. Here there are two Olympic sized rinks where you can practice your triple toe axels and Bolero moves.
Want to explore further? The city’s many guided tours with expert guides are a great way to uncover Nottingham. From breweries to ghosts, themed trails will reveal even more about its rich political, industrial and cultural past. To discover more than 1400 spot-on ideas for short breaks, just go to www.visitengland.com/morecities and be inspired. See you soon.