Things to do in Nottingham

Famed for its connection to Robin Hood, the city of Nottingham in the East Midlands has plenty more to offer visitors. In fact, with great shopping, historical sites, and entertainment, the city is well worth a trip for a day or a longer stay.

You can easily travel to Nottingham by train from across the UK, with direct services from such cities as London, Cardiff, Liverpool, Birmingham and Leeds. East Midlands Airport is just 13 miles from the city, with regular bus services from central Nottingham.

In this article, we highlight some of the most popular things to do in Nottingham. We also introduce you to a few super spas in the area that offer a selection of spa days and overnight spa breaks, so you can add some well-deserved relaxation to your Nottinghamshire escape.

Nottingham Castle

Explore 1,000 years of history at Nottingham Castle. As well as the castle itself, the site features lots of galleries, events and exhibitions dedicated to the city, including medieval Nottingham, Sherwood Forest and, of course, Robin Hood. You can take one of the tours, enjoy the interactive experiences and even have a go at archery. All in all, it’s an interesting day or half-day out. There’s a café on-site and the castle is set in some lovely grounds that feature a statue of Robin Hood.  Find out more:


For indoor retail, you can browse one of the city’s shopping centres, such as the Victoria Centre or the Exchange Arcade. There is also a bustling city centre with plenty of shopping areas and arcades, such as the Georgian Flying Horse Walk, which features boutiques and upmarket retailers. For something a little different, head to the Hockley neighbourhood in the east of the city, where you’ll find vintage clothes stores and independent boutiques. Find out more:

Museums & art galleries

Aside from Nottingham Castle, there are many other interesting museums to discover during your trip to the city. You can find plenty to enjoy at the National Justice Museum, which includes contemporary exhibits, historic gaol cells and the recreation of a Victorian courtroom. Other popular museums include The Robin Hood Experience and The Haunted Museum. If you prefer to view great art, the city is home to many galleries, including Nottingham Contemporary. Find out more:

City of Caves

One of the most popular things to do in Nottingham is to head underground to explore the city’s extensive network of caves. The City of Caves attraction offers guided tours, with actors bringing the subterranean history to life. The caves have had various uses through the decades, including as a medieval tannery and as World War II air raid shelters. Find out more:

Live music & entertainment

Enjoy an evening of great live music in any genre at one of Nottingham’s great venues. For the biggest names, check out what’s on at the Motorpoint Arena. Another popular venue is the historic Rock City, which has been hosting gigs and club nights since 1980, while The Royal Concert Hall attracts classical and contemporary performers. For theatre, the concert hall’s twin venue, the Theatre Royal, stages a range of performances, plus opera and ballet. Find out more:



Eating, drinking & nightlife

For a great selection of cafés, bars and restaurants, try the trendy Lace Market neighbourhood located in the south-east corner of the city centre. Formerly home of the city’s lace industry, the area has been transformed into a hub of arts, creative industries and eateries. In the north of the city, the streets around Upper Parliament have a good selection of restaurants and cocktail bars. Meanwhile, The Cornerhouse features a cinema, eateries, bars and clubs all under one roof. For lively entertainment, Alea Casino features gaming, dining and entertainment. If you’re in the mood for a film, the Broadway Cinema in Hockley features mainstream and indie releases. Popular nightclubs include PRYZM, The Bodega Social Club, INK and the Rescue Rooms. Find out more:






Open spaces

Nottingham boasts some lovely parks and gardens. Close to the city centre, by Nottingham Trent University, is the Arboretum, a peaceful Victorian park with hundreds of trees. A little further out, you’ll find Wollaton Hall, Gardens and Deer Park, which features a 16th century mansion set amid parkland, which is home to over 200 deer. Last but not least, no trip to Nottingham would be complete without a visit to Sherwood Forest. Located about 50 minutes north of the city by road, the historic woodland is a wonderful place to wander, enjoy nature and do a little wildlife spotting. Find out more:



Add some spa pampering to your Nottingham trip

Include ‘spa relaxation’ on your list of things to do in Nottingham at one of our nearby spa hotels:

Crowne Plaza Nottingham: This city centre hotel is a great choice for a spa day or overnight spa break. It is located near the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall, with all the great shopping and dining options also just a short stroll from the hotel. The leisure facilities include an indoor swimming pool, fitness centre and steam room. Book now.

Delta Hotels by Marriott Nottingham Belfry: Located about 25 minutes by road from the city centre, this modern hotel is great for relaxed spa days and breaks. The hotel is only a few miles from Wollaton Hall, Gardens & Deer Park and Nottingham Industrial Museum. The leisure facilities include an indoor swimming pool, steam room, hot tub and fitness centre. Book now.

Best Western Premier Yew Lodge Hotel, Derby: Around 20 minutes from Nottingham city centre, you’ll find this laid-back spa hotel, which offers a superb selection of day and overnight packages. The hotel is well-located for Donington Park, East Midlands Airport and Attenborough Nature Reserve. The facilities include a swimming pool, whirlpool spa, and sauna. Book now.

Marriott Breadsall Priory, Derby: Escape to the countryside at this stately home hotel that is less than 20 miles from Nottingham and around five miles from Derby. You can explore the 300 acres of grounds, while the Peak District National Park is also within easy reach. The facilities include an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and fitness centre. There is also an on-site golf course. Book now.

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