When considering a short break Nottingham may not be the first place you think of but the area is well worth considering as a short break destination and has some diverse attractions to discover. Nottingham is an attractive city with an interesting mix of the ancient and modern. It has an excellent selection of accommodation and a vibrant nightlife with many interesting pubs and clubs. There is a lot to see and do but here are my tips for places that should not be missed.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem claims to be England’s oldest pub and is built into the cliffs beneath Nottingham castle. The pub has its origins in the castle’s history as the caves which form part of the pub today are the origianl site of the castle’s brew house. It is not known exactly when an inn was first established on the site but legend has it that King Richard I and his crusaders stopped here for rest and refreshment on their way to Jerusalem, hence the unusual name of the pub. The interior of the pub stretches back into the cliffs and the caves beneath are said to be haunted. Visitors can view the cursed galleon, a model ship which is supposed to bring about the death of anyone who cleans it and then there is a rather interesting piece of oak furniture called the maternity chair. It is said that any women who sits in the chair will become pregnant!
No visit to the county would be complete without a trip to Sherwood Forest of Robin Hood fame. There are 450 acres of oak and silver birch to explore in what is now an excellent nature reserve. The forest also features a craft centre and hosts an annual Robin Hood Festival. The principle attraction is the Major Oak, a tree which is said to have been a favourite hideout of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. The tree is between 800 and 1000 years old and is now supported by scaffolding. This oak is the most visited tree in Britain.
If you are looking for a bit of excitement to enliven your trip to the county then make your way to the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont. The centre offers a variety of activities including kayaking, sailing, water skiing and white water rafting. All the activities are available to the public but if you are not keen on getting wet then just a stroll around the facility will make for an interesting day out.
City of Caves
Underneath the Broadmarsh shopping centre there is a series of 500 man-made caves carved out of the sandstone rock. The caves date back over 1000 years and were first mentioned in the writings of Asser, Bishop of Sherborne who visited the area around AD900. You can explore the cave system with an actor led tour or by yourself with an audio guide and discover the subterranean labyrinth that once served as dwellings for the people of the city. To spice things up you can even take an evening tour with a medium to meet the spirits that still inhabit the caves!
The castle sits 130 feet up above the city and affords spectacular views. The original castle was built by William the Conqueror’s son in 1068 and was later home to the Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood’s principle enemy. The castle was destroyed in the civil war and replaced by a beautiful mansion which was converted into a museum and art gallery in 1874. A visit to the castle should include a tour of the caves and passageways carved into the cliffs beneath. Exploring the caves does involve negotiating many stairs and so you need to be reasonably fit to take it on.
City Of Surprises
Nottingham offers an interesting mix of historic sights, hidden gems and modern activities together with some beautiful scenery and countryside close by. This is certainly a worthy destination for an interesting short break.
Sally Stacey is a guest blogger and often writes for National Furniture. www.nationalfurniture.co.uk is an online retailer of Oak living furniture and ship their products UK wide, including to the beautiful county of Nottinghamshire.