The best things to do in Nottingham highlight the city’s unique place in British history and folklore, being the old home and hunting grounds of none other than Robin Hood. Even besides that remarkable claim to fame, it’s a city with an extraordinary past and future. It was once famous for its lace and remains an important place in the fashion world, as the birthplace of designer Sir Paul Smith.

    However, there is more to this East Midlands town than old buildings and men in tights. The city centre is packed with shopping malls, sports stadiums, nightclubs, and restaurants. Nottingham is a lively place with interesting things to see and do around every corner and an award-winning public transport system to get you there.

    What are the best things to do in Nottingham?


    Castle Quarter

    Have a pint in some of England's oldest pubs

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    The historical Castle Quarter of Nottingham is a great place to really get to grips with the remarkable history of the city. The building still known as Nottingham Castle is actually a ducal manor house instead of a strategic fortification, but the museum and art gallery it contains are a good place to start your day. From there, you can explore the wooded grounds, see the statue of Robin Hood and visit some of the oldest pubs in England – the famous Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem and the arguably older Ye Olde Salutation Inn.


    Wollaton Hall

    See the wild deer in the grounds

    • History
    • Photo

    The dramatic Elizabethan country house to the west of Nottingham city centre will probably be familiar to fans of the 2012 movie The Dark Knight Rises, since it played the role of Wayne Manor. In the real world, the mansion is home to Nottingham’s Natural History Museum, the Nottingham Industrial Museum, and regular concerts and festivals. The house itself, built in 1588, is spectacular in its own right, and is surrounded by 500 acres of equally beautiful parkland, with herds of red and fallow deer roaming free.

    Location: Wollaton, Nottingham NG8 2AE, UK

    Open: Monday - Friday from 8 am to 8.30 pm, Saturday - Sunday from 9 am to 8.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)115 915 2733


    Nottingham Cathedral

    Check out the Blessed Sacrament Chapel

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    The Cathedral Church of St. Barnabas is the seat of the Bishop of Nottingham – and what a seat it is! Fairly modest from the outside, the interior is very bright and quite colourful. Designed by the same architect responsible for the interior of the Houses of Parliament, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel is especially beautiful. Aside from the amazing historical surroundings, Nottingham Cathedral provides a little bit of peace during your busy day (or two).

    Location: North Circus Street, Nottingham NG1 5AE, UK

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)115 953 9839


    The Nottingham Robin Hood Town Tour

    Let the Prince of Thieves be your guide

    • Families
    • History
    • Unusual

    Nottingham is obviously best known for its association with Robin Hood, so who better to guide you around the city than the Prince of Thieves himself? Providing an infinitely more immersive and memorable experience than any other kind of city tour, the legend himself (or, at least, an excellent actor in full costume) will take you around the major historical sites of Nottingham, including the Lace Market, the old jail, Nottingham Castle and, finally, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. Other tours are available, but this one has deservedly achieved international acclaim.

    Location: Starts from The Cross Keys pub, Fletcher Gate, Nottingham NG1 2GJ, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)844 477 5678


    City of Caves

    Explore Nottingham's social history

    • History

    The City of Caves is an ancient network of about 500 manmade caves dug out of the sandstone under Nottingham. They are thought to date back as far as the Dark Ages, and have had various uses throughout history. They have housed Britain’s only underground tannery, one of the country’s worst slums and even a public air-raid shelter during the Second World War. You can learn more about the caves and their uses through actor-guided or audio-guided tours. The caves are operated by the National Justice Museum and you can get a joint ticket, giving you access to both venues.

    Location: Upper Level, Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, Nottingham NG1 7LS, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)115 952 0555


    photo by Elliott Brown (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    The Exchange

    High-class stores in swanky surroundings

    • Shoppers
    • History
    • Photo
    • Luxury

    Nottingham has several big shopping malls around the city centre, but The Exchange stands out from the rest. Sometimes called Exchange Arcade, it’s comparatively small, with only about 20 stores in the opulent setting built in the late-1920s. There’s a distinct leaning towards women’s fashion in the stores here, which include Oasis, Radley and Karen Millen. There are a couple of small cafés where you can enjoy the surroundings and a break between purchases. If The Exchange doesn’t satisfy your retail itch, take a walk around the surrounding streets for more high-street brands.

    Location: High Street, Nottingham NG1 2DD, UK

    Open: Monday - Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm, Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)115 947 0591


    Sherwood Forest

    Visit Robin Hood's camp

    • Budget
    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    It’s impossible to say that Sherwood Forest is really in Nottingham – it’s about 25 miles north. However, it’s one of the city’s most popular attractions, making it impossible for us not to include it here. Famously the hideout of Robin Hood, there are dozens of walking and cycling routes between the ancient oak, silver birch and rowan trees (among others). The golden sunsets, blinking through the leaves, are especially beautiful. Be sure to see Major Oak, which is said to have been the site of Robin Hood’s main hideout. If you’re around Nottingham in late-August, you should also check out the Robin Hood Festival.

    Location: Edwinstowe, Mansfield NG21 9HN, UK

    Open: Monday - Friday from 10 am to 4.30 pm, Saturday - Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1623 823202


    National Justice Museum

    Or maybe just learn more about British law and order

    • Nightlife
    • History

    Once the home of the infamous Sherriff of Nottingham, the National Justice Museum is said to be one of the most haunted buildings in Britain – not surprising, given that it’s housed in the old county jail. For those who want a spooky encounter, there are ghost tours every Friday from 6pm. If you’re not into the supernatural, the museum itself is very interesting. The history of law and order in the UK is brought to life by actors and over 40,000 exhibits, including original evidence from the Great Train Robbery.

    Location: High Pavement, Nottingham NG1 1HN, UK

    Open: Monday - Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday - Sunday from 10 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)115 952 0555


    photo by Fayerollinson (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Meadow Lane Stadium

    There's a lot of sport in a small area in Nottingham

    • History

    While it’s not that usual for English cities to have more than 1 football stadium – Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield and London all have at least 2 each – it’s very unusual to find them as close together as they are in Nottingham. The home grounds of Notts County and Nottingham Forest are only about 730 ft apart, though they are separated by the River Trent. The local rugby and cricket grounds are also both close by. The excitement of watching a good match live is unrivalled. Enjoy a bit of football history by going to Meadow Lane Stadium to watch Notts County – the oldest league team in the world!

    Location: Meadow Lane, Nottingham NG2 3HJ, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)115 952 9000


    photo by Bernd Jatzwauk (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified



    Dine and party in Nottingham's Creative Quarter

    Hockley is in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, and it shows. The place is packed with innovative shops, restaurants and bars. Check out Goose Gate, in particular, for an impressive range of places to eat. After that, you can wander up Broad Street to the Broadway Cinema or head to the Nottingham Arts Theatre on George Street. If you want to party, Hockley is known as the Soho of Nottingham, with top venues including Baa Bar, Jam Café and Boilermaker.


    photo by It's No Game (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveller

    Start planning your trip

    Keep exploring


    United Kingdom

    Back to top