Nottinghamshire is an enchanting place of lore and history, complete with attractions like Sherwood Forest, the Lace Market and the Major Oak. You can experience so much excitement, like seeing treasured English landmarks, shopping for unique finds and even taking the legendary Robin Hood trek through the fabled forest. 

    No matter how you want to spend your time, here are the 10 best things to do in Nottinghamshire with friends, family or on your own for a memorable holiday experience.

    1

    Old Market Square

    Shop for goods in a historic square

    • Shoppers

    The Old Market Square is an exciting public space that serves as the hub of both shopping and social events in Nottinghamshire. From the centre, the streets spread out and offer an array of shops and boutiques, ranging from upscale to independent to quirky. The square hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Christmas Winter Wonderland, Riviera Beach and regular farmers’ markets. You’ll find many historic pubs on the streets as well, such as the Malt Cross and the Bell Inn.

    Phone: +44 (0)1158 415554

    Map
    2

    The Lace Market

    See the centre of the lace industry

    • Shoppers

    The Lace Market is a historic square in Nottingham that was once the centre of the world’s lace industry and is now a centre of heritage and social venues. At one time, the market had sale rooms and warehouses for the lace, and it still retains that Victorian charm with gas lamps, ironwork and red phone boxes. The neighbourhood is now home to bars, restaurants and shops, making it a hub for social activities in the city. You’ll find many historic sites in the area as well, such as the National Justice Museum, the historic County Gaol and St Mary’s Church.

    Map
    3

    Nottingham Castle

    Explore a dramatic royal fortress

    • Photo
    • History

    Nottingham Castle is a commanding medieval fortress with a museum and art gallery on a promontory in Nottingham. During the Middle Ages, the castle was an important fortress and served as a royal residence when necessary, but it fell into ruin by the mid-17th century. Later, the Duke of Newcastle built a mansion on the site, which is now an art gallery and museum with local history exhibits and important artwork. Some of the displays include alabaster carvings, watercolours by prominent artists, contemporary ceramics, stoneware and a costume collection that includes Nottingham lace.

    Location: Friar Ln, Nottingham NG1 6EL, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1158 763100

    Map
    4

    Major Oak

    See a national treasure

    • Photo
    • Couples
    • History

    The Major Oak is a massive English oak and landmark in Sherwood Forest that’s rumoured to be the shelter of Robin Hood and the merry men. The oak is believed to be around 800 to 1,000 years old and is a source of national pride. It’s been the formation sign of the 46th Infantry Division and was featured in a television programme titled ‘Seven Natural Wonders’. Major Oak also held the title of ‘England’s Tree of the Year’ and ‘Britain’s Favourite Tree’ by vote.

    Location: Edwinstowe, Mansfield NG21 9HN, UK

    Open: 24/7

    Map
    5

    Highfields Park

    Have fun in the outdoors

    • Couples
    • Families

    Highfields Park is a heritage-listed parkland that spans 49 hectares and includes a boating lake and hiking trails for outdoor recreation. You’ll find much to see and do in the park, such as Chinese stone lion sculptures, grand gates, sentinel eagle sculptures, ornamental bridges on the lake, a cascade, croquet lawns and bowling greens. The lake serves as a habitat for many waterbirds, such as mallards, coots and Canada and Egyptian geese. If you have the kids, they’ll enjoy the play facilities at the park, and you could have a picnic in the pavilion.

    Location: University Blvd, Lenton, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +44 (0)1159 155555

    Map

    photo by ClemRutter (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Green's Mill and Science Centre

    Uncover the mysteries of science

    • Photo
    • Families
    • History

    Green’s Mill and Science Centre is a restored 19th-century windmill and science centre that offers fascinating exhibits on milling and technology. The mill is unique and entirely powered by the wind to turn wheat grain into a fine meal. During your visit, you can see how flour is made and climb the mill. Kids will love the interactive science centre, which showcases hands-on exhibits that teach about math, light, electricity, magnetism and more. The science centre also hosts educational experiences and workshops for more STEM learning opportunities for kids.

    Location: Windmill Ln, Sneinton, Nottingham NG2 4QB, UK

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm (closed Monday–Tuesday)

    Phone: +44 (0)1159 156878

    Map
    7

    D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum

    Get a glimpse into a writer’s life

    • History

    The D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum is a home museum dedicated to D.H. Lawrence and his life and work and features intriguing personal artefacts and exhibits. Done in the style of a 19th-century miner’s house, the museum contains period furniture and authentic artefacts, as well as furnishings from the museum founders. The rooms and yard all have features that indicate their significance, which can be enhanced by a guided tour. You’ll also see a collection of the author’s early watercolour paintings and his original gravestone. Self-guided tours are also available.

    Location: 8a Victoria St, Eastwood, Nottingham NG16 3AW, UK

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm (closed Sunday–Monday)

    Phone: +44 (0)1159 173824

    Map

    photo by PJMarriott (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    8

    The Great Central Railway

    Take a heritage steam ride

    • Photo
    • History

    The Great Central Railway is the UK’s only double-track heritage railway that offers steam rides through the enchanting landscape. The scenic steam rides take you on a journey through the English countryside to see the sights on a comfortable, nostalgic experience. You can choose from a variety of rides, including First Class Restaurant Car Services with meals, Steam Galas, Bonfire Night, 1940s Wartime Weekend and more. You can also experience the thrill of driving the train yourself with the Drive a Locomotive Experience.

    Location: Great Central Rd, Loughborough LE11 1RW, UK

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1509 632323

    photo by Duncan Harris (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    9

    Robin Hood Way and Sherwood Forest

    Walk the footsteps of a legend

    • Food
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Robin Hood Way is a long-distance footpath in Sherwood Forest that honours the hero of English folklore, Robin Hood, with landmarks and attractions. Spanning 104 miles, the trail passes through farmland, heathland and the famous Sherwood Forest. You’ll see many sights along the way, such as Nottingham Castle and Edwinstowe Church. The trail also travels through incredible destinations like Clumber Park and the Creswell Crags, so you’ll see many more landmarks and attractions on the walk. Though you can’t complete the whole trail at once, you can take shorter routes to maximise the attractions.

    Location: Nottingham NG2 1LB, UK

    Map

    photo by Nilfanion (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    10

    Papplewick Pumping Station

    Explore a historic pumphouse

    • History

    The Papplewick Pumping Station is a fascinating heritage pumphouse and museum that showcases local history in a Gothic Revival building. The pump station operated between 1881 and 1884 to pump water from sandstone to the residents of Nottingham. Currently, the building holds 2 beam engines and 6 Lancashire boilers, which have been replaced by electric pumps. The pumping station is now a museum and features exhibits on its history, such as the original beam engines and other historic machinery, like a colliery winding engine. The rest of the pumping station has been restored using original bricks and terracotta to preserve its authentic look.

    Location: Rigg Ln, Ravenshead, Nottingham NG15 9AJ, UK

    Open: Wednesday and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm (closed Monday–Tuesday and Thursday–Saturday)

    Phone: +44 (0)1159 632938

    Map

    photo by Alan Murray-Rust (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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