Nottingham  is a city in England known as the "Queen of the Midlands" which is famed for its links with the world-renowned legend Robin Hood.
Nottingham is the major city in the East Midlands of England, its prosperity historically derived mostly from the lace making and coal-mining industries - little of which now remains. Nottingham has moved towards a more service-based economy.
The centre of Nottingham lies on the River Leen and its southern boundary follows the course of the River Trent, which flows from Stoke to the Humber. According to the 2001 census, Nottingham has an estimated city population of 275,100. The Nottingham Urban Area conurbation (which includes surrounding suburbs outside the city boundary, and neighbouring towns) has a population of 666,358 (2001 Census). Nottingham is a member of the English Core Cities Group.
The heart of the city is the Old Market Square, which underwent a major redevelopment in 2006. Most of the main shopping streets are around the square. The Council House, whose disproportionately tall dome can be seen for miles around, is at the top of the square. The inside of the Council House is the Exchange Arcade, a shopping centre. A bohemian quarter of the city known as Hockley has arisen in recent years, situated close to the Lace Market area. Nottingham receives a lot of tourism, mostly because of the legend of Robin Hood, visiting Sherwood Forest and Nottingham Castle.
- East Midlands Airport - Nottingham, Leicester, Derby (IATA: EMA) lies south-west of Nottingham and flights are available to many international destinations. The Skylink bus runs between the airport and city centre every 30 minutes 4am-11pm and hourly 11pm-4am. The bus journey takes approximately 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic conditions, and costs £5 for a single or day return ticket.
- Birmingham International Airport (IATA: BHX) is approx. 40 miles from Nottingham and serves all major international destinations.
- Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport (IATA: DSA) lies to the north of Nottinghamshire.
Nottingham is on the main line out of London St Pancras. The cheapest tickets between London and Nottingham are available from http://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/emtrains but must be bought well in advance. There are also regular connections to Birmingham, Derby, Leicester, Crewe, Sheffield, and Leeds. Note that trains from London to Sheffield do not stop at Nottingham.
Turn right out of the station for an easy 5 minute walk to the city centre.
The Nottingham Tram (NET) runs from Nottingham main line station through the city centre and out to Hucknall park and ride and Phoenix Park park and ride to the north of the city.
From the south, travel on the M1 and exit at junction 24. From the North take the M1 junction 25 or 26.
There is a choice of 7 Park and Ride sites with over 4000 spaces, located at easy points around the City National Park and Ride Directory.
Also check out Parkopedia.com - a website that allows users to search and compare parking rates and locations for commercial and private parking facilities in Nottingham.
Nottingham has two sizeable bus stations, Broadmarsh and Victoria. Traveline  0871 200 22 33
Bus operators offer services to most other UK destinations.
National Express provides cheap advance tickets on a Nottingham-London route, often for as little as a pound each way if booked early enough online. National Express also offers cheap tickets (called funfares) to many other major cities from Nottingham.
The city has extensive bus services provided by two main companies, trentbarton and Nottingham City Transport, running from the Broadmarsh and Victoria Bus stations as well as key termini in the city centre such as Old Market Square, Parliament Street and Carrington Street. Fares: NCT+tram-only £3 day ticket or £3.40 Kangaroo ticket which is valid on any bus, tram and train within Greater Nottingham. Note: Most NCT buses do not give change.
NET (Nottingham Express Transit) is the city's modern tram system. It runs from Nottingham Train Station (Station Street) to the South to Hucknall in the North and Phoenix Park (M1 Junction 26 Park and Ride site) to the North East. The system has a number of Park and Ride sites along it, which make travel into the city centre easy. An all day tram-only ticket costs £2.70, all day tram+NCT bus is £3, single tickets are £1.50 or £2.50 during morning peak hours. Tickets should be bought from tram conductors on board the trams.
The city centre is best explored on foot as many of the historic streets are pedestrianised or have good pedestrian access.
Museums and galleries
- Nottingham Castle (Warning: it is not a castle, but a small stately home.) Museum is a must-see and provides a fascinating insight into the history of Nottingham. The fine mansion also houses the country's first municipal art gallery and the beautifully maintained gardens are ideal for a lazy summer's day stroll. The famous Robin Hood statue is located just outside the castle walls.
- Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn off Maid Marian Way - One of various pubs claiming to be the oldest pub in Britain, the "Trip" traces its existence back over 800 years. Charming and well worth a visit if you happen to be in the city. It is located at the Brewhouse Yard, home to the Museum of Nottingham Life which shows the social change in Nottingham that has occurred over the last 300 years.
- City of Caves is an award-winning visitor attraction which is accessed from the upper mall of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. It consists of a network of caves, carved out of sandstone that have been variously used over the years as a tannery, public house cellars, and as air raid shelters. Nottingham has more man-made caves than anywhere else in Britain.
- The Galleries of Justice are well-worth visiting for a fascinating look at the sometimes rough justice meted out in years gone by.
- Nottingham has a small contemporary art gallery that's normally worth a look called The Angel Row Gallery. The art ranges from thought provoking, to the plain bizarre and it's located next to the Central Library Building unsurprisingly on Angel Row, just off Old Market Square.
- Wollaton Hall is a beautiful Elizabethan mansion in a large suburban deer park, Wollaton Park. The hall itself houses the city's Natural History Museum whilst the Industrial Museum is housed in an outbuilding. This is now fully open following restoration works.
- Nottingham Council House is where Nottingham city council meet. It is located in the old market square and tours are free. (Note, you have to book in advance)
Historic sites out of town
- Newstead Abbey, the beautiful home of local poet Lord Byron is located 12 miles north of the city. It is well worth a visit, and the website supplies extensive information on how to travel to the site. Lord Byron was buried in Hucknall Church, and his tomb can be seen inside the church which is situated at the end of Hucknall's high street, a few minutes walk from the Hucknall tram stop.
- Sherwood Forest Country Park is about 20 miles to the north off the A614, north of the village of Edwinstowe along the B6034, and can also be reached by bus (Traveline  0871 200 22 33). There is a visitors centre and you can see 'Major Oak', the tree in which legend has it that Robin Hood hid from his enemies.
Theatre and cinema
- The two largest theatres are the Theatre Royal (Royal Centre tramstop), and Nottingham Playhouse (on Wellington Circus, near Derby Road). Theatres also include the Lace Market Theatre (on Halifax Place, near Fletcher Gate). Further out of town, in Nottingham University's Highfields Park is the Lakeside Arts Centre, containing a small but excellent theatre.
- A nationally recognised independent cinema called Broadway is located on Broad Street in Hockley, as is the worlds smallest cinema (just 21 seats!), the Screen Room.
- Go ice skating at the National Ice Centre
- Catch a game of Ice Hockey at the National Ice Centre home of the GMB Nottingham Panthers, the oldest and best supported team in the UK. Get your tickets in advance and ask for tickets at the 'bowl end' in order to be in amongst the locals (and at the end where the 'Panthers' shoot twice). If you happen to be visiting Nottingham at the same time that they are taking on arch rivals the Sheffield Steelers then get your tickets in advance as these games nearly always sell out - prepare youself for 7000 people screaming on their team and a war on the ice - these teams do not like each other (though there is never any fan based violence).
- Another Hockey match worth going to is the Nottingham Trent University vs University of Nottingham Varsity match held once a year and is the biggest varsity outside North America.
- Visit Holme Pierrepont, home to the National Watersports Centre.
- Watch International test cricket at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground near the banks of the River Trent.
- Nottingham Tennis Centre hosts the Nottingham Open each year in the week running up to Wimbledon.
- Watch football at The City Ground or Meadow Lane, homes of Nottingham Forest F.C. and Notts County F.C. respectively
- Try your hand at Clay Shooting at Nottingham & District Gun Club
Parks and activities
- In the summer you can hire a rowing boat on the beautiful grounds of The University of Nottingham.
- Nottingham Castle has extensive grounds, which are planted beautifully in the summer time. Each summer open air theatre performances are held in the grounds.
- The Nottingham Arboretum (between Nottingham Trent University tram stop and High School tram stop) hosts open air music in the park at weekends in summer.
- Nottingham's Goose Fair is held on the Forest recreation ground (at the Forest tram stop) on the first weekend of October each year. It is one of Britain's largest funfairs and has existed more than 700 years. Entry is free.
- The Riverside Festival at Victoria Embankment is held on a weekend at the start of August each year. It features live music, markets and fairs topped off with a huge fireworks display.
- The Nottingham Vs Nottingham Trent annual Varsity series is the largest outside of North America.
Nottingham LGBT Pride is usually held on the last Saturday of July in Arboretum Park, 5/10 minutes walk from the city centre however, from 24 July 2010, it will be held at its new venue of Forest Fields Recreational Ground; the site of the famous Goose Fair. The event consists of numerous stages of music,acts;etc aswell as many stalls and stands from organisations etc - and , of course, food and drink areas! It attracts people not just from the Nottingham area; but from neighbouring counties and regions such as South Yorkshire and Derbyshire;etc, aswell as most likely people from much further afield. Nottingham is therefore a gay friendly city and is accepting of LGBT people with a notable gay visibility. (The city has the third highest percentage of people in same sex partnerships, according to the 2001 census, of the eight English core cities after Manchester and Bristol.) It is referred to as the gay capital of the Midlands - or "Queen of the Midlands"; and the LGBT community are down to earth and friendly; as is the general culture of Nottingham.
Nottingham has two major universities:
- Nottingham University: A traditional, Russell group university offering everything one might expect including medicine, law, engineering and a recently opened veterinary school. Graduates from Nottingham are well respected and it has an excellent research reputation in more or less anything it touches.
- Nottingham Trent University: While technically a "new university", Trent punches well above its weight. Strengths include journalism, biosciences and perhaps the best school of education in the East Midlands. Graduates of Nottingham Trent are the most employed in the country, with over 90% of graduates landing in their preferred career within 6 months of graduation.
Nottingham has two large excellent shopping centres at either end of the City Centre "The Victoria Centre" and "Broadmarsh". The Victoria Centre is the more modern of the two, and has more shops & facilities, although Broadmarsh is on the eve of a huge redevelopment which will more than double its size. Between the two are the main shopping streets: Lister Gate and Clumber Street are home to High Street names, while designer labels can be found on Bridlesmith Gate, Victoria Street and in the Exchange Arcade, within the Council House on Market Square. The alternative shopper will find Hockley Village a haven, focused around Goose Gate, the cities Bohemian district. To buy a Nottingham memento, go to the Lace Centre on the corner of Castle Gate, opposite the Robin Hood statue, to buy traditional Nottingham lace.
With regards to the alternative music and fashion scene, Nottingham is highly regarded and caters well for obscure and eclectic tastes. Selectadisc, just a short walk from the Market Square is one of just two in the country, the other being in Soho, London. Selectadisc is widely considered to stock the best indie and alternative music selection in the city, yet it is commonly felt that, for more helpful and down-to-earth staff, the soon-to-be re-opened Fopp store (on the next road) is more reliable. Now one of just six Fopp stores in the country, this store often stages in store sessions and offers a wide selection of independent DVDs and fanzines and CDs from unsigned acts. Void, Wild (and its sister store Wilder) and the local favourite Ice Nine can all be found in the bohemian district of Hockley. These stores can often become busy over the weekend in particular, but many original retro and vintage fashion items can be found for very cheap prices here.
- Gusto, 2 Gedling Street, Nottingham NG1 1DS, +44 (0)115 924 2494 ([email protected])  Open Monday to Saturday until 7:30 PM. Simple and authentic Italian food in this deli located just east of the National Ice Centre. Terrific pizza and pasta and friendly Italian staff. £5 to £7 per main. Generous portions.
- Wagamama, The Cornerhouse, Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4DB +44 (0)115 924 1797  Open late every day. Chain serving affordable Japanese-style ramen, as well as fried noodle and rice dishes. £5 to £8 per main. It's usually busy and cafeteria-style benches mean you will rub elbows with your fellow diners.
- The Kean's Head, 46 St. Mary's Gate, Nottingham NG1 1QA, +44 (0)115 947 4052  Open daily from late morning until late. This small pub in the Lace Market area serves simple but tasty food, ranging from sandwiches to traditional English pub food to more Italian-influenced fare. £4 to £8 per dish. Non-smoking, and an excellent selection of beers to match your food.
- The Alley Cafe, 1A Cannon Court, Long Row, Nottingham, NG1 6JE, +44 (0)115 955 1013. This small bar and restaurant located on a tiny alley on the north-western part of Old Market Square serves vegetarian and vegan meals and sandwiches, £4 to £10 per meal. Draught beer served as well.
Nottingham also has the usual range of chain restaurants and bars that you can find in many cities across the UK - for a budget meal (and drink) JD Wetherspoons is always worth trying - there are also a number of budget restaurants along Mansfield Road not far from the Victoria Shopping Centre
There is a pedestrianised street full of eateries of varying quality next to the Cornerhouse. These restaurants range from a Pizza Hut and a Subway, to a brassiere (Punchinellos) with an excellent pre-theatre menu. There is also a wide variety of takeaways in Nottingham, catering for many different tastes.
- French Living, 27 King Street, Nottingham NG1 2AY, +44 (0)115 9585885 ([email protected])  Lunch Tu-Fr 12PM-2PM Sa 12PM-2.30PM Dinner Tu-Sa 6PM-10PM Excellent bistro run by a French couple. The Onglet a l'Echalotte is beautiful and there is a good variety of prix fixe menus. (£15-£25)
- Las Iguanas, +44 (0)115 959 6390 ([email protected]). This is a wonderful Brazilian restaurant and we really enjoyed our food. It's just east of the main town square.
- Cafe Rouge, 31 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham, NG1 2GR, +44 (0)115 58 2230 . Relaxed, informal dining with good service and handy for the Lace Market area of Nottingham.
- Mintons Tearoom, 100 Church Road, Greasley, Nottingham NG16 2AB, +44 (0)1773 710426 . Very friendly cafe with homemade cakes, hot meals, and a wide selection of drinks. Beautiful English countryside just outside of Nottingham.
- Hart's Restaurant  Owned by Tim Hart of Hambleton Hall fame. At lunch time the Hart's formula includes "lunch for less" with two or three courses from a shorted menu for £16 - £18 per person. There are various fixed price menus in the evenings too. Meal prices for two with three course and wine in the evening will approach £80+.
- World Service Similar formula to Hart's - some of the owners used to work there! Regularly top of the pops in the "Nottingham Restaurant of the Year" awards.
Apart from Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (allegedly built in 1189) which is below the castle and often on the tourist trail there are over 100 licensed premises in the square mile around the centre of Nottingham. A good place to start is the trendy Lace Market area east of Market Square where you will also find many good restaurants. Pubs around the Market Square tend to appeal to younger drinkers with a Wetherspoons and Yates's Wine Lodge, but the area on the canal side around the Canal House pub tends to be a little more discerning. The Hockley area also provides a range of pleasant bars to suit a range of budgets. The Cornerhouse complex (near the Royal Centre tram stop) contains some really nice bars, particularly Revolution, and close to this is The Orange Tree on Shakespeare Street. Slightly further out of the centre in the multicultural and vibrant area known as Sneinton is a wonderful pub called the Lord Nelson with a great garden and real ales. The other historic pubs include The Bell, situated in the Market Square, and the Salutation, on Maid Marian Way, both of which can trace a long history and lay claim to having resident ghosts. Ask at a quiet moment for a tour of the Salutation's cellars, dug by hand into the sandstone rock below the pub and used in centuries past as a secure brewing area.
- Rutland Square Hotel, St James Street, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG1 6FJ, ☎ 0115 941 1114, . checkin: 2pm; checkout: 11am. The Rutland Square Hotel, Nottingham has an enviable location in the heart of the city, retaining its period elegance, whilst offering comfortable accommodation. £40 - £60 pppn.
- Igloo Hostel, . For £13.50 a night, the Igloo is a very nice hostel and a great choice to spend one or more nights in Nottingham. It's very clean and has hot water in all the bathrooms. It has a well equipped kitchen with stove, oven, fridge, toaster, and the most important equipment in a kitchen: a radio. The Igloo provides free tea, coffee, milk and sugar for breakfast. It also has a good common room, with a TV and several DVDs if you are tired and want to rest and watch something. Lots of books and board games can be easily found as well. A board with several tips of good cheap places to eat and drink can be found in the common room. Unquestionably, a very good and friendly place!
- Midtown Hostel, . £16 a night Midtown Hostel has lots of good things going for it. It's clean, in a great location (just 1 minute walk from the main square), hot water in the showers, free internet, decent kitchen (does have oven, does not have stove, has large fridge to store food in), PS2 and a few games, and free coffee and tea. The beds are reasonably comfortable (but some do squeak). Reports of noisy parties at night.
- Jury's Inn, Waterfront Plaza, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3BJ, ☎ 0115 901 6700, . Car parking is roughly five minutes from the hotel grounds, with many shops and restaurants close by. Well-equipped room with TV, hair-dryer, coffee/tea and biscuits and internet access.
- Holiday Inn Express, 7 Chapel Quarter, Nottingham, NG1 6JS, ☎ 0871 423 4931, . This hotel is in the centre of the city centre and is of the high standards of the Holiday Inn chain, with a spacious room, comfortable beds and friendly staff. From £80.
- SACO Apartments, The Ropewalk, Nottingham NG1 5BB, ☎ 0117 970 6999, . checkin: 16:00; checkout: 10:00. Conveniently located near the city centre with easy access to Queens Medical Hospital and the University of Nottingham. Thankfully there are no surprises in the rooms as they meet their website descriptions and pictures perfectly, with friendly reception staff and all the facilities you need, even for a long-term stay. from £64 per night.
- Hart's Hotel, Nottingham.
- Lace Market Hotel, Nottingham.
Nottingham has been highlighted by the media for gun crime, although the actual incidence in 2004/5 was 19 offences per 100,000 population (compared to 50 for both Greater Manchester and London) . The reality is that Nottingham is not a dangerous city - in spite of its reputation - and provided you act sensibly you will be safe. It is best to avoid walking late at night through St Ann's (council estate north-east of the Victoria shopping centre) and The Meadows (between the railway station and the river), although the Victoria Embankment along the river is quite safe.
- Sherwood Forest is the ancient royal hunting forest situated to the North of Nottingham, stretching throughout Nottinghamshire and up to South Yorkshire. The remnants of Sherwood form a number of country parks and estates. Clumber Park, about 30 miles north on the A614, is a vast area of parkland and woods owned by the National Trust, good for walking and cycling (bicycle hire available). Sherwood Pines Country Park houses a CenterParcs village, a Go Ape aerial assault course, and woodland walking. And Sherwood Forest Country Park has the historic "Sherwood" which visitors may be looking for - the Major Oak which was said to be the hideout of Robin Hood and his band of outlaws. The tired visitor centre is due for replacement, and many visitors are surprised to find the Oak is actually in the Birklands, an area of birch trees. The Thoresby Hall estate is run by Warner holidays as a "just for adults" centre, and Welbeck Abbey is now a military college.
- For keen walkers, Matlock and the Derbyshire Peak District can be reached in about a hour by car.
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