Nottingham and the East Midlands

Seldom seen as a holiday destination, the East Midlands and Nottingham have a lot to offer - country houses, castles, rolling English countryside, riverside and country pubs, possibly the oldest pub in England, caves under the city ...

Hotels in Nottingham (via - leaves this site)

Hotels in Nottinghamshire (via - leaves this site)

First, where is the East Midlands? Essentially, the East Midlands is south Derbyshire, Nottingham, north Leicestershire. It is usually seen from the M1 as you zoom either north or south and is usually bypassed. Why, we don't really know. We will start with the city of Nottingham first.

Below - The Robin Hood Statue, near Nottingham Castle

Image: Robin Hood Statue, Nottingham.Mention Nottingham or Sherwood Forest and most people immediately think of Robin Hood and the eponymous sheriff or if you are are bit more up to date - Brian Clough. But there is so much more to Nottingham and the Sherwood Forest area than those. So why not come and see for yourself.

The Nottingham area may well have been settled during earlier times but it was in Anglo Saxon times that the nucleus of the present city was established. The Normans built a wooden castle in 1067, by the order of William the Conqueror, but subsequently superseded a couple of hundred years later by a stone-built version. It was by all counts a pretty important site as it was relatively close to the Royal Hunting grounds in the Peak District and was situated at a key crossing point of the Trent. The current castle was built in the 17th century for Henry Cavendish (2nd Duke of Newcastle) and it now houses a museum and art gallery showing regional, national and international works. Best of all, if you are exploring the East Midland using public transport, it is barely 10 minutes walk from the centre. Alternatively, instead of walking, you can hop on one of the cities trams. Many caves have been constructed under the city owing to the soft sandstone rock upon which it is built. Under the castle you can explore a network of these caves via the secret passageways and steep stairs, visiting a dungeon, wine cellar and of course Mortimer's Hole (find out about that for yourself!). Since the tour is not suitable for people with limited mobility or who cannot participate in strenuous exercise, a video tour has been arranged. The caves are open only at certain times and there is a small admission fee - Search Google for these, we do not publish them here as they are liable to change. Similarly, at the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, you can visit another series of caves, dating back to the 13th century. Again opening times and an admission fee apply.

Over the next 4 centuries after the establishment of the castle, Nottingham was granted Royal Charters to have a weekly market, annual fair, a Mayor and a Sheriff. The main industry was wool treatment but there is plenty of evidence from street names that many other trades were practised. Later,in the 19th century, Nottingham became famed for its lacemaking industry with its lace market and the production of Raleigh bicycles.

If you are visiting the East Midlands on the English canal system, you can float through the centre of Nottingham. Residents of the city can rent a mooring at the marina, built within a new retail development near the city centre, from where they can access the canals and River Trent with access to Lincolnshire, including Boston and Newark. If you access the canal from near the Brewhouse Yard (Nottingham life and history museum), take a look at how some of your taxes have been spent - marvel at the architecture of the Inland Revenue centre. Also of interest is the Canal House Bar, but to find out why, just go there!

Image: Ye Olde Trip inn, Nottingham.Pictured to the right is what is reputed to be the oldest pub in England 'Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem' so called because the Crusaders stayed there on their way to fight in the Holy Land. Behind the pub is the Brewhouse Yard. This is actually a museum of life in Nottingham during the last 3 centuries or so and is set in a group of cottages.

To the north of Nottingham is Sherwood Forest. The name Sherwood was first applied to the forested area during the 10th century and it became a Royal Hunting Forest after the Norman invasion. The time of the Robin Hood legend is reputedly the 1200s, if that is so, then it is more likely that Robin, Maid Marion, Little John, Will Scarlett and Friar Tuck were battling the Mayor of Nottingham as there was no Sheriff of Nottingham until the mid 15th century. By the 18th century, a lot of Sherwood forest had been acquired by minor noblemen who created the impressive country manors like Thoresby, Newstead Woollaton. In fact, there were so many titled landowners here that it became known as the Dukeries. Industry has also impacted on Sherwood forest, farming and coal mining has created the open spaces and settlements you are familiar with today, Edwinstowe, Ollerton, Rainworth, Mansfield ... plenty of interest to keep you going for a week or fortnight with walks, visitor centres, mountain biking, cafes and tea rooms.

Close to Nottingham lies the Holme Pierrepont Water Sports Centre, a purpose built centre used by GB athletes in training. Public activities are available but be warned, it the water does have a reputation for upsetting people's stomachs!

Hotels in Nottingham (via - leaves this site)

Hotels in Nottinghamshire (via - leaves this site)

Nottingham City in the East Midlands of the UK.

What to see and where to stay in Nottingham

Nottingham is home to a multitude of different architectural styles, with buildings from a vast swathe of history stretching right back to the 1100s.[citation needed] Victorian Nottingham saw a building boom with many ornate buildings being built owing to the city's 19th century industrial importance, including work by architects such as Alfred Waterhouse (architect of London's Natural History Museum), Thomas Chambers Hine and Nottingham's own Watson Fothergill. The western third of the city is home to most of the city's modern office complexes.[citation needed] Several tall office buildings line Maid Marian Way whilst the Georgian area around Oxford and Regent Streets is dominated by small professional firms. The Albert Hall (rebuilt in 1909 after the original Watson Fothergill structure fell victim to fire) faces the Gothic revival St Barnabas' Cathedral by Pugin. Nottingham Castle and its grounds are located further south in the western third of the city. The central third descends from the University district in the north, past the Gothic revival Arkwright Building where Nottingham's Central Library was previously based - Nottingham Trent University now owns this building as well as many others in the area. Theatre Royal on Theatre Square with its pillared fašade was built within six months in 1865. King and Queen Streets are home to striking Victorian buildings designed by the likes of Alfred Waterhouse and Watson Fothergill.

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