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This ancient city is one of the top shopping centres in the UK, offering a superior mix of large department stores, specialist stores and everything else you’d expect from a modern metropolis - from nightlife to cinemas and restaurants. Yet its most famous character is not a high-powered tycoon but an outlaw – Robin Hood.

Nottingham Castle Gate House - Photo © Rob Bradford
Nottingham Castle Gate House - Photo: Rob Bradford CCL

Legend has it that Robin and his merry men lived in Sherwood Forest and constantly humiliated evil King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Although the truth is hardly transparent, there really is a castle here and at one time it was commanded by King John and his merciless Sheriff. There are also a number of statues of the archer-warrior.

Today the castle – built by William Conqueror in the 11th century and later reconstructed by the Duke of Newcastle – is the city’s splendid museum and art gallery. It explains how Nottingham emerged from the Dark Ages and took a leading role in the industrial revolution.

Originally a Saxon settlement and later part of a Viking kingdom, Nottingham was a prosperous market town in the Middle Ages.

But the decision by Richard Arkwright to install his first steam-powered spinning machines here in the late 18th century sparked an industrial boom. The population exploded, as did the manufacture of hosiery and lace - for which the city has long been famous - despite an uprising by so-called Luddites who smashed machinery in the mills.

In more recent times thousands of jobs were created in the city by three great High Street names - bicycle manufacturers Raleigh, cigarette makers John Player and local entrepreneur Jesse Boot’s company Boots the Chemist.

Greens Mill at Sneinton - Photo © Alex Foster
Greens Mill at Sneinton - Photo: Alex Foster CCL

Nottingham has a host of museums which look in depth at this remarkable heritage. They range from a lace museum and a Lace Centre to a museum of costume and textiles. At 16th century Woollaton Hall you will also find a natural history museum and industrial museum.

Woolaton Hall - Photo © Rob Bradford
Woolaton Hall - Photo: Rob Bradford CCL

The Brewhouse Yard Museum traces the city’s life through the ages while the Shire Hall is home to the Galleries of Justice, which gives a unique insight into crime and punishment through the ages. Meanwhile, beneath Nottingham’s streets is a unique labyrinth of over 400 man-made caves in which there are reconstructions of places such as a tannery, air raid shelter and Victorian slum.

Another place of interest is 12th century Newstead Abbey, built by Henry 11 to atone for the murder of Thomas Becket. It was home to Lord Byron and is now a museum run by the local council. The poet is buried at nearby Hucknall Church.

Of course, the city is famous for its annual Goose Fair held each October – a tradition started in the 13th century – but also has two inns, ‘The Salutation Inn’ and the ‘Trip to Jerusalem’, which date back to the same period.

Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem - Photo © Patrick A Griffin
Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem - Photo: Patrick A Griffin CCL

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Further information:
Nottingham Hotels, Guesthouses and B&B Accommodation
Nottingham Cottages, Apartments and Self Catering Accommodation
Nottingham Camping and Caravan Sites

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