Nottingham is my home city and over the years when I revisit the city, it gets better and better – mainly down to the food. I looove the food! But that’s not what this travel post is all about, as you can head over to my post which points out the 7 best places to eat in Nottingham. Anyhow, for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend me and my boyfriend packed our bags and went to Nottingham for 2 days to revisit the places we both love. So, for today’s travel post I’m going to share with you what we got up to; things to do in Nottingham, hotels in Nottingham for your night’s accommodation, travel to and around the city centre, plus share any events in Nottingham which may be of interest for you when you decide to plan a trip.
Hotels in Nottingham
When people travel places, they automatically assume the best place to stay is the heart of it all, but that’s not always the case. We stayed the night at Hotel Novotel Nottingham & Derby*, which is literally next door to the M1 (if you can refer to it like that), which gives you easy access to Nottingham City Centre and surrounding areas via a 20 minute drive, or even the same distance to Derby if you fancy visiting the two cities in one weekend.
Travel from Hotel Novotel Nottingham & Derby
Despite being close to the M1, driving isn’t an option for everyone, nor does anyone want to fork out around £20 for a one-way trip in a taxi. Luckily for you, there are some handy bus links near the hotel. There’s a bus stop just a 2 minute walk away from Hotel Novotel Nottingham & Derby and from here you can catch the Indigo (it quite literally is an indigo-coloured bus) which will take you direct to Broadmarsh Bus Station in Nottingham, which is a 10 minute walk from the city centre- no changes required.
The journey will take around 1 hour and the most ideal ticket to get for adults over the weekend is a ZigZag – it costs £6, but gives you unlimited travel throughout the day on any TrentBarton bus, plus is valid on bank holidays and even on their nightbuses until 4am. So if you want to enjoy the Nottingham nightlife, you can do so without any worry! just don’t lose your ticket on your night out…
Anyway, back to the hotel. I’m not usually a huge fan of the more affordable chain hotels because I often have a bad experience with them; the beds are cheap and therefore ruin your night’s sleep, the breakfast is just mediocre, or you end up with a really drab looking decor and think to yourself that a night in your own bedroom would’ve been worth more. However, I’ll admit that Hotel Novotel is really nice. It’s strange staying in a hotel that’s so close to the motorway and not in the city centre, but for me this was ideal as my family were only a mere 10 minute drive away.
We stayed in a Standard Double Room for one night, which could usually set you back by around £70, but this all depends on how early/late you book, what deals they happen to have going on, or any extras you might want.
As for the breakfast, this was open between 7-11am on the Bank Holiday Monday, which meant we were able to have a lie-in as opposed to having to eat by 9am like I’ve experienced in some hotels. Novotel Nottingham offers a lot of options, and it’s fair to say I went up for my fair share! There’s a big breakfast buffet with sausages, mushrooms, beans, scrambled eggs and of course, hash browns. You then had a cereal table with all kinds of cereals, a fruit selection, pastries which included the delicious cinnamon whirls, and also a toaster with various kinds of breads.
I went up for a big brekky to begin with, finished off with a Caffe Latte thanks to their coffee machine which allows you to choose from anything, such as, Espresso, Cappuccino, Mocha, Hot Chocolate and more. I then went up for a fruit salad bowl filled with pineapple, melon, apple and grapefruit, and finished off with a cinnamon whirl! That’s how breakfast should be done every day really…
Things to Do in Nottingham City Centre
Nottingham has a lot of history, so there are lots of things to do in the city centre, plus many places to visit near Nottingham too. I’ll start with the obvious things to do in Nottingham, and work my way through other places to visit if you want to venture further a field.
Old Market Square
Nottingham City Castle
The castle is the best place to go if you want panoramic view of Nottingham City Centre; although the horizon is fairly grey, even on a sunny day thanks to the grey-looking architecture, the views from the castle is still something to enjoy. The museum inside the actual castle used to be amazing as a kid and for adults used to showcase a lot about the history of Robin Hood, the castle itself, and even Nottingham City Centre as a whole. However, it has gone downhill in my eyes; taken over with art and contemporary exhibitions, but then again, that’s just a personal dislike due to having no interest in those things. To the left of the ticket entrance to the castle grounds (just before you pay for your tickets), you will find the Robin Hood Statue – a must see for everyone to at least say you’ve seen it!
Price: Adults – £8. Family Ticket (2 adults & 2 children) – £20. Under 16’s, 65+ and UK Students – £6.
Nottingham City Castle website
National Justice Museum & City of Caves
I remember going to the National Justice Museum for school trips as a kid and absolutely loving it; dressing up in the workers clothes, learning all about the courthouse and jail back then and then getting to visit the caves straight after. It’s definitely a great place for families, but it’s just as good for adults too.
Price for NJM. Adults – £10.95. Family Ticket (max. 2 adults) – £32.50. Under 18’s (under 5’s go free) – £7.95. 65+ and UK Students – £9.95.
National Justice Museum website
Price for City of Caves. Adults – £7.95. Family Ticket (max. 2 adults) – £24.50. Under 18’s (under 5’s go free) – £6.95. 65+ and UK Students – £6.95.
City of Caves website
Old Market Square
The Old Market Square has massively improved over the years and is now a great place to hang out for lunch, or to simply take in the busy city lifestyle. You’ll often find events in Nottingham situated in the Old Market Square, such as food festivals, the Christmas fair, the big summer beach and even student events and sporting activities. Every time I visit, there always seems to be something on!
Logiclock Escape Rooms
I cannot recommend this place enough – if you want to break away from being a’tourist’ for an hour or so, pre-book yourself into a Logiclock Escape Room with friends and family for something a little different. I’ve been here twice before, and I’ve loved it every time!
Places to Visit Near Nottingham
Wollaton Hall & Deer Park
This was an absolute favourite as a kid. Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house which you can visit just a short 10-15 minute drive from Nottingham City Centre, and is great for a sunny day – even pack a picnic if you must! The garden are beautiful – and huge – plus there’s a Deer Park on the grounds too – careful, as these are just roaming around without any fencing! There’s also a cute tearoom to enjoy, an ice cream van is always on standby, there’s a play park for young families at the car park entrance, plus there’s a little garden shop to purchase flowers, plaques and other garden/home accessories. Fun fact – part of the Batman movie was also filmed here!
Attenborough Nature Reserve
Opened by the man himself; David Attenborough, this nature reserve park is ideal for those who love to bird-watch, feed the ducks, learn a little more about wildlife, go on long walks with the dog and even participate in craft activities. I remember my Mum taking us to make paper lanterns here as a kid and to then get our 25p bag of duck feed to sit by the pond with too. This is around a 20-25 minute drive from Nottingham City Centre, but is in a great location – you’ve got beautiful scenery, but there’s also a retail park a 10 minute walk away which has a McDonalds on too!
Where to Eat in Nottingham
I already did a post on my pick of the top 7 restaurants in Nottingham, but below I’m going to share a few other places I recommend since my most recent visits to Nottingham, which are all mainly places to eat lots of sweet treats and also enjoy a nice drink; alcoholic or not.
Kaspa’s Dessert House
If you love Pizza Hut Cookie Dough, I’ve been told you’ll love Kaspa’s version even more. I went a couple months ago with friends and my boyfriend for my birthday outing in Nottingham City Centre, and my boyfriend said it was the best one ever.
Whether you like cats or not, Kitty Cafe is a great place to enjoy a coffee, cold drink and some food for an hour. You need to book in advance for your 1 hour slot, where you get given a designated table and chairs for your party which comes with a little umbrella for your food and drinks. Once you’ve been seated, you then have an hour to spend walking around the entirety of the cafe with cat toys, playing with all the cats and kittens and taking lots of photos!