Compact, cultural and packed with history, Nottingham is easy to explore. While you might not find all of the city’s hidden gems in just 24 hours, you can certainly visit some brilliant museums, galleries and historic buildings.
This sample itinerary takes you to some of the most popular sights in Nottingham so you can get a flavour of the city’s history.
If you’d like a historic location to rest your head, where better than located in Hart’s Hotel on Standard Hill. This is where the Royal Standard was raised by Charles I, marking the start of the Civil War. Today there is a plaque on Standard Hill to remember this historic event.
Day 1 – Nottingham City Centre
Park the car in our secure car park and store luggage with our reception team. Luggage will be delivered to your room once ready.
Join us for a Champagne Brunch in Hart’s Kitchen, a relaxing and intimate spot to prepare for a walking tour of Nottingham’s historic and cultural highlights.
Start your tour with a walk through the historic Lace Market, passing the Grade 1 Listed St Mary’s Church, which is the largest remaining medieval building in the city. The Church is generally open to welcome visitors between 10am and 3pm Monday to Saturday, and for morning and evening services on Sunday, so pop inside if you can!
If you really want to dig deep into the history of Nottingham, it is worth picking up a joint ticket for both the National Justice Museum and its affiliate museum, The City of Caves. At the National Justice Museum, you’ll meet characters from the past telling stories of life behind bars. Across five floors, explore medieval dungeons, Georgian cells and Victorian courtrooms in an 800-year journey through time. At The City of Caves you will learn about the previous purposes of Nottingham’s caves and their use during WWII. You’ll descend underground and discover why Nottingham developed a peculiar subterranean landscape featuring over 800 man-made caves.
Next, explore Nottingham Contemporary it is one of the largest galleries of contemporary art in the UK and features work by international artists. Entry is free and is located a 2-minute walk away from The Galleries of Justice.
Then take a walk to Nottingham’s Old Market Square to check out the famous lions that wait by the Council House. Here you can also find a statue of the local and national football hero Brian Clough at Speakers Corner, and the Nottingham Tourism Centre if there are any questions you might have.
Before you head back to the hotel, take a walk towards the Castle Quarter to have your photo taken with the statue of Nottingham’s outlaw Robin Hood. Nottingham Castle is closed for renovation until 2020 to undergo a £30 million regeneration.
It is generally accepted that the Civil War began in Nottingham on 22 August 1642 when King Charles I had the royal standard flown within the precincts of the castle. Locate the plaque that marks this historic event on Standard Hill.
You can’t come to Nottingham without a drink in Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, reputedly England’s oldest Inn. Part of the pub is cut into the rock, and there’s talk of a secret passage that leads to Nottingham Castle; ask for a peek into the deep cave that serves as the beer cellar.
To top off your evening, why not check out what shows are on at Nottingham Playhouse or Theatre Royal & Concert Hall? We can assist you with booking tickets and we serve a Pre-Theatre menu in Hart’s Kitchen from 5.30pm – 2 courses only £22. Ensure you book in advance as the restaurant can get busy during popular shows.
Day 2 – Nottingham Museums
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast in Hart’s Kitchen and a late 12 noon check-out to enjoy the tranquillity of our hidden gem with far-reaching views over Nottinghamshire.
Today we recommend getting in the car and driving to the grand Wollaton Hall & Deer Park, which is located 10-15 minutes away. Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house of the 1580s standing on a small but prominent hill in Wollaton Park, Nottingham. The house is now Nottingham’s Natural History Museum, with Nottingham Industrial Museum in the out-buildings. The surrounding parkland is home to a large herd of free-roaming deer. Here you can discover the city’s rich history of textiles, transport, communication, mining and power.
Before heading home, if you have the energy for one final stop, we suggest visiting The Framework Knitter’s Museum in the picturesque village of Ruddington, a 20-minute drive away. This unique collection of restored cottages and workshops demonstrates how many of Nottingham’s residents would have lived when the lace and hosiery industry was Nottingham’s biggest export.