Exactly 6 years ago today I was sat in the back of my Mum’s car, squashed between various badly packed bags, boxes, and my siblings, on the way down to Nottingham to start my next chapter of life at university. Despite it not being in Yorkshire, I absolutely loved it, had an amazing time, and ended up living there for 5 years before eventually coming back to my Northern homeland.
Anyway, to celebrate this not-even-that-significant-but-let’s-just-go-with-it anniversary, I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to my 2nd favourite UK city with a blog post of some of my Nottingham highlights. Enjoy:
Have breakfast at Warsaw Diner (or one of the many, many, many other food places)
I only went here once during the whole 5 years I lived in Nottingham, but it was very tasty and is especially good for a massive hangover breakfast. Alternatively you could try one of the other 17 million restaurants that exist in Nottingham – I’m pretty sure there are more places to eat here than there are Pret’s in London, or Greggs in the North. Nice little analogy covering the whole of the country there.
Go to Nottingham Castle and the Robin Hood statue
I only went to Nottingham Castle for the first time a year after I graduated, and it’s a fun way to spend a couple of hours in the city while learning about Nottingham’s history. (I can’t remember much of the history bit because I’d just spent three years doing it at university and my brain can’t hack it anymore. Most days I can’t remember what happened yesterday.) Right outside the castle entrance is a statue of someone called Robin Hood, who they talk about quite a lot here, which is a good photo opportunity. (I used to work round the corner from here and it would already be surrounded by tourists at 8:45am. Calm down guys, he’s not going anywhere)
Stop for a coffee break at 200 Degrees
200 Degrees is a nice little independent coffee shop that started in Nottingham and now has a few different shops across the UK. There are two in Nottingham, one near the train station and one in the centre, and each one offers a relaxed vibe with minimalist brick wall interiors, great if you’re one of those folk who likes to find places that are perfect for the ‘gram. The coffee also tastes good which is obviously more important.
Walk around Batman’s house (or Wollaton Hall as it’s usually called)
When I first came to Nottingham back in 2011 to spend a week at the university, there was a lot of hype surrounding Wollaton Hall, a big country house and park, as it was being used as a filming location for The Dark Knight Rises. When Batman isn’t using it as Wayne Manor, it’s a fab place to go for a walk or visit a market. They also have lots of events on there through the year, including a big music festival in the summer (see below).
Enjoy a pint at one of the many, many pubs
There are so many pubs to go to in Nottingham that I don’t think I could have chosen a better place to go to university. My personal favourites are the Sir John Borlase Warren, which was 10 minutes up the road from my house and provided a welcome distraction from every exam, essay, and dissertation, but the ones next to Nottingham Castle are also good, especially if you like people watching, and Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem down the road from those is also good if you wanted to try something a bit different. There are also lots of places in West Bridgford if you’re going there for Trent Bridge or the football stadiums. (I don’t know why, but I just knew this was going to be the biggest paragraph).
Go for a walk at Highfields Park
This cute lil park is right next to The University of Nottingham and has a big lake in the middle of it that you can walk around. I did this a lot when I was a student – mostly to procrastinate when I should have been doing work, and one disastrous time when I thought I’d give jogging a go – and it’s bloody lovely all year round.
Go to a gig at Rock City
One of my favourite places in Nottingham is Rock City, a music venue which I remember fondly as the place I got hopelessly lost for about three hours on the first night of Fresher’s Week in 2012 (good start) but mainly the place where I saw lots and lots of amazing gigs, including Deaf Havana, Panic! At The Disco, Amber Run, and Charlie Simpson. (The latter is just a hazy memory of a very drunk crowd yelling YEAR 3000 YEAR 3000 GO ON MATE PLAY IT). It’s a really good place to see a gig, and loads of acts have said it’s one of their favourite venues to play in the UK.
Visit a music festival
Obviously not something you can do all the time but, carrying on with the music theme, Nottingham has loads of festivals you can visit through the year. A few highlights are Dot to Dot in May, Splendour in July, and Hockley Hustle in October.