City Guide



Introduction to Nottingham

Nottingham is more famous for its legends than for its recorded history. The story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men who reputedly lived in Sherwood Forest robbing from the rich and giving to the poor has stood the test of time to be a major tourist lure.

But Nottingham is more than fairytales. A great medieval castle has presided over the city since it was built by the Normans in 1068. As well as a defensive settlement, Nottingham remains famous for its wool and beer trade. About 670,000 people live in the Nottingham urban area today, which has become renowned for fashion houses, textile art and musical tourism.

City centre

The city centre stretches upwards from Beeston Canal and Broadmarsh Shopping Centre in the south to the General Cemetery and Victoria Shopping Centre in the north. Nottingham Castle lies to the east of the city centre, with St Mary’s Rest Garden and the ice rink to the west. International students will find Nottingham Trent University’s city campus here and the Council House’s landmark dome, which can be seen for miles around, in Old Market Square.

Nottingham Castle

Nottingham’s historic core dominates the west side of the city, which is the home of big businesses and the affluent residences of the Park Estate. A joint ticket to Nottingham Castle and the Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard is available at weekends. Visitors can stop for a pint of ale at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, set into a cave, which is believed to be one of the oldest drinking houses in England.


Hockley to the east of the city centre is Nottingham’s bohemian quarter strewn with alternative fashion boutiques, off-beat bars, retro record stores and independent cinemas. The Broadway cinema’s season of crime thrillers was headed by Quentin Tarantino and the Screen Room is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the smallest cinema in the world with just 21 seats. Merchants have lived in the area since the 13th century and it is home to Nottingham’s Lace Market. The area is undergoing redevelopment under the brand Eastside City.

Canal Side

Nottingham is expected to catapult up the league tables of super shopping when work on the Broadmarsh in the south of the city is complete. Visitors to the city will then be able to alternate from Victoria shopping arcade amid a collection of waterfront cafés and bars, including Jongleurs Comedy Club. The train and coach stations are located here, making the south the gateway to the city.


International students with musical tastes that are out of the ordinary should line up here for Rock City’s line up of gigs and alternative music nights. Old Market Square is the epicentre of ancient buildings, fountains and architecture as well as a good place to hunt out global grub. The other big mall, Victoria Shopping Centre has a host of big names and department stores for high street fashion purchases.