10 Fun Things To Do In Nottingham

Known for its Robin Hood Legend, Nottingham is bursting with history and beautiful sites to explore. The city has a thriving independent shopping scene and an abundance of delicious places to go and eat.

Follow in Robin Hood’s footsteps amongst the royal hunting grounds of Sherwood Forest, or visit the world-class Nottingham Contemporary Arts Centre, there’s so many cultural activities for you to enjoy while living the student life in Nottingham  

When living in this city, it’s important to know what fun activities are available right on your doorstep. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 fun things to do in Nottingham to give you a head start.

1. Nottingham Castle

This castle is certainly a grand site, it was built in 1875 and has remained a heritage attraction and art gallery ever since.

It’s currently undergoing a huge Heritage Lottery Funded redevelopment, the planned improvements include more cave tours, an adventure playground and a new visitor centre.

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Situated on a high rock, the castle boasts spectacular views over the city. The historic site is at the heart of the Robin Hood legend and the starting point for the English Civil War.

Whilst visiting, you can enjoy six acres of Victorian inspired grounds and gardens with an informative museum at the base of the rock.

2. The National Justice Museum

Based in Nottingham’s historic Shire Hall and County Gaol, this museum allows you to delve in history. The National Justice Museum is housed in a former Victorian courtroom, gaol, and police station and is a historic site where an individual could be arrested, tried, sentenced, and executed.

Located in a beautiful Grade II listed building, it’s a must see when studying in Nottingham!

Admission for students is £9.95 and it’s open 9-5:30pm on a weekday and 10-4pm on a weekend, perfect for a day out with your friends after some studying.

3. The City Of Caves

This attraction consists of over 500 original sandstone caves which exist under the city, they were used for both living and the primitive industry. Interestingly, The Broadmarsh Shopping Centre is right above the caved area.

Many of the caves are linked together making it one of the largest networks in the city and were used as WW2 air raid shelters and even a medieval tannery. As part of your tour you can visit the Anderson air raid shelter where thousands sought refuge during WWII. Admission for students is £6.95 with a valid NUS card, making it a very affordable day!

4. Newstead Abbey

A beautifully historic house set in a glorious landscape, Newstead Abbey is surrounded with gardens and parkland in the heart of Nottinghamshire.

It was converted into a domestic home following the Dissolution of the Monasteries and is now best known for the ancestral home of Lord Byron.

There’s so much to explore inside the Abbey, including Victorian room settings and the poet’s private apartments.

The gardens and parkland at the Abbey cover a staggering 300 acres, perfect for meandering past beautiful lakes, ponds, and waterfalls. Why not take a walk within The Woodlands or explore the Japanese Garden? There’s so many perfect picture opportunities at this fascinating historical house! 

5. Wollatton Hall

Since opening in 1926, Wollatton Hall has been home to Nottingham’s Natural History Museum, there’s a collection of over 750,000 objects including fossils, minerals, plants and eggs, the largest dedicated Natural History Museum in the county.

The hall itself is nestled between 500 acres of beautiful parkland, including grassland, wetland and woodland, a perfect spot for birdwatchers, photographers and wildlife spotters.

The outdoor space is also used for festivals and concerts, so definitely keep your eye out for any events that might sound of interest to you!

You can explore the house itself from different perspectives from the grand Prospect Room to the Tudor Kitchen in the basement. Keep your eyes out for some Deer too, you might just get lucky!

6. Robin Hood Tour

You can’t study in Nottingham and not immerse yourself in some Robin Hood history! This tour is the definitive way to learn all about the world-famous legend, follow a trial of historic facts in this fun, theatrical exploration.

It involves you visiting all the places associated with Robin Hood, as well as seeing the town’s key sites of interest and learn about its past, present, and future.

Robin hood statue

The tour also includes a look at the stunning architecture of the Lace Market, the Old County Gaol and tranquillity in St Mary’s Churchyard. It all ends at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, the oldest pub in England, where you can enjoy a nice relaxing drink of your choice and marvel at the stunning historical sites around you.

7. Theatre Royale and Royal Concert Hall                         

Fancy some theatre on an evening? Situated in the heart of Nottingham, the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall are two of the UK’s most vibrant touring venues. Both venues have the highest quality of performances on offer, including internationally renowned orchestras, West End musicals, stand-up comedy and rock & pop gigs.

The theatre itself is a stunning, aesthetically pleasing landmark brimming with history. In 1978, the theatre re-opened following a £5 million refurbishment, whilst today, the beauty of the 1,107-seat auditorium remains a vital landmark in Nottingham, and a must see when studying in this culture filled city.

8. The Haunted Museum

If you’re feeling brave, this spooky museum is worth a visit! The Haunted Museum in Nottingham has quickly become one of the UK’s top paranormal tourist attractions, with ghost hunters from all over the UK venturing to Nottingham to catch a glimpse of a ghoul.

The museum itself is filled with thousands of haunted items including supposed possessed dolls and a mirror room said to turn visitors mad!

If you’re not quite brave enough to go into the building itself, they also offer a live stream option on their website, you can pay £2 for 1 hour of live streaming or £4 for three hours, 4K is said to be coming soon giving you a high-quality view of The Haunted Museum.

9. Nottingham Cathedral

This stunning Cathedral was designed and built under renowned architect A.W.N Pugin, at the time of its opening in 1844, it was the largest Catholic church to have been built in England since the Reformation.

The beautiful Grade I listed building is worth visiting whilst studying here, it’s open from 7am-7pm daily, perfect for a nice peaceful stroll after some studying to soak up some architecture. 

10. Attenborough Nature Centre

There’s so many fabulous bird-spotting and walking opportunities on this 360-acre site, with ponds, pools, and even a café if you fancy a refreshment after some exploring. Surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Attenborough Nature Reserve, this centre is owned and managed by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

The full walk around the reserve should roughly take around three hours, ideal if you feel like a break from studying or a bit of head space. Attenborough has 4 bird hides in total, all with different unique features. The only cost is a £3 parking donation!