Nottingham has to be one of my favourite cities in the UK. I enjoy its atmosphere and history, and there is always something for us to do. Oftentimes we don’t get to do everything in one fell swoop, but we try our very best!
I want to give you the run-down of the best things to do in Nottingham (in my opinion).
I usually go to Nottingham for a few days at a time, and I normally stay at the Premier Inn Goldsmith Street, right on the Nottingham Trent University campus. I’ve never had a bad experience here, and it’s only a ten-minute walk away from Intu Victoria, which I will get to shortly. Plus you also have access to the trams from just up the road. Gawk at the stunning architecture on your way down to Intu Victoria while you’re at it! It’s worth it!
I love the Arboretum, personally. The layout of the Arboretum is beautiful, and it also a stone’s throw away from the Premier Inn I mentioned earlier, so it’s a great chance for a nature walk in the city. It’s Nottingham’s oldest public park, and also the closest to the city centre. It opens from 8am on weekdays, and 9am on weekends and bank holidays.
It has a beautiful mixture of nature and architecture, with its bandstand and the duck ponds. I remember watching the ducks fall into a freezing pond that had a layer of ice on top.
The Arboretum hosts a variety of entertainment throughout the year.
Nottingham Corner House
The Corner House has a variety of things to do and eat. Here, you have Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays and Nando’s, and you can have all of this before venturing towards the cinema, or head over to the Theatre Royal or the Royal Concert Hall, both of which are just a short distance away to walk.
I personally love the Corner House because of its Lost City Adventure Golf, which is located on the lowest floor and is home to two separate 18-hole indoor golf courses. It’s a great destination for all ages, and if you are playing with less than 10 people, just turn up and play! The courses are wheelchair and pushchair friendly, and packed with so much fun! After the game, try out the Tiki Bar within the golf course for drinks – this is where I had the one and only taste of maple syrup flavour Jim Beam, and I recommend trying a couple of the cocktails out! It has to be one of my favourite things to do in Nottingham.
Old Market Square
The Old Market Square is a big focal point for everyone – it’s at the centre of everything to do with Nottingham, and is said to be the largest public space in the UK after Trafalgar Square in London – who knew?
There is usually something happening every time we come to Nottingham, whether it’s the Lights Festival when we visited last February, or the Riviera Beach set-up when we came in July 2018. There is always something to do here, no matter the size, and I was brave enough to get on the Ferris wheel last year.
Intu Victoria is one of the great places to go shopping in Nottingham. There is an Intu Broadmarsh, but I find Victoria to be the superior of the two here in Nottingham. It includes its own market area on the first floor, as well as shops such as Yankee Candle, Disney, Build-a-Bear, Flying Tiger and Morphe. There is literally something for everyone, and I haven’t got to the food yet!
Ed’s Easy Diner is a must for those who love the traditional American diner experience (without being in the States), and The Shake Lab is amazing for its milkshakes.
Let’s talk about food, shall we?
Kitty Cafe is always my go-to for when we go to Nottingham. Ordinarily, you do have to book a table in advance, as they do need to bear in mind the number of people that will be in the cafe at any one time. There is a £6 welfare charge per adult, and £4 per child and these costs go towards looking after the cats (I personally think that’s fair). You pay this welfare charge on arrival, and you are shown to your table, but you are more than free to move around the cafe and interact with the cats. It is imperative that you follow the house rules, as they are for the cats’ protection.
The mocktails are delightful, as is the food. I recommend the Cat-titude mocktail, as well as the tangy lemon cheesecake.
Kitty Cafe has branches in Nottingham, Leeds, Birmingham and a new one opening in Leicester. In Nottingham as of writing this, you’ll get to meet the famous Heathcliff, as well as Baloo (my personal favourite), Toffee (Connor’s favourite), Charlotte, Jet and Rosie.
The Kitty Cafe also has an adoption programme, and many of its cats that are featured in the cafes are available for rehoming. The cafe system also brings in new cats and kittens and makes sure that they are ready for the floor, and the fans on Facebook get to vote for their names.
Cosmo is a world buffet restaurant with many branches, one of those happens to be in Nottingham – and is the flagship. We found this seemingly unassuming place just when we were trying to find somewhere to eat, and I found a brightly-lit sign with ‘Cosmo’ written on it. I was curious but then decided to head in because we were taken in by it being a world buffet. Needless to say, we were astounded with how much there was to it. My favourite dish to this day is still the Kathmandu fish curry. We always leave this place stuffed from food.
Prices vary between lunch and dinner, and then throughout the week. You always find the cheapest prices at lunchtime on a weekday.
Red’s True Barbecue
Located on Queen Street, this is the place to come to for a good BBQ. You may recognise the name from their branded sauces that are in the supermarkets, and they provide you with those when you take your seat. I love the atmosphere for this place, and it’s truly a great place to get some good grub.
There is an assortment of secret bars in Nottingham. That’ll be covered in another post once we’ve been to Nottingham again and found some, but we know of the Boiler Room. That’s all I’m saying for now!