I moved to Nottingham in September 2015 to start my undergraduate degree. In the year and a half that I’ve been living here, the only exploring I did was around campus and the city centre, including the two shopping centres. I had never taken the time to investigate the city’s historical attractions, including the famous statue of Robin Hood outside Nottingham Castle. Last week, I decided that it was time to visit a select few locations to get an insight into the city that I am calling home for 3 years.
[Nottingham City Council]
My day started off on a bad note: I slept through my alarm and woke up 2 hours later than planned. Because of this, I was unable to visit Wollaton Park – not the end of the world as it is located just north of the University of Nottingham campus, where I study.
My spirits were slightly dampened at my late start, and I considered cancelling my plans, but ultimately I decided to go ahead with my only opportunity to explore Nottingham in the foreseeable future.
[‘Robin Hood’ and Nottingham Castle]
My first stop was Nottingham Castle – arguably not a castle at all, but a mansion – and the statue of Robin Hood. I marvelled at the proximity of the castle to Old Market Square, the ‘centre’ of the city, and asked myself why I had not researched the castle’s location earlier. After stopping at the Robin Hood statue, taking a handful of photos in each photo setting I deemed appropriate for the occasion, I entered Nottingham Castle and purchased a small Robin Hood bear to accompany me on the rest of the day.
In typical British fashion it started to drizzle; I had chosen not to bring my umbrella, conscious of the need for two free hands to operate my camera, but said camera is waterproof so I was able to continue my tour without worry. I did not spend as much time in the mansion’s gallery as I had imagined because, although museums and galleries interest me, I was eager to carry on with my day.
[A model of Nottingham in 1830]
[Forbidden Planet in Nottingham]
My next stop was lunch: due to my late start, I had to forgo breakfast, so my stomach was in dire need of some food. On the way to my chosen destination, I stopped at Forbidden Planet. Although the purpose of my day trip was to visit historical sites that I had not been to before, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit one of my favourite shops in Nottingham. This was truly a quick stop; once I entered, I was drawn to many things and regrettably left in order to prevent an impulse buy.
[MOD Pizza in Nottingham]
I decided to go to MOD Pizza for lunch. I had toyed with the idea of going to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, promoted as the oldest inn in England, but decided on MOD Pizza because I went there on Thursday evening with BlogSoc and loved both the restaurant and the concept of building your own pizza (for an incredibly affordable price). I created a slightly different pizza this time but loved it equally as much as the first. What I particularly enjoy about this restaurant is the employee shouting out the name of whoever’s pizza is ready, constantly competing with the steady chatter and background music.
[Custom-made pizza and coca cola at MOD Pizza – sadly they spell my name wrong but the pizza is still amazing]
[Entrance to the City of Caves]
After running a few errands, I headed over to the City of Caves in intu Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. Out of all the things I’d planned to do today, the City of Caves is what I was most excited for. Having visited a couple of different cave locations in other countries, I didn’t know what to expect in this tour. It turned out to be a low-impact, informative guided tour through a portion of the tunnels underneath Nottingham, going through some of the city’s history and how the tunnels played an important part in each period of time.
[One of the rooms in the tunnel route]
[Made in Nottingham storefront]
At this point I had visited everywhere I wanted so I decided to take a leisurely stroll through intu Broadmarsh. I stumbled across what ended up being the last stop on my trip, a shop by the name of Made in Nottingham. The shop was filled with artisanal items which I assume, from the shop title, were made in Nottingham. It was a lovely impromptu ending to my day of exploring in Nottingham; I started with the oldest historical site and ended with a modern local shop.
As I sit in Costa writing this post, I have a chance to reflect on the things I saw and learnt during today’s adventures. I am glad that I (finally) took the time to learn more about the history of this beautiful city, to pay attention to the details and to explore in the midst of a turbulent time of assessments and revision. I highly recommend that everyone take some time out of their day in the near future to explore the town or city that they are living in – who knows, you might discover something new!
Izi Bella x
[Dressing up in Nottingham Castle]