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Posts Tagged ‘visit nottingham’

Nottingham has been on my list of places to go ever since I arrived in the UK 17 years ago. It’s taken a while LOL. Getting around the UK is relatively easy with the extensive railway network, but it is prohibitively expensive, so my visit to Nottingham had to wait till an assignment became available…which it did in February. Exciting!! I was thrilled.

When I did the journey planner the station code came up as NOT and as it turned out, NOT pretty much described my overall visit…..NOT Nottingham. It just wasn’t at all what I expected. First impressions were thrilling….the castle built on top of the sandstone caves; gaping wounds in the cliff-face gave an indication of what lay behind the facade.

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Sandstone cliffs and a myriad of cave

A quick walk around the city after checking in at my AirBnB led to the discovery of the fantastic 12th century inn; Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem – apparently the oldest inn in England (disputed by some) and saw the statue of Robin Hood in the plaza out front of the castle walls. I found a superb old Tudor style building nearby and delighted in the stories behind the myriad caves that lay beneath the castle.

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Nottingham Castle gates and statue of Robin Hood

Walking further into the city I found that I could have been in any major city anywhere in the UK. Nottingham didn’t hold the quirky charm I had been expecting….high street stores, chain restaurants and charity shops. I felt robbed LOL sorry Robin.

But never one to leave any stone unturned or city unexplored, I delved deeper, determined to find the hidden gems…and I found plenty.

First up a walk through the city’s oldest area: the Lace Market. This historic quarter-mile area was once the centre of the world’s lace industry during the British Empire. Meandering the streets I was enchanted by the quirky old buildings, now dotted with street art and turned over to various other industries and businesses, the area still holds a charming olde worlde atmosphere.

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The Creative Quarter; the Nottingham Lace Market

From there I made my way to The City of Caves, the entrance located on the upper level of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. For someone who loves caves, this was a real treat. They are fantastic and tell the story of the people who have inhabited the area for aeons, right up until when the caves were used as air-raid shelters during the 2nd WW. There is even the sound effect of an air-raid with bombers going overhead and the wail of a siren. Thrilling. I can recommend this if you enjoy history & caves and don’t suffer from claustrophobia http://www.nationaljusticemuseum.org.uk/venue/city-of-caves/

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Walking above ground, you would never know there were 800 caves beneath your feet…a city of caves indeed.

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the city of caves…..800 caves beneath your feet

I managed to visit 2 churches, one of which; The Church of St Mary the Virgin is located in the Lace Market area

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The Church of St Mary the Virgin is the oldest religious foundation in the City of Nottingham, England, the largest church after the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Nottingham and the largest mediaval building in the city

St Mary the Virgin, aka St Mary’s in the Lace Market was by far and away my favourite building. A Grade 1 listed building, one of only 5 in Nottingham, this fantastic 16th century church has a history is that is just astounding. Mentioned in the Domesday Book it is believed it’s roots go back deep into Saxon times. The main body of the present building (possibly the 3rd on the site) dates from the end of the reign of Edward III (1377) to that of Henry VII (1485–1509), the tower wasn’t completed till the reign of Henry VIII. There are some fascinating memorials in the church with an array of stunning stained glass windows; art works in themselves. The chantry door, dating from the 1370s or 1380s is considered to be the oldest surviving door in Nottingham and contains an example of iron work from the medieval period in the locking mechanism.

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the Chantry door, St Mary the Virgin in the Lace Market area of Nottingham

In the grounds are a number of marvellous headstones that tell a story all their own as well the grave and a memorial plaque to Nottingham’s first black entrepreneur: George Africanus (1763-1834). This magnificent church is well worth a visit in my opinion. They depend on donations for the upkeep of this magnificent building; please give generously https://www.stmarysnottingham.org/

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The Church of St Peter with St James

The 2nd church; Church of St Peter with St James is a delightful church right in the centre of Nottingham. I had noticed it previously when I first arrived and was delighted to discover the link with the pilgrim St James. One of the three medieval parish churches in Nottingham, the original church was destroyed by fire in the early 1100s and rebuilt between 1180 and 1220. United with the church of St James which was demolished in the 1930’s, the church is now a Grade I listed building. The stained glass windows are a glorious rainbow of bright bold colours and above the west porch entrance is a fantastic painting of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper. Painted in 1816 by Thomas Barber (1771-1843). This beautiful building offers an oasis of peace and tranquillity in a busy city.

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Nottingham Cathedral.

And the cathedral; Nottingham Cathedral is located not too far from the castle along and just off Maid Marion Way. I loved the fabulous feeling of space in this church and the ceiling seems to soar above you. An unearthly blue light fills the space, the stained glass windows adding to the ethereal atmosphere. Built between 1841 and 1844 by the architect was Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, I was delighted to discover the link to the church in Ramsgate; St Augustine’s, from whence I started my walk along The Way of St Augustine in 2017. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is absolutely exquisite and well worth the visit.

I visited the Castle that isn’t really a castle, but more of an enormous palatial Manor house built after the original castle was destroyed by fire, and explored the fantastic displays and exhibitions quite thoroughly before embarking on a tour of the caves which were just awesome. There is a charge to visit the castle and an extra Β£5 to visit the caves.

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Exhibitions in Nottingham Castle

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Sandstone Caves at Nottingham Castle,

Before I left I managed to squeeze in a visit to Green’s Mill. I’d seen the windmill on the horizon earlier on in my stay, and determined to visit before I left the area. Absolutely charming. It’s a working mill and you can buy freshly milled flour on the premises and a recipe book for various yummy goodies …I bought one bag of flour and a recipe book for my son-in-law who is a keen baker. You can clamber about the inside the mill which offers a look at the many mechanisms required for milling the grain into flour.

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Green’s Mill and Science Centre, Nottingham

The views from the top floor are well worth the climb; just mind your head going up!! Green’s Mill also depends on donations to maintain the building, so please give generously. If you’re a UK tax payer remember to tick the Gift Aid box. It all helps. https://www.greensmill.org.uk/

I managed to get in a couple of lovely walks along the canal and river as well as a visit to Victoria Park and the amazing memorial to both World Wars, on the embankment near the fantastic suspension bridge

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In all I spent 2.5 weeks in Nottingham, 2 weeks of which was working, and so, during my breaks I managed to get in quite a few walks around the area, many of which were along the river. On a warm clear day before the snow, I chanced upon and watched a boat race.

Nottingham. Although I was at first quite disappointed, after digging around and finding all these amazing places to visit, I can say that, despite not meeting Robin, in all I enjoyed visiting these amazing places and discovering more about the history of the city and I especially enjoyed visiting the caves.

And so my visit went from NOT Nottingham, to why NOT Nottingham.

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It is my dream and goal to visit as many places in the UK as I possibly can, especially places relative to my Project 101.

If I could spend every day travelling and going to new places I surely would…in between visiting home and my family of course πŸ˜‰ I’m looking forward to the day I buy my motor home.

A few weeks ago I contacted the agency I get my assignments from and asked if they could send me farther afield than Kent…I’ve been to so many places in Kent already as well as many in the neighbouring counties, and I really wanted to extend my range again. Since Nottingham is on my list of places to go, so when they suggested a position in the city for 2 weeks I jumped at the chance.

After a long day of travel I finally arrived at Nottingham Station. It’s a long way from Broadstairs to Nottingham…5.5 hours and 3 train changes.

The Nottingham Canal that I crossed over on my way from the station to the B&B opened in 1796. I love seeing canal boats on a river, they always look so quaint and intriguing.

This is my first visit to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, which is really exciting, as I’m now able to add this visit to a few categories on my Project 101: Domesday Book town, walled city, a major river, a castle, a cathedral city, a cathedral…which remarkably is linked to the Architect Augustus Pugin and ties in to the walk I did last year : The Way of St Augustine.

Can’t wait to explore, although proper exploration will have to wait till the assignment is finished, to which end I’ve booked to stay for a couple of days after. However there is no reason why I couldn’t pop out for a short walk around the city even though it was already dark out.

Nottingham is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as “Snotingeham” and “Snotingham”. Named for a Saxon Chieftain ‘Snot’, it was dubbed “Snotingaham” meaning literally, “the homestead of Snot’s people” (Inga = the people of; Ham = homestead).

First on the agenda was a visit to Nottingham Castle. I’d walked past it on my way to the B&B and seriously it was quite simply amazing…..

Nottingham Castle was constructed in the 11th century on a sandstone outcrop by the River Trent. I have never seen any such location for a castle in my life. The outcrop appears to be pock marked with caves and holes…and apparently, after reading the storyboard nearby, it seems that there are in fact tunnels and caves below the castle…..now I’m really intrigued and excited. The opening time is March which means my timing is perfect…thankfully. At the side of the castle is a fab statue of Robin Hood, he of Nottingham Forest and Maid Marion fame…..steal from the rich to feed the poor. Remember the film Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves… I wonder if he looked anything like Kevin Costner πŸ˜‰

On the way there I passed Ye Olde trip to Jerusalem Inn which according to the blurb, is the oldest inn in England. Apparently this too has tunnels running beneath so of course I absolutely have to go back for a tour.

From there I took a stroll through the streets passing a fab little Tudor style house. I didn’t see many medieval style houses – I must try to find out if there are any.

The pedestrianised area is lined with the usual high street shops and stores…it look so familiar to many places I’ve been I could have been almost anywhere. Is there a template?

I did enjoy seeing the electrified trams…reminded me of Amsterdam and Dublin.

I stopped for a quick bite at Five Guys, I haven’t ever eaten there before, and probably won’t again. The sandwich I had was okay, and the fries edible but nothing to write home about.

Since it was was already very dark I decided to head back to the B&B and settle in for a nice hot bath, some T.V. – one of my favourite shows: Call the Midwife and then an early night is in order.

I’m looking forward to when the assignment is over and I can explore more thoroughly. I enjoyed finding these coats of arms and of course a door is always intriguing..

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