As part of our ongoing effort to inspire groups of friends to check out places in the UK other than London, we here at Kings Ferry turn our attention to the city of Nottingham. Culturally diverse, exciting and atmospheric, this is a place with plenty of Ye Olde Worlde charm thanks to its legendary background. By coach, it can be comfortably reached from London in just three hours even on a busy day, and there's plenty to keep you occupied. Take a look at some top activities below.
Explore the legend of Robin Hood
You can't escape the legend of Robin Hood if you're in Nottingham. Even the street names ooze references to the stories. Stroll along Friar Lane or meander along Maid Marion Way on your way to Ye Olde Jerusalem pub, which claims to be the oldest beverage dispenser in the entirety of the UK. Once you see its carved rocky walls and unique personality, you'll be inclined to agree. You don't get personality like that in a pub overnight. The Robin Hood Experience is well worth checking out, as is Sherwood Forest.
Experience culture and history
Now that we've finished with the myths and legends, it's worth noting that Nottingham's long and extraordinary history means there is plenty to see and do here for wannabe historians. The city's splendid castle might have been torn down long ago, but the incredible manor house that stands in its place is just as impressive. Wander its exhibits, which are open to the public, before going out into the beautiful gardens and getting a photo with the statue of Robin Hood. Even here, in the realms of truth, there's no getting away from him!
It's also worth visiting the city's old rag-stone gaol and City of Caves attraction, deep below the brightly-lit halls of Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. Wandering these rocky formations is as atmospheric an experience as you can possibly desire. Since you'll already have transportation by coach, Wollaton Hall isn't far away, with its Downton Abbey-like halls and sense of aristocracy. It's also highly educational, of course. Finally, the Galleries of Justice make for an almost eye-watering journey through the most miserable parts of human history, with plenty of torture devices, chains, ropes and other nasty devices on display. This last one is particularly fun for those with children.
There are plenty of places to experience natural beauty in Nottingham - it's one of the leafiest greenest cities in the UK. Start at the Arboretum near Nottingham Trent University campus. There are plenty of intimate spots, including a lake and a bird cage. Elsewhere, there's the Forest Recreation Ground, which plays host to the annual Goose Fair - a splendid sight to be sure. Finally, the aforementioned Nottingham Castle has beautifully extensive grounds with extraordinarily well-kept flowerbeds all year round - particularly useful if you're seeking inspiration for your own garden during these trickier winter months.
Dance the night away
No matter your nightlife preferences, Nottingham has plenty to offer those who prefer to see a city by night than by day. From the hallowed halls of Ocean and Rock City to intimate little pubs and restaurants, it's pretty easy to find what you are looking for. Quirky venues include the gothic-styled Pit and Pendulum and the ever-popular Spanky Van Dykes, while the LGBT have Propaganda and a host of other clubs and bars.
Between them, Nottingham's Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall attract talent from the world over, with a vast plethora of events taking place every year that ranges from fully fledged musicals to intimate concerts from international musicians. Tickets are affordable and there's room in the theatre bar for a drink beforehand, or go across the road to Tavern on the Green if you fancy experiencing the local drinking culture. If you want to know what's going on at either event over the next few months, it's well worth checking the websites as there is a plethora of variety on offer.