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Touring Nottinghamshire

Sherwood famous oak tree courtesy Calverton cam Nottinghamshire is best known as the site of Sherwood forest, home of the legendary Robin Hood. Much of the original forest is, of course, gone, but there is one old oak tree that has attracted the reputation of being “the one”. At the forest is a visitor centre where Robin Hood’s tale is told in a theme park atmosphere. On the edge of the forest at Ollerton is an 18th century watermill.

Rufford Abbey undercroft courtesy Calverton cam Rufford Abbey, in Ollerton, consists of the remains of a 17th century manor house and a 12th century Cistercian abbey. It’s set in a country park and provides a pleasant family outing.

Medieval building in Nottingham by Barbara Ballard Nottingham castle grounds by Barbara Ballard The attractive city of Nottingham is the major town in the county. To learn about its history visit the Museum of Nottingham Life, set in a group of 18th century cottages. There are many interesting older buildings in the city, but you have to look above street level to find what remains of some. Nottingham castle, in reality a 17th century mansion, high on a hillside in a park, houses a museum and art gallery. The original interior did not survive its changed use. There are views over the city from the top.

Nottingham's caves by Barbara Ballard An unusual attraction of the city is the caves where tours are on offer. These lie below the high hill where the museum and castle are located and once housed a tannery and slum dwellings among other uses.

Wollaton Hall courtesy Calverton Cam West of the city centre is Wollaton Hall and Deer Park, built in 1588, and home to the Nottingham natural history museum and modern art gallery. The stables house the industrial museum and steam engine house. The Museum of Costume and Textiles is another city attraction. Its costumes, displayed in period settings, span the years 1790 to 1950.

Holme Pierrepont Hall courtesy Ikleston Cam Holme Pierrepont Hall near the city of Nottingham is a late medieval manor house set in 30 acres of parkland. It’s one of England’s oldest brick buildings.

Southwell Minster window by Barbara Ballard The Workhouse at Southwell by Barbara Ballard An attraction in the lovely market town of Southwell is its minster. The Romanesque style church was begun in 1108. Be sure to visit the 13th century chapter house to see the carvings. Next to the church are the remnants of a manor house used by the archbishops of York to whom it was given in the 10th century. Just outside the town is the Workhouse where poor people were forced to live and work. The tour gives a chilling insight into their problems.

Newstead Abbey ruins by Barbara Ballard Newstead Abbey, home of the poet Lord Byron, was built on the site of an abbey founded in 1170 by Henry II, hence its name. When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, he gave the abbey to an ancestor of Lord Byron. The west front of the abbey dates from the late 13th century. There are 300 acres of parkland that include lakes, cascades, ponds, and a walled garden to explore after viewing Byron memorabilia. In the grounds is Byron’s monument to his dog. Followers of D. H. Lawrence will want to visit his birthplace museum in Eastwood.

Newark castle view of River Trent by Barbara Ballard The market town of Newark on Trent has an interesting cobbled square with a Georgian town hall and other historic buildings. St Mary Magdalene church offers a collection of silver plate and a 240-foot spire. There’s a riverside walk leading to the Millgate Folk Museum and river boat trips.

Clumber Park lime trees by Barbara Ballard Clumber Park’s 3800 acres of wooded parkland, open heath, farmland, and an 87 acre lake are a major outdoor attraction of the county. Of special beauty are the lime tree-lined avenues, a double row of the trees stretching for two miles.

This is a perfect place to rent a bike and spend a few days relaxing. In the grounds was Clumber house, home of the Dukes of Newcastle from the 1770s. It was demolished in 1938 for financial reasons. There’s a restored 450-foot long Victorian greenhouse. If you go at the right time, fresh figs are available to purchase and enjoy.

Clumber Park church by Barbara Ballard The chapel of St Mary the Virgin at Clumber Park is the size of a parish church and is built in the English Perpendicular style of the 14th century. The spire reaches to 180 feet. The chapel is vaulted and contains an elaborate rood screen.

Cresswell Crags courtesy John Beres Creswell Crags limestone gorge played host to ice age man who enjoyed the relative comfort of its caves. As you walk along the Creswell gorge pathway (45-minute circular walk), you can peer into the caves but not enter, as there are archaeological remains within. One cave, Robin Hood’s, can be entered by booking on a tour. A museum and education centre tells the full story.

Nottinghamshire Attractions

For opening times and full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.

Attenborough Nature Reserve and Centre
Barton Lane, Attenborough, Nottinghamshire, NG9 6DY
off the A6005 between Beeston and Long Eaton
Tel. 0 115 972 1777
Web: Attenborough Nature Centre

Babworth Church
Off A620 Babworth, near Retford
Tel. 0 1777 713 749

Bassetlaw Museum and Percy Laws Gallery
Amcott House, Grove St, Retford
Tel. 0 1777 713 749

City of Caves
Upper Mall, Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, Nottingham
Tel. 0 115 952 0555
Web: City of Caves

Clumber Park (NT)
Clumber Park, near Worksop
Tel. 0 1909 476 592 or 0 1909 544 917 (info line)

Cresswell Crags
On the B6042 between the A60 Worksop-Mansfield road and the A616
Tel. 0 1909 720 378—phone ahead to find out times of cave tours and to book a place
Web: Cresswell Crags

Daneshill Lakes Local Nature Reserve
Daneshill Rd, Lound near Retford
Tel. 0 1777 248 274

Ferry Farm Country Park, Boat Lane, Hoveringham
Off the A612, Nottingham to Southwell road between Lowdham and Thurgarton
Tel. 0 115 966 4512
Web: Ferry Farm Country Park

Green’s Windmill and Science Centre Museum
Windmill Lane, Sneiton, 1.25 miles east of Nottingham City centre
Tel. 0 115 915 6878

Harley Gallery
Welbeck, Worksop (at Wellbeck estate)
Tel. 0 1909 501 700
Web: Harley Gallery

Hodsock Priory Gardens
Blyth, on the B6045
Tel. 0 1909 591 204
Web: Hodsock Priory Gardens

Holme Pierrepont Hall
5 miles south-east of Nottingham
Tel. 0 115 933 2371
Web: Holme Pierrepont Hall

Millgate Folk Museum
48 Millgate, Newark on Trent
Tel. 0 1636 655 730

Museum of Nottingham Life
Brewhouse Yard, Castle Boulevard, Nottingham
Tel. 0 115 915 3600

Newark Air Museum
Drove Lane, Newark
Tel. 0 1636 707 170
Web: Newarke Air Museum

Newark Town Hall Museum
Town Hall, Newark (on second floor—lift for disabled)
Tel. 0 1636 680 333

Newstead Abbey
Newstead Abbey Park, on the A60, 12 miles north of Nottingham
Tel. 0 1623 455 900
Web: Newstead Abbey

Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery
Nottingham, off Maid Marian Way, near city centre
Tel. 0 1159 153 700

Nottingham Contemporary Art Space
Weekday Cross, Nottingham
Tel. 0 115 948 9755
Web: Nottingham Contemporary Art Space

Nottingham Galleries of Justice
Middle Hill/Middle Pavement at Broad Marsh Shopping Centre, Nottingham
Tel. 0 115 952 0555

Rufford Abbey and Country Park (EH)
Two miles south of Ollerton, off A614
Tel. 0 1623 822 944

Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve (Country Park) and Visitor Centre
On B6034, just north of the village of Edwinstowe
Follow brown tourist signs from roundabout at Ollerton on the A614
Tel. Visitor information: 0 1623 823 202 (daily 10.30am - 4.30pm) or 0 8449 80 80 80 (8am - 8pm Mon-Fri; 8am - 12 noon Sat)

Southwell Minster
Tel. 0 1636 812 649 (office)
Web: Southwell Minster

St Mary Magdalene Parish Church Newark
Market Place, Newark
Tel. 0 1636 611 778 (parish office)

Wetlands Animal Park
Sutton-cum-Lound, Retford
Tel. 0 1777 818 099

Wollaton Hall and Deer Park
Lime Tree Ave, off Wollaton Rd, Nottingham
3 miles west of city centre; follow brown signs from A52 or A6514; from M1 take junction 25 and follow the signs; also reached by bus from city centre
Tel. 0 115 915 3900
Web: Wollaton Hall and Deer Park

Workhouse, The (NT)
Upton Rd, Southwell
Tel. 0 1636 817 250

Tourist Information Centres

The Gilstrap Centre, Castlegate, Newark
Tel: 0 1636 655 765

Nottingham (Smithy Row)
1-4 Smithy Row, Nottingham city
Tel: 0 115 915 5330

Nottingham (West Bridgford)
County Hall, Loughborough Road, West Bridgford
Tel: 0 115 977 3558

Sherwood Heath, Ollerton Roundabout, Ollerton
Tel: 0 1623 824 545

40 Grove Street, Retford
Tel: 0 1777 860 780

The Minster Centre, Church St, Southwell
Tel. 0 1636 819 038
Open: Mon-Fri, 10am-4.30pm, until 4pm on Sat; Sun during April-Oct only, 1-4pm

Worksop Library, Memorial Ave, Worksop
Tel: 0 1909 501 148

Sherwood Forest Robin Hood tree, Rufford Abbey, Wollaton Hall courtesy of Calverton cam
Holme Pierpont Hall courtesy Ilkeston cam
Cresswell Crags courtesy John Beres
Other photos by Barbara Ballard

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Our Nottinghamshire Articles
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Clumber Park
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