Surrounded by countryside and dotted with historic buildings and stately homes, Nottingham is perhaps at its most atmospheric during Autumn, with plenty of great things to do at affordable prices during this period.
Located in central England’s Midlands region, the city of Nottingham is steeped in history, and played a vital role in propelling the country’s economic prosperity during the post-industrialisation era. Today the city is not only a hub of commercial activity but also a vibrant cultural centre, with a huge number of museums, arts venues and protected country homes. If you’re visiting Nottingham this Autumn, we’ve picked out 10 of the best places to visit that won’t hit you too hard in the pocket.
Surrounded by 500 acres of parkland, and with an Industrial Museum in the stables and outbuildings, this marvellous Tudor house is eye-catching both inside and out. Built in the 1580s, it boasts a stunning Elizabethan/Jacobean style and is thought to have had a big influence on English architecture during the era. Among the interior’s main highlights are the beautiful mouldings preserved in their original style in the three-storey hall. Entrance to the hall and grounds is free of charge.
‘Breaking the Mould’ Gallery Tour
Throughout Autumn, Lakeside Arts museum is hosting Breaking the Mould, billed as the first major survey of post-war British sculpture by women. Spanning more than 70 years and exploring the work of 50 sculptors, the exhibition is designed to provide a redress to the many accounts of British sculpture that some believe have marginalised women or airbrushed their work out of art history altogether. As well as being open to the public through January next year, for one day this October visitors can enjoy an intimate tour of the exhibition with the chance to ask questions about this historic and challenging collection.
Lakeside Arts, University of Nottingham, University Park / 7 Oct 2021
Attenborough Nature Centre
Established by Sir David Attenborough, an iconic broadcaster and British national treasure, back in 1966, this educational facility and nature reserve has become an important site for winter wildfowl and often holds a high proportion of the county’s shoveler and diving ducks. In the spring and autumn, many migrants birds pass through the venue’s complex of flooded former gravel pits and islands, making it the perfect time to come and visit. Entrance is free.
Attenborough Nature Reserve, Nottingham / Tues-Sun 9.30am-4pm Mon 8am-5pm
The Gin to my Tonic Festival
Celebrating Britain’s rich history of gin-making, this festival brings together over 100 different gins from across the country and beyond. Each gin showcased has been selected based on its outstanding craftsmanship, flavours and overall drinking experience. Visitors can discover new favourites with samples from hand-picked guest distillers, and there are also gin-themed talks and masterclasses, plus live entertainment from a resident DJ.
NTU Events, 30 Burton Street / 27 November 2021
Halloween Ghost Walk
Nottingham has an array of Halloween themed events and activities through the month of October and among the most acclaimed is organised and run by local sightseeing company the Original Nottingham Ghost Walk. Their spine-tingling walking tours through the city are loved by all who experience them, and at Halloween they host several specially themed tours held over several days that combines visits to some of the city’s eeriest nooks and crannies with plenty of spooktacular seasonal storytelling. All their guides are in full costume and guests are encouraged to dress up for the occasion themselves. Beyond Halloween, the Nottingham Ghost Walk runs every Saturday at 7pm and Wednesdays throughout July, August and September.
23, 27, 30 & 31 October 2021
The ancestral home of the legendary poet Lord Byron, this 12th-century Augustinian abbey features a striking Gothic façade that’s adjoined to the pristinely preserved Tudor-style house. Visitors can explore the poet’s private apartments and a huge assortment of memorabilia relating to his distinguished life and career. Outside there are 300 acres of Gothic Revival follies, lakes, waterfalls, and exotic trees to wander around. House admission is £10 per adult or £25 for a family ticket.
Newstead Village / Mon-Sun 10am-5pm
Peering over the city from its elevated perch atop a sandstone crag, this once-fortified castle has endured a tumultuous past, and was actually torn down in the aftermath of the English Civil War. Later, its modest remains were augmented by the addition of the Baroque Ducal Mansion, then, in the late 19th century, a museum opened on the same site. Open throughout the year, today visitors can explore such fascinating artefacts as alabaster carvings dating back to the 15th century, as well as wander around the original castle walls and gates. Admission is £13 for adults.
Lenton Road / Mon-Sun 10am-5pm
Boasting a stellar line-up of some of the biggest DJs and live acts in electronic music, this annual underground music festival has grown from its humble origins in a small basement club to become one of the biggest events of its kind in the country. Run by a small, independent team, it takes place just outside of the city centre in the scenic environs of Colwick Country Park, and draws huge crowds for a full day of live stage performances, street food, cocktails, fireworks, and more.
Colwick Country Park / 25 September
City of Caves
It may be an unlikely setting for embarking on an underground journey through more than a thousand years of history, but at the top level of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre you’ll find an enchanting series of caves. The ultimate antidote to the modern retail drudgery nearby, visitors can step into England’s only known underground tannery, and the Drury Hill slums which date back to Victorian times. Entrance is £8.75 for adults.
Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, Garner’s Hill / Mon-Sun 10am-5pm
Dating back to 1852, the Arboretum is a haven of tranquillity and the perfect respite from the city hubbub. Home to over 800 trees, the pristinely landscaped botanical garden also features a bandstand, a Circular Avery, and a stunning ornamental lake. It’s free to enter all year round and while the summer months may be peak blooming season, there’s nothing quite like the arboretum when it’s awash with atmospheric Autumnal colours.
Waverley Street / Mon-Sun 10am-4.30pm
By Paul Joseph