It may not be the biggest city in the UK, but Nottingham is a popular choice for many students due to its location, history, culture, and thriving social scene. Are you considering this booming city in the midlands as a home for your studies? Looking for something a little different for your next night out? Need a quiet place to relax and unwind? Read on and discover some of our favourite things to do in Nottingham.
By Grant Longstaff. Published 4 October 2023.
There are several museums in Nottingham, however, we wanted to highlight two of our favourites. First of all, we have the National Justice Museum. With a Victorian courtroom, centuries old cells, and very real stories from our past, the museum offers a fascinating, and at times horrifying, insight into the history of justice and punishment in the UK. Another favourite is the Nottingham Industrial Museum, which offers visitors the chance to explore the city’s long and varied history of production. The museum is home to exhibits on the bicycle, railway, motorcycle, lacemaking, pharmaceutical, tobacco, and telecommunication industries.
Wollaton Hall and Deer Park
Wollaton Hall lies only three miles outside of the city centre and is well worth a visit. The hall itself is a Grade I listed Elizabethan building with a rich history and was even the home of Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises. As well as being the site of the Nottingham Industrial Museum, Wollaton Hall also has a natural history museum, and you can tour the hall and learn about its history. Beyond the walls are 500 acres of parkland, featuring a lake, formal and botanical gardens, and nature trails. Best of all are the fallow deer who roam the park freely. A must see slice of natural beauty.
The Lost City
Are you looking to add a little adventure to your night out? The Lost City is the place to be. Hosting two 18 hole mini golf courses (Temple Trail and Sacred Skull) the jungled themed paths have plenty of surprises along the way, so keep your wits about you. There’s also a Tiki Bar with Indiana Jones themed cocktails, non-alcoholic cocktails, and milkshakes, and they serve pizza and bagels too. Finally, they offer discounts to students.
You’ll find The Lost City tucked away beneath The Cornerhouse. A bonus entry on our list, The Cornerhouse is a complex with bars, restaurants, a bowling alley, cinema and more. No matter what kind of night you’re after, you’ll find it here.
If you’re looking to escape from the city centre then Spring Lakes, a water sports and leisure park, could be the perfect place to go. Situated in Long Eaton, less than 30 minutes from Nottingham city centre, the park is easily accessible whether you choose to drive or take public transport. It offers something for everyone too. You can take a peaceful stroll through nature and stop for a picnic. Or if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, there’s an aqua park, inflatables, paddleboarding, kayaking, and wakeboarding – plenty to get your blood pumping.
MeetspaceVR is our go to venue for virtual reality escapism. You can roam the open world of Far Cry 3, battle the undead in a range of scenarios, and explore mind-bending alternative worlds. They also offer virtual reality escape rooms where you and your friends can test your problem solving ability, and have a quest arena to test your teamwork skills. Once you’ve finished killing zombies or helped save Wonderland you can debrief in the bar over pizza and cocktails whilst planning your next VR adventure.
If you simply can’t get enough of time gone by, then be sure to visit Nottingham castle. Located in the city itself, Nottingham Castle offers over 1000 years of history, with a range of museums and galleries, including an exhibition on the mythical outlaw, Robin Hood. For a little extra, you can also visit the ancient dungeons in the caves deep beneath the castle. Don’t forget to take in the beautiful castle grounds and visit one of the two coffee shops on site. An added bonus we love – buying an entry ticket guarantees access for a year, making the gardens the ideal escape after a particularly gruelling exam.
Food and Drink
Nottingham has a fantastic social scene. There are bars everywhere, ranging from essential Instagram hotspots and chic cocktail bars to traditional pubs, sports bars, and eateries across the city offering food from across the globe. We recommend checking out Hockley or the Lace Market, areas of Nottingham with some of the coolest, trendiest places going.
Finally, if you want even more ideas of things to do in Nottingham, check out our eight reasons to study there.