Best known as the home of legendary outlaw, Robin Hood, the city of Nottingham is located in the heart of England, surrounded by the fabled woodland of Sherwood Forest. But with castles, bars and tasty treats galore, this UNESCO City of Literature has so much more to offer than merry men and bandit tales. And with plenty of accessible places to visit, this hilltop city makes for a fascinating weekend away for all.
Take a tour with the Hooded Man
What better way to get to know Nottingham – formerly known as ‘Snottingham’, meaning the home of Saxon chieftain 'Snot' and his people – than with a guided tour with the man, the myth, the legend, Robin of the Hood. Ambassador for VisitBritain, multi-award-winning tour guide Ezekial Bone is an encyclopaedia of knowledge. In just over two hours, you’ll visit the Lace Quarter (once the lace capital of the world), Nottingham’s Old County Gaol and lots more hidden surprises. If, after the tour, you want to carry on sightseeing, be sure to head to The National Justice Museum and look out for the first-ever Boots the Chemist.
Josephine’s is all about the experience, so set aside at least an hour and a half to really make the most of this wonderful tea room, where the staff go the extra mile (or two) to make sure you have a memorable time. After sipping on a glass of raspberry fizz and devouring the canapes and decadent finger sandwiches, leave room for the freshly made scones smothered in clotted cream and strawberry jam. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the sounds of jazz, swing and 1950s country music, from the likes of Dean Martin and Doris Day.
Block out an afternoon to make the most of your visit to this 11th-century castle, that has been rebuilt countless times throughout its tumultuous history. Have a nose around the art on display, take a ride on the eco-powered Land Train, have a go at shooting a ‘bow and arrow’ in the Robin Hood Adventures or descend into the castle caves. Much of the castle is wheelchair accessible (apart from the underground caves) and induction loops are available from the Visitor Centre. If you get peckish, pay a visit to the cafe, which boasts some of the best views in the city and serves a delicious range of vegetarian and healthy meals, as well as some mouthwatering cakes.
Nottingham is home to three universities, so is renowned for its buzzing evening atmosphere, with students heading out to bars and live music heard around every corner. If you fancy taking in the nighttime happenings, take a seat outside Bar Iberico and watch the world go by whilst savouring their delicious tapas. The Jamon Croqueta are a must-have.
There are doughnuts and then there are ‘Doughnotts’. This award-winning bakery is a must-visit, even if just to grab a box to take with you for your journey home. One online review claims they are ‘the best doughnuts in the world’, but that's up to you to decide. The toughest decision you will have to make though is which one of their handmade delights (vegan options available) not to try. The Red Velvet is hard to beat!
If you’re pining for some pampering, The Spa at the Ye Old Bell Hotel, an hour's drive north of Nottingham, has everything you need for a spot of relaxation. The customer service is excellent and the range of treatments on offer means you have no shortage of ways to treat yourself. The Rasul treatment, which takes place in 'a private temple under the light of a thousand stars', and involves covering yourself in mineral mud, is truly out of this world. The hotel also has a handful of accessible ground-floor bedrooms, including one with fully adapted facilities, meaning you can have a tipple or two at dinner before making the short journey back to your cosy bedroom for a proper night’s sleep.
If you’re in search of a more central location, then the four-star Park Plaza Nottingham - with spacious and contemporary bedrooms - is perfectly placed for the city’s main attractions. Nottingham Arena and Nottingham Castle are within minutes of the hotel!
Sophie Morgan is a TV Presenter and Disability Advocate living in London. She has also visited the Peak District and Buckinghamshire on her previous travels with VisitEngland.
Please note: While the places listed in this article have achieved good levels of accessibility, please be sure to make your own checks and inquiries directly with the attractions before travelling to ensure your individual accessibility requirements can be met. You can also find independently assessed accessible accommodation across the country and further ideas and inspiration in the Access for All section.