Nottingham Introduction Walking Tour, Nottingham

Nottingham Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Nottingham

Nottingham is a historic city and is proud of its heritage. It is famous for its legends, particularly the one of Robin Hood and his merry men. Traces of history remain in the city's many old buildings and monuments. Take this tour to visit some of Nottingham's most prominent landmarks.
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Nottingham Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Nottingham Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: England » Nottingham (See other walking tours in Nottingham)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: StaceyP
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Old Market Square
  • The Bell Inn
  • Nottingham Council House
  • Adams Building and Lace Market
  • St. Mary's Church
  • National Justice Museum
  • City of Caves
  • Robin Hood Statue
  • Nottingham Castle
Old Market Square

1) Old Market Square (must see)

The Old Market Square is the largest such surviving square in the United Kingdom, forming the heart of the city, and covering an area of approximately 22,000 m². Located in the heart of Nottingham city center, the square is bounded by Beast Market Hill to the West, Smithy Row to the North, and South Parade to the South. The Eastern end of the square is dominated by the Council House, which serves as Nottingham's city hall. The nature of the square means it is often used for large local events, fairs, concerts and exhibitions.

The square has long been at the centre of Nottingham life. In the early days before the City of Nottingham was formed, the area was the center-point between the old Norman town of Snottingham and the old Saxon town which was based around the current Lace Market at St. Mary's Church. Redesigned by Gustafson Porter in 2004 and completed in March 2007, the Old Market Square is built with three shades of granite. The central open space is a slippery, light colored granite, with white, beige and dark gray granite used for the fountains, terraces and flowerbeds. The new square is a single tier area, including the recreation of an ancient border which once divided Nottingham. A new water feature dominates the west side of the Square, with jet fountains and waterfalls. These water features can be turned off if required, allowing an amphitheater-like seating area to be created for shows and concerts.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
The Bell Inn

2) The Bell Inn

The Bell Inn is a Grade II listed public house dating from around 1437 that lays claim to being the oldest in Nottingham. The Inn was originally constructed around 1420 as a refectory for the monks of the monastery on Beastmarket Hill, but became a secular alehouse in 1539 taking its name from the Angelus bell that hung outside. Entrance to the bars is via the central passageway, that used to lead to the stables where the Snack Bar now stands, which retains its original flagstones. To the right of the entrance are the leprosy windows where customers supposedly had their fingers counted before being allowed to enter.

The original bars known as The Long Room (a.k.a. The Tudor Bar) and The Elizabethan Bar (a.k.a. Lizzies Bar) date back to 1437 and the original timber crown-posts and cross beams have been preserved. The Snack Bar was an outdoor courtyard with two wells used for brewing that was converted to its current form by Robert Jackson in 1928 and extended by his son and grandson in 1991 to include a stage for live music performances.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Nottingham Council House

3) Nottingham Council House

Nottingham Council House is the city hall of Nottingham. The iconic 200 feet (61 m) high dome that rises above the city is the centerpiece of the skyline and presides magnificently over the Old Market Square. The Council House was designed by Thomas Cecil Howitt and built between 1927 and 1929 in the Neo-Baroque style characterized by the huge pillars that circle the building along with the carvings on the facade. It is claimed that the chimes of the bell in the dome, Little John (for many years the deepest toned clock bell in the United Kingdom, weighing over 10 tons), can be heard for a distance of seven miles.

The foundation stone (behind the left-hand lion as you approach the building) was laid by Alderman Herbert Bowles (Chairman of the Estates Committee), on 17 March 1927. The building has staged many high profile occasions; royalty, statesmen and women and stars of the stage and screen have been entertained there and both the F.A. and European Cups have been held aloft from its balcony.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Adams Building and Lace Market

4) Adams Building and Lace Market

The Lace Market is a historic quarter-mile square area of Nottingham, England. It was the centre of the world's lace industry during the British Empire and is now a protected heritage area. It was an area of salesrooms and warehouses for storing, displaying and selling the lace. The Lace Market adjoins Hockley, and both areas now accommodate a variety of bars, restaurants and shops.

Once the heart of the world's lace industry during the days of the British Empire, it is full of impressive examples of 19th-century industrial architecture and thus is a protected heritage area. It was never a market in the sense of having stalls, but there were salesrooms and warehouses for storing, displaying and selling the lace. Most of the area is typical Victorian, with densely packed 4–7 storey red-brick building lined streets. Iron railings, old gas lamps and red phone boxes a plenty also help give the through walker a sense of going back in time to Victorian England.

The Adams Building on Stoney Street is the largest building in the Lace Market district of Nottingham. Historically, it is probably the largest and finest example of a Victorian lace warehouse to survive in the country, and has been listed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as Grade II* (of architectural or historical interest). The building now forms part of the City campus of New College Nottingham.

Opened on 10 July 1855, the building is named after its original owner Thomas Adams (1817–1873), a Victorian industrialist with strong Quaker views and a deep social conscience. He selected the Nottingham architect Thomas Chambers Hine and between them, they created a building which, for a variety of social and architectural reasons, is quite unique. As it now exists, the Adams Building is the product of several distinct phases of construction from 1854 to around 1874.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
St. Mary's Church

5) St. Mary's Church

The Church of St Mary the Virgin is the oldest religious foundation in Nottingham, the largest church after the Roman Catholic Cathedral and the largest medieval building in Nottingham. It is situated on High Pavement at the heart of the historic Lace Market district and is also known as St Mary's in the Lace Market. The main body of the present building (at least the third on the site) dates from the end of the reign of Edward III (1377) to that of Henry VII (1485–1509). The nave was finished before 1475 and it is notable for its uniformity of gothic perpendicular style. The bronze doors of the church were designed in 1904 by Henry Wilson in memory of his father-in-law Francis Morse.

The church has a fine collection of late Victorian stained glass windows by many famous makers, including Kempe, Burlison and Grylls and Hardman & Co.. It is also known for its octagonal medieval font with a palindromic Greek inscription NIΨONANOMHMATAMHMONANOΨIN (Wash my transgressions, not only my face), and a rather battered alabaster tomb fragment which portrays a lily crucifix and a Nottingham Alabaster panel depicting Archbishop Thomas Becket.

****St Mary’s Church nearby is another grisly spot associated with public hangings in Nottingham. This was where condemned prisoners were given their last rights.

Although Robin Hood declared the fact that his enemies were bishops, archbishops, and the Sheriff of Nottingham – he actually is meant to have prayed every day to the Virgin Mary!

In fact, he was so spiritual, he wouldn’t attack any group that ventured through Sherwood Forest that had a lady in tow.

Robin Hood is said to have attended mass right here at St Mary’s Church in the ballad of “Robin Hood and the Monk”. He was recognised by one of the monks and they alerted the Sheriff of Nottingham.

A huge sword fight took place in the church and Robin Hood’s sword broke in two. He eventually surrendered and was held captive. Later, he was rescued by Little John. After this, Robin Hood would only enter the city in disguise. ***PH***
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
National Justice Museum

6) National Justice Museum (must see)

The National Justice Museum also known as the Shire Hall, is an independent museum and a registered charity on High Pavement in the Lace Market area of Nottingham. The courtrooms date back to the 14th century and the gaol dates back to at least 1449. The prisons are still there. There was also a working police station from 1905 to 1985, and the courts closed in 1986. The museum is housed in what was once a Victorian courtroom, Gaol and Police station and is therefore a historic site where you could be arrested, sentenced and executed.

***Robin Hood became an outlaw (which means he fell outside of the law) and so there were serious consequences for that. It usually meant death.

The National Justice Museum sits on the site of ‘Sheriff’s Hall’ from the Norman era which was the Sheriff of Nottingham’s high office. He would have collected taxes, kept the peace, and carried out his ‘justice’ on prisoners here. f you committed a crime, you were sent here and tortured, given your conviction, then hanged outside in public the next day.

There is a pit underneath the museum called the Oubliette which is a French term meaning “to forget”. This spot is supposedly where Robin Hood was tortured and left to starve to death. ***PH***
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
City of Caves

7) City of Caves (must see)

City of Caves was an award-winning visitor attraction in Nottingham which consists of a network of caves, carved out of sandstone that have been variously used over the years as a tannery, public house cellars, and as an air raid shelter.

The attraction has been run by the Galleries of Justice since 2004 and is accessed from the upper mall of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. The caves here are some of the oldest remaining in the city, with pottery finds dating them to 1270-1300, and were inhabited from at least the 17th century until 1845 when the St. Mary’s Inclosure Act banned the renting of cellars and caves as homes for the poor. None of the caves are natural, they were all cut into the sandstone for use as houses, cellars and place of work by the inhabitants of the city.

Two caves cut into the cliff face and opening out to daylight housed the only known underground tannery in Britain. The Pillar Cave was originally cut around 1250 but had been filled in by a rock fall by 1400. Cleared and reopened as part of the tannery in 1500 with circular pits cut to hold barrels. A second cave was also cut with rectangular clay-lined vats. The small size of the vats in these caves indicate that they were probably used for sheep or goats skins rather than cowhide. There was an opening to the River Leen where they would wash the skins in the town's drinking water.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Robin Hood Statue

8) Robin Hood Statue

In English folklore, Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw who took money from the rich and gave it to the poor. He lived in Sherwood Forest, and his main adversary was the Sheriff of Nottingham. The statue of Robin Hood is located near Nottingham Castle. It was sculpted by James Woodford in bronze and has stood below the walls of Nottingham Castle since 1951.
Nottingham Castle

9) Nottingham Castle (must see)

Nottingham Castle is a castle in Nottingham, England. It is located in a commanding position on a natural promontory known as "the castle rock", with 130 foot cliffs to the south and west.The first Norman castle was a wooden structure and of a mote-and-bailey design, and was built in 1067, a year after the Battle of Hastings, on the orders of William the Conqueror.

This wooden structure was replaced by a far more defensible stone castle during the reign of Henry II, and was imposing and of a complex architectural design, which eventually comprised an upper bailey at the highest point of the castle rock, a middle bailey to the north which contained the main royal apartments, and a large outer bailey to the east. After the restoration of Charles II in 1660, the present 'Ducal Mansion' was built by Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle between 1674 and 1679 on the foundations of the previous structure.

***In the medieval period, Nottingham Castle was a strategic fortress on a major road leading to the north of the country. Medieval kings used it as a stopping point on their journeys. The elaborate cave system under the castle has no shortage of accounts of royal and political intrigue. Prince John, portrayed as the usurper king in the Robin Hood story legends, occupied Nottingham Castle when he rebelled against his brother Richard I (Lionheart).

The medieval castle that sat atop the 30-meter rocky outcropping was destroyed at the end of the English Civil War. However, the medieval foundations are still extant along with a historical network of subterranean passages with connections to Robin Hood.

The castle underwent an extensive £29.4 million renovation project and re-open with a greater emphasis on the castle’s connection with Robin Hood. Visitors can see a new Robin Hood Gallery, which provides an immersive experience, enabling visitors to travel back in time to Medieval Nottingham and stroll through the leafy realms of Sherwood Forest.’

Outside of the castle walls is a statue of Robin Hood with his bow and arrow poised to defend the city. This is a popular photo spot. The statue is still accessible during the renovation period. Robin Hood iconography also appears throughout the castle gardens, which are likely to remain after the renovation project is complete.***PH***
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

Walking Tours in Nottingham, England

Create Your Own Walk in Nottingham

Create Your Own Walk in Nottingham

Creating your own self-guided walk in Nottingham is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Robin Hood Trail

Robin Hood Trail

Nottinghamshire is littered with landmarks from the legends of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, from the dungeons of the Old County Gaol where he was held captive by the Sheriff of Nottingham to the church where he wed his beloved Maid Marian. ***PH***

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Nottingham's Historical Buildings

Nottingham's Historical Buildings

Nottingham is home to buildings of varying architectural styles that present a mixture of designs and make Nottingham a city full of contrasts. One of the city's most renowned architects, who contributed to the creation of many of Nottingham's picturesque buildings, was Watson Fothergill. Take this self-guided walking tour to view some of this master architect's work, as well as...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles