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Nottingham isn't the prettiest of English cities, but it's always danced to the beat of its own drum, and its history - including the legend of Robin Hood - is a thrilling ride. Modern Nottingham is a lively town, thanks in part to its student population, and all the familiar hotel brands can be found here. If you're looking for something a bit more unique the best places to stay in Nottingham are found either in the historic heart, or else the green hills surrounding the city.
One of the 'peaks' of Nottingham is the 'castle', these days more of a grand looking manor house. This building has been destroyed numerous times and sits on top of a warren of caves and tunnels which were the escape routes for many an inhabitant. The original castle was founded by William the Conqueror, but today's version dates from the 17th Century. Part of the reason for the endless construction of the castles here is that Nottingham was where the kings did the out of town try outs for some bad taxes, and the peasants were frequently revolting. See, Nottingham's history is fascinating and dramatic!
These days there's an art gallery, as well as a museum, occupying the castle. And if you venture down into the tunnels you'll find one of the pubs claiming to be England's oldest. At least 800 years old, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn, can also be found just off Maid Marian Way in Brewhouse Yard.
Just outside Nottingham is the region's most famous spot: Sherwood Forest. This lush, green forest is home to Major Oak - which according to local folklore is where Robin Hood hid-out - and surrounds the pretty village of Edwinstowe. Whether you're a fan of Robin Hood or not, the oak is an incredible sight, between 800 and a thousand years old and a vast network of branches, some of them now held up by scaffolding.
Sherwood Forest is also home to a lovely arts and crafts centre, and each August, an annual, week long Robin Hood festival with jousting, jesters, alchemists, fire eaters and other medieval entertainments.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Nottingham, are actually based just outside the city. So perfect if you want the best of all worlds: a buzzy city centre and countryside to explore.
- East Bridgford Hill is an elegant Georgian country house B&B with sweeping green, forest views and just five bedrooms. This is the perfect place to play 'Lord of the manor', and it's small enough to rent the whole place out for your family. Or friends. The rooms are cosy, there's a cute bar and the restaurant specialities include produce from the hotel's kitchen garden.
- Langar Hall is a mildly eccentric, but quite magical apricot coloured Georgian stately home in the beautiful green Vale of Belvoir. It has been in the family of the current owner since 1860, and has been gradually turned into a really charming, family friendly 12 room hotel. This is definitely a proper home, you can tell from the careful decor, a blend of the best of England, with a touch of India, which is comfortable and beautiful. The peaceful grounds are another pleasure. This is a real one off, just like the owner.
Still not sure? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Nottingham, expand your search to include the best places to stay in Nottinghamshire, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Nottingham
Hart's Hotel 32 rooms from $153Nottingham (Park Row)
Located in the quieter 'Parks' area of town, Hart's is walking distance from the city centre. Rooms are small but unique with fur throws and some with private terraces. The restaurant serves a daily changing menu and there is an extensive beverage list. Make use of the leafy garden and courtyard.Sights nearby - The impressive Elizabethan mansion, Wollaton Hall and Park is certainly worth visiting.Great walks - The Arboretum is a peaceful oasis in the midst of a city.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Good Hotel Guide
Lace Market Hotel 42 rooms from $193Nottingham
A hip hotel right in the centre of Nottingham. The urbane chic rooms are fronted by large floor-to-ceiling windows and boast excellent views. With an awarding winning restaurant, a trendy cocktail bar and more down-to-earth pub, the hotel has all the components for a great weekend in Nottingham.City Style - A sleek and sophisticated bolthole in Nottingham’s vibrant Lace Market district.Sights nearby - Just a two minute walk from the City of Caves.