Embark on a quintessential English adventure in Nottinghamshire, a county brimming with parks and open-spaces, historic sites and family-friendly activities.
From the legendary trails of Sherwood Forest, where the spirit of Robin Hood roams free, to the bustling city of Nottingham there’s a treasure trove of Nottinghamshire attractions that await.
With this in mind, here’s a list of some of the best things to do in Nottinghamshire.
Sherwood Forest, Edwinstowe
First on our list of things to do in Nottinghamshire is this ancient woodland.
Spanning a remarkable 450 acres ,it evokes tales of the nation’s most celebrated outlaw, Robin Hood, and his band of merry men.
Travellers venturing into the forest are greeted by the Major Oak, an iconic, colossal tree, believed to be around 1,000 years old. Legend has it that Robin Hood once took refuge within its gnarled and expansive boughs.
But Sherwood is more than just a canvas of legends. It boasts a thriving biodiversity, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.
The forest is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including the elusive European nightjar and various species of bats.
Each season paints Sherwood in a different hue, from the golden blossoms of spring to the russet tones of autumn, offering a sensory feast to its explorers.
Nottingham Castle, Nottingham
Perched atop Castle Rock, Nottingham Castle dominates the skyline, offering a glimpse into the city’s vibrant history.
Constructed initially by William the Conqueror in 1067, the castle has seen various incarnations, from a royal fortress to a ducal mansion.
Its significance is heightened by its role during the English Civil War, serving as a stronghold for Charles I’s supporters.
Yet, its essence goes beyond battles. The castle has evolved into a cultural nexus, housing an extensive art gallery and museum.
These repositories celebrate both regional and global artistic endeavours, tracing Nottingham’s cultural journey.
The grounds are equally mesmerising, with verdant gardens providing a sanctuary of peace, juxtaposed against the bustling city below.
And not to be missed is the iconic statue of Robin Hood, nodding to the legendary tales tied to the region.
Beneath the structure, a labyrinth of sandstone caves beckons, each chamber whispering secrets of bygone eras.
Those of you looking for memorable things to do in Nottinghamshrie should include this on your travel itinerary.
City of Caves, Nottingham
Beneath the bustling streets of Nottingham lies the City of Caves, a vast network of over 500 sandstone caverns that offer a unique glimpse into the city’s ancient history.
These naturally formed caves, carved by the hands of time and human endeavour, have served diverse purposes over the millennia: from medieval tanneries and Victorian cellars to wartime air raid shelters.
Stepping into this underground realm, visitors are transported to bygone eras, where they can trace the city’s evolution through its subterranean tapestry.
Informative guided tours reveal intriguing tales of how the caves have sheltered and supported Nottingham’s inhabitants throughout various adversities, from economic hardships to wartime perils.
In addition to their historical significance, the City of Caves showcase nature’s sculpting prowess. The intricate formations, arches, and chambers showcase the malleability and resilience of sandstone, shaped both by natural processes and human intervention.
Today, as a prominent Nottinghamshire attraction, the City of Caves offers a captivating blend of history, geology, and archaeology.
Wollaton Hall, Nottingham
Wollaton Hall, an architectural gem in Nottingham, epitomises Elizabethan opulence and design sophistication.
Erected in the late 16th century, this majestic mansion was commissioned by Sir Francis Willoughby and designed by the eminent architect Robert Smythson.
With its ornate facades, turrets, and meticulously detailed stonework, the hall is a prime example of the English Renaissance style.
Surrounded by 500 acres of lush parkland, Wollaton Hall isn’t just an architectural marvel but also a nature enthusiast’s paradise.
The expansive grounds house a deer park, providing visitors a chance to witness these graceful creatures in their natural habitat.
Adding to the hall’s allure are its serene lake and flourishing gardens, making it a haven for both relaxation and exploration.
Inside, Wollaton Hall serves as a repository of history and culture, with its rooms now functioning as a museum.
Exhibits range from natural history artefacts to period furnishings, offering a comprehensive look into the region’s past.
If you’re looking for historical things to do in Nottinghamshire, Wollaton Hall is a must-visit.
Newstead Abbey, Ravenshead
Newstead Abbey, located in Ravenshead is one of the most important historical sites in Nottinghamshire.
Originally a 12th-century monastic house, it gained acclaim as the ancestral home of the romantic poet Lord Byron.
Amidst a sprawling estate, the Abbey’s structure is a romantic collage of architectural styles, reflecting its varied history from ecclesiastical roots to a noble family’s residence.
The Abbey’s interiors are a homage to Byron’s legacy, adorned with memorabilia, manuscripts, and works of art that celebrate his life and literary contributions.
Visitors can explore the poet’s private apartments and the grand rooms where he entertained the leading figures of the romantic movement.
The gardens and parkland of Newstead Abbey are as poetic as the abbey itself, with peacocks roaming amongst formal gardens, tranquil lakes, and waterfalls.
The Workhouse, Southwell
In Southwell, the austere walls of The Workhouse echo with the history of a bygone era where the destitute faced a stark choice: harsh charity or none at all.
Maintained by the National Trust, this formidable institution stands as a remarkably intact specimen of 19th-century social provision.
It served as a sanctuary of last resort, where ‘indoor relief’ was dispensed, but not without enforcing a strict regime designed to discourage all but those with nowhere else to turn.
The atmosphere of The Workhouse is a testament to an epoch when societal support came laced with moral scrutiny, and assistance was grudgingly given, cloaked in the guise of reform and deterrence.
As a symbol of Victorian England’s institutional response to poverty, it offers a window into the struggles and resilience of our ancestors in the face of extreme adversity.
Clumber Park, Worksop
Clumber Park in Worksop is a sublime expanse of greenery and tranquillity that’s perfect for visitors seeking Nottinghamshrie family days out.
Once the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle, this 3,800-acre parkland and its serene lake are now under the guardianship of the National Trust, offering a picturesque escape for nature lovers, walkers, and cyclists alike.
The park’s lush avenues, framed by grand lime trees, lead visitors on a journey through diverse landscapes — from gentle woodlands to heath and rolling farmland.
The heart of Clumber Park is its lake, a reflective haven for waterfowl and a centrepiece of the landscape’s design, offering a peaceful setting for leisurely boating or contemplative strolls along the water’s edge.
The walled kitchen garden is a horticultural masterpiece, boasting a historic collection of greenhouses and a rich variety of heritage fruits and vegetables, meticulously cultivated as they would have been in the estate’s heyday.
The Gothic Revival chapel, often referred to as a “Cathedral in miniature,” adds a touch of architectural elegance, enhancing the park’s historical ambiance.
For those seeking respite from the rush of modern life, Clumber Park provides an idyllic retreat and one of the most populare Nottinghamshire attractions.
Rufford Abbey Country Park, Ollerton
Rufford Abbey Country Park in Ollerton is a testament to the enduring legacy of England’s ecclesiastical history blended seamlessly with the country’s natural beauty.
The remains of the 12th-century Rufford Abbey lie at the heart of the park, inviting visitors to wander through its evocative ruins and reflect on the centuries of history that echo through its arches.
Rufford Abbey Country Park, set within the dignified embrace of Ollerton, spans across 150 acres where ancient woodlands stand alongside manicured gardens and meandering lakeside walkways.
Visitors of all ages find joy and repose in this natural retreat, whether they come to immerse themselves in the changing tapestry of the great outdoors or to partake in the simple pleasures of a country walk.
The tranquil waters of the lake provide a focal point for leisurely walks and the opportunity to observe waterfowl at play.
Children are often seen delighting in the park’s adventure playground, while adults enjoy the artisanal offerings at the on-site craft shops and the delicious fare at the café, housed within the charmingly restored 17th-century Coach House.
Creswell Crags, Worksop
Creswell Crags, nestled on the border between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire near Worksop, is a prehistoric gorge honeycombed with caves that whisper tales of ancient human habitation.
Creswell Crags presents a striking natural gallery, where sheer cliffs and deep caves cut through the landscape, creating a portal back to the Ice Age, over 40,000 years prior.
This archaeological gem in the heart of Worksop serves as a testament to the ancient times when Neanderthals and the earliest Homo sapiens found shelter and solace within these cavernous spaces.
The opportunity to wander through Creswell Crags is to step along the same paths where prehistoric humans once trod.
The caves here are adorned with Britain’s only known Ice Age paintings, etched into the walls by hunter-gatherers.
This artwork serves as a powerful connection to our ancestors, providing insights into their lives and the environment they inhabited.
Southwell Minster, Southwell
Southwell Minster stands as a serene yet imposing example of Norman and early English architecture, its twin spires rising gracefully against the skyline of Nottinghamshire.
This cathedral and parish church, revered as the seat of the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, embodies centuries of spiritual and community life.
From its Romanesque nave to the renowned Chapter House with its exquisite stone carvings, the Minster tells a tale of ecclesiastical importance and architectural evolution.
Visitors are often struck by the Minster’s harmonious blend of solemnity and beauty.
The interior is a spectacle of historical artistry, with stained glass windows casting kaleidoscopic light across the ancient stones, and the elaborate tracery that speaks of skilled craftsmen long past.
The famed ‘Leaves of Southwell‘, detailed carvings of foliage in the Chapter House, are considered among the best naturalistic stone carvings from the medieval period in England.
Wheelgate Park, Farnsfield
Wheelgate Park in Farnsfield is an all-weather adventure park that’s packed with a diverse range of activities suitable for all ages.
From thrilling outdoor rides and a petting zoo, where children can interact with friendly farm animals, to the indoor water park perfect for a splash regardless of the weather, Wheelgate ensures smiles all around.
Designed with a keen sense of creativity and a nod to adventurous spirits, the park includes themed areas such as the Alien Galaxy Zone, where imagination meets play, and the Robin Hood Zone, offering a local legendary twist.
Play areas, both soft play for the little ones and more challenging courses for older kids, ensure energy is well spent through constructive and exhilarating play.
Wheelgate also caters to seasonal festivities with special events for Halloween, Christmas, and Easter, making it a year-round destination.
With picnic spots scattered throughout and restaurants catering to a variety of tastes, families can refuel and relax.
Go Ape Sherwood Pines, Edwinstowe
Go Ape Sherwood Pines in Edwinstowe provides an exhilarating treetop adventure in the storied Sherwood Forest, famed for its connections to the legend of Robin Hood.
This high-wire adventure course takes thrill-seekers on an unforgettable journey across swinging bridges, trapezes, and zip wires, all set against the backdrop of one of England’s most beautiful ancient woodlands.
As participants navigate the leafy canopy, they tackle obstacles that challenge their balance, strength, and nerve.
The course is designed to push adventurers out of their comfort zone, while ensuring the utmost safety with harnesses and expert supervision.
Children can enjoy the Tree Top Junior course, ensuring that the adventure is accessible to would-be Tarzans and Janes of all ages.
An essential visitor attraction for those seeking Sherwood Forest activities.
Adrenalin Jungle, Nottingham
Adrenalin Jungle in Nottingham offers an action-packed day with an array of outdoor activities designed to get the heart racing and the adrenaline pumping.
Set in the heart of Sherwood Forest, this adventure hub caters to thrill-seekers of all stripes, from corporate groups seeking team-building exercises to families and friends looking for a memorable day out.
This center boasts an impressive selection of activities, including archery, quad biking, 4×4 off-road driving, paintballing, and even treasure hunts.
Each activity is conducted within a safe and controlled environment, supervised by experienced instructors who ensure everyone has fun while staying safe.
Archery sessions give a nod to the legendary Robin Hood, allowing visitors to try their hand at this ancient sport.
The paintballing zone, with its natural and man-made obstacles, provides an exhilarating battlefield experience.
For those who crave more speed and excitement, the quad biking trails offer a rugged and muddy adventure through the forest.
A prime destination if you’re after outdoor activities in Nottinghamshire.
Holme Pierrepont Country Park, Nottingham
Also on our list of things to do in Nottinghamshire is Holme Pierrepont Country Park – an oasis for water sports enthusiasts and families looking for an active day out.
It’s home to the National Water Sports Centre, thus boasting a remarkable array of aquatic and outdoor activities.
Central to this top Nottinghamshire attraction is its regatta lake – a hub for rowing, canoeing, and kayaking.
For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the white-water rafting course simulates challenging rapids, providing a thrilling experience with every twist and turn.
The park also features an ECombat Laser Tag arena, a Sky Trail high ropes course, and an adventure golf course, making it perfect for family fun.
For fitness enthusiasts, the park offers cycling routes and running trails that meander through the scenic landscape.
Whether you’re training for a triathlon or looking for a leisurely paddle, Holme Pierrepont Country Park combines the joy of outdoor activity with the tranquility of waterside life.
Sherwood Pines Forest Park, Mansfield
Sherwood Pines Forest Park in Mansfield is the largest woodland in the East Midlands, offering a verdant escape into nature’s embrace.
This green haven is a mosaic of towering pines and leafy trails, beckoning adventurers, families, and nature lovers to explore its expansive beauty.
Cycling enthusiasts revel in the park’s well-maintained bike trails, ranging from family-friendly paths to challenging routes for seasoned mountain bikers.
The park’s commitment to outdoor activities is also evident in its walking paths, which meander through the forest, offering tranquil walks under the canopy of ancient trees.
For families, Sherwood Pines is a playground without walls. Children can climb, swing, and slide in the adventure play areas or join in the excitement of the Gruffalo Spotters Trail, bringing storybook characters to life amidst the woods.
The park’s Go Ape high ropes course injects a dose of adrenaline with its treetop walkways and zip lines.
This forest park is a breath of fresh air for those seeking to disconnect from the hustle and engage with the simple pleasures of the natural world.
White Post Farm, Farnsfield
White Post Farm is an interactive haven in Farnsfield that’s well-suited to visitors seeking Nottinghamshire family days out.
Spanning over 25 acres of rich Nottinghamshire countryside, the farm invites families to a day filled with discovery and hands-on fun.
Upon entering, guests are greeted by a delightful assortment of animals, from the traditional farmyard flocks to the more exotic residents such as reptiles and llamas.
The farm is not only a place to observe but to engage; opportunities abound to feed the animals, witness milking demonstrations, or even hold a chick or bunny under careful supervision, fostering a deeper connection with the rural lifestyle.
Seasonal events transform the farm across the year, with each visit offering a unique flair – be it springtime lambing, Halloween spooktaculars, or the festive cheer of Christmas activities.
Princess River Cruises, Nottingham
Princess River Cruises in Nottingham offers an enchanting escape on the serene waters of the River Trent.
As one of the premier river cruise providers, they deliver a blend of picturesque views, relaxation, and a touch of luxury that is perfect for any occasion, from tranquil afternoons to vibrant evenings.
Their fleet of finely-appointed boats sets the scene for a delightful journey.
The daytime voyages offer a unique perspective on Nottingham’s lush landscapes and historical architecture, while the evening cruises turn into social affairs with dining and dancing under the stars.
Onboard, you can expect a warm welcome and outstanding service. The boats are equipped with comfortable seating and panoramic windows for unrivaled views of the Trent’s banks.
Center Parcs Sherwood Forest, Rufford
Center Parcs Sherwood Forest, nestled in the verdant expanse of Rufford, offers a unique escape into a world where nature and leisure harmoniously intertwine.
As a bastion of relaxation and adventure, this holiday village is set within 400 acres of picturesque woodland, a sanctuary for wildlife and a paradise for visitors.
The resort is an emporium of outdoor activities, suitable for families, couples, and groups seeking a blend of excitement and tranquility.
Guests can luxuriate in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, a climate-controlled aquatic wonderland, or indulge in the serenity of the Aqua Sana Spa, a haven of wellness treatments.
For those with a penchant for adrenaline, activities like zip-lining through the forest canopy and laser combat in the undergrowth promise a rush of exhilaration.
Accommodations range from cozy woodland lodges to luxurious treehouses, each offering a slice of seclusion amidst the forest’s embrace.
With an array of restaurants and shops, every practical need and culinary craving is catered to, all within the immersive setting of the natural world.
Newark Castle, Newark
Newark Castle, standing regally on the banks of the River Trent, is a testament to medieval might and historical drama.
With origins tracing back to the 12th century, the castle’s partly ruined facade belies a storied past of battles, sieges, and royal intrigue.
Though time has left its indelible mark, the remaining walls and gatehouse invite visitors to wander through history, offering a tangible connection to England’s tumultuous past.
The castle grounds, now a tranquil public park, provide a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll, with well-maintained gardens that frame the ancient stonework.
Guided tours delve into the castle’s history, including the tragic tale of King John, who famously spent his last days within these walls.
Today, Newark Castle stands not just as a monument of bygone eras but as a cultural hub, hosting events, fairs, and open-air theatre performances that breathe new life into its venerable stones.
Thoresby Park, Newark
This majestic country estate is wrapped in the tranquility of ancient woodlands and open pastures, offering a respite from the bustle of modern life.
Upon entering Thoresby’s grounds, visitors are greeted by the imposing Thoresby Hall, a testament to Victorian grandeur, now serving as a hotel and spa.
The estate’s rich history is palpable, with each path and building telling stories from a bygone era.
Art lovers will find solace in the Courtyard, a creative hub that hosts galleries, workshops, and craft shops showcasing local talent.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Thoresby provides endless opportunities for exploration. Wander through the well-kept gardens or venture into the wider estate, where miles of trails beckon hikers, cyclists, and equestrians alike.
For further information about Nottinghamshire attractions and things to see and do, visit the official tourism website.