11
Jul2010
2

Nottingham has great shops and restaurants, lively nightlife and a couple of nice attractions, but we weren’t totally impressed, which was sad. Most of the city’s original and old buildings have either been destroyed or built on top of. Still, we were only there for a day and the hotel had free wifi, so bonus.

First on the agenda was heading over to Nottingham Castle.

Statues Walking When Do We Shoot?

Aside from being surrounded by skyrise car parks and tall 70s office buildings, the castle looked classic from the outside.

Sky High in Nottingham

But the exhibitions inside were average and the views didn’t mean anything because there wasn’t many old buildings of note in the skyline. We read the tour book and information signs up there, but nothing went ‘wow’. Maybe the forests in the distance (one of which was Sherwood) would be good for nature walks, but we didn’t have enough time for that.

Rarg! The Defensive Walls

The highlight of the day ended up being the Caves. Now, strangely, the entry to the caves is at the *top* of the shopping mall. They give you hard hats and an audio guide, and away you go.

Going Caving! Sorta...

We were the only ones in the caves which made it pretty neat. Nottingham is built on soft sandstone. The caves had all been handmade by people who lived above to be used as cellars, meeting rooms, tanneries and whatever else they wanted.

Tunnels Be Here!

A bit small at times!

Duck! Shadow Play

This cave space was used as a tannery in medieval times for treating animal skins to make leather.

An Underground Tannery

Some recent reinforcements to a doorway and an area that was used as a bar and/or meeting room.

Recent Reinforcements An Underground Pub

So the most interesting fact about the caves were their discovery. They were found when excavation began to build the foundations for the shopping mall int he 70s. No one knew these particular caves were there until they broke through to them. So, they built the mall anyway, but preserved the caves for a tourist attraction. This photo shows 3 levels of society. The bottom left corner shows some original sandstone from the old medieval caves, then the brick is from 19th century underground housing that the very poor lived in and finally at the top is the modern mall foundations. Pretty awesome.

Roman, Victorian and Modern

For the rest of our time in Nottingham, we spent the time in the pub watching the twice a day football matches, in particular the England vs Algeria match which England won. Definitely a lively crowd! Can’t complain about the mood at all. 🙂

Fush and Chups!

The next morning, we were on another train to York which we’d heard many wonderful things about.

2 Responses to “Nottingham – A Castle and Some Caves”
  1. Norma Smith says:

    Glad you got a good welcome in Nottingham and found us a lively lot. Did you have time to visit the historic Lace Market area where many of the city’s 17th and 18th century buildings are still in place. Most are former factories and warehouses built by Nottingham’s Victorian textile and lace makers the narrow streets and squares. They have been beautifully converted into apartments, bars, restaurants and night clubs, offices for media, advertising and creative industries and the Grade 2* Listed Adams Building is the city centre campus for New College Nottingham.

    I hope you had the chance while you were at Nottingham Castle to see the Robin Hood exhibition of costume, props, furnishings and weaponry from Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood film with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. It was put together especially for Nottingham by the film’s set designer Sonja Klaus.

    Not for nothing was Nottingham known as the City of Caves as the city centre is built on networks of man-made caves that stretch in all directions. One system leads from the Castle right through Castle Rock to the streets below. Enjoy the rest of your UK trip and I hope you will get the chance to visit Nottingham again, maybe for a bit longer.

    • liz says:

      Hi Norma,

      Thanks for your email! No, we didn’t make it over to the Lace Market but perhaps that’s where the older architecture was that we were expecting to see.

      We did see the Robin Hood exhibition, but hadn’t actually senn the film so couldn’t really relate to it. :S

      The caves were pretty amazing. We only made it to the one in the mall, but its good to know that there are others around too.

      We will have to come back for a longer trip sometime. Nottingham isn’t too far from Cambridge where we’ve settled, so it’s definitely a possibility.

      Thanks again for the comment!

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