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.
Aside from being surrounded by skyrise car parks and tall 70s office buildings, the castle looked classic from the outside.
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.
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.
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.
A bit small at times!
This cave space was used as a tannery in medieval times for treating animal skins to make leather.
Some recent reinforcements to a doorway and an area that was used as a bar and/or meeting room.
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.
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. 🙂
The next morning, we were on another train to York which we’d heard many wonderful things about.