As many of you will already know, we mostly offer our services across Nottingham and Derby. But, when you’re working or living in a particular area or city, it’s easy to miss the hidden gems of a place.
So, whether you’re enjoying a holiday at home this year, or you have a free weekend and you’re not sure what to do, why not get exploring? We often expect our next adventure to be somewhere far away from home, but now that we’re still somewhat restricted, it’s the perfect time to explore the wonders immediately around you.
Here are a few suggestions for your fun-filled day out in Nottingham or Derby:
Welbeck offers great art, food and shopping. All set amongst a stunning rural backdrop. You can explore the beautiful courtyard, and from Saturday 1st August 2020 the award-winning Harley Gallery and The Portland Collection will be open again. After all that walking, you’ll have surely worked up an appetite, so why not treat yourself to a bite to eat at the Harley Café, before picking up some groceries from the Welbeck Farm Shop.
This subscription library, established in 1816, might be one of Nottingham’s best-kept secrets. Featuring a collection of 50,000 books, a spiral staircase and a walled garden – this secret spot is any book lovers dream. Hidden right in the centre of town this beautiful Georgian building is the perfect place to relax with a book and a cup of tea. Although the library is currently only open to members, via booked appointments, they are still accepting member applications.
- Nottingham walking tour
No need for a tour guide, we’ve picked some of our favourite spots around the city centre that are within an easy walking distance; starting at The Park Tunnel, located just behind Nottingham Castle and the Robin Hood statue. Initially built in 1855 to allow horse-drawn carriages to access The Park Estate from Derby Road, the tunnel remains in use by pedestrians, yet its existence remains unknown by many.
Why not then head to the Nottingham Playhouse, you can have some fun taking artistic images in the ‘sky mirror’.
After that, if you venture up to the Lace Market area, you’ll find Nottingham Contemporary (opening 4th August). Although not so much a hidden gem, the exhibitions in this contemporary art gallery change regularly, and since they’re free, there’s no reason not to visit.
Just behind Nottingham Contemporary, you have the National Justice Museum, where you can explore their original courtrooms, dungeons and prison cells, and even discover the hidden network of caves that run through the city. Then finally, as many of you will be aware, the pharmaceutical brand Boots was established in Nottingham, but do you know where Jesse Boot opened his first store in 1849? Head over to Goosegate, and you will be able to see the blue plaque located at The Larder on Goosegate (unfortunately this is still closed). You’ll also find a few of the secret bars close by mentioned below.
Something a bit different, but it looks incredibly picturesque and peaceful. Pure Land offers an award-winning meditation centre and Japanese garden. In 1980, the meditation master, Maitreya, set out to transform two acres of a flat field into a Japanese garden for the public to enjoy. With the help of friends and locals, he completed it successfully, and even went on to open the world’s first crystal garden in 2013.
- Secret bar(s)
At the end of the day, why not wind down at one of Nottingham’s renowned secret bars? All you have to do is look down your nearest alley in the city-centre, and you’re bound to stumble across a quirky drinking establishment. There’s any amount of secret bars to choose from, including Lost Property, Hockley Arts Club and 400 Rabbits, to name a few.
If you enjoy the outdoors and taking in the beauty that nature has to offer, then a visit to the UK’s first national park is a must. The breathtaking landscape has over 200 square miles for you to explore.
Pass through the small village of Hathersage. Here, you can visit the grave of Robin Hood’s lieutenant, Little John (allegedly born in Hathersage). Or, marvel at the Toad’s Mouth, a toad-like rock that sits on the Eastern-side of the peak district, offering an awe-inspiring view of the surrounding landscape.
And, if you have time, for the cherry on top of the cake (quite literally), stop off at The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop for a sweet treat.
The Millenium Walkway in New Mills offers something quite different to your average hiking trail. Previously described as a ‘steel spiders web’, it stands on stilts above the River Goyt. The walkway stretches 160m, providing a route through the previously impassable gorge at Torrs. If you’re comfortable with heights, this scenic walk is well worth the trip.
This village offers some unique experiences that would make for a great day out. Start by taking a ride on one of the vintage trams. Then, why not visit one of the exhibitions showing the history of the UK tram system. And to finish off, enjoy a walk in the woodland following the sculpture trail.
If that’s not enough excitements for you, very close by is Crich Stand. Just lookout for the 60ft lighthouse tower on the horizon, which commemorates the Sherwood Foresters Regiment who gave their lives in WWI.
In preparation for this adventure, you can download the Crich Tramway Village app on Situate. It contains an interactive map of the site, as well as details of the various walking trails and attractions.
Often described as ‘Britain’s first public park’ since opening in 1840, the park is home to a collection of historic trees, and it also inspired the design of Central Park, New York on 1859. It’s the perfect place to take a stroll.
Nestled between the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire lies this spectacular enclosed limestone gorge. From Saturday 1st August, you’ll be able to walk through the gorge, grab a snack at the café and discover the findings in the museum. And, if a visit to Welbeck Estate (mentioned above) tickled your fancy, you can even follow this hidden gem walk from the estate that takes you straight through Creswell Crags.
We’ve uncovered many more hidden gems across Nottingham and Derby, but some have yet to reopen, so keep your eyes peeled for our next instalment, where we’ll suggest some more secret spots for you to enjoy.
Most of the locations featured in this article are outdoors, but the few indoor venues mentioned have been labelled as ‘good to go’, according to Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines for maintaining cleanliness and encouraging social distancing. Just make sure to pack your face mask and hand sanitiser.