Things to do for families in Nottingam

Picture Credit for the Financial Mail


I moved to Nottingham when I was pregnant, it was a lot like fresher’s week at university, minus the booze – making new friends, joining new (mother and baby) clubs and basically signing up for everything in an effort to make friends in a new town. So, I feel like I have a really good handle on things to do for families in Nottingham.

You can follow us making the most of it, here in this video about family friendly Nottingham venues who take part in the UK wide family arts festival.


The home of Superheros and Legends


Nottingham is full of open spaces, from Sherwood Forest and Sherwood Pines, where many people experience the magic of Nottingham forest through Centre Parcs and Forest Holidays, to Wollaton Hall and Deer Park, which was used as Bruce Wayne’s mansion in The Dark Knight Rises, to Rushcliffe Country park which has an amazing sensory garden, ladybird trails, and countless wooden art installations you can play on.  Nottingham is a small town you can get across quickly. You can’t beat watching the cars go through the ford at Rufford Abbey, the sensory gardens or the Telly Tubby like playground.


Sneak in some shopping, without the kids noticing

The city centre is great for shopping. There are shopping centres and cinema/entertainment complexes, there is even a Aztec themed indoor mini golf centre, however, the centres are bright and modern and linked by pedestrianised streets lined with the best of the high street shops, plenty of restaurants and small alley ways with independent stores. You just have to look up to be soothed by Victorian architecture, all of which makes shopping  a really pleasurable experience. Market Square has been modernised and feels spacious, kids love the fountains, and the addition of a beach in summer (yes really). Moving from London I found shopping in Nottingham a real treat.


Be merry men and women in a pub, in a cave

Also right bang in the city centre is Nottingham Castle. The Castle is hidden, but is worth finding for the statue of Robin Hood, the great pubs around it, and the great activities on offer inside. Ye Olde Trippe to Jerusalem is a fabulous pub near the castle to take kids into, as it is family friendly and the pub is built into the castle cave walls, in some areas of the pub you can look up into the caves through the ceiling. The castle itself might not be the classic ruin kids might expect, but the views across Nottingham are superb, the caves underneath are exhilarating to tour and the castle is packed with hands on and interactive exhibits. It is the perfect place for a rainy afternoon.


Get your craft on


Every weekend art gallery Nottingham Contemporary hosts family activities in a giant space where kids can roam free and try new art ideas inspired by the exhibits. Its a great place to let off steam and the cafe is also spacious and good for both little ones and their foodie loving grown ups. To the North of the town centre New Art Exchange celebrates celebrates the region’s cultural richness and diversity with stimulating exhibits, family workshops and a fab cafe.



See world class children’s theatre

There are three theatres in Nottingham, which is unusual for a town of its size, and all have great offerings for families. In the city centre, Nottingham Playhouse, a receiving and producing house, has a fab cafe and space to run around outside while the Theatre Royal and Concert Hall hosts touring productions from all over the world. Lakeside Arts at Nottingham University, further out of the city, is great for a day out. As well as the world’s best theatre especially for children, you can hire rowing boats, walk or scoot round the lake, enjoy the playground and explore the woods.


Our little secret

Greens Windmill is wonderful little oasis in a cobbled yard, you can tour the windmill, play in the Science centre and buy flour to take home and bake. Sometimes there are activities for families on, including bread making, especially in the holidays.



To pick Penny’s brains on your trip to Nottingham, find her on Twitter @pennyalexander_

Have you been to Nottingham or are you from Nottingham? Please leave any recommendations for things to do for families in Nottingham in the comments.

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