Nottingham city break: This Midlands treasure has more arrows in its quiver than Robin Hood.
CENTURIES, literally centuries, of schoolboys must have guffawed uncontrollably at the idea that Nottingham was founded by an Anglo-Saxon chieftain named Chief Snot and populated by Snot’s people.
Snot’s people’s efforts are certainly not to be overlooked today (oh, come on! ), as this gem of a city in England’s East Midlands region has transformed into a truly great weekend city break and staycation destination. So, without further ado, let’s get the dude in Lincoln Green out of the way. The legend of Robin Hood is etched into the DNA of this town. He’s all over the place. And with good reason: Robin Hood and his Merry Guys are A-List English legends, right up there with King Arthur and Sir Alf Ramsey, men who performed such astounding feats that it’s hard to believe they’re true.
Robin appears in ballads sometime in the 14th century, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. Later, he is related to the mythical English monarch Richard the Lionheart of the 12th century (a French chap who spoke not one word of English and almost certainly never actually set foot on British soil as it turns out).
Little John, Will Scarlett, and, finally, Maid Marion, appear much later in the 15th and 16th centuries. Then, in the 1930s, Hollywood picks up the story, and from Douglas Fairbanks to Kevin Costner, Errol Flynn to Russell Crowe, the Robin Hood story is given all of Hollywood’s careful accuracy.
What we do know is that the nefarious Sheriff of Nottingham existed, and that he resided in Nottingham Castle. That is why you should put this gem at the top of your must-see list.
The Castle has just reopened following a £30 million refurbishment and is brimming with history skillfully disguised as entertainment.
Take on Robin at archery, fight with Little John, and explore the caves beneath the surface (as you’ll see). Take time to see both the temporary and permanent displays, particularly the “rebel” exhibition.
If the caves have piqued your interest, finish your tour with a pint of foamy ale at the 12th century Trip to Jerusalem. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”