Robin Hood may be Nottinghamshire’s greatest claim to fame, but its cosmopolitan city, acres of ancient forest and affordable housing are worthy of note too.
Nottinghamshire sits in the East Midlands and was once part of a thriving mining industry. It’s now home to bustling market towns and a cosmopolitan city.
Nottingham in particular is now re-inventing itself as a cultural destination – it boasts an active social scene with new restaurants and shops.
The obvious attractions of the county’s parks, particularly in Sherwood Forest, are also undiminished. Combined with average house prices of £194,000, Nottinghamshire is rising in homebuyers’ estimations. (You can take a look at the latest figures here.)
Read up on the attractions of Nottingham with our detailed guide.
Living in Nottinghamshire: what to expect
Nottingham and surrounding towns are packed with attractive period buildings. Everything from converted warehouses to substantial Georgian and Victorian homes are easy to find. In the surrounding villages, you’ll find period cottages with sash windows.
And the county’s fascinating history is still very evident. The historic Sherwood Forest in which Robin Hood and his Merry Men are said to have hidden has lost none of its appeal, and commanding castles and ducal palaces still stand in grand parks.
London is less than two hours away by train while an hours’ drive will take you to the moors and tors of the Peak District National Park.
Where to start your property search
Urban living: Those seeking a cosmopolitan lifestyle should look to Nottingham. For a stylish apartment, check out the flats in the former lace warehouses and in the updated Lace Market area.
Roomy eye-catching Victorian properties, some of which have been converted into exclusive apartments, can be found in The Park, an exclusive enclave on an old deer park. More villas and terraces can be found near the Playhouse Theatre and Park Terrace. If you want to be a little further from the city, take a look at the Edwalton and West Bridgford suburbs.
Newark is a busy market town just off the A1 in east Nottinghamshire. Its centre is a conservation area, which means you can find elegant listed properties, including double-fronted detached homes and terraces. For flats, check out the converted ‘Brewhouse’, which has its own gym, or opt for a family-friendly 1930s semi-detached in Winthorpe Road.
Mansfield is surrounded by hills in the north west of the county. On its outskirts you can find historic farmhouses but in The Park are period properties with gabled roofs and a smattering of mock Tudor detail. Humble terraces are available on Scarcliffe Street and Westfield Lane.
For new homes, check out developments such as the one in Worksop. The Sparken Hill Gardens development has a good selection of elegant double-fronted detached homes. The town also has 1920s semis with bay windows on The Baulk and Blyth Road as well as executive three-bedroom properties on Mansfield Road.
Rural living: The most sought-after villages are found in the Vale of Belvoir, which have easy access to train stations at Grantham and Newark.
Car Colston, just off the A46, is centred around two attractive commons. The entire village is a conservation area, which means it has an excellent selection of period buildings, most of which date from the 18th and early 19th centuries. Look along Spring Road for brick and stone cottages or Beech Close for a substantial farmhouse.
The picturesque village of Colston Basset is surrounded by rolling countryside in south Nottinghamshire. Here you will find tranquil parkland and quiet wooded lanes. Pick from a mixture of Georgian and Victorian houses, converted barns and the occasional modern in-fill.
Hickling, also in the Vale of Belvoir, is close to the Leicestershire border. Look along Main Street for cottages and farmhouses as well as some large manor houses set back from the road.
Epperstone, which is near Lowdham and Calverton, is protected by a conservation area. Toad Lane has traditional red-brick cottages whereas Parr Lane’s cottages have painted bricks. Larger homes can be found on Bland Lane.
Getting around Nottinghamshire
By rail: Nottingham sits on the Midland Main Line and is less than two hours from the capital, York and Manchester (Oxford Road). The city also enjoys regular connections to Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Leeds, Leicester and Sheffield and the station is the hub for the city’s tram network.
The East Coast Main Line also serves the region and has stops in Newark-on-Trent and Retford, and the Robin Hood Line between Nottingham and Worksop serves several villages.
By car: The M1 runs through the western edge of the county along a north-south path and passes close to Nottingham itself. Use the A52 for an easy connection to the motorway from the city or with nearby Derby. Within the county, the A46 will take you south to Leicester, north to Newark-on-Trent or connect you to the A1. For the nearby Peak District National Park, the A6 and the A610 are ideal.
By air: East Midlands Airport (EMA) over the border in Leicestershire is half an hour from Nottingham city centre thanks to a regular bus service.
Ryanair, Jet2, Flybe and Thomas Cook Airlines all operate out of the low-fare EMA hub and connect to 31 cities with non-stop flights, including Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ibiza, Jersey, Minorca and Prague.
Things to do in Nottinghamshire
History: The county has its fair share of grand estates. Wollaton Hall was built in 1580 and now houses the city’s natural history museum. You can also explore the Tudor kitchen and the parkland, where you’ll see red and fallow deer.
The present Nottingham Castle is a 17th-century ducal palace. Explore its exhibits to uncover its part in the English Civil War before looking at the artwork of regional, national and international artists in its accompanying art gallery.
If you love Romantic poetry, a visit to Newstead Abbey is a must. It was the ancestral home of poet Lord Byron and has a large collection of his personal items, portraits and letters.
Cultural: Theatre-lovers can enjoy a varied programme at the Royal Concert Hall and Theatre Royal. Visit here to see big bands, comedians and classical performers, as well as touring plays. Community projects and workshops, plus backstage tours, are also available.
Live music can be enjoyed at Rock City. This venue hosts a mixture of artists, from up-and-coming bands to established names. Alongside its busy programme of gigs are regular club nights.
The Robin Hood Festival is one of the many festivals held in the county – it features jousting competitions, falconry displays, theatrical performances and story-telling. Other festivals include the Nottingham Festival of Literature and the Splendour Festival.
Outdoors: Lose yourself in Sherwood Forest, which spans more than 30 miles. The forest became a royal hunting ground in the 10th century and was the base of many ducal palaces as well as the home of Robin Hood. Follow in his footsteps by visiting the Major Oak, which is believed to have sheltered Robin Hood and his men.
Other country escapes include Rushcliffe Country Park, which is just half a mile south of Ruddington. Explore more than 8km of footpaths, grassland and conservation and landscaped areas, or tackle the BMX cycle track and skateboard half pipe.
The Creswell Crags caves honeycomb the area and feature Britain’s oldest rock art, which dates back 13,000 years.
Shopping: Nottingham is the starting point for major shopping. The intu shopping centres are packed with high-street stores whereas The Exchange arcade is the place to go for designer labels. Quirkier stores can be found along Derby Road or in the restored Lace Market.
For antiques, search around Newark-on-Trent, which has a host of vintage and retro shops. Local produce can be easily picked up in one of the market towns.
Food and drink: If you want to try the best of Eastern European food, book a table at Danube. Try slow roasted pork leg marinated in honey, peppercorns, chilli and fennel and finish with a black forest ice cream pavlova.
Head to George’s Great British Kitchen, which has an eclectic menu. Start with mushy pea fritters or cod pakoras and move on to a hearty steamed leak pudding. Make sure you visit the gin bar too.
Nottingham’s new cultural quarter means it has an excellent selection of bars. Tilt Bar is a classy blues bar that serves original cocktails such as a Steve McQueen Sour and Tequila Ghost.
Beneath the streets of Nottingham are more than 500 manmade caves which have been used as homes for the poor, store rooms, pub cellars and air raid shelters.
5 reasons to live in Nottinghamshire
Excellent rail connections, particularly from Nottingham
Access to Sherwood Forest and an hour’s drive from the Peak District National Park
Plenty of shops, theatres and restaurants
Packed cultural calendar of festivals
Are you thinking of calling Nottinghamshire home? Let us know why in the comments below.