Fantasy or fiction, the legend of Robin Hood and Nottingham have fascinated generations of people for centuries. Stories of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest have been circulating since the 14th century and many historians believe there is a ring of truth to the legend. Visitors today are still discovering many of the famous sites romanticized in folklore and tradition.
The city of Nottingham is the centuries old center of the county of Nottinghamshire, located in the East Midlands of England. With a population of approximately 300,000 people, Nottingham has become a modern and multi-cultural city offering a wide range of entertainment and festivals.
The Nottingham Goose Fair is one of the oldest festivals in England. Why it was named the Goose Fair is still unknown, but that doesn’t stop hundred of thousands of visitors from enjoying the festivities. Every year in early October, the fair delights locals and travelers alike. The fair has rides, games and exhibitions all with a decidedly goosey flair.
Nottingham Castle is a remarkable mix of architecture. There is some evidence that a stronghold structure was on the site before the Norman Conquest. The castle as we know it today was first built in 1068 by William the Conqueror. Throughout the centuries, rulers have added to or changed the castle to suit the needs of the day. Visitors can tour the castle and the centuries old tunnels beneath the castle itself. If you’re lucky enough to be in Nottingham in mid to late October, don’t miss the Robin Hood Pageant when the castle grounds are transformed into a medieval wonderland.
Lace Market is an 18th century market known for its fine lace and textiles. Many examples are on display today. This historical market square also offers some remarkable examples of medieval architecture in its churches and parishes. St. Mary’s church is an example of this fine architecture and dates back to Saxon times.
Hockley Village situated near Lace Market has an urban flair. With its café’s and restaurants, many visitors enjoy the galleries, theatres and modern shopping areas in this modern section of the city. Hockley has the distinct privilege of housing the world’s smallest cinematic screening room for movies.
Sherwood Forest is by far, the most popular destination in Nottingham. The forest is now a nature reserve and is home to the legend of Robin Hood. The forest and surrounding areas draw thousands of visitors each year due to its romantically historical history and large venue of events and tours.
Some of the oldest trees in all of Europe reside in Sherwood Forest. The largest and most well known tree is the Major Oak. Steeped in folklore, this tree was said to be the headquarters of the infamous Robin Hood and is merry men. At nearly 1000 years old, this massive oak is 33 feet in circumference and is reported to be producing acorns to this day.
The Robin Hood Festival is celebrated for a week each summer from late July to early August and delight children and adults alike. The area is transformed into a medieval celebration complete with jugglers, jousting and period costumes. This festival is free and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly.
No matter what time of year you plan to visit, Nottingham has events, sites and attractions steeped in history and folklore sure to please the whole family.