Nottinghamshire (abbreviated Notts) is a county in the East Midlands of England. It’s most famous for its legend of Robin Hood, who supposedly occupied ancient Sherwood Forest. These days, two well-regarded universities make cosmopolitan Nottingham one of England's trendiest cities with a designated Creative Quarter. The county’s impressive eco-credentials are supplanted by a host of value-adding attractions for folk of all ages.
There are Roman settlements in Mansfield and Bilborough – while in more modern times the region’s economy was traditionally based on coal mining and manufacturing. The county also became synonymous with the lace industry. Nottingham’s history of rebellion includes being the starting point for the Civil War and the birthplace of the Luddite movement.
Its traditional county town and largest settlement is the city of Nottingham (though the local council is based in West Bridgford in Rushcliffe borough). Of several market towns, Mansfield is the second-largest settlement in the county – which also contains the Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Newark and Sherwood, and Rushcliffe districts. Nottinghamshire’s population is estimated at just over a million.
The county borders South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, and Derbyshire. Its main rivers are the Trent, Idle, Erewash and Soar – and the county is twinned with the Polish province of Wielkopolska and its capital city, Poznań.
Road: The M1 motorway connects Nottingham to London, Leeds and Leicester. The A1 follows the path of the Great North Road running between Retford and Worksop Ranby village.
Rail: The main railway is the Midland Mainline linking London to Sheffield via Nottingham. The Robin Hood Line between Nottingham and Worksop serves several villages within the county. The East Coast Mainline serves the eastern towns of Newark and Retford.
Air: Robin Hood Airport lies within Nottinghamshire while East Midlands Airport is just outside, in Leicestershire.
Bus/Tram: As well as local bus services throughout the county, Nottingham and its suburbs have a tram system: Nottingham Express Transit (which is planned to connect with the forthcoming HS2 at Toton).
Nottinghamshire is well connected in terms of transport, making it a superb choice to live. Overall, prices are picking up as contemporary first-time buyers snap-up flats in town, rather than the old terraces in the suburbs that they might have gone for at the turn of the Millennium.
The Sunday Times highlighted The Park in the city centre as "an architectural showpiece". Boasting Georgian townhouses, the newspaper said, "Hockley and the Lace Market are popular with the young and trendy." Beeston, a southwestern suburb, was highlighted as one of the main beneficiaries of improvements to infrastructure. Beeston Drive was dubbed "one of the A-list addresses" while "neighbouring Wollaton is more desirable still". Leafy Mapperley Park was preferred by "the old-money set". Meanwhile, West Bridgford was most popular for families, being "in the catchment for the best state schools — Becket, West Bridgford and Rushcliffe — it has a village atmosphere..."
For landlords, Nottingham continues to be popular. The letting scene provides excellent rental yield opportunities compared with many other cities. The number of people renting in Nottingham is also higher than the national average – a population bolstered by the annual influx of students attending its two successful universities.
Shoppers have a superb array of choice when it comes to indulging in a little retail therapy. The heart of the city of Nottingham has shopping centres and high-end arcades – including two indoor shopping malls: the Broadmarsh and Victoria centres – as well as the Derby Road stretch of boutique shops.
Away from the centre, traditional market towns offer great local produce set against the backdrops of historic locations. Nottinghamshire also has an antiques and vintage scene that's full of exciting finds. And for arts and crafts, the county is bustling with tucked-away shops offering imaginative gifts and curios on its many streets.
During the time of the British Empire, Nottingham led the world in lace-making. Today, its Lace Market area has been transformed into one of the hippest parts of the city, with former industrial warehouse buildings converted into apartments, bars, restaurants and shops. Along with neighbouring Hockley, it forms part of the Creative Quarter, which also hosts independent cafes and shops.
Sport: The most successful football team is Nottingham Forest. Notts County and Mansfield Town are the area’s other professional teams. Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club play at Trent Bridge, which is also used as an international venue. Other notable sports teams include Nottingham Rugby Football Club and the Nottingham Panthers ice hockey club.
Family: Youngsters will love Sundown Adventure Land, White Post Farm and Robin Hood's Wheelgate Park. Interactive attractions, such as The Galleries of Justice Museum, are also great for children. Other popular activities include Go Ape! at Sherwood Pines and go-kart driving at ELK Motorsport. There’s a family-friendly Red Hot World Buffet at the Cornerhouse.
Outdoors: Rushcliffe Country Park and Attenborough Nature Reserve offer scenic trails – and plenty of open space. You can also enjoy the great outdoors at Conkers, an award-winning attraction at The Heart of the National Forest offering both indoor and outdoor activities. At Sherwood Pines there are off-road trails for cyclists. Nottinghamshire also hosts a cave network. At Creswell Crags you can see drawings left by our Ice Age ancestors. The City of Caves offers visitors an archaeological journey.
Culture: Newstead Abbey was the ancestral home of poet Lord Byron – and is open to the public. Visit a perfectly preserved 1920s home at Mr Straw’s House in Worksop. The magnificent Elizabethan mansion Wollaton Hall featured in Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises. Engaging heritage collections are exhibited at The Galleries of Justice Museum. The Malt Cross is one of few remaining Victorian music halls in the country. There’s a National Civil War Centre in Newark. Legend has it the pretty village of Edwinstowe is where Robin Hood married Maid Marian.
Events: During summer, outdoor film and theatre take place at various locations. There’s the Robin Hood Festival at Sherwood Forest; the Riverside Festival at Victoria Embankment; and the Splendour music festival at Wollaton Park. The DH Lawrence Festival of Culture and the International Byron Festival are supplemented by the Nottingham Festival of Literature. Towards the year’s end, there’s The Robin Hood Beer Festival at Nottingham Castle as well as Goose Fair, GameCity and the Robin Hood Pageant. Get the Christmas feeling at Nottingham's Winter Wonderland.