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How to spend 48 hours in Nottinghamshire

By Benedict Cooper

You will be surprised how much you can pack into 48 hours in Nottinghamshire. Take some inspiration from our weekend guide.

Day one

If you’re pressed for time, don’t fret – Nottingham city centre is compact and easy to get around. A really unique way to feed your cultural side and see a lot of the city in a day would be to take a tour of Nottingham’s art scene, by tram. Buy a very reasonably-priced, all-day ticket or an even better value family ticket – your admission to a journey through a rich and vibrant cultural landscape.

Then you’re free to flit between the superb Nottingham Contemporary art gallery, the New Art Exchange in Hyson Green, Lakeside Arts at the University of Nottingham, the Bonington Gallery at Nottingham Trent University and the Perfectly Formed Gallery in Chilwell as you please. If your appetite for culture hasn’t been sated by all that, there’s another little treat in store for you.

The Bromley House Library off Angel Row is a magical little place with a tranquil garden that makes you feel like you’re in a different world.

Or if you fancy something a bit less cerebral, a tour of the Castle Rock Brewery is the perfect thing to whet your appetite before stepping out for a few drinks in the evening followed by dinner – just stroll around and let one of the city’s many wonderful restaurants pull you in.

The Bromley House Library off Angel Row is a magical little place with a tranquil garden that makes you feel like you’re in a different world

Day two

You don’t want to confine yourself to the city, and one of the best ways to see more of Nottinghamshire is to drive out to Newark and Southwell. The pretty towns are both filled with charm, and you could start with Newark where the ancient cobbled streets reveal a host of little shops, galleries and, on Saturdays, the excellent market. There’s also Newark Castle, a must-see if you’re visiting.

A short drive away is Southwell, a beautiful town with the magnificent 900-year-old Minster standing proudly in its centre. Within the ground of Southwell Minster there is also the remains of a Roman house complete with mosaics and wall paintings. Southwell is so picturesque you don’t need too much of a plan for the place; just walk around those old streets and lanes and take it all in.

But if you’re in the mood for shopping, the Bookwise book and classical music store is a real treat – there’s also one in Newark. Close by is the striking former workhouse building that’s been converted into a museum. Touring the inside is quite an eerie experience, especially when you see the worn down patches on the hard stone floor where the poor inmates’ beds lay.

And if you’re in the area, you surely can’t resist stopping into the Newfield Dairy to sample one of their delicious ice creams, made on site? To round off your second day here, you could spend an idyllic few hours ambling along the River Trent on a boat. You can hire one yourself or join a public river tour, leaving from Gunthorpe.

In the evening light the river is just mesmeric – a perfect way to end your brief time in this part of the world.

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Image credits: ©David Prado/; Nottingham Lakeside Arts; Sam Kirby/Nottingham Contemporary; Tom Morley/New Art Exchange

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