Discover Robin Hood’s Nottingham
Everyone’s favourite outlaw, Robin Hood, is known throughout the world. The historic English city of Nottingham is home to many places central to the romantic legends of Robin Hood, The Sheriff, Maid Marian and the Merry Men.
Read our guide to discovering the Nottingham of Robin Hood.
A Merry Man
The legends say that as a rich son, Robin Hood fought for King Richard the Lionheart and returned to England to find his land corrupted by the evil Prince John and Sheriff of Nottingham. When the Sherriff declared him an outlaw, Robin took to Sherwood Forest and lived with his group of Merry Men, the motley crew of outlaws such as Little John, Friar Tuck and Will Scarlett.
Robin Hood’s love for the beautiful Maid Marian is as famous as his skill with a bow and arrow, and he is well known for his efforts to rob from the rich and give to the poor.
Whether based in fact or fiction, the legends of Robin Hood have been popular for hundreds of years, and as the setting for many of his exploits Nottingham is a fantastic place to explore them.
Explore Robin Hood’s Nottingham
The impressive Nottingham Castle overlooks the city from Castle Rock. Built in the 1600s on the site of the Medieval Castle, Nottingham Castle is a key location in the legends of the heroic outlaw and villainous sheriff. The castle was used by the Sheriff of Nottingham as a court and is home to towers and dungeons made to hold captive outlaws. When you visit Nottingham Castle make sure you also book in for a cave tour, to see the tunnels which the wily Robin would no doubt have used to make an escape (had he been caught).
Every October Nottingham Castle holds the Robin Hood Pageant, a festival which sees the grounds of the Castle transformed in to a medieval village. Meet Robin Hood, the Merry Men, Maid Marian and other favourite characters, and try your hand at archery, jousting, alchemy and medieval crafts.
At the Gatehouse to Nottingham Castle, make sure you stop to pose beside a popular statue of Robin Hood with his famous bow and arrow.
Based in the Old Shire Hall, site of Nottinghamshire’s old Courthouse and County Gaol, is the Galleries of Justice Museum, a popular attraction for visitors to Nottingham. For centuries the building was used as a base for the Sheriff of Nottingham, and now gives visitors the chance to explore the history of Nottingham in special exhibitions, including a dedicated Robin Hood exhibition. Find out more about how the legends of Robin Hood evolved as well as the social history of his time, and explore Dark Ages crime and punishment.
Why not take a tour with Robin Hood himself? The famous outlaw will lead you on a trail of Nottingham as he discusses the history and locations behind the tales of Robin Hood. The tour, run local Robin Hood expert ‘Ezekial Bone,’ won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2013 and is a definite must for fans of the legend. Tours end at Ye olde Trip to Jerusalem, England’s oldest inn and great place for some refuelling.
Escape To Sherwood Forest
Take a trip outside Nottingham to explore more of Robin Hood’s country. Your main destination should be Sherwood Forest, but on the way there are some great places to stop.
A small detour to Thieves Wood, so called because of the outlaws who lived there, also brings you close to another point of interest for the Robin Hood story: Fountaindale. Walk the marked route from Thieves Wood to see Fountaindale, which is rumoured to be the place where Robin Hood first met Friar Tuck.
Stop at Edwinstowe to visit St Mary’s Church, which dates from around 1175 and is reputedly the place Robin and Marian exchanged wedding vows, as well as Will Scarlett’s burial place. Tourists visit the site every year, and the church is still used daily as a place of prayer and worship.
Sherwood Forest is a luscious 450 acre Nation Nature Reserve, which was once part of a royal hunting forest. At the entrance is Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, which has an exhibition on ‘Robyn Hodes Sherwode’, as well as two shops and a restaurant. Stroll around the ancient trees of the forest and try to imagine living the life of an outlaw there, ready with your wit and bow. Make sure you find the Major Oak, which is supposedly the hideout of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.
Also located in Sherwood Forest is the annual Robin Hood Festival, a seven day celebration of the outlaw and his time. The 30th Annual Robin Hood Festival takes place from 4 to 10 August 2014, and is a great place to be entertained, try activities and meet characters from the legends.
Where to stay
Discover Robin Hood’s Nottingham after a great night’s sleep in the Park Inn, Nottingham. The Park Inn Hotel in Nottingham is close to the city centre and offers guests complimentary parking facilities on site. Make use of our contemporary facilities like our spa and steam room, and discuss your favourite stories about Robin Hood as you enjoy a meal in our restaurant.
What other Robin Hood hotspots would you recommend for fans of the legend?