Where is the best place in England to discover nature?

Unveil the beauty of the English countryside from Nottingham. The city and surrounding areas are full of green spaces and country parks, and the Peak District National Park is less than 90 minutes away.

East Midlands

Explore the beauty of the East Midlands. Escaping to the countryside is easy from Nottingham. The city is surrounded by country parks and gardens, not to mention the famous Sherwood Forest. Travel a little bit further north and you can enjoy a perfect day trip to the Peak District National Park. Along the way, choose whatever activity takes your fancy from cycling, hiking and horse riding to bird watching or meditating in Japanese Gardens.

English countryside - Cyclists in Sherwood Pines Forest, Nottingham, England

© Experience Nottinghamshire/Britainonview/East Midlands Tourism:Daniel Bosworth

Robin Hood’s playground

Sherwood Forest was a former 10th century Royal hunting ground. These days, the 30 miles of recreational space is for anyone who wants to use it. Famously associated with the legend of Robin Hood, visit the Major Oak, his hideaway place where it’s believed his Merry Men sheltered. Family fun at Sherwood Pines Forest Park includes a visitor centre, Go Ape treetop adventures, a forest segway and zip-line. The area is a haven for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, each with dedicated colour-coded paths and bridleways. Nottinghamshire has over 650 miles of bike trails and some of the most interesting are in the heart of Sherwood Forest.

Tranquil country parks and gardens

Nottinghamshire is surrounded by ornate and landscaped country gardens and parks, often with large stately homes situated in their grounds. Wollaton Hall and Deer Park is an Elizabethan Mansion dating back to the 1500s and houses the Natural History Museum. The main hall famously featured as Wayne Manor in the 2012 Batman film. Watch the majestic red deer graze in the foreground of the building and stroll across the surrounding five hundred acres of land.

English countryside - Wollaton Country Park and Deer Park - Nottinghamshire

© Experience Nottinghamshire/Gerry Molumby

Take relaxation to the next level at Pure Land Meditation Centre Japanese Garden. Pure Land was founded in 1970 by Maitreya, who bought the property to teach meditation to his visitors. Book individual consultations, group relaxation days and even a Japanese tea ceremony. This tranquil oasis is blissfully peaceful and it’s impossible to not feel the benefits of a walk through the Japanese and crystal gardens.

A tribute to Sir David Attenborough

Attenborough Nature Reserve was opened by the much-loved Broadcaster and Naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, in 1966. This award-winning eco park is a haven for spotting wildlife and is just four miles from central Nottingham. In the visitor centre, check out samples from nature, look at miniature creatures through telescopes and play games on interactive screens. Then venture outside to watch birds at the feeding stations and see the insect hotel and wildlife by the pond. Then take a stroll on the sensory nature trail and discover the park’s flora and fauna. In the wetlands reserve visit one of four hides. Over a hundred bird species have been observed here so bring you binoculars and see what you find.

English countryside - Visitor Centre Attenborough Nature Reserve - Nottinghamshire

© Attenborough Nature Reserve

RSPB Beckingham Marshes

Beckingham Marshes is a grazing wetland on the River Trent’s floodplains and a fantastic place for young aspiring ornithologists. It is a breeding habitat for waders, water voles, insects and aquatic plant life and makes the perfect RSPB reserve. The most observed bird species here include curlews, lapwings, snipe, tree sparrows and yellow wagtails. As the seasons change, so does the bird life that can be spotted here.

English countryside - Beckingham Marshes - Nottinghamshire
© rspb-images.com/Colin Wilkinson

Peak District National Park

Travel just over one hour from Nottingham and you’ll cross the boundary into Peak District National Park. This natural haven offers over 1600 miles of public footpaths, bridleways and trails. It is popular with hikers, climbers, cyclists, fell runners, and those who love watersports. The park is so vast it’s easy to escape to the wilderness and enjoy some quality alone time, or plan a group trip with friends into the hills, which offer incredible vistas. As you explore you’ll come across spa or market towns and cities such as Bakewell, Buxton and Derby.

English countryside - Hathersage Moor Peak district national park, England

In order to see as much as possible in the region, it is helpful to have a car. The Park Inn by Radisson Nottingham is an ideal base for a comfortable night’s rest and relaxation before waking up to a new day of exploration. For more tips and ideas, Experience Nottinghamshire has plenty of suggestions to help you plan your trip.

Top image © Experience Nottinghamshire/Marie Bunting

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