A winter break in Nottingham: 5 must-do activities
Whether you’re looking for culture, couture or just a peaceful countryside ramble, Nottingham has so much to offer its visitors in the Christmas holidays. Here are our recommendations for some great things to see and do in the city this winter.
1. Add a teutonic twist to your winter break by visiting one of the many Christmas markets Nottingham holds. The ‘Christkindlmarkt’ dates back to the Middle Ages and its popularity has spread far and wide over the centuries. Head to Nottingham’s Old Market Square for some festive food and drink as well as live street entertainment. In nearby Ilkeston, a Christmas craft fair is running (great for gift ideas) and the village of Cotgrave is holding its own little market and lights event.
2. Catch a show, with seasonal offerings such as pantomimes and choral concerts popping up across the city and surrounding areas. Catch the Ruddington and District Choral Society performing Handel’s Messiah at Sr Peter’s Church. A pantomime, such as Puss in Boots at the Nottingham Arts Theatre, is a great wintertime staple. If you fancy something a little less Christmas-focused, head to the Theatre Royal or the Nottingham Playhouse where you can choose from a range of great productions, as well as performances from top-class comedians and bands.
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3. Late night shopping is available at various locations, so cram in some last minute gift buying in the run up to Christmas or, if you dare brave them, take advantage of the January sales. In Nottingham, Wednesday 21st November is the date of the Christmas light switch on and marks the beginning of the late night shopping season. Late night shopping takes place on a Thursday in nearby Mansfield, where you can also enjoy horse drawn carriage rides through the town in the early evening.
4. Illuminated by winter light, the beautiful Sherwood Forest is something to behold. While once famous for its association with a certain iconic Robin, these days you’ll only find the red-breasted variety; take a walk through the woods and look out for the regional birds and wildlife. For UK short breaks with family, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Center Parcs, ideally located at the edge of the forest. From November the village transforms into an enchanting Winter Wonderland. Kids will love the Christmas activities, with ponies to ride to Santa’s Workshop, firework displays to watch, and live reindeer to visit on site.
5. Go ice-skating at Nottingham’s National Ice Centre, which is to undergo a grand transformation for the season, with a starry night sky and a multitude of festive lights decorating the Olympic-sized indoor rink. Enjoy special skating events, including the Capital FM party night.