Nottinghamshire’s fascinating history and heritage is composed of legendary tales, brutal battles, future-defining rebellion, and stunning architecture - which continuously draws and captivates visitors to the county. As part of English Tourism Week 2022 we take a deep dive into a few of the incredible heritage sites Nottinghamshire has to offer.

Newark Castle

Fun Fact: The notorious King John died at Newark Castle, either from being poisoned or from a ‘surfeit of peaches’.

As well as being the site of this infamous event, Newark Castle played a crucial role in the Civil War due to its strategic advantage, controlling one of the main north to south routes. First held by the Royalists, the castle was the scene of three difficult sieges before being surrendered to the Parliamentarians. You can discover more about the treacherous Civil War that ravaged this county within the National Civil War Centre, located only a 5 minute walk away from the Castle.

Nottingham Shire Hall and County Goal

Fun Fact: In the deeper, darker depths of the Shire Hall and County Goal you can find the Sheriff of Nottingham’s dungeon where Robin Hood was said to have been imprisoned!

Now home to the National Justice Museum, this historic site in the heart of the city has housed dangerous criminals, witnessed cunning escape attempts, and held public executions for many years. The museum brings to life the incredible stories of the people who were tried, imprisoned, or worked once on this site.

Belvoir Castle

Image Credit - Nick Fry

Fun Fact: Afternoon Tea is said to have been invented in Belvoir Castle by Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford whilst visiting the 5th Duke of Rutland after insisting the wait till supper was too long.

Belvoir means ‘beautiful view’ in French, and this is only further exemplified by the castle being regarded by experts as one of the finest examples of regency architecture in the country. In addition, it has featured as the backdrop for an array of popular TV shows and films, such as The Young Queen Victoria and Netflix’s hit series The Crown.

Scrooby Manor House

Image Credit: Sally Outram

Fun Fact: It was in this manor house that one of the Pilgrim Fathers, William Brewster, lived. He was part of the Mayflower Pilgrim movement who decided to leave England and eventually settle in what would be America. 
In the 16th century, the church congregations within the villages of Babworth, Scrooby & Sturton-le-Steeple in Nottinghamshire formed a separatist movement. Their key belief was that people should not be tied to their local parish church and should be free to gather with other like-minded Christians to form independent, autonomous churches. This was seen as controversial as an independent church meant being independent of the state, which was seen as the representation of God. Eventually, the persecution of their beliefs drove them to flee to the Netherlands before founding the Plymouth colony in America.

Nottingham Castle

Fun Fact: When William the Conqueror built the castle in 1068, it was originally a wooden motte-and-bailey castle!

The once-fortified castle, now a Georgian mansion, remains perched high on sheer sandstone cliffs giving you a glimpse of the intimidating façade which has stood for hundreds of years. Throughout history, the castle has had strategic importance because of its positioning close to major north and south highways other the River Trent. Due to this, it has played a role in significant events throughout history, namely the Civil War and the War of the Roses. Today, you can enter the castle grounds and explore the fascinating story of the castle within its newly renovated exhibitions and galleries.

Newstead Abbey

Image Credit: Martine Hamilton Knight

Fun Fact: Newstead Abbey was originally founded by Henry II in atonement for his sacrilegious killing of Thomas Beckett in Canterbury Cathedral.

After the dissolution of many monasteries by Henry VIII, the fact that Newstead Abbey kept its West Front makes it unique. After its dissolution, the house was handed over to the Byron family. The house’s most well-known resident was the eccentric romantic poet, Lord Byron. Many of his personal items can still be found within the house, such as furniture, letters, manuscripts, and clothing.

The Dukeries

Image Credit: Eileen Radford

Fun Fact: During the reign of Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots was kept prisoner at one of the Dukeries, Worksop Manor, as she had claims to the English throne

Tucked away in the North West of Nottinghamshire lies beautiful, peaceful English countryside, encompassing four Ducal Estates. Venture through the National Trust site, Clumber House and Park, home to the longest avenue of Lime trees in Europe. Explore Worksop Manor’s picturesque gardens and park, where Mary Queen Scots was held prisoner during the reign of Elizabeth I or Welbeck Abbey’s estate, which offers impressive attractions such as the Harley Gallery and Welbeck Farm Shop. The final ducal estate, Thoresby Park, has a series of marked walks across their serene parkland as well as lush spa treatments within the luxurious Hall.

Our Expert Recommendation 

We asked Rob, one of our amazing staff members at the Nottingham Tourism and Travel Centre and expert in recommending activities, to share his top suggestion for visitors to learn about Nottinghamshire's history and heritage. He said: 'I recommend a visit to Wollaton Hall, set within 500 acres of rolling parkland it is one of the country's finest Grade 1 listed Elizabethan buildings.'

For more local and expert reccomendations, visit the Nottingham Tourism and Travel Centre in the heart of Nottingham City Centre and talk to our friendly staff. 

This blog was written by Katrina Farrier, Marketing Intern at Visit Nottinghamshire.


National Justice Museum
National Justice Museum | Nottingham

Meet amazing, costumed characters from Nottingham's history in our Grade II* listed, Shire Hall. Explore the Victorian Courtroom, Georgian gaol, and ancient cells - all spread over five fascinating floors.

Belvoir Castle
Pet friendly
Belvoir Castle Landscape

Belvoir Castle is an imposing castle that stands to the North East of Leicestershire, commanding outstanding views from where its name derives from the meaning `beautiful view’.

Nottingham Castle
Castle / Fort
Nottingham Castle - Visit Nottinghamshire.

Nottingham Castle promises the best day out for all, from history seekers to families wanting an action-packed adventure. Discover more and plan your perfect visit today.

Newstead Abbey
Historic Site
Newstead Abbey

A beautiful historic house set in a glorious landscape of gardens and parkland within the heart of Nottinghamshire.

Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall
Heritage / Visitor Centre
Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall

Since Wollaton Hall opened to the public in 1926, it has been home to the city’s natural history museum. On display are some of the best items from the three quarters of a million specimens that make up its zoology, geology, and botany collections.

Wollaton Hall and Park
Wollaton Hall - Visit Nottinghamshire

Spectacular Elizabethan Mansion and Deer Park set in the beautiful suburbs of Nottingham. Car parking £5 all day and £3 up to 2 hours (before 9 am).



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