You know when you go somewhere that you’ve never been but you have the weirdest Deja vu? And you’re adamant that you’ve been there before?
Well, I had that feeling when I visited Nottingham this weekend with my beloved. Unfortunately I soon realised that I had ACTUALLY been to Nottingham before and it wasn’t all just some strange feeling or nightmarish dream.
I had set foot on the dark and dingy streets of Nottingham merely four years prior, to attend a Red Dwarf convention and I vowed to never return!
Then some numpty decided to have an exhibition of a T-Rex in Wollaton Hall, and who the hell can say no to that?
Plus, I’d completely forgotten that I’d been there before, probably wiped it from my memory.
I had this vision of Nottingham; it was cute little streets, a market, higgledy-piggledy buildings just like down The Shambles in York.
Unfortunately, instead, we were met with groups of youths, an unsettling police presence and being woken up at 3am by shouting and screaming from the streets below our hotel window.
I’m not deluded, I am aware that cities are not peaceful little villages, they are loud and exciting and full of debauchery. I just expected something else from the hometown of Robin Hood, maybe that was where I went wrong.
Anyway…a couple of friends had been to see Titus the T-Rex on his tour of the UK, so I thought Chris would like it too.
I booked us a night at the Hilton, found somewhere good for us to eat and had a nosey online to see what ese Nottingham had to offer.
It’s only about an hour and forty minutes for us to Nottingham, so we set off around 10am so we could get there for lunch. The Street Food Club came highly recommended online, so this was our first stop when we arrived. It’s located in the Victoria Shopping Centre, This shopping centre is massive and we barely saw any of it. But we weren’t there to shop, we were there to eat!
I wouldn’t really call myself a foodie, but I do love food and anywhere I can try something new gets a big tick from me. The Trinity Kitchen in Leeds is one of my favourite places to go as it gives everyone an option and the whole street food vibe makes me feel like I’m on holiday. I imagined The Street Food Club would be something along those lines, and it is, but on a much smaller scale. The seating area is far more condensed than Trinity Kitchen and there aren’t as many food stalls, although I think they switch around every week.
I opted for a Brazilian Chicken Box from Hunger – The Healthy Eating Co. It came with half fries and half paella, and it was delicious!
My boyfriend had a burger from Stack’D Burger, he said it was ‘alright’, however he eats because he has to, not because he wants to try new things, so we won’t make any food assumptions based on his reviews…
I loved the food, loved the aesthetic, the only thing I hated, that ruined the whole experience, was the incessant piano playing. I assumed it was just a one off song, like a random member of the public was having a go whilst he waited for his food, but no, it continued for the entire time we were there. Now, this might be because I’m getting old, but I cannot stand music playing when I’m eating, a little bit of background noise, a gentle sound for some ambience, that’s fine, but you have to be able to easily talk over it. I’m not up for dancing whilst I’m dining!
After lunch we ‘hailed a cab’ and hot-footed it to Wollaton Hall, I didn’t want to drive as I’d had a beer with food and it meant getting my car out of the most complicated underground car park I’ve ever been in! And then paying for parking once we got to Wollaton hall. So, it was just easier to leave the car and get a taxi.
Wollaton Hall is an incredible Grade I listed Elizabethan building, it’s absolutely beautiful. My photo does not do it justice. It is also in the grounds of a deer park and they have a trail you can take to do a bit of deer spotting.
But we were here to see a dinosaur! Titus the T-Rex is currently on display and he is his the first real tyrannosaurus rex to be on display in England in over a century! There is, however, only 20% of this dinosaur that is made up of actual conserved fossils, the rest is made up of casts and digitally printed replicas. There has never been a fully preserved T-Rex skeleton found, yet.
Wollaton Hall also houses some other pretty awesome stuff, we didn’t have the time to fully make the most of it but we plan to return soon, we’ll just stay clear of Nottingham City Centre… And the most exciting part of all?
It was used as Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises! We went to see a dinosaur at Batman’s house! That is very cool!
After we’d had our fill of dinosaur we booked an Uber and headed back into the city centre to check into our hotel. I’m a Hilton Honours member so I’d booked us in there when I booked the Titus tickets. I was expecting some semblance of luxury, what with it being a Hilton an’ all, unfortunately this particular Hilton is undergoing refurbishment and, I imagine, trying to make a recovery from the pandemic. We didn’t check out the pool or spa facilities but I did have a very yummy Cuba Libre cocktail from the bar… okay I had two!
Our bed was not comfortable, the room was okay, the shower was awesome but the noise from people going to their rooms at 3am was unfortunate! However, the hotel redeemed itself by serving an epic breakfast, they had EVERYTHING. The usual pastries, cereals, egg, bacon etc…but also a buffet of fresh fruit, cold meats (plus turkey, which would have pleased me Mum immensely) and freshly made pancakes. Plus smoothies, juices, and superfood shots. I was very impressed.
Whilst having a nosey online for some other things to do in Nottingham I discovered it was the home of the oldest inn in England, and with me loving a bit of paranormal investigation I knew we had to go check this place out.
It’s called Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem and from the outside it does look super spooky. Sadly I’ve never felt less creeped out by anything before. I didn’t feel a thing in there, which actually seems weirder now I think about it. Many places give me the heebie-jeebies or just a sense of being watched. This place, for want of a better word, just felt dead.
It’s portrayed as one of the most haunted sites in the UK and their website boasts of its many ghosts, but, sadly, I didn’t get that feeling. I also think we may have picked the wrong day to visit. I’d booked a table for food, it was a Saturday evening and I expected some good pub grub in a suitably fine establishment. But on a Saturday night it seems it’s just another pub. We were cramped in a tiny corner, surrounded by a group of rowdy drinkers. It would be helpful for them to have had separate spaces for those who want to just drink and those who want to eat. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience and I had hoped for so much more!
The cave room was pretty cool, there are tunnels under the pub that are connected to the castle, which is just next door. The tunnels and man-made caves date back to 1068! This place is clearly steeped in history and I imagine it makes for a good explore when it’s a bit quieter. And there MUST be some ghosts or spirits, or some sort of energy hanging about there, but maybe the noisy pint guzzlers scared them all away…?
We had decided to walk across the city from the hotel to the pub, against my better judgement, and that little jaunt just cemented my decision about Nottingham. It’s scary at night, I did not feel safe.
I definitely want to go back and spend the day sight seeing, but I think we’ll book into a spa on the outskirts in future!
Below are pictures of the creepy ass alleyway that Google maps took us down to get to the ‘pub of disappointment’…
I do enjoy a good weekend away, but it’s always nice to get back to your own bed and this time it was heavenly to come home. Sorry, Nottingham but I’m not a fan!