How to spend 48 hours in Nottingham

Our 48 hours in Nottingham came at a very busy time work-wise for Mr A and I and we badly needed a relaxing weekend.

As I was booking the last-minute visit, it made me appreciate the fact that we had decided to set ourselves the 12 Trip challenge. Sometimes when we’re so busy in life, it’s easy to let the things we enjoy, such as travel, slip to the bottom of the never-ending to-do list. But this challenge has really made me think more about making sure we do book something and prioritising travelling and spending time together, no matter how much else we have going on.

We primarily chose Nottingham as we have friends and family who live in the area who we wanted to visit. However, we also found time to squeeze in some sight-seeing too. So here are my recommendations of what to do with 48 hours in Nottingham:

Friday evening

We checked into the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, which is just outside the city centre. We chose this hotel as it had easy parking (not all city centre hotels do) and was also on a direct bus route into the city. We were welcomed with warm cookies (they obviously know their target audience!) and an upgraded room. So we were off to a good start.

After a quick turn-around, we made the 10 minute bus journey into the city centre for dinner at Le Bistrot Pierre. The restaurant is a small chain and the Nottingham branch was the first to open in 1994 in a former bank. We were spoilt for choice with the French menu and the food was delicious. Mr A’s starter of baked St Marcellin cheese was so good I almost stole it and my steak-frites was fantastic. The prices were good and the staff were lovely, so all in all it was the perfect start to our weekend.

Saturday morning

The next morning we were back in the city and after a quick stop in Old Market Square I was playing one of my favourite games of trying to find the cutest cafe I could for breakfast. We eventually settled on the Ugly Bread Bakery, where we ordered Italian pastries for breakfast. Totally acceptable on holiday, right?

Nottingham is a city filled with history. The story of Robin Hood runs through the city and there are information boards dotted around at key locations, telling stories of his famous exploits. We didn’t do one ourselves, but it is possible to take a guided tour around the city if you’re interested in learning more about the man himself.

48 hours in Nottingham - The Robin Hood statue

History buffs also have the opportunity to visit the Galleries of Justice museum, where the courtrooms date back to the 14th century, as well as the sandstone caves which run under the city.


However we decided to spend the morning wandering around the Lace Market area of the city, where I loved looking at the former factories which gave the area its name.


Saturday afternoon

For lunch we headed to Pitcher and Piano which, although it is a chain restaurant, is housed inside a Grade II listed church which has retained many of its old features. We enjoyed a lovely lunch, with a bird’s eye view from one of the balconies.

In the afternoon we explored more of the city, heading over to Nottingham Castle which I must admit, coming from Scarborough, where the castle was built in the 12th century, looked surprisingly modern from the outside. Mr A also made it his mission to pop into the oldest inn in England, which has walls and ceilings which are carved directly into the rock face.

Saturday evening

In the evening we caught up with some of my old university friends and had dinner with them. But there are lots of restaurants and bars to explore in the city.

Sunday morning

After a late start we headed back into the city to the Nottingham Contemporary art gallery. The cafe downstairs had been recommended to us and we tucked into a great Sunday lunch before visiting the free exhibition upstairs.


Sunday afternoon

Nottingham is a shopper’s paradise, with the huge Intu shopping centre, as well as pedestrianised shop-lined streets like Bridlesmith Gate. I *may* have fallen into a few shoes shops and after an afternoon of shopping there was only one thing left to do…eat cake! So we popped into Cafe Thea, for tea and scones – always the perfect way to round off a weekend…

If you’d enjoyed this 48 hours in Nottingham guide and would like to read more, check out this one about 48 hours in Belfast or this one about spending 48 hours in Bath.