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Nottingham is awesome!
Nottingham in General
Member Name: thehonesttruth
Nottingham in General
I've lived in Nottingham for around 16 years now (with a small gap in between where I lived in Oxford). My parents were both in the Army, and as children my brother and I were constantly shifted about following my parents work - sometimes in Germany, sometimes in England, even once, for a brief period in Wales . When the time came for my dad to leave the Army (my mum left before him) my parents decided that since his parent's lives in Buckinghamshire and hers in Yorkshire, they would settle somewhere roughly halfway - Nottingham.
Roughly Halfway is a good way to describe Nottingham . It's residents will get incredibly upset if you refer to them as Southerners. We'll also get equally upset if you refer to us as 'Northern' though - I guess living in the Midlands we like our status of being neither one nor the other.
Like many regions, we have our own dialect, and it's important to learn a few words of the local language! I remember when I first moved here from Germany - the local kids were constantly greeting me with the words 'Ey oop!'. My mind tried to figure out what they meant, and the closest I could come up with was 'Aye Aye Captain '. I promptly decided that clearly everyone had a fascination with pirates, and proceeded to invite people to plunder my booty and swab my poop deck. Obviously, time living here has now taught me that 'Ey Oop!' is simply 'Hello'.
It's also worth noting that words ending in Y, for example 'Silly' tend to have the Y pronounched with an 'eh' sound . So, Silly becomes Silleh , Funny becomes Funneh. As an army brat that spoke queens english, I was relentlessly mocked upon moving here, but I've since picked up the lingo!
Other Nottinghamese that may be useful includes :
Oat : Anything
Noat : Nothing
Jiggadahn : Did you go to.... ?
Itwerr Krapp : I can't say that I found it entirely satisfactory.
Wezza Bog : Could you direct me to the nearest public convenience?
Mardi : Bad Tempered
Nottingham city centre itself has been tarted up with extensive regeneration projects in recent years, but none of this detracts from the fact that the city is surrounded by grotty council estates (I live on one) where half the windows are covered in iron grids and every street corner has a resident gang. Don't worry though, these 'gangs' are generally made up of several drunken 10 year olds who have managed to filch a few quid from the wallets of their mothers to obtain a bottle of Diamond White, and who have scavenged in the bins for dog ended cigarettes . Nottinghams council estates are as rough and shabby as council estates anywhere , but the city seems to lately have a bad reputation for gun and knife violence. I honestly don't think it's all as bad as it's painted, and although there are certain really 'rough' areas (all with deceptively sweet sounding names, like 'The Meadows' and 'St Anns') in most cases the nearest you'll come to a knife in your daily goings about will be asking the fishmonger in the market to fillet your bass for you .
I suppose you might want to know how to get here . Shouldn't be too hard, Nottingham has been around a while and can be found on most maps of the UK! We have a large train station in the city centre (as well as several others in Bulwell, Beeston and Hucknall to name but a few.) With being a major city, we're also pretty easy to get to by coach, with several different coach companies operating in and around Nottingham. For those of you coming from further afield, we also have an airport, formerly known as East Midlands, but recently renamed Nottingham East Midlands (Thumbs nose at Derby here in moment of immaturity!).And once you get here there are also several very reliable taxi companies, as well as regular local bus services .
If you want somewhere to stay, I have a spare bed, but I can't imagine welcoming many unsavoury dooyooers into my domain, so instead, I can tell you that there are several bed and breakfast places in the city centre, as well as some swankier hotels . Never having used any myself, I can't offer any particular recommendation, but there are plenty, and I'm sure the info is around somewhere .
Now, you're probably looking for things to do . Why not shop ? Nottingham is a brilliant place to shop. And I'll tell you why-whatever you want can be find if you look hard enough, be it a six foot vibrator or a pair of plimsolls, Nottingham has it all. It's also got loads of places to stop off for a drink and a nibble should you need a break, as well as many pedestrians areas to make shopping easier.
For shoppers we have everything.Versace, Armani, Ghost, Ralph Lauren, Prada, Karen Millen, Kookai, Jigsaw, Ted Baker and, of course, Paul Smith. As well as these, we have all the usual high street shops as well as a few more unusual stores tucked away.
Lets start with the Victoria Centre, the larger of the two main shopping centres in Nottingham. It has well over 120 stores under one roof, as well as a busy market. Some of the stores you will find here include Pumpkin Patch, a Tesco supermarket, House of Frazer and Jessops (John Lewis). I'll include a link to the website at the bottom of the page which will enable you to visit the Victoria Centre website. Also worthy of note in the Victoria centre is the Emmet Clock.
Not sure where you've heard of Emmet before? He created the car in chitty chitty bang bang, and his clock in the Victoria centre is just as fantastic a creation, with dancing animals, a fountain, and a performance every fifteen minutes. The centre has excellent disabled access, and a friendly and helpful customer service team located on the upper floor. Victoria Centre opening hours are as follows:
Tuesday 9.00 - 5.30
Wednesday 9.00 - 8.00
Thursday 9.00 - 5.30
Friday 9.00 - 5.30
Saturday 9.00 - 6.00
Sunday 10.00 - 5.00
Bank Holidays 10.30 - 4.30
The other main shopping centre in Nottingham is the Broad marsh Centre, located at the other end of the city near to the train station. It's smaller then the Victoria centre, but the range of shops is just as good. Again, many of the well-known high street names feature here, as well as a few more interesting individual stalls selling items such as chinese silk robes, overpriced manicure sets, and little japanese knick knacks. Particularly worthy of note in this venue are the toilets. No bog standard (pardon the pun) lavs these. After all, how many toilets do you know that offer a hairdryer and a shoeshine machine. Not to mention the family room, which has a television, microwave, steam steriliser, breastfeeding room and bottle warmer. The toilets here go that bit further.
Shopping hours are 9.00 to 5.30 Monday to Friday, and 11.00 to 5.00 on Sunday, and again individual shop opening times may vary.
Between these two shopping centres is the Market Square, where you can hop on a bus or a tram to take you to another area of the city. There are markets throughout the year, sometimes craft markets, at other times farmers markets, and if you ever see any stalls there it's well worth a look. I particularly like the German Market in November, which offers a wide selection of stalls selling everything from handmade candles and wooden toys, to potato latkes and Gluhwein. Also worth noting is the monthly farmers market, where free samples abound - they do soem lovely trout pate, and some excellent cakes . In addition to this, the square also plays host to festivals throughout the year, including the one world music festival, and the gamecity event .
Around the square are various shops, including.Debenhams, Shuh, Shakeaway and a few others. Also coming off the market square is Flying Horse Arcade, which houses some shops you won't see anywhere else, with my particular favourite being an amaxzing shop that sells cheese . Cheese is my biggest addiction, and my dream is to one day own my own cheesemonger shop (is cheesemonger a word?).
Across the road is The Exchange Arcade, with stunning painted ceiling and a range of exclusive shops, such as Gauntleys fine food and wine, and Atomic, which sells unusual gift items.
Also well worth a visit, especially for those people looking for something different, is the Lace Market/Hockley area which features a wide range of clothing and gift shops you wont find anywhere else, such as Jugglers (erm, juggling stuff) Ice Nine (unusual clothing, giftware, and magic mushrooms) and Void (Gothic clothing and Cyberwear).
You'll probably be tired from all this shopping, and might fancy a bite to eat of drink . Now, if you want a nice pint of beer and good old fashioned english grub, as well as a tourist treat, why not visit Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. With a history dating back to 1189 , the year of Richard the Lionhearts ascension to the throne, it was named for the fact that soldiers departing for the crusades would often pop in here for a drink on the way to get rid of the heathens in the Holy Land. It also claims to be the oldest public house in the world, although there are some who will argue that as it was in fact a private alehouse for Nottingham castle when first built, this claim goes to another Nottingham pub, The Salutation.
There is even rumour that Robin Hood and his band were visitors! The pubs appearance from the outside is quite impressive. Appearing to be nestled snugly against the sandstone cliffs directly below Nottingham castle, the building is charming in design, with a whitewashed and timber framed exterior, complete with proud announcements of it's venerable age adorning the walls. It's in a beautiful part of Nottingham that has many old buildings, and as such almost feels as though you have stepped into a time long past. It also has a small grass area at the front, and the staff is happy to let you take your drinks out here in the summer to enjoy the sunshine.
Once inside, it's like entering a cave, which is exactly what it is. See, the pub is not nestling against the cliff but is in fact carved into it, so the small building you see from the outside is only a small amount of the pub itself.
There are five main drinking areas inside the pub, as well as an enclosed beer garden to the rear. There is a dedicated room for non-smokers, as opposed to merely the roped off area you get in some pubs.
My favourite room is the rock lounge upstairs, which is entirely carved out of sandstone, with an unusual vertical shaft going up into the cellars of Nottingham castle. This was used to haul beer up into the castle for Ye Olde Grande Drinking Session, in the days when the rock lounge was the malting room for the brewhouse.
The rock lounge also houses the pregnancy chair by the fireplace - legend says that if any female sitting in the chair will become pregnant . Having held my wedding reception at the trip and having sat in the chair in October 2002 - I duly produced a baby girl in July 2003 - spooky happenings or just lots of post-wedding bed related excercise ? You decide!
Decent brew is always on offer with Kimberly Bitter, Kimberly Mild, Best Bitter, Ye Olde Trip house brew, and usually two or three guest ales on at any time.
As well as this there are all the usual suspects on draught including Stella, Carling, Grolsch, Hoegaarden, Hardys & Hansons Cool / Dark, Guinness, Scrumpy Jack & Strongbow Ciders, as well as a selection of fine wines and the usual alcopops and spirits.
The pub also has a small cocktail menu, and a good selection of hot and cold soft drinks.
The pub has cask marque status, so you can be assured that your real ales are served to a decent standard. Food is general british fare - bangers and mash, steak and kidney pudding etc, but all produced to a high standard .
If you fancy something a little more exotic, and you're ona budget, you really can;t go wrong with the Big Wok on Upper Parliament Street . Yes, it is generally full of noisy stag and han parties, and I'll admit that you don't geta huge amount of one to one attention from the waiting staff, but for an all you can eat extravaganza, the value here is excellent, and they are very clean and child friendly. They have a wide range of dishes, with something gor everyone - the veggie, the spice lover, the pudding addict and even a few englishified dishes for the wimps .
When it gets around to nighttime, you might want to go for a bevvy . At this point, it's important to bear in mind that I'm not much a clubber, and I generally dress like a gothed up tramp, so my pubs and clubs of choice all have a goth/rocker kind of vibe to them . If you wanted somewhere classy - I was the wrong person to ask .
For pubs, I recommend the Tap and Tumbler, a scruffy pub complete with pool table that offers a decent range of drinks (although it fails on the real ales) and has no dress code . Its open late, and it's pretty cheap, and it alsohas the advantage of being right next door to nottinghams biggest rock club, Rock City , which also doubles as a gig venue .
Rock City plays rock music mainly . The clue is in the name. It is neither swanky or smart, although it does have podium dancers . Its the kind of place where your shoes stick to the floor, and where pints are served in plastic glasses . The bouncers are terrifying to look at, and they do rootle about in your bag looking for any dodgy substances, so be sure not to pack anything embarrasing. The club is fairly decent though, with three seperate music areas catering for a variety of tastes - rock, metal, indie, punk - it's all here!
If you want to do the tourist thing in Nottingham, avoid the castle, I have to say that as an avid reader of Robin Hood books, when I first saw the castle I cried . I was 11, admittedly, but for those of you imagining romantic ruins, it is a complete let down. The castle burnt down, and a big manor house was built on the site, which now operates as mainly an art museum .
Save your pennies instead for the Galleries of Justice, set inside the olf County Gaol (or Goal, as some incompetant stonemason has engraved on the building) where you can learn loads of interesting stuff about the british justice system, the burning of witches, and executions. Its a great museum to visit.
Also worth looking into is the City of Caves attraction, which can be found inside the broadmarsh centre and takes you into the many caves beneath Nottingham . Various costumed actors lead you through different time periods and uses of the caves, and it is all incredibly interesting, with re-enactments of bombing raids and the full sight and smell experience of a tannery.
Nottingham is well worth a visit . There is so much more I could have written, but I'm aware this review is already long. I've been here years, and there are still museums and attractions I have not yet seen, pubs I have never drunk in, and many restaurants where I have yet to eat. There is an awful lot here, and it is well worth a visit, and its also an amazing place to live!
http://www.victoria-centre-nottingham.co.uk/ for more info on victoria centre.
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