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Nottingham Castle - Is it really a Castle?
Nottingham Castle - Museum & Art Gallery (Nottingham)
Member Name: mum2boys82
Nottingham Castle - Museum & Art Gallery (Nottingham)
Advantages: Free for Nottingham Residents
Disadvantages: Children's gallery on top floor
I have lived in Nottingham for over 2 years now and it took until this week to get and visit the Castle with my kids, oh the shame!
Opening times and Prices
Mon-Sun (March - September) 10am - 5pm
Mon-Sun (October - February) 10am - 4pm
Adults £3.20, children £2.00
Cave tours on throughout the week priced at £2.50 per adult £1.50 per child, times are subject to change.
The best part is, if you are a city resident with either a City card, or you take a council tax bill in, it is completely free!
There is no car park provided so you will need to either park in town somewhere or use one of the great park and ride/park and tram services available.
I will start with the outside as that is where we spent most of our time. At you walk through the castle gates you can currently see some lovely displays of flowers, on the side of a bank are 3 specially designed pictures made from flowers with information printed by them to tell you the story behind them. There is also a small shop at the gates selling drinks, ice-creams and souvenirs.
A you walk up the slope towards the castle (which looks more like a house, but more on that later) you will notice a grassed area towards the right hand side. This is great for picnics, lots of room for the kids to run around...however there are notices asking for no ball games. There is also a tiny play park and sand box for the kids to play on, based around the castle theme and made from lots of lovely looking wood. There is a small seating area that provides some shade in the summer but only moderate protection in the wetter weather.
If you walk towards the end of the grassed area there is a disabled/pushchair access to the castle, the entrance at the front requires you to climb quite a few steps. The rear entrance also gives you a great view of the city on a clear day.
As you enter the castle you realise that it is not actually much of a castle. Being dragged around various ruins and castles as a child for educational purposes I wouldn't class this as a castle. It is more like a manor house, it has windows, floors and ceilings and no battle holes. IN fact it has been that damaged and then restored that it doesn't really have much of a castle feel to it apart from maybe the gates at the beginning of the grounds.
There are 4 floors of exhibitions, to be honest on this visit we didn't look around the entire castle. We looked in the children's gallery which is on the top floor (at busy times waiting to use the 1 lift was annoying, however we did manage to fit in 3 pushchairs 4 adults and 3 extra children at a squeeze!). The gallery currently has a sea theme with lots of toys to the keep the children amused but not really a huge amount of information about the sea was readily available.
The other displays are changed every so often so check online to see what they are currently displaying. One word of warning is not to expect too much of the history of Robin Hood, although all the merchandising was in the castle shop there did not seem to be anything of the history on display.
There is a shop as mentioned above to purchase castle and Robin Hood trinkets such as pens, pencils, dressing up, bows and arrows etc. These items are reasonably priced, you could pick up something for about £1-£2 and not be disappointed.
There are toilets located next to the shop which have baby changing facilities. The toilets were clean and well stocked even on a hot busy day.
There are lots of paths leading around the castle that take you on some lovely walks through trees and flowers and a great way to wear out the kids.
What are the staff like?
The only staff we saw were a girl on the til at the shop and a man who told us we had too many pushchairs in the children's gallery (it is limited to 2 pushchairs for some reason), after we had moved the pushchairs out he skulked around for 10 minutes to make sure we didn't sneak them back in, but apart from that there was no need to speak to the staff. The girl on the til was very pleasant even when it got quite busy.
Would you recommend it?
As a cheap day out I think this is great. The next time we go I intend to take the kids around a few more of the exhibitions, as it's free it's a great way to build up their tolerance for walking around museums.
The park, although small, was adequate to keep my 3 year old happy for an hour. And in the bad weather you can take them into the castle to look at the exhibits, with the children's gallery you know there is at least one area that will keep them amused for 10 minuets, although why they had to put it on the top floor I don't know!
Summary: Worth a visit if you find yourself in Nottingham.
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