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12 Best Day Trips from Nottingham

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Nottingham as a city is fun of culture, history and tons of awesome things to do. But if you are tired of the cosy pubs with caves, romantic coffee shops and the cool music venues then consider taking a day trip from Nottingham. In this post we asked top bloggers for their recommendations on the best day trips from Nottingham and here is what they had to say.

All the locations on this list are less than 2 hours drive away and have plenty of things to do making them perfect for weekend or midweek day trips from Nottingham. If you don’t drive that’s cool too, we also have idea’s for train travel too.

Trip map created with Wanderlog, a trip planner on iOS and Android

West Midlands Safari Park

West Midlands safari park is a great day out for the whole family. Located near Kidderminster it is approximately 77 miles from Nottingham and takes an hour and 40 minutes to drive there. Once at the safari park there are many things to see with the main attractions being the 4-mile self-drive safari to see animals such as lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes and zebra. Don’t forget to buy some animal feed on entrance to the park and stop to feed the giraffes, gazelles and zebra as they wander past your car.

That’s not all though, once you have finished your self-drive safari visit the adventure theme park for some exciting rides. You can also watch the penguin feeding at certain times and listen to the educational talks about the animals kept in the park and conservation efforts. Be sure to enter the twilight zone and experience the bats flying around overhead, then head to the African village and see if you can spot the wallowing hippos in the lake. Take part in some animal encounters with a chance to feed and interact with certain species and finish the day with some souvenirs in the lost city.

West Midlands safari park is easy to reach from Nottingham via the M42 then M5 to Bewdley. Satnav users can use the postcode DY12 1LF. Tickets cost £25 for adults and less for children and concessions.

Chatsworth House

Recommended by Anisa from Two Traveling Texans

You may recognize the Chatsworth House from television or movies as it is a popular filming location, but it was one of the most famous stately homes in England even before that.  The first house here was built by Bess of Hardwick in 1552.  It’s been the home of the Cavendish family for 16 generations.  Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens, and Mary Queens of Scots have all stayed here.     

Start your visit to Chatsworth by exploring the Park.  Take a stroll along the River Derwent and admire the view of the House from the bridge.  Don’t miss Queen Mary’s Bower, where Mary Queen of Scots used to take her exercise when she was held captive here.

Next, head inside the House to see the lavish furnishings and some of the Cavendish family’s art collection.  Then, it’s on to the formal gardens.  You won’t want to miss the Broad Walk, Cascade, Maze, Canal Pond and Great Fountain.  There are also quite a few interesting sculptures to admire.  If you want to treat yourself, book an afternoon tea at the Flying Childers Restaurant in the Stables.

Chatsworth House is located inside the Peak District National Park and there are limited public transportation options.  From Nottingham it’s best to drive. It will take you about an hour by car making it perfect for a day trip.  Admission to the House and Gardens costs £23 per adult

Dovedale

Recommended by Lucile from Lucile HR

The breathtaking view of the green hills and the peaceful countryside vibe make Dovedale a special place if you want a quick getaway from Nottingham. It is an ideal solo destination, especially if hiking is your thing, but it’s also great for families, kids, and dogs.

If you need a change of scenery and want to take mindful and meditative walks, visiting Dovedale is a great idea. You can start a short hike from Ilam Park to reach the famous Dovedale Stepping Stones and cross the River Dove. The route is about 1.6 miles, which is perfect for a leisure stroll. This will be a great opportunity to revel in the beauty of nature around you, as well as clear your mind. 

If you’d rather avoid crowds that will gather at the stepping stones, make sure to visit the area early in the morning. Note that it gets busy during lunchtime. Also, the water level could rise, especially when it rains, so the stepping stones will disappear. Make sure you check the weather before visiting.

There’s more to discover once you cross the river and follow the path forward, where you can pass through the dramatic Viator’s Bridge and then continue further to check out impressive limestone formations like Lover’s Leap and Tissington Spires.

It’ll take only a one-hour drive to get to Dovedale, which is located south of Peak District National Park. If you’d rather take a direct train, board from Nottingham and get off at Belper, which will take you approximately 45 minutes. From here, take a 25-minute taxi ride to the park.

stepping stones across a river in the peak district

Haddon Hall, Bakewell

Recommended by Sarah from In Search of Sarah 

Visiting Haddon Hall makes for a great day trip from Nottingham. Just an hour north west by car and just outside the town of Bakewell lies an incredible medieval manor house dating back to the 11th century. Take a self-guided tour through 900 years of history and discover the untold stories. The Tudor Hall was untouched for 300 years and contains some of the best preserved English furniture and tapestries, and it’s become one of the most important heritage sites in the UK! Each room is so unique and elegantly designed.

You can take guided tours for a few pounds more and learn about the secrets and discoveries made along with strange and romantic stories. Free tours are available on Mondays, included in the admission price and are approximately 90 minutes. You’ll be led through the manor, chapel and Elizabethan walled gardens. The property is so scenic and is surrounded by a copse of trees, filled with a variety of colourful flowers, topiaries, and water features. It’s truly as though it’s from a fairy tale and you’ll be transported to another world.

There is also a restaurant on site to enjoy a pot of tea and pastries as you sit and ponder what life was like living at Haddon Hall throughout the past hundreds of years. Adults over 16 are £18.50 and parking is £3.50 per car, but Historic Houses members visit for free. It is important to note that Haddon Hall remains closed to visitors until Spring 2021.

Haddon Hall in Bakewell Derbyshire. A large grey stone building with impressive towers

Leamington Spa

Recommended by Richard from RJ on Tour

Royal Leamington Spa is a stunning regency town in the heart of Warwickshire. Leamington Spa is a very nice town that is immaculately maintained with fantastic architecture and ornamental gardens.

To travel from Nottingham, it requires a train journey taking 2 hours 2 minutes. This journey requires changing at Birmingham New Street station, a standard class return ticket costs between £14.30 and £27.60. Alternatively, driving only takes 1 hour 11 minutes to get between the two places.

The town used to be a spa destination due to the healing properties of the local spring water. The history of this is on display in the museum at the former Royal Pump House. The jewel in the crown of Leamington Spa is Jephson Gardens which runs alongside the River Leam. Jephson Gardens is a very pretty formal victorian garden which contains lakes, monuments and water features. The major church of Leamington is All Saints Parish Church which makes up part of the towns pretty riverscape. This is a rather nice building that was built in the 19th century and designed in the gothic revival style.

The town centre has many great examples of regency architecture throughout and is a great place for shopping. It has many independent retailers including specialist boutiques as well as the Royal Priors Shopping centre. The town has many independent eateries and pubs to enjoy dining out or a light lunch. Many of these are actually dog or family-friendly. One particularly nice place to pop in for a drink is the Royal Pug a friendly neighbourhood pub with an eclectic menu.

a river running through a park with several rowing boats upon it

Northern Cotswolds

Recommended by Joanna from A World in my Pocket

Cotswolds is one of the most gorgeous parts of England, no wonder it bears the label of Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty. From Nottingham, it’s easy to drive to the Cotswolds, in just shy of two hours.

In a day trip from Nottingham, you can easily explore to the north of the Cotswolds, including the beautiful towns of Broadway, Moreton-in-Marsh, and Stow-on-the-Wold, which are all located close to each other. 

The first stop on this road trip through to Cotswolds will be Broadway, a lovely 16th century Georgian honey-colored limestone town popular in the art world. Many famous artists such as Claude Monet, Oscar Wild, or William Morris have called Broadway home at some point in their lives. A great place to visit in Broadway is the Museum and Art gallery, which includes varied pieces of art created by different artists over the years.

Next, head over to Moreton in Marsh, the town in which King Charles I sheltered during the English Civil War. The local White Hart Hotel displays a plaque with the king’s unpaid bill, dating from 1644. Another point of interest here is the falconry centre, home to over 60 different species of birds.  

The last stop on this Cotswolds road trip is Stow-on-the-Wold, famous in the past for the annual fairs in which shepherds would gather to sell their sheep, sometimes even 20,000 a day. Whilst today the sheep fairs are long gone, the local producers still gather in the main square every second Thursday of the month for the Farmers Market.

A small town in the cotswolds in England the perfect place for day trips from Nottingham

Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath

Recommended by Gemma from Families Can Travel

With a promenade, amusement arcade and endless fish and chip shops, Matlock Bath may feel like a seaside resort yet it’s miles away from the sea! Located on the edge of the Peak District in Derbyshire, Matlock Bath is less than an hour’s drive from Nottingham making it a perfect day trip.
It’s also home to the Heights of Abraham, a tourist attraction that sits high up on the hillside with an exciting overground and underground experience.

A visit to the Heights of Abraham starts with a cable car ride to the top. The journey lasts a few minutes and provides incredible views over the Derwent Valley and Matlock Bath.

At the top are the entrances to both the Great Masson and Great Rutland caverns. Cavern guides take you deep inside, explaining the history of lead mining and how the caverns were formed. When you reach the natural chamber in the Great Masson cavern, the guide demonstrates the lighting from an individual candle to a spectacular multicoloured illumination.
Find out more inside the additional exhibitions and enjoy a drink or something to eat with stunning views from the restaurant.
Tickets cost £19 for an adult, £13 for a child or £60 for a family ticket. Under 5’s are free (Nov 20). You can get 20% off your ticket price if you travel to the Heights of Abraham by train. Trains from Nottingham run regularly and take about an hour.
Read this Heights of Abraham Review to find out more.

a family sat enjoying the view over the peak district from the heights of abraham attraction in Matlock Bath. A great day trip idea from Nottingham

London

Recommended by Elina from Empnefsys & Travel

London is a great destination to set off for a day trip from Nottingham. Although the city is huge and you will need days to properly explore it, it is still possible to get a glimpse of the many things to do in just a day.

The easiest way to get to London from Nottingham is to take the train to London St. Pancras. There is a train approximately every 30 minutes and the trip should last about 2 hours. A super off-peak return adult ticket costs £67.50, but it is possible to get advance tickets for a lower price.

To begin your day, I recommend visiting one of the many museums the city has to offer. The British Museum and the Wellcome Collection are both within walking distance from St. Pancras station and are good options to spend a few hours.

For lunch, you can go to one of the many cafes and restaurants around the area. One of my favourite places is Caravan Fitzrovia for delicious baked goods, healthy bowls and sourdough pizza. Instead, if you prefer something with Asian influences you can try Busaba Bloomsbury.

In the afternoon, head to Regent’s Park and walk all the way to Primrose Hill to enjoy amazing views over London. If the weather is not with your side, you can pay a visit to Madame Tussauds. On the door tickets are £36 per person but if you book in advance, they will be cheaper.

Castleton, Peak District National Park

Recommended by Pauline from Bee Loved City

If you want to escape the city for a day and discover one of the most beautiful national parks in the UK, going on a day trip from Nottingham to Castleton will be perfect for you!

Castleton is located in the heart of the Peak District, in the county of Derbyshire. You can easily get there from Nottingham by car (about 1h20 drive) or by train (1h50 via Sheffield). Once you get there, you will discover a beautiful and authentic northern village. There are a lot of cafes and pubs where you can grab lunch. 

But a visit to the Peak District wouldn’t be complete without going hiking! Castleton is ideally located near some of the most famous peaks! Going on a Mam Tor walk is a must-do! There are several paths but the best one is the circular walk from Castleton to Mam Tor via the ridge and Back Tor. You can also walk to the Peveril Castle. Perched on top of a hill, it boasts some of the most amazing views in the area. 

If you like visiting caves, head to Peak Cave or Blue John Cavern. Tours are running everyday and it’s always a nice thing to see (especially when it rains)

sweeping views over lush green fields and rolling hills in Castleton in the Peak District

Sheffield Winter Gardens

Recommended by Daniel from Urban Abroad

The steel city of Sheffield is a truly magical city which among many other things is renowned for the Crucible theatre and it’s a notable contribution to the steel industry. For those thinking of spending a few hours here the city has some remarkable landmarks which welcome anybody who wants to learn more about the culture and heritage of one of the best cities to visit in Northern England in just a short space of time.

Whether you are just passing through for the morning or for a full day, being located in South Yorkshire you can get a train from Nottingham to Sheffield City Centre in the space of less than one hour.

The Winter Gardens offers a wonderful green space in the city centre which is known as the UK’s largest temperate glasshouse. The Winter Gardens are a great place to visit whether rain or shine and inside you’ll find many varieties of tropical plants. The adjacent Millennium Gallery, a smaller museum that shows local metalworks, holds some of the most significant pieces of Sheffield cutlery and does a fine job of depicting the history of Sheffield’s steel industry.

There is a café on-site which you can access via both galleries, and since the entry is free, you can bring all the family and enjoy a superb day trip from Nottingham without breaking the bank.

Birmingham

Recommended by Amy from The Travel Fairies Blog

Birmingham has a little bit of something for everyone, so it makes the perfect place to visit on a day trip from Nottingham. The city is full of history, culture, nature and fun! Birmingham is located in the West Midlands just over an hours drive away from Nottingham. There are also direct trains leaving hourly from Nottingham, the cost varies depending on what time the train is and if you book in advance but you can look at paying between £13 and £35.

One of the most famous, and fun things to do in Birmingham is to visit the Cadbury’s factory to see how the world famous chocolate is made, and get a few free samples too! It is located in Bournville on the edge of Birmingham and costs £18 for adults and £13.50 for children.

If that’s not for you, you could visit the Birmingham museum and art gallery, home of the Staffordshire hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found. If you’re more into adventure activities, you can check out the Bear Grylls Adventure at the National Exhibition Centre where you can rock climb, skydive and swim with sharks amongst other things.

For those more interested in Birmingham’s literary scene, visit the Library of Birmingham, one of the most beautiful libraries in the country, and take the Tolkien Trail which explores the life and inspirations of J.R.R. Tolkien. And if none of the above sparks your interest, Birmingham is great for a shopping day trip with a great high street, the Bullring shopping centre and the world’s largest Primark store!

York

Recommended by Sinead from Best in York Guide

The historic city of York is an easy day trip from Nottingham as the journey takes under two hours by car and approximately 2 ¼ hours by train. Fee paying car parking is available in the city centre or visitors can use one of the Park and Ride bus services located just outside the city. If arriving into York by train, the city’s Victorian railway station is just ten-minute walk from the heart of the city centre.

York is a small, compact city so most of the major attractions can be covered on foot on a day trip. Start your day at York Minster (entrance £11.50) the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe. Climb the Minster’s central tower for a fantastic view of York. Amble ‘The Shambles’ an atmospheric medieval era cobbled street voted the ‘Best Street in Britain’ or visit one of the city’s historic houses such as the Georgian Fairfax House or the medieval Barley Hall.

Admire the Georgian and Victorian era buildings of the pedestrianised city centre and for something quirky, visit the ruins of a Roman bath found underneath the pub of the same name! Escape the bustle of the city centre by walking the city’s medieval era walls which at 2 miles long are the longest city walls in England.

Enjoy a cup of Yorkshire tea and a Fat Rascal at iconic Betty’s Tea Rooms or savour a pint of craft ale at the medieval alehouse, The House of Trembling Madness. 

What do you think about our recomendations for day trips from Nottingham? Do you have anywhere to add? We would love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

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