Nottingham is AWESOME!
We had 3 days between Housesits. That meant that we had to figure out where to go and what to do.
Shawn and I developed a very mature and thoughtful plan to pick the location we’d visit.
We decided to go into separate rooms and pick a place somewhere between Cannock Chase and Sheffield (our next housesit). Whoever found the cooler place with the most fun would win.
After about 30 minutes we met back up and did one of those out loud – 1, 2, 3 Reveal – types of things. We both said NOTTINGHAM!
Boom. We both won.
September 28th – October 1st 2016
So, we headed off to Nottingham on the last day of our sit in Cannock. We took a 50 minute train from Cannock Station to Nottingham. It only cost us $20 USD. Not too shabby. Trains are also a fun way to travel and easy way to see the countryside.
Nottingham or bust!
When people think of Nottingham the image of Robin Hood and the Merry Men, the Sherwood Forest or thieves are what you envision. Well, we were ready to meet Robin Hood and get lost in the forest.
We found a great deal on a hotel in a really good location where you can walk basically everywhere in town. The hotel we found is The Premier Inn Nottingham City (Chapel Bar). It cost GBP 187.00 (about $225 USD). We found a room there with 2 singles and one Double. It was super small but perfect and clean. No phone though which was odd.
Did you know that most hotels and motels in the UK have Kettles in them? We now bring Tea and Instant Coffee with us wherever we go now! And for you coffee purists, I actually like the instant coffee. Words I never thought would come out of my mouth (or fingers!)
Anywho, We got all situated and headed out to explore. The first thing we found was this statue which we proceeded to attack.
What a cool vibe this city has. We were all in love with the city. Found a great place to eat some pizza to fuel us for the evening. Sam is now a HUGE lover of Margarita Pizza and sundried tomatoes. He HATES tomatoes so that is kind of a big deal. He keeps telling us how much he is enjoying trying new foods.
Anywho, It’s a very young town. Nottingham has a large University and they were all out in the city for Freshman fun. The nights were filled with teenagers going to clubs in costume led by the elder classmen keeping them from getting run over by cars whilst crossing the streets drunk!
They were all really nice kids, super helpful about getting around and finding things and the people in general were friendly. We also felt very safe in town. Whether we walked down alleys at night or were walking around while people were still sleeping on the streets, we felt totally safe.
Alex found an Acting class at the Nottingham Actors Workshop on our 1st night in town. We headed down the way to find it. The first place we arrived as was the old location. Finally we found it but all the doors were locked and the lights were off.
We waited outside for a bit and then decided to go across the street to a pub and get a drink while we waited until 8pm to decide if we leave or if they open the doors right on time. Shawn and Sam had a drink together…
Then, about 6 past 8, the door opened across the street and Alex was off to class.
We had to entertain ourselves for over an hour but our son was not allowed in pubs after 8pm so our options were very limited. We stumbled upon a totally empty karaoke bar. Only the bartender was in there so Shawn asked if we could maybe come in for a bit. As long as we ordered drinks he was fine with Sam being there. WHOOMP There it is!
Shawn was a total microphone hog but I managed to ‘sing’, a song or two and so was Sam. We had to push the kid to sing because he only likes to do so publicly when he knows it’s going to sound great. Well, we explained that we suck and were the only ones there and if we could do it then he sure as hell can.
This is me ‘singing’. I haven’t sang karaoke in years. WAIT! I did sing back up for a friend on a cruise ship 2yrs ago but that also wasn’t really singing since I didn’t know the song and we sucked.
This is Sam singing I Believe from Book of Mormon.
We finished our Karaoke and then waited for Alex outside. While we waited, Shawn went back into the pub we were at to go to the restroom. He took forever to come back. Well, it was because he met a traveling couple who were playing music upstairs. He was compelled to go meet the musicians.
He came down to tell us why he took so long and then brought Sam up with him to meet them. When Alex came out I took her into the pub as well.
They were a lovely couple. She is a Doctor and he is a musician and dancer. They built a house on a canal boat and travel all around the UK on it. She transitioned from her medical career into being a musician as well. They are very happy living life and seeing the world. We can’t remember their names but we did make sure to get a picture.
We finally headed to our hotel to call it a night! Alex was really tired and cranky. It was her moment to be sensitive and have some tude. A couple days before Shawn had one and then I had had one. Sam was due for one next!
The next day we headed out to walk the city and go on 2 tours. We purchased the Underground Caves tour (the one below the mall) and the Galleries of Justice Museum tour. We had some time to kill so we headed to the Mall first.
We went shopping at Pound world where everything is £1. Shawn loves the Dollar Tree in the states so he is equally smitten with Pound World.
We found some silly mirrors and had some fun before setting off on our Cave journey.
The Cave tour is self led. You must wear hard hats along with carrying around a little speaker that tells you the history of each spot you are visiting. Shawn and I love history but this tour was a bit lame for me and the kids. We had more fun taking pictures and being silly while Shawn listened to every single word.
I think it would’ve been better if everything wasn’t so set up. I’d rather see things as they were left, not how they were staged. An the speaker was talking about what the tunnels, in general, were used for – throughout the city. Not necessarily these specific caves. Here are some of our photos from in the caves.
We all wrote our names on the bricks (as others had done before us) with itty bitty rock bits on the ground.
We immediately headed off to take our Justice tour.
This one was way better. Sam and I were really hoping that there would be some ghosts or something scary on the tour per some of the reviews. I will tell you that there wasn’t anything scary about it. I mean, going around in the dark corridors and not knowing what was around the corner did raise your heartbeat a bit but if you are looking for something scary or eerie, keep looking.
We first had to wait for our tour time to start so we walked around the little gallery area and then took some fun pictures.
Then I found a children’s dress up area and Sam and I just couldn’t resist. So glad no one came in and saw us! Shawn joined in on the fun after he returned from the bathroom. Alex looked at us, with a small disapproving look, and chose to only be our photographer. She’s so much more mature apparently.
We had to take our dress up clothes off quickly because our tour was starting. Crap!
The Tour was interesting. Full of information about the times, building we were in (the old Gaol – pronounced Jail) and all of it’s rich and tumultuous history.
Everyone was given a card with our prisoner numbers which you could find your matching criminal on the walls below. We all found ours and determined the way in which we were all sentenced. I was sentenced to a hanging. Shawn was hung up in a metal jail after being called a Gibbet. He was killed first before being put in though so don’t worry about him suffering much.
The Tour took us into the Courtroom where there was a grand area for the Judge to sit, a Viewing area above for women, Large pew type seats raised up like stadium seating for men, attorneys and even an area for journalists to come in and out without disrupting the court. Then there was the Jury area that consisted of wealthy men.
The person on trial would be in a huge, area in the center of the courtroom with tons of space around them so they would have nowhere to hide. It was meant to intimidate.
We got to sit on the Judge’s chair and I put on the nasty, dusty wig. We weren’t supposed to though but I’d rather apologize then ask approval in an instance like this. Normally I’m not a rule breaker but it’s just a wig.
The tour took us to all different parts of the Jail and building inside and out. The tour guides would disappear or lead us to our next place. All dressed and acting their characters. Most of the time we were allowed to explore. We did.
My very favorite thing we did was hide in a totally black cave – Alex, Sam and I. Shawn was a bit behind us. We hid in there and waited for him to come by and shine his phone flashlight. We totally surprised him. It was So funny! Here’s the picture he took of us in the hole with his flash. It was pitch black and then imagine us just showing up!
We were taken outside to the courtyard where the prisoners were able to walk around and get a little light each day AND to see their fellow cell mates hanged. Sounds like a super happy place to be. Sam also wore the Executioners Mask. He said it was smelly.
We got one photo of Alex looking at him with disgust. It was so funny. She thought the hat sounded disgusting to put on her head.
We took a bunch of other pictures in the Cells, of re-enacting photos on the wall of prisoners and even Shawn using the more modern day toilets.
When we left we had laughed, learned and enjoyed our time at the Galleries of Justice.
We were hungry though and left to get some eats and to get changed and looking good! That night we were headed out to the Club to give Alex her first ‘club’ experience…um, with her Parents. I mean, it’s kind of lame to have that as your first nightlife experience but we sure weren’t sending her out on her own right?
We had fun but we realized how damn old we were when surrounded by babies. We are in our 40’s and could totally keep up dancing and such but we felt like we were surrounded by babies. 18yr olds look WAY younger than 21yr olds.
Really, only Pubs have actual adults in them. We didn’t fit in but we also weren’t getting weird looks either. It wasn’t any of our scene so we headed out early. Alex was chatting it up with some boys at the bar and it was cute – but again, it wasn’t here scene. I think she’s more of a pub girl than a club kid.
The next day our goal was to just walk all over town and find Robin Hood and the oldest pub in the UK!
We started off with breakfast a a local pub down the street.
We passed by a lot of buildings with cool architecture and found our first RED phone booth. We were going to get in them to take some pictures but these booths are really treated as Urinals and garbage cans. NASTY!
Our goal today was to find Nottingham Castle. We had wanted to walk along the grounds but there was a fee to go through the Castle and none of us were feeling it. It was cool looking but we decided to just take photos around it.
Then we stumbled upon ROBIN HOOD! Here are some of our photos with him.
We had a lot of fun around the base of Nottingham Castle for a while. Sam wasn’t in as many pictures during this time because he was being a bit whiny – he was tired, his legs were sore, he was missing his friends who were all posting photos together on snap-chat. BLECH. We had a 40 minute chat that finally got him to live in the now.
We all go through little speed bumps. Most of the time we are all happy and enjoying every part of our journey but there are moments we all have where maybe we want and need some alone time, need to talk about our feelings, or just need to discuss changing our plans for the day or even down the road to accommodate each of our personal needs.
Sam is a very sensitive soul and feels deeply. He needs lots of love, communication and connection with people. Shawn is the same. Sometimes he just needs some extra hugs and chats with me and then he’s all good. Such a Momma’s boy. ❤
We stopped in at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem – which is the Oldest Pub in England and one of the 5 oldest pubs in the entire world. Cool Right?
There were these little cave like sitting areas and the ceiling was very low in certain parts. We didn’t stop for a drink but Shawn did go Pee in the men’s room!
Next stop was the grassy area just behind the pub. We wanted to do one of our Live Family Updates. You can watch it all here:
The last thing we had to do in Nottingham was to head out on the Bus to a Town just outside Nottingham called Arnold. There was a dance studio that had some classes that Sam could take.
Most of the studios in the UK don’t allow for Drop Ins unless they are beginner or little kids classes. Its been very challenging to find any studios that can accommodate Sam.
We headed out on the bus to Arnold and found the Studio, Dance Fusion. He took a Lyrical and an Open Jazz type of class. He got a good work out and met a bunch of girls his age. The Studio owners were really great and happy to have a boy there. They took this picture of him and posted it on their Facebook page.
While Sam was dancing, Alex, Shawn and I went for some Pizza around the corner. We had a great chat with a Local Plumber who heard our accent and was curious about us.
Everyone has been so kind to us in England so far. We had a great meal and got Sam a pizza to go. We picked him up, headed back to our Hotel and packed to leave in the morning.
If you ever get the chance to visit Nottingham, do it! We wish we’d had more time there and hope to go back sometime.