We took the East Midlands Train from Manchester to Nottingham. The ride was about an hour and forty five minutes and went through some really pretty fields, farms, and hills. Upon arriving in Nottingham we walked to our hotel, the luxurious Holiday Inn, and then rested a bit and got ready to head out for dinner. We wanted to walk to dinner via the Nottingham Castle, Robin Hood Statue and the Old Market Square.
From the second we hopped off the train I was amazed by the charm of this cute city. It had a different feel than London or Manchester. We could tell that Nottingham was more like the country/suburbs than Manchester. It seemed like the lifestyle there would more closely match our lifestyle at home, than the big cities would. It seemed like every corner of this little town was completely charming. Everywhere I looked I saw something terribly cute, and couldn't help but exclaim, "Jordan! Look how cute everything is! I can't even stand it!"
One especially charming part of town was the Old Market Square. Since you're reading my blog you know I'm a picture taker. I take pride in my images and always try to capture things so I can really remember what I was doing/where I was...etc. This little town square, I'm sorry to admit, was hard to capture. You'll see lots of photos below, but I couldn't really figure out how to capture in a photo the FEELINGS I had while being there. I really loved that little town square. We were welcomed from a few blocks away by the sight of the ferris wheel, which I proclaimed immediately that we absolutely had to ride. So that was our first stop. Besides the ferris wheel, another thing I loved about that town square was the variety of people we saw. Within about 15 minutes I saw two grandmas being pushed in wheelchairs, lots of children running around, teenagers skateboarding, lots of families walking about, so many charming shops and restaurants it seemed like perfection, all within the backdrop of the beautiful old buildings and ferris wheel. Ah! So perfect.
We went to dinner that first night at a place I had seen on a buzzfeed article I think. (You know the type, 15 places to go in Nottingham that are awesome...or something like that) It was called Pitcher and Piano and I was drawn to it because it mentioned online that it was an old church turned pub. It was incredible (beside the depressing fact that in our day and age a beautiful church is now better attended as a bar). The dinner was great and the beautiful stained glass windows were the perfect addition to our evening in this charming city.
After dinner we walked up and down streets exploring a bit, although most of the stores were closed. At 6pm. That was a little surprising to us, but we didn't mind since we were mostly wandering. Before heading back to the hotel we stopped at the grocery store, Sainsbury Local, and bought a pint of ice cream because we wanted a little treat.
The next morning we had plans to head to the University and take a look at its surroundings. We didn't have a particular place in mind for breakfast and figured we could find something on the way. We stumbled upon The Crusty Cob which had a sign out front for it's specialty cob with bacon, eggs, and sausage. So we walked in and after feeling overwhelmed for a bit, unsure if we should order a bap or a cob (still don't quite know the difference) we saw an order being made and pointed to it and said we wanted the same one. Some how there was a miss communication (even though WE WERE ALL SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE... how does this happen?) and the lady thought we wanted 2 instead of 1. These things were HUGE. Please see the pictures below. It was a HUGE roll (cob) with an egg, sausage and ham. We could have easily shared. It was one of those really funny travel moments and we laughed about it for days.
The University of Nottingham campus was cool. It was SO spread out. When we were planning our trip I was surprised that they didn't offer a campus tour, but now I understand why. Because it would take about 6 hours to sufficiently tour. We did get shown around the Engineering faculty (what we would call a "college" they call a "faculty") and got to peek in a few of the labs. The additive manufacturing lab (3D printing) was quite impressive, and they were really excited to show us the lab where they work on projects for Airbus and Rolls Royce even though they couldn't show is anything except walls and a locked door saying that you need security clearance to enter. We also took the hop-on bus up to the Jubilee Campus where most of the business school is located and where the new Engineering building is being built. We ate lunch at the campus cafeteria on the Jubilee Campus and then decided to walk back to the University Park Campus for another look (and to see how long it takes to walk between the two campuses, we had heard mixed reviews, 12 minutes vs. 20 minutes).
On our way back we walked through some very charming neighborhoods and passed a sign for the Wollaton Hall, which I was pretty sure was the Batman House. So on a whim we ventured in. My instincts were correct and it was indeed Wayne Manor from Dark Knight Rises (I had seen it mentioned online but didn't know where it was located or really remember the exact name of the house, so it was fun that we stumbled upon it). We walked through the hall (it's a free museum) and explored the grounds for about an hour and a half. There were lots of families and people enjoying the grounds, and I couldn't help but imagine taking our girls back there and watching them run around and enjoy a picnic as a family.
After our little detour we were headed back to the University Park Campus. We stopped by the student union building and then walked around the lake, which had some beautiful swans swimming around. We took the tram from the University back to the Old Market Square and got some freshly made donuts and steamed milk and took a bit of a rest while we people watched and enjoyed some free wifi.
When we were finally hungry we had some dinner at a little brick oven pizza place, Wildwood. It was delicious. At the end of the night, back at our hotel I finally found a sketchy website to watch the newest episode of This is Us, since the NBC website wouldn't play it in the UK. (We also learned that Netflix works but has a different library of shows, and Hulu doesn't work at all)
The next morning we checked out of the hotel and headed to breakfast with all of our stuff. We went to Delilah, which I had seen on a list of the top 50 breakfast spots in the UK. It did not disappoint. I had eggs benedict and Jordan had french toast. Both with lots of Crispy Italian Pancetta. From there, we went to the White Rabbit tea and cake shop. I would have liked to sit down but we didn't have time so we opted for some cakes to-do. Jordan got a piece of apple-pie cake and I got a fruit scone. The shop itself was just about as cute as the city it was in. I was dying over the flag buntings they had hanging from the ceiling and the adorable wall paper.
Right by the train station was our last stop, Hopkinson, another place I had read about online. This was the coolest vintage/antique store. (I think I had actually confused Affleck's in Manchester with this store both of which were 4 stories with stuff upon stuff upon stuff) I really enjoyed this store. Especially all of their old maps and Union Jack flags.
From there, we walked right into the train station (literally 25 yards away) and took another East Midlands train into London.
Here are the Nottingham links I found particularly interesting: Why now's the time to visit Nottingham, 15 Things Everyone Must Do in Nottingham, and I just loved this cute little map.