Nottingham. The home of Robin Hood, footballing giants United and Wednesday, and a globally recognised pharmaceutical shop. But while its history and culture are what drives much of its tourism, people tend to forget that there are other sights and activities that make this East Midlands city great.
Fresh air and greenery can be hard to come by in a large, metropolitan city, but Nottingham has it in abundance. Its selection of parks and woodland areas attract visitors from across the county, providing some much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. If you’re looking to spend a day with the great outdoors, these are the best parks in Nottingham.
Just a short walk away from the university campus is Highfields Park, a 21-hectare park brimming with exotic plants, water features, and historic buildings. It’s a stunning space to walk around, but its range of facilities make it an ideal place to take the family on a sunny day. Adventure golf, boating, and croquet are just some of the activities you can partake in, while several cafes and an ice cream concession are open all day to fill you up after a long walk.
How to get there: From Nottingham train station, take the team towards Toton Lane.
Facilities and activities: Adventure golf, boating lake, croquet, disability access, dog-friendly, events, parking, ice cream concession, cafes.
Forest Recreation Ground
Forest Recreation Ground was already a popular outdoor space with locals, but a £5.2 million restoration to modernise the area has made even more so. It covers a huge area and packs in dozens of fun activities to take part in, with an outdoor gym and several sports pitches. If you visit at the right time, you might catch a game of football in the Forest Sports Zone or a relaxing game of cricket by the pavilion. A modern play area, café, and community garden make it fun place to spend a day with the whole family.
How to get there: It’s a 20-minute tram from Nottingham train station.
Facilities and activities: Play areas, multi-use games area, parking, disability access, dog-friendly, football pitches, cricket wicket, community garden, community function room, café, events, orienteering, parkrun, outdoor gym.
Wollaton Hall Deer Park and Gardens
Surrounding the stunning Wollaton Hall – a 16th century mansion and natural history museum – is 500 acres of parkland waiting to be explored. Herds of deer have roamed the park for hundreds of years, alongside other wildlife and a range of habitats. Wollaton Hall is home to formal gardens, luxury glass houses, a botanical garden, and several play areas that are perfect for the whole family. If you’re just there for the walks, you’ll be treated to an abundance of trails, some of which take you around the Hall’s famous lake for some of the best photo opportunities the city has to offer.
How to get there: It’s just a 40-minute bus journey from Nottingham train station.
Facilities and activities: Formal gardens, Camellia House, botanical garden, play areas, trails, orienteering, bird watching, geocaching, den building.
Colwick Country Park
Sitting on the outskirts of the city, Colwick Country Park is the place to visit if you’re searching for some fun outdoor activities to take part in. The park has the facilities for fishing, swimming, orienteering, cycling, horse riding, and other adventure activities, making it a great place to visit with the family or for general exercise. There are two main lakes which cover almost 100 acres, and a walk around the park will introduce you to a wide range of wildlife, including butterflies, dragonflies, and migratory birds.
How to get there: It’s a 25-minute bus ride from Nottingham train station.
Facilities and activities: Marina, educational facilities, wildlife areas, dog-friendly, parking, fishing, parkrun, swimming, orienteering, geocaching, cycling, walking, horse riding, adventure activities.
Widely thought to be the inspiration behind the Peter Pan story, Nottingham Arboretum is a magical park set right in the heart of the city centre. Built in 1852, the Arboretum is Nottingham’s oldest park, with some of the original 800 trees still alive today. It features a stunning collection of plant life and an abundance of heritage features that make a great walk and history lesson combined. You might even catch and event depending on what time of the year you go, the biggest being the Green Festival.
How to get there: It’s just a 20-minute walk from Nottingham train station.
Facilities and activities: Disability access, dog-friendly, local café, events, heritage features, disabled parking, toilets, tree trail, heritage trail, orienteering, ice cream concession.
Woodthorpe Grange Park
If you’re looking for a good all-in-one day out, Woodthorpe Grange Park is one of the best parks in Nottingham. It’s home to The Grange, a 19th century manor house, which is surrounded by formal gardens, green houses, and wooded areas. Fun activities include an 18-hole pitch and putt golf course, two football pitches, and a tropical house. Walking around the park, you’ll discover water features, sculptures, and an old railway bridge, with play areas also available for the kids.
How to get there: It’s a 40-minute bus journey from Nottingham train station.
Facilities and activities: Disability access, café, dog-friendly, events, formal gardens, orienteering, parking, play area, pitch and putt, sunken garden, tropical house, plant shop.
If you’re planning a trip to Nottingham, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or our Train Tickets app. You can also find information on how to get cheaper train tickets via our special offers page. If you need more information, you can contact us here.