Nottingham the new Edinburgh

After Edinburgh, Nottingham is fast becoming a cultural contender for the arts according to Experience Nottingham

By TTM on 30 September 2007 in Travel Articles

After Edinburgh, Nottingham is fast becoming a cultural contender for the arts, with so many festivals running back to back and attracting worldwide attention.

International and UK premieres from the world’s top dance troupes will take place next month at nottdance 07 from 12 - 21 October. Visitors to the city centre during the festival will get the chance to take part in a series of public works.

The first takes place on Saturday 13 October on Nottingham’s Old Market Square at noon. Participants will fix their gaze upon the Council House clock face for the duration of the chimes then disperse. It will be filmed and screened at various festival venues and the Broadway cinema.

Broadway will play host to the Bang! Short Film Festival on 20 and 21 October. It celebrates some of the region’s hottest new film making talent looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Nottinghamshire director Shane Meadows (This is England).

GameCity provides something for everyone in the October half term - including parents! Highlights include a presentation of new game LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. This will feature a celebration of 30 years of Star Wars on Friday 26 October.

A retro arcade trail around the streets of Nottingham will get all passers by interacting in the festival. And parents can find out what the kids are up to in ‘Who’s Afraid Of Video Games?’, a workshop that covers everything from getting to grips with a joystick to Nintendo Wiis.

Alongside culture, Nottingham’s also renowned as one of the UK’s top five shopping destinations. Its compact city centre has a great mix of independent retailers, designer boutiques and high street favourites.

The recently revamped Old Market Square is an impressive centrepiece, while an award winning tram system gets you around the sites in no time at all. A walk around the historic Lace Market area takes in all the architecture  of this medieval city.

Bridlesmith Gate is at the heart of Nottingham’s shopping district. It’s home to a number of quality designer shoe outlets from Kurt Geiger to Jones’ the Bootmakers.

Just off this street, you’ll find Byard Lane where International Nottingham designer Paul Smith opened his first shop, and it’s still there. Visit the relatively new flagship Paul Smith store around the corner from here - it’s full of antiques as well as beautiful clothes.

The building itself has a fascinating history with part of the city’s infamous underground caves located under the store that lead up to the castle.

Situated on a high rock, Nottingham Castle commands spectacular views over the city. It once rivalled the great castles of Windsor and the Tower of London. Now of course, it’s associated with the legend of Robin Hood - Nottinghamshire’s famous outlaw.

An innovative new audio trail will be launched in October to celebrate the Nottinghamshire hero. ‘In the footsteps of Robin Hood’ will coincide with the second BBC series based on the legend.

Nottingham Castle is the first site along the 12 point trail. Visitors between now and Easter 2008 will also get the chance to see Robin Hood Up Close, an exhibition at the castle featuring sets and props from the popular television series.

The new trail is a permanent celebration of the much loved freedon fighter who robbed from the rich to give to the poor. It will guide visitors to sites associated with the legend, telling his tales along the way. They’ll be able to explore nearby attractions and places of interest around each site.

Many of the sites are already well known to us, from Sherwood Forest to Nottingham Castle, where Robin’s evil enemy, the Sheriff once took residence. Seven of these primary locations form the inner triangle of the trail.

There are five secondary locations that are lesser known but no less magical. These sites offer the visitor a fascinating insight into the adventures of Robin and his Merry Men, bringing the legend back to life.

Two new way marked paths have been created, one of which takes the visitor to an ancient part of Sherwood, and another from Thieves Wood to Fountain Dale where Robin Hood first met and fought with Little John.

The brand new audio guide will available later next month on CD. Or to download it to an MP3 player from the trail’s website, go to www.robinhoodbreaks.com. This technology is fast becoming an essential piece of equipment for any independent traveller.

It’s ideal for groups, drivers and coach tour operators with an audio CD laid down in ten tracks that can be played between sites.

The audio guide has been developed by Experience Nottinghamshire, the official tourist board for the county, and represents an investment of £169,000. It is expected to inspire a whole new generation of visitors looking to literally follow in the footsteps of the world’s most famous outlaw.

The trail will also be accompanied by a Robin Hood map and children’s activity packs. Robin Hood fever looks set to take off in Nottinghamshire with the annual Robin Hood Pageant also taking place at the castle on 20 and 21 October.

From dancing in the streets to adventures in the forest, there’s no doubt that Nottinghamshire has something to offer everyone. A vibrant programme of events take place all year round and fans of film and music will not be disappointed either.

A great range of venues like the Broadway ‘art house’ cinema and the Screen Room’s smallest cinema in the world offer alternative picture screenings to the Hollywood blockbusters. While Rock City, Rescue Rooms and Nottingham Arena play host to a diverse range of artists from Pete Doherty to Diana Ross.

The Royal Centre and Nottingham Playhouse provide the stage for groundbreaking theatre productions. And a number of galleries showcase the most contemporary and avant garde collections by established as well as undiscovered talents.

Next year sees the opening of the Centre for Contemporary Art Nottingham (which came about as a result of the British Art Show 6 showing in Nottingham last year) and the New Arts Exchange.

The former promises to deliver a high flying platform for international contemporary art on the scale of Bilbao’s Guggenheim. While the latter will be the only gallery in the UK dedicated to black and Asian artists. Both are set to put Nottinghamshire on the world map of art and culture.

For more information about things to do and places to stay in Nottinghamshire go to www.visitnotts.com

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