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Nottingham Castle

9 Places to Read a Book in Nottingham

18 October 16 words: Juliet Fisher and Lucy Manning

From parks to pubs, there are plenty of places to settle your behind and thumb through a book in this fair city

Central Library

This one's the largest library in Nottingham. Not only does it have all the wordy goods you could want for, they've got a lovely little cafe where you can chill out with a cuppa and read whatever you've just plucked off the shelves. Make sure you check out the Nottingham City Council website to find out about all the regular activities they've got going off, and check out the regular art exhibitions happening down there.

Cock and Hoop

Contrary to popular belief, there is no temperature too hot, nor a sky too sunny, to make sitting in front of the fire with a well-loved book an unenjoyable activity. Cock and Hoop can cater for all your log-burning needs, and they do a cracking Sunday roast.

Bromley House Library

Hidden just off the square and having celebrated its 200th birthday recently, Bromley Housen is the city’s best-kept secret and one of the UK’s last subscription libraries. Yearly membership will set you back a few bob but it offers 40,000 books as consolation. Settle yourself down in one of three reading rooms or the garden and feel smug with elitism.

Malt Cross

Enter the old Victorian music hall and take in the high ceilings and low-backed leather recliners. Order an afternoon tea from the bar. March briskly upstairs. Plonk yourself firmly in one of the most regal armchairs Notts has to offer. Open book. Devour.


If you need a bit of literary foreplay before you take the plunge for the main event, head over to Bridlesmith Gate and sniff the stacks of freshly-printed pages before making your way up to the third floor. Here, you can occupy the sprogs with their kid-friendly zone, and then ignore them entirely while you sip on a Costa coffee and finger the edges of your novel delicately.

Barker Gate Rest Garden

So, you’ve spent four out of five lunch breaks making fruitless trips to Wilko and eating soggy supermarket sushi from the reduced section. Leave Lyndsey and her ‘Friday fuddle’ to the rest of the lame-os in the office, and pay the Lace Market’s very own Narnia a visit. Bring some homemade jam sarnies, park your behind on a bench, and while away the hour with a good read.

The Arboretum

If the great outdoors is more your thing, the Arb’s your best bet. The beautifully maintained gardens are just a stone’s throw from the city centre and offer loads of secluded nooks and crannies to tuck yourself away with a paperback.

Pit and Pendulum

The Pit is a pub like no other. Named after one of Edgar Allen Poe’s pen-works, this gothic establishment is surprisingly peaceful during the day, and absolutely textbook for scaring yourself silly with a horror story. It’s worth visiting after dark as well, if only for the novelty of trying to find the loos.

Room With A Brew

This micropub is made for settling in for a few chapters – it’s book-themed, for a start. Sample one of the local real ales on offer as you plough through that page-turner, and stick around for the monthly open mic nights to find your next favourite local writer.

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