Travel 12 miles north of Nottingham and you’ll find yourself in the beautiful grounds of Newstead Abbey. While the Abbey’s opening times vary, the park and gardens – including the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden – are open everyday from 10am. There’s also a children’s play area and café, so you don’t even need to bother with a picnic.
The waterway stretches 33 miles from Grantham to West Bridgford where it joins the River Trent. But fear not, you don’t need to be an angler or own a boat to enjoy the canal. There are a number of suggested linear and circular routes for walkers and cyclists on The Grantham Canal website. Particularly scenic areas include Hickling, Owthorpe and Kinoulton.
Another beautifully quaint market town rich in history. Wander through the town and along the river at your leisure or book onto one of the various guided tours which’ll take you deep into the town’s history and heritage. Newark Castle, the Civil War Museum and the weekly farmers market are not to be missed.
Perhaps one of the most well know areas of Nottinghamshire countryside, and for good reason. Take in the famous Major Oak and its wildlife on foot, by bike or even on horseback. A number of events are held at Sherwood Forest, including the annual Robin Hood Festival which takes place from 31 July to 6 August this year.
The picturesque village of Papplewick is situated seven miles outside of Nottingham, just north of Hucknall. After a gentle stroll around the village, head out to the east of the parish where the old Victorian pumping station is located. Today it’s a working museum open on Sundays which offers guided reservoir tours and regular steaming days.
A bustling market town famed for its impressive Cathedral, Southwell is also home to various individual shops and cafes as well as a weekly Saturday market. After a meander through the town you could venture a bit further out and enjoy a scenic walk through the surrounding countryside or visit one of its many historical buildings, including the old workhouse or the Archbishop’s Palace and gardens.
The Peak District
If you fancy heading a bit further afield, why not head up to the Peak District for the perfect mix of history and hiking. It became the first official national park 1951 and contains an abundance of wildlife, natural beauty and culture. Popular places include Matlock and Bakewell – where you can stop of for one of them tarts – and the village of Eyam was the epicentre of the 1665 plague breakout outside of London.
Family-friendly Chatsworth House provides something for everyone to enjoy. Located on the edge of the Peak District, this stunning estate offers daily talks and tours of the house; gardens to explore; a playground for the kids; and a restaurant for a bite to eat. There's also a working farmyard where the sprogs can handle the animals and watch milking demonstrations.
Just under an hours drive from the city is the UK's National Diving Centre, Stony Cove. Here at this former quarry you can swim in the open water, snorkel or learn to dive at the centre which includes a heated indoor training pool. Afterwards, why not try out Nemo's bar and restaurant which is the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing drink and refuel after a hard day's diving.