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10 Museums to Visit in Nottingham

11 April 18 words: Isobel Hartley

Looking for something to do this weekend? Nottingham has plenty to offer in the way of museums. Whether you want to stay in the city centre or venture further afield out into the surrounding countryside, there’ll be something on our list to tickle yer pickle...

National Justice Museum
Probably one of the most well-known museums in Nottingham, and for good reason. The National Justice Museum, located on High Pavement, is popular with school groups and Notts locals as well as those visiting the city from further afield. They provides what you might call an “immersive experience”. Don't be shy duck; get involved in games and activities, and be prepared to meet some characters along the way as you learn all about the history of justice. Oh, by the way, the building has been voted one of the worlds most haunted. Don’t say we din’t warn you.

The Robin Hood Experience
A firm favourite for families and school trips, the Robin Hood Experience is an interactive museum that immediately transports you back in time to medieval Nottingham. Meet all the legendary characters including Friar Tuck and the Sheriff of Nottingham as well as the main man himself, Robin Hood. The tour spans three floors with a gift shop and café where you can enjoy a bit of cake after your trip back in time.

Nottingham Castle
First built in 1067 on the orders of William the Conqueror, Nottingham Castle now houses a museum and gallery. The castle is one of the most recognisable buildings in Nottingham where you can explore various art exhibitions throughout the year. While you’re there, be sure to take a guided tour of the caves that lie beneath the castle. Be warned though, there are a lot of steps to climb, but if being a bit out of puff is the price to pay for an exciting exploration of Nottingham’s hidden gem...

Nottingham Industrial Museum
Located in the grounds of Wollaton Hall and Deer Park, Nottingham Industrial Museum houses five galleries exploring different industries from mining and bicycles to lace and printing. The museum is open at weekends all year round. If the weather’s good, mek a day of it and enjoy a stroll around the park while you’re there.

Framework Knitters Museum
If the Nottingham Industrial Museum ignites a passion in you to learn more about our city’s industrial past, then take a trip to Ruddington’s Framework Knitters Museum too, where you can learn all about the importance of the industry and how the framework knitters lived and worked in the Victorian era. It’s a working museum, with its original knitting frames still in action today. Bob on.

Museum of Time Keeping
Located between Southwell and Newark in the village of Upton, you can find the working Museum of Timekeeping at the British Horological Institute. As well as learning all about the history of the institute and its members, you will learn all there is to know about clocks, watches and timepieces. The museum is currently only open for special events so make a day of your trip and be sure to check out the beautiful grounds of Upton Hall while you are there.

The Workhouse, Southwell
Thanks to the stories of those who lived and worked there, The Workhouse at Southwell provides an insight into what life was like for Nottingham’s paupers during the Victorian era. Get there early to join a guided tour of the grounds before exploring the workhouse’s interior when it opens at 12pm. Next month the museum is running Workhouse Live where you will find inmates throughout the building carrying out their daily work.

National Civil War Museum
While you’re out that way, head into Newark itself to check out the National Civil War Museum where you can find out why the town was so important to the war. They run several events throughout the year including the annual Pikes and Plunder Civil War Festival which will take place next month on Sunday 6 – Monday 7 May where over 300 re-enactors will give you a taste of life during the turbulent civil war years.

Spit and Sawdust
If you’re after something a bit weirder after all that, don’t miss Spit and Sawdust, a gallery and micro museum located right in the heart of the city on Mansfield Road. Here you will find all sorts of odds and sods from books and vinyl to haberdashery. Spit and Sawdust is also the art studio of Smallkid Design and Kid30 so there’s plenty of cool artwork to take a look at too.

Dovecote Museum
This quaint little museum, run entirely by volunteers, is open from 2pm – 4.30pm on every second Sunday of the month from May through to September. The museum also runs additional events, details of which can be found on their website. Admission is free (though donations are welcome) and you can take a guided walk around the village which leaves from the museum at 3pm. The building is the third oldest in Wollaton and inside you will see various items such as traditional Tudor clothes and photo albums of weddings that have taken place in the nearby St Leonard's Church.

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