Nottingham is one of the fastest-growing destinations for day trips and weekend getaways. Every year, more and more families are making the journey to enjoy the city’s expanding selection of attractions and things to do for all ages.
At St James Hotel, we are perfectly placed in Nottingham City Centre, with brilliant travel connections to all of the region’s major attractions. As a result of our location and boutique accommodation options, we see many families stay with us during the warmer months and ask our staff for tips on where to go and what to see.
Here, we have compiled a list of ten great things to do in Nottingham during the summer holidays, perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy themselves, learn something new and keep little ones engaged.
1. Lost City Adventure Golf
It wouldn’t be a list of things to do in Nottingham without mentioning Lost City Adventure Golf. This fun and relaxed attraction is tucked away in The Cornerhouse, right in the centre of the city and only a short walking distance from Old Market Square. The staff welcome walk-ins so there’s no need to book in advance unless you’re a large group. Plus, there are two different 18-hole mini-golf courses, each with their own theme, ensuring there is something which appeals to you or your little ones.
With eye-catching settings and a casual atmosphere, this is the perfect destination to add a little friendly competition to your summer holiday experience. Additionally, The Cornerhouse also plays host to a Cineworld cinema, child-friendly arcade and plenty of restaurants, allowing you to make a whole afternoon of your visit if you choose.
2. Outdoor Cinema Experiences
Speaking of cinemas, every year, Nottingham’s summer attractions has the appeal of outdoor cinema added to it. Wollaton Hall, the Elizabethan mansion and park which hosts many of the city’s outdoor activities, regularly shows films on summer evenings for people to book onto and enjoy.
The films being played vary wildly from current blockbuster hits to older, more classic options. With this in mind, it makes sense to investigate exactly what is on and when before you add this activity to your itinerary.
3. Robin Hood’s Wheelgate Theme and Water Park
A family-focused theme park destination, Wheelgate has a little something for everyone. The sheer variety on offer at this destination has made int a favourite during the summer holidays with attractions, events and rides dedicated to everything from unicorns and horse-riding to CBeebies television characters to ancient history and, of course, Robin Hood.
The park also plays host to escape rooms for a slightly older audience and the events available cycle, meaning that every time you visit there will probably be something new to see or experience. It’s worth checking what’s on before you make the trip to see if anything catching your eye or the eye of your little one.
One of the less commonly considered summer holiday activities, Geocaching is a great way to get out and about as a family, exploring the countryside and engaging young minds with nature. This can seem difficult with the advent of technology and the growing impact of technology in our everyday lives, so geocaching can be a great start.
The idea of this activity is that a community of likeminded individuals have hidden various ‘caches’ (small trinkets) all across the country and, with clues and information on their location, it’s your goal to go out and find the caches. After finding one, you tick it off your list, replace it and then move onto the next one – it’s that simple!
Often, the caches can be hidden in woods and hard to reach locations, making the journey both satisfying and engaging. A great option for when the weather is good.
5. The City of Caves
The City of Caves has long since been one of the best things to do in Nottingham during the holidays and throughout the year. A network of manmade sandstone caves dug beneath the city, these caves have been used throughout history for a host of different reasons including as a WWII air-raid shelter and pub cellars.
When visiting, you are walked through the caves and introduced to their chequered history which dates back to the Middle Ages. With actors on hand to make the whole experience even more real, this is a 45-minute step into history which appeals to all ages.
6. Sundown Adventureland
Specifically aimed at under-10s, Sundown Adventureland offers a full day-trip experience for little ones in search of a run around in the sun, complete with rides and attractions dedicated to characters they’ll know from TV and media. Angry Birds makes an appearance at this theme park alongside Robin Hood, Santa and characters from The Night Before Christmas. Though standard rides aren’t the only thing on offer at Sundown Adventure land, they also expand into animals with a Wild Ostrich Safari ride and interactive experiences with a Sing-A-Long Show.
Whatever the personality of your little one, there is likely to be something they’ll enjoy at this destination.
Plus, with on-site food and drink, there’s no need to leave and return for a proper meal. The only downside is that Sundown Adventureland is a little while outside of Nottingham City Centre, so might be suited to a full weekend away.
7. Go Ape
Nestled in Sherwood Pines, Go Ape is an all-action outdoor activity that serves as both a workout and an engaging time out of the house for all ages. Go Ape is a treetop and outdoor adventure centre, specialising in getting up high and traversing a range of different obstacles offering a safe but exciting adrenaline rush.
These obstacles can vary from swings and nets through to a 20 mph zipline. Additionally, for little ones, there is a smaller, lower height obstacle course specifically designed for accessibility – the only rule is that you have to be over a metre tall. Finally, Go Ape Sherwood also hosts a Forest Segway activity, where the whole family can rent all-terrain Segways to explore Sherwood Forest’s exceptional setting and wildlife.
For families that hate being stuck indoors, you’ll struggle to find a better thing to do in Nottingham during the summer holidays.
8. Creswell Crags
A little further out of the city is Cresswell Crags museum, a picturesque limestone gorge with beautiful scenery and a range of activities to enjoy during the summer months. Cresswell Crags’ most famous attraction is the world-recognised cave art which it houses, with rock carvings dating back nearly 1300 years, making them some of the oldest in the country.
Alongside the rock art on display, Cresswell Crags also hosts regular tours of its Ice Age caves alongside some recently discovered ritualistic witch marks form years past. Combine this with the educational historical events which change throughout the year and are perfect for little ones, and you’re left with an engaging getaway for the whole family to enjoy. Consider visiting if you’re willing to make the journey out of Nottingham city centre!
9. Floralands Farm Park
Quaint and child-friendly, Floralands Farm Park is one of the lesser-known attractions near Nottingham but serves as an amazing way of encouraging little ones to develop an appreciation for animals and nature. The park is home to over 170 different animals including alpacas, pigs, donkeys and Shetland ponies, as well as smaller rodents and mammals that can be handled during their specialised sessions that happen every day.
Every animal has its own name and personality and the park also hosts dedicated events for children and adults alike, including a sheep shearing Saturday and story-telling sessions for the younger children. Regardless of whether your children are interested in animals or you want to introduce them, Floralands Farm Park is a great starting point that isn’t too far out of Nottingham City Centre.
10.Nottingham Natural History Museum – Wollaton Hall
Wollaton Hall is one of N9ottingham’s most famous and popular attractions. The Hall and its grounds host all manner of different events throughout the year form outdoor cinemas to cross-country runs; yet, the stately home itself is also home to Nottingham’s Natural History Museum all-year-round. Coming up to its 100th year of existence, Nottingham’s Natural History Museum has a stunning collection of wildlife and natural structures including unique minerals, birds, insects and more.
One of the more unusual exhibits that the museum has grown a reputation for is their Spirit collection, where specimens are on display in jars of fluid, much like traditional museums would employ. If you are interested in nature and its quirks, this is a must-see whilst spending your summer holiday in Nottingham.
Hopefully, this list has inspired you to not only spend more time in Nottingham but to make the most of your time spent here during the summer holidays. School holiday periods are all about creating memories as a family and with these suggestions, you should be well on your way to creating long-lasting stories you’ll be talking about for years to come.
If you are interested in visiting our stunning city, be sure to explore our broad range of accommodation options here at the St James Hotel. With beautiful décor and an incredibly central location, we are perfectly placed to help you explore what the region has to over. See our accommodation options here or get in touch with our dedicated team for further advice or suggestions.