Nottingham, England: A Mix of History and Modernity

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Nottingham, England: A Mix of History and Modernity

After nineteen years of growing up in Wakefield, a small city in England, it was time to spread my wings and fly the nest. It was time to broaden my horizons. It was time to go to university. And not just any university, a university that was over 60 miles away from my home town. Goodbye Wakefield, hello Nottingham.

Why did I choose to re-locate to a city over an hour and a half’s drive away from my family and friends, in the country’s midlands, away from everything and everyone I knew, and wholeheartedly step out of my comfort zone, I hear you ask? The answer is very straight-forward: I believe that life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Nottingham has two highly reputable universities for both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Whilst researching the best place to study for my subject area of choice (Fashion Marketing), Nottingham Trent University seemed the obvious choice. That and, when we visited the city for the university’s Open Day, I quite simply fell in love.

My favorite thing about Nottingham is the mix of history with the contemporary. Castle Rock, cliffs 130 feet high above the city, is home to Nottingham Castle. Being 950 years old, you cannot help but be awe-struck the first time that you spot the castle on the cliffs, towering above the city. Both the exterior and interior are overwhelmingly impressive.

Then there’s the Old Market Square, in the heart of the city, which features the Nottingham Council House. It is an open square in the middle of the main shopping district, where pedestrians roam, often used for large local events, fairs and exhibitions – and it’s beautiful.

Speaking of shopping, being a Fashion Marketing graduate, I’m glad we naturally arrived at this subject. The shopping in Nottingham is incredible, from the high street stores that surround the Old Market Square, to the indoor shopping mall of Victoria Centre, to the vintage shops that litter the Lace Market area. There is a lot of variety and many places where you can buy nice things! Just don’t make the mistake of going Saturday shopping during peak time, as you won’t be able to move or enjoy your browsing due to the never-ending crowds of people. On a Saturday, it feels like all of Nottingham’s 320,000 population tries to shop at the same time – and it becomes quite frustrating to say the least!

If you’re not shopping as a student, spending your student loan on clothes instead of food you for the week, then you are probably exploring Nottingham’s diverse nightlife, spending your food budget on alcohol and club entries instead.

When it comes to partying, Nottingham has a lot to offer. From alternative rock clubs (Rock City); to student rave clubs (Ocean); to sophisticated cocktail bars (Coco Tang); there truly is somewhere for everyone, no matter what your taste is.

When you walk through Nottingham city centre throughout the week, it feels like it’s bustling with people. However, Friday and Saturday nights are when it truly comes alive. There are people everywhere, enjoying themselves, all up for a good time. It’s great in terms of safety and it makes for an atmospheric Saturday night!

The public transportation system in Nottingham is also on top form, with plenty of bus, train and taxi links to get you wherever you need to go. Furthermore, there’s the tramline which gets you from A to B within the city centre very quickly and efficiently.

Being 950 years old, you cannot help but be awe-struck the first time that you spot the castle on the cliffs, towering above the city. Both the exterior and interior are overwhelmingly impressive.


As a student, I used to take the bus or just walk everywhere. Walking the streets of Nottingham is extremely pleasant and there are always plenty of other students around, meaning that you feel safe. It is very much a student city, which probably irritates the (perhaps a little older) locals, but it’s fantastic when you’re a student yourself. Some of my favorite memories include chatting away with new people outside bars, or in shops, or in taxi queues on the way back from nights out. Everyone in Nottingham is always very friendly, whether they were students or locals, and the amount of friends I made during the three years I was at university is immeasurable.

Some highlights of my three years in Nottingham include: going to the Goose funfair at Forest Fields, a stretch of greenery on the outskirts of the city centre, annually; going to gigs in both small venues (Rock City) and large venues (Motorpoint Arena) on a regular basis; and partying away in Ocean Nightclub in a different fancy dress costume with my fellow students every Wednesday night.

I absolutely loved my time in Nottingham, so much so that I was planning to live there indefinitely after I graduated university. However, life got in the way and I ended up back in Wakefield with my parents for a while. This was mainly to save money, more than anything. Little did I know that I would end up moving down south, less than one year later, to live with my ex-boyfriend in our first flat together in Milton Keynes. (Look out for an upcoming blog post based on my experiences of living in this large town of 230,000 – coming soon!)

There’s no denying that Nottingham has a special place in my heart. When tourists come to England, they want to visit the bigger cities like London and Manchester, not knowing that cities like Nottingham even exist. And it’s a real shame. I might be biased but, with its growing popularity, I’m sure a lot of people would agree with me – Nottingham is a city that’s certainly not to be missed.

Katie Davies

Katie Davies

Katie is a Freelance Writer, Blogger and World Traveler. Since the completion of her Fashion Marketing degree in 2012, she has been honing her craft by writing for a number of businesses and publications. She blogs about Fashion, Beauty and Travel weekly at, never without a cup of tea close by.

1 Comment

  • Erika

    It’s always great to get out of your comfort zone!

    May 6, 2017 at 5:51 pm