If your kids are into Robin Hood, then a trip to Nottingham castle is a must.
There’s something about Robin Hood that just captures the imagination. Maybe it’s the idea of him stealing from the rich to give to the poor, or him escaping the notice of the Sheriff of Nottingham in his clever disguises, or his archery skills. Whatever it is, most children love him. If your kids are into Robin Hood, then a trip to Nottingham castle is a must.
What is Nottingham Castle?
Forget the images of a Norman castle ruin that normally spring to mind; Nottingham castle looks more like a palace (the history of this is really interesting, if you’re into that sort of thing) and is actually now a museum and art gallery. It has exhibitions, a Robin Hood experience, a caves tour, two cafes, a lovely gift shop and an adventure playground. The castle sits proudly on a hill in Nottingham city centre and has incredible panoramic views of the city.
Robin Hood Adventures
The Robin Hood Adventures is a 25-minute experience and includes: tour guides in historic costume; a clever holographic immersive video experience explaining the origins, possible identity and some of the stories of Robin Hood; and interactive games. (Think of a wii- sort of game, but with bows and arrows and quarterstaffs and you’ll be on the right track.) All three of our children (aged 3, 5 and 7) absolutely loved this gallery. Until 30th September 2022 the Robin Hood Adventures will be included for free in the general admission ticket (priced at £35.50 for a family of 5). You have to pre-book a time slot to go into the gallery.
Caves Tour at Nottingham Castle
The caves tour is more traditional in style, but we loved it! On the tour you’ll be shown around some of the caves under the castle whilst hearing some snippets of their fascinating history from a tour guide. The tour guide did a great job of giving information in a way which engaged our children as well as the adults on the tour – the majority of the visitors were adults and there were about 15 people on the tour during our time slot. The caves were dimly (but sufficiently) lit, but did require walking up and down steps, so the tour is not wheelchair or pushchair accessible. A wiggly toddler or a child with additional needs might struggle to engage with this aspect of Nottingham Castle, but don’t let that put you off because there’s plenty more to do that would suit them well. Cave tours last 30 minutes and are an additional cost. (£14 for a family of 5, and under 5s are free).
Adventure Playground at Nottingham castle
The adventure playground is superb. We spent over an hour at the play area sipping coffee from The Coffee Shop while our children played. We’d never been to a playground quite like it before, with wooden Robin Hood themed play equipment straddling the slopes of a historic moat. We enjoyed watching the children run around as they took on the roles of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, while one dad enthusiastically took on the role of the Sheriff of Nottingham. We bought our children bows and arrows from the gift shop, which they enjoyed using on some targets in the play area.
Exhibitions at Nottingham castle
Inside the castle were various art exhibitions and the “Rebellion Gallery” which explores other times in Nottingham’s history where rebels have protested against the powerful few. The audio visual displays and crafts helped to get our children to engage with the exhibitions.
There are 2 cafes at Nottingham Castle – both serve snacks, light meals, cakes and a range of drinks. The Coffee Shop is located at the visitor centre near the entrance and can be visited without an admission ticket, while the Terrace Café is located in the castle itself. It serves a range of hot and cold meals and has panoramic views of the city from its tables.
The gift shop stocked a really lovely range of locally sourced gifts, it was very reasonably priced and we purchased two good quality wooden bow and arrow sets for our boys for a bargain £7 each! The Robin Hood themed costumes, weapons and merchandise were affordable and good quality.
Nottingham Castle is a great day out for the whole family. We’d definitely recommend going before September 30th to get the Robin Hood Adventures thrown in for free.
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