A half hour drive to the north of Nottingham lies Newstead Abbey and its 300 acres of beautiful parkland and lakes. It's the perfect place for a long weekend walk, a leisurely cycle ride or a stroll around the Abbey's exotic gardens.
You can park in the grounds of the Abbey if entering from the village of Ravenshead, but far more pleasurable is to enter the grounds on foot from Newstead Village. The thirty-minute walk takes you along a tree-lined lane through farmland and pasture, with the Great Lake seeming to appear from nowhere to reward you as you approach the Abbey itself.
Once the home of the poet Lord Byron, you can take a tour of the house on Sunday afternoons, while you can take in the gardens, wander around the lakes and explore the surrounding woodland at will. The Abbey boasts a delightful cake and sandwich shop, and on a sunny afternoon there's no finer place than on the terrace with a pot of tea and a cake. Just keep your eye on the resident peacock.
The house, which dates to the 12th century, now houses the Byron Collection, comprising objects, manuscripts and portraits, plus Byron's own writing desk. There are also a number of objects owned by the Victorian families who lived at the Abbey after Byron.
Newstead Abbey represents a great day out for everyone, whether you're interested in local history, enjoy strolling around neatly manicured gardens or just need a few hours away from the city. On a pleasant spring day, you'll find it difficult to drag yourself away.