Nottingham is only a short train journey from London (~1.5 hours) and, with its large shopping district and proximity to the Peaks and Sherwood Forest, it is a great place for a day trip or weekend excursion from the city. When you're not shopping or visiting Robin Hood, there are several lakes, rivers, and canals in this part of the country that are perfect for leisurely rowing.
Rowing at Highfields Park. Photo by Erin Connelly.
The boating lake at Highfields Park next to the University of Nottingham is one of the best places to row. In fact, Nottingham is known for being adept in water sports. In the recent 2012 Olympics, University of Nottingham students picked up 5 medals, 4 of which were for rowing and canoeing.
Clock Tower at Highfields Lake. Photo by Erin Connelly.
The boating lake is situated in a picturesque 120 acre park in the shadow of the University's Clock Tower. Boats can be rented 7 days a week from 11am to 5pm from spring to autumn. Although when the weather is particularly nice the renting hours may be extended. The lake is open to all ages and abilities from the Gold Medal Olympians to a family enjoying the lakeside scenery.
Prices for hourly rentals are as follows:
2 Adults - £6.00 2 Children - £3.50 All additional passengers - £2.00 Deposit (refundable) - £3.00
The park is open all year round (from morning to early evening) and offers a variety of activities in addition to rowing, such as croquet, bowling, putting, and a children's play area. It's also nice just to walk around the park, feed the ducks, and look at the old trees and vegetation, a limestone 'cave', and acres of daffodils in the spring time. There is also a nearby café with lakeside seating. Rowing isn't just a summer activity and some of the most atmospheric times to be out on the water are on a chilly morning or crisp autumn afternoon.
The city of Nottingham has a number of pubs, restaurants, and cafés for you to relax in after a full day of activity. The city boasts some of the oldest buildings in the country, including a few charming pubs which lay claim to being the oldest in England (The Bell Inn, Salutation Inn, and Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem).
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub. Photo by Erin Connelly.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem is perhaps the most well-known of Nottingham's pubs and is worth visiting on your trip to the city. The pub is built right into the limestone rock supporting Nottingham Castle and is still connected to the castle by a variety of rooftop openings and tunnels. Built in 1189, this pub is thought to have been a final stop for soldiers on their way to the crusades. In addition to a wide selection of beverages, the pub offers hearty, traditional English fare. The site also has a number of antique curiosity items, including a cursed galleon ship said to bring bad luck to anyone who touches it.
Highfields park is located about 20 minutes from Nottingham train station/city centre. Offering a rural escape and the convenience of a big city, Nottingham provides a fun-filled day out for family and friends.
Highfields Lake at Sunset. Photo by Erin Connelly.