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Nottingham Area Guide

Wollaton Hall in Wollaton Park, Nottingham Image courtesy of Flickr user Stefan W

The eighth largest urban area in the country, Nottingham is a mix of cultures, industries and interests. It has maintained its very old city limits, and as a result, the population of the actual city is quite small. Still, within those tight borders sit a vibrant nightlife, lots of shopping, several world-class sporting events and a large student population.

The economy of Nottingham is similarly varied. The mix of activities and things to do contribute to a thriving sector based on tourism, but the vast majority of jobs - over 80% - are in the service sector. Most of these are in public administration. Other major industries include distribution, banking and professional services. The city has been working hard to attract businesses in the fields of science and technology, the professional service sectors (like those provided by lawyers, accountants and marketing consultants) and the creative industries.

Demographics

Nottingham has about 305,680 residents within the city limits, and the urban area has about 899,000 people. It is an ethnically diverse population made up largely of young adults. Just over 18% of the population is Nottingham are aged 15 and younger, whilst 11% are aged 65 and over. Just over 28%, however, are aged between 18 and 29. Comparatively, in England as a whole, almost 19% of the population are aged 15 and younger, 16% are aged 65 and over, and only 16% are aged between 18 and 29.

About 71% of the population of Nottingham describe their ethnic background as white and white British, and in England, 85% of the population describe their background as white and white British. The next largest ethnic group for both Nottingham and England as a whole describe their ethnicity as Asian and Asian British. In Nottingham, they make up 13% of the population, and in England, they make up almost 8%.

Nottingham also has a proportionally large number of people who describe their ethnic background as mixed. Almost 7% of the population describe their background as such, whilst in England, only 2% of the population does.

Despite the energy and cultural mix of Nottingham, the economy is not doing as well as the country as a whole. The unemployment rate in Nottingham at the time of the census was 6.4%, compared to 4.4% in England.

Education

The majority of primary schools in Nottingham and the surrounding areas are rated "good" by Ofsted, though there are still a large number which are rated "outstanding". Amongst the "outstanding" primary schools are Welbeck Primary School and Dunkirk Primary and Nursery School, which are council run, and Sneinton St Stephen's Church of England Primary School, which has recently converted to an academy.

Secondary schools are more evenly split between those rated "good" and those rated "outstanding" by Ofsted. Generally, the "outstanding" schools, such as The Trinity Catholic School and The West Bridgford School, have converted to academy status.

The boys' school Nottingham High School and its sister school Nottingham Girls' High School, consistently get high exams scores. These independent schools teach children from the ages of four to 18.

There are two further education colleges in Nottingham: New College Nottingham and Central College Nottingham. Nottingham also has two universities. The University of Nottingham is, according to the 2012-13 Times Higher Education Rankings, in the top 20 universities in the UK. Nottingham Trent University was founded in 1992, growing out of the Trent Polytechnic and gaining one of the largest student bodies in the UK.

Transport

The major roads into and out of Nottingham are the A52 and the A46. The A52 goes from Skegness to Stoke-on-Trent. It links up with the M1, which runs just to the west of the city. The A46 starts just to the east of Bath and goes up to Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire.

Nottingham City Transport run most of the bus services in the city and into surrounding areas. Nottingham also benefits from the Nottingham Express Transit, a light railway running throughout the city. An expansion of the network, which involves building two more lines, began in 2012.

Nottingham station is the only rail station serving the city, though there are stations in the surrounding towns of Carlton, Netherfield, Bulwell and Beeston. Nottingham station is connected to Cardiff, Birmingham and Bournemouth via CrossCountry routes. It is also on the Midland Main Line, which stops at London St Pancras, Luton, Leicester, Derby and Leeds. It is also on the Leicester-Lincoln line, the Liverpool-Norwich line, the Nottingham-Skegness line, the Nottingham-Leeds line, the Derwent Valley Line from Derby to Matlock and the Robin Hood line which runs throughout Nottinghamshire.

Amenities and Shopping

As the heart of the East Midlands, Nottingham has a plethora of amenities and things to do.

Museums and galleries

The Museum of Nottingham Life is in the 17th century cottages at the Brewhouse Yard, and it explores the past 300 years of social history in the city. Galleries of Justice Museum is a walk through the most gruesome parts of Nottingham's history. Green's Windmill and Science Centre demonstrates scientific principles with interactive exhibits and shows visitors how people have harnessed wind power to grind flour.

The city benefits from several museums and galleries in historic buildings. Wollaton Hall includes the city's Natural History Museum, and Newstead Abbey House looks at the life of its most famous resident, Lord Byron. Nottingham Castle features a museum, which has exhibitions on the decorative arts, Nottingham history and clothing, and the castle also has an art gallery, which has British and European art from the 11th century to today.

Nottingham Contemporary is an art centre and exhibition space which showcases both local and international artists' talents. The New Art Exchange promotes the works of contemporary artists from diverse cultural backgrounds, giving voice to those who often struggle to find acceptance in main stream art circles.

Theatres and venues

The Theatre Royal and the Royal Concert Hall host a variety of touring shows. The Theatre Royal, built in 1865, puts on theatre, dance and opera performances, whilst the acoustics in the Royal Concert Hall make it ideal for listening to classical music. It also hosts pop, rock and world music concerts and even some stand up comedy. The Albert Hall Nottingham is a medium sized hall that holds concerts, political rallies, conferences and much more. The Capital FM Arena is a multi-purpose venue that hosts concerts by some of the biggest acts in the world, sports events and touring theatrical productions.

Rock City is probably Nottingham's premier rock club, though it has shifted its focus to include pop, hip hop and other genres of music. The Bodega Social Club combines energetic live music and club nights with cheap drinks, making it popular with students. Rescue Rooms, both a club and a live venue, features acoustic, alternative and indie music. Next door to Rescue Rooms, Stealth is one of the city's biggest night clubs, able to hold up to 700 people and open until 6 in the morning. The neighbouring venues also have a regular joint club night called Stealth vs Rescued. NG1 is a busy gay bar in the city centre, and it also stays open until the wee hours.

Festivals

Nottingham hosts a large number of festivals. Splendour Festival is a large outdoor festival that attracts some of the country's most popular music acts. The Nottingham Comedy Festival aims to promote both up-and-coming comedians and more established names, making the entertainment accessible to everyone. The Riverside Festival is the largest outdoor festival in the city, and it features street theatre, children's activities and craft and food stalls. The Nottingham Goose Fair has been going since 1284, but today it features state-of-the-art rides, games stalls and more.

There are also a great many cultural festivals. The Robin Hood Beer Festival is renowned for its large collection of real ales on offer - claimed to be the largest in the world. GameCity is the city-wide celebration of video game culture, with a hub in the Old Market Square. The Robin Hood Festival celebrates the city's most famous son in the seat of the Sheriff of Nottingham's power, Nottingham Castle. The Lakeside Arts Centre hosts Lustre, a crafts fair that attracts artisans from around the country to the city.

Sport

Nottingham is home to two football clubs: Nottingham Forest and Notts County. Nottingham Forest play in the Championship, and Notts County, the oldest professional football club in the world, play in League One. Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club play in the city at Trent Bridge, the 17,000 capacity cricket grounds. Rugby union is represented by Nottingham RFC, which play in the Championship, and rugby league is played by Nottingham Outlaws in the fourth division of the National Conference League. The city also has three roller derby teams: Nottingham Roller Girls, the Hellfire Harlots and men's team the Super Smash Brollers.

Ice-based sports are incredibly popular in the city. Ice skating's Torvil and Dean are from the city, and they recently opened the National Ice Centre in Nottingham to promote ice sports in the country. The centre is part of Capital FM Arena and is home to the city's ice hockey teams. The Nottingham Panthers are the professional ice hockey team, and the two universities also have a joint team, the Nottingham Mavericks.

Nottingham also hosts several annual sporting events. The AEGON Trophy is a tennis tournament played at the City of Nottingham Tennis Centre. The Robin Hood Marathon, the Great Nottinghamshire Bike Ride and the Outlaw Triathlon all take place throughout the city streets.

Shopping

Nottingham has three main shopping centres: Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, The Exchange and Victoria Centre. Just north of the rail station, Broadmarsh Shopping Centre has more than 50 shops including Dorothy Perkins, Argos and The Perfume Shop. Little further north are the Grade II* buildings of The Exchange Arcade, with its higher-end brands like Warehouse, Jaeger and Hawes & Curtis, and fashion boutiques. Even further north, The Victoria Centre is the largest shopping centre in Nottingham. It includes the John Lewis and House of Fraser department stores, as well as high street brands and independent boutiques.

There are also several roads and areas that offer great shopping. The highest of high street brands are found at Bridlesmith Gate, with the flagship Paul Smith store sitting alongside Ted Baker, Fred Perry and Kurt Geiger. Derby Road and Canning Circus have several antiques and homeware stores. Hockley, near the Lace Market, is the creative centre of Nottingham, where unique and independent shops and boutiques sit alongside brands like All Saints and Zara. Old Market Square, which surrounds the Exchange Arcade, regularly hosts food and German craft markets.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact editor@primelocation.com

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.