Results 1-7of 7 Reviews
March 3, 2011
From journal Let's kick some leaves for Michael
Los Gatos, California
April 6, 2005
Today the Castle houses Nottingham’s Decorative Art and Fine Art collections, the "Story of Nottingham" galleries, the Sherwood Foresters Regimental Museum and exhibits from local artists and internationally-renowned artists. During the year, the grounds are used to host the Shakespeare Festival, the Robin Hood Pageant, and other historical re-enactments. The café on the ground floor is open from 10am until 4pm and offers access to the East terrace with its’ panoramic views of Nottingham. Castle tours are free weekdays from 10am-5pm in the summer and from 10am-4pm in the winter. On weekends and bank holidays, the cost to tour is adults Ł2, children Ł1, and families Ł5.
From journal Narrowboat Travels in Springtime England
March 7, 2005
The origin wooden castle, built on this spot in 1068 by William the Conqueror, was later developed with the present gatehouse and perimeter walls, but the castle itself was destroyed during the Civil War. The present castle, inspired by Italian architecture, was built in the late 167’s and originally the home of the Duke of Newcastle until rioters set fire to it in 1831. A period of restoration followed, and it has been a museum since 1875. Today, you can wander the grounds and art museum for free (although there is a small entrance fee on the weekend).
Outside of the castle, in the remains of the moat, is the Robin Hood Statue, which has been around since 1949. Over the years, Robin has lost many an arrow to enthusiastic tourists, but they are now fixed with greater security!
Go up the hill and through the medieval gatehouse and saunter around the grounds. In spring and summer, the grounds are a mass of brightly coloured flowers, and I’d be most surprised if you didn’t see the odd squirrel or two flash by you. As you meander to the castle, there are some superb glimpses of the city through the trees’ foliage. Next to the Victorian bandstand is a new addition – a statue that started off life in the Market Square. The tram development meant that these four people had to find a quieter spot.
The museum houses the "Story of Nottingham Exhibition," which has a fine collection of silver and glass and an ever-changing art collection often featuring local artist, all set in the beautifully constructed Long Gallery. Whilst you’re here, you can take in a snack in the restaurant, but I would recommend that you check out the view from the museum’s roof, where there is a panoramic view as far as Wollaton Hall.
You can do a tour of the caves into the castle’s original dungeons, while a pre-booked tour explores Mortimer's Hole. You’ll need to be fairly sprightly, as this 98m medieval tunnel descends to the foot of the cliff. It was named after Roger Mortimer, who, alongside Queen Isabella, had usurped King Edward III. The king’s supporters had crept into the castle and captured the queen and Mortimer. Not surprisingly, Mortimer was executed later in 1330.
In recent years, more detailed exploration has been made into the archaeology of the castle grounds, and now the site of the older castle is pegged out with clear explanations as to how the building would have looked.
The castle is a good place to visit, but forget Robin Hood and the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham, because it’s much too modern a building for Robin ever to have entered.
From journal Nottingham - a great City to visit
Bismarck, North Dakota
July 3, 2004
From journal Canalboat Cruise from Nottingham, England
June 7, 2004
William Cavendish, the First Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne purchased the crumbling remains of the medieval castle in 1663 and cleared the upper bailey to make way for his palatial home. Inspired by the architecture of Renaissance Italy it was, when completed by William’s son Henry, unique in England of that time. The eastern frontage that faced the town was spectacular with a wide central staircase leading up to the entrance to the state rooms, and surmounted by a statue of the duke on horseback Although the staircase has now gone and the equestrian statue has been badly damaged the east face of the building is still an impressive indication of the former grandeur of this building.
The palace was for many years one of the finest private residences in England with opulent state apartments decorated with the finest tapestries, fine art and furniture that money and influence could buy. All this decadence was however to come to an end one cold October night in 1831. While the duke was away in London voting down the Reform Bill in the House of Lords, an angry mob of protestors swarmed up the hill from the town and ransacked the castle, destroying the furnishings, defacing the art works (including the horse-bound statue of the first duke) and left the building ablaze. Upon his return the duke found his former home nothing but a smoking ruin, choosing not to restore it, he instead moved away, leaving the burnt out shell of the palace as a conspicuous memorial to the folly of the people of Nottingham.
In 1875 the palace and its grounds were leased to the Corporation of Nottingham, which set about restoring what was by then an embarrassing eyesore. Local Architect Thomas Chambers Hines renovated the building, restoring the exterior to much as it had been prior to the riots, but transforming the interior into a modern exhibition space with only two floors instead of the original building’s three in order to provide more light and better air circulation. So it was that on the 4th of July 1878 the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) officially opened the building as the first provincial municipal museum in England.
The building may no longer be a magnificent palace or even a state-of-the-art display space but the edifice still contains a great deal of architectural charm and the museum is well worth a visit.
From journal Beneath the Surface of Nottingham Castle
The heavily restore mid-thirteenth century gatehouse on the corner of Castle and Lenton Roads leads you into the lower bailey. This was converted into a recreational park during the Victorian era and is home to an ornate, listed bandstand, a romantic statue of WWI fighter pilot Albert Ball VC and a medieval bridge as well as some fine lawns and spectacular flower beds.
A steep incline leads to the middle bailey where in the mid-fifteenth century Edward IV built one of England’s finest royal palaces with a sumptuous suite of apartments overlooked by the magnificent four storey "Richard’s Tower" so named as it was here in 1485 that Richard III learned of the death of his son and set off to meet his own fate on Bosworth Field. All that now remains of this once great palace however is the crumbling base of the northeast tower and the middle bailey is now home to a children’s play area.
A final climb brings you to the heart of the castle at the upper bailey, Henry II built the first stone keep here in 1170 and it quickly became the main royal residence in central England. It was a favourite of King John, the villain of the Robin Hood legends, and was besieged by Richard the Lionheart in 1194 when he reclaimed his crown from his errant brother. It was here in 1330 that followers of Edward III captured his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Richard Mortimer who had reputedly murdered his farther and usurped the crown.
By the 16th century the castle had fallen from royal favour and had crumbled to ruin and in 1622 James I sold the castle to the Earl of Rutland who stripped it for building supplies. However it was here in 1642 that Charles I raised the royal standard and signalled the start of the Civil War, he received little support from the people of Nottingham and the castle became an important military base for his opponents. This though did nothing to save it from the orgy of destruction that followed the king’s defeat and in 1651 Oliver Cromwell issued orders for its demolition.
Little now remains of the medieval castle, but the grounds offer a welcome escape from the busy city and are a popular lunch spot for local office workers in the summer.
Closter, New Jersey
April 12, 2002
From journal Vagabond Heart: Nottingham, England