Blog Student life Things to do on a budget in Nottingham
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Things to do on a budget in Nottingham

Nottingham is a small, friendly city that’s very popular with international students. To help you make the most of your time in the city, here are our top things to do on a budget in Nottingham.

1. Go ice skating at the National Ice Centre

In Nottingham, you can go ice skating all year around! Whether you’re well-practised or an amateur, the National Ice Centre is a great place to try out a fun activity with your friends.
Students can rent skates and spend an hour on the ice for just £5.50 when you show your student card.

Plus, if you work up an appetite there’s a café and a bar and grill in the Centre too.

2. Do a ghost walk

Everybody loves a good ghost story, and as a historic English city, Nottingham has many of them! If you’d like to learn more about Nottingham’s history, while seeing parts of the city you might not normally go to, a ghost walk is perfect for you.

Your guide will tell you about all of the ghosts that supposedly walk the city’s streets at night, and take you to spooky places like haunted houses and hidden caves underneath the city.

You can choose from a number of different tour companies running ghost walks in the city, but generally walks last between 90 minutes and 2 hours and cost about £6.

3. Enjoy a drink in one of England’s oldest pubs

If you want to see some history but don’t fancy all that walking, why not pay a visit to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem? This charming pub claims to have been founded in 1189, making it one of the oldest in the England.

It is built into the stone caves underneath Nottingham Castle, and serves a wide range of drinks and food. It even claims to be haunted!

4. Hang out in the Old Market Square

Nottingham’s Old Market Square is popular among locals and tourists alike. The 2nd largest public square in the UK, it is home to many fun, free events all year round.

In summer, for example, sand is poured over part of the square to make a beach in the middle of the city! In winter, there’s a traditional Christmas market in the square, and there are often free open-air concerts held there throughout the year.

A popular meeting spot is by the lions outside the building, named Agamemnon and Menelaus (although people call them Leo and Oscar for short).

5. Take a picture with the Robin Hood statue

The Robin Hood statue, near the castle, is one of Nottingham’s most famous landmarks. It’s a tradition to have your photo taken here!

Robin Hood is a famous character in British history, although no one can be certain if he was actually a real person or not. According to the legend, he lived in Nottingham’s Sherwood Forest, and was in love with a local woman called Maid Marian.

Nottingham is very proud of its connection to the legendary outlaw, which is why you’ll even find a street called Maid Marian Way in the city centre.

6. Visit the beautiful Wollaton Hall and Park

Wollaton Hall was built in the l6th century, and is one of the best examples of Elizabethan architecture in the UK. It’s set in 500 acres of stunning parkland, which is home to lots of natural wildlife, including around 200 deer!

The historic house is now home to Nottingham’s Natural History Museum, which holds a huge 750,000 objects in its collection. These include stuffed animals and birds, and live insects — you can even stroke a Madagascar hissing cockroach, if you like!

The best part is that entrance to both the museum and the deer park is completely free.

7. Learn about local manufacturing at the Nottingham Industrial Museum

In the grounds of Wollaton Hall you’ll find Nottingham Industrial Museum. This fascinating museum explores Nottingham’s history as a hub of manufacturing, which once made it famous around the world. There are 5 galleries, each dedicated to a key industry: communication, mining, power, textile and transport.

Explore artefacts and exhibits including a working steam engine and an original Humber bicycle. Thomas Humber set up a bicycle manufacturing business in Nottingham in 1878, and his designs are famous to this day.

You will have to pay to go into the Nottingham Industrial Museum, but at only £3 with a valid student card it’s certainly good value for money.

8. Play adventure gold at the Lost City

The Lost City is the perfect place to go on an adventure with your friends. At this rainforest-themed indoor golf course, you’ll have to avoid obstacles like ancient statues and even an alligator!

You can play 18 holes for just £7 with a valid student card. If you’re thirsty after your game, you can even enjoy a tropical cocktail in the Tiki Bar.

9. Explore the City of Caves

Hidden underneath the city of Nottingham is a network of 500 sandstone caves dating all the way back to the Dark Ages! Take a tour of the caves and you’ll see where ancient people once lived, where local residents sheltered from bombs during World War Two, and the remnants of a Victorian town.

A guided tour of the caves is definitely affordable at £7.65 for a student ticket.

10. See the National Justice Museum

The National Justice Museum gives visitors a fascinating insight into the history of justice. You’ll meet many historical characters, and learn more about law and justice through interactive games and activities. It’s located in a historic courthouse and jail that dates back to the 1400s!

Entrance to the National Justice Museum costs £10.95 for students, but if you’d also like to see the City of Caves, you can buy a joint ticket to both attractions for just £17.60.

11. Admire the views from Green’s Mill and Science Centre

Green’s Mill is a historic, working windmill that was once the home of famous Nottingham mathematician and physicist, George Green. Although it was abandoned after it was damaged by fire, it was restored and re-opened in the 1980s. Since then, it’s been a popular place with people of all ages.

Here, you will learn how flour is traditionally made, and see beautiful views across the Trent Valley. The windmill is also home to a science centre, where you can take part in fun experiments and hands-on activities. Entrance to Green’s Mill and Science Centre is free.

12. Immerse yourself in art at Nottingham Contemporary

Going to Nottingham Contemporary is definitely one of the best things to do on a budget in Nottingham. It’s a modern art gallery in the heart of the city, which hosts exhibitions by award-winning artists on interesting and important topics, including feminism and social mobility.

It also holds regular events, like film screenings and concerts. Entrance to exhibitions at the Contemporary is free, as are many of the events that it stages — in fact, it sometimes even offers discounts on food and drink during events.

Study in Nottingham

Kaplan works with 2 fantastic universities, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham, to help international students get a great education in Nottingham.

Click on the links below to find out more about student life in Nottingham, and how Kaplan could help you gain entry to a degree.

Alternatively, search for degrees in Nottingham using the degree finder.

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