Nottingham Castle

Nottingham Castle is an ancient castle built in 1068 - most of you probably heard of it first from Robin Hood. It holds a pivotal place in English history, with Prince John and King Richard fighting here. King Edward III used a secret entrance to enter with his men and capture his mother's lover and claim his rightful place on the throne. It also played a central role in the English civil war, its inhabitants resisting Charles and his loyalist army (Charles was found hiding a short distance away when the Parliamentarian army arrived).

It was such a central and dominating fortress that it was razed to the ground after the civil war to prevent future use. Much to the ghostly chagrin of the hundreds of years of various nobility and royals who had made this their home since 1100.

After Charles II came to the throne, he had a ducal palace built within its walls, which stood for 200 years until a voter districting reform bill pissed off the massive working populace here in the 1830s, resulting in them raiding and burning it to a shell.

Rebuilt once again at the end of the 19th century, it was then turned into an art museum which it remains to this day, when I was able to visit.

The Arrival - Walking up the hill

I was staying in the Hilton, and I walked across town (not a long walk at all) to the castle hill. I had arrived about 10 minutes before opening so I went around to take some pictures outside.
Nottingham's main man, the one, the only, Robin Hood

Inside the walls

Inside the Mansion

The Mansion is an art museum, and the entrance here brings you through all kinds of art in the place. A very eclectic collection for the first major art museum in the UK located outside of London.

Mortimers Hole

The castle has a secret entrance from the river level to the castle main level, called Mortimer's Hole. The tunnel is named after a legend involving Queen Isabella and her lover, Sir Roger Mortimer. After the abdication of Edward II, his wife Isabella and her lover ruled the nation "on behalf" (they stole the crown, and that's looked upon poorly in England) of the young Edward III. In this story, King Edward III and his men enter Nottingham Castle through the tunnel and Mortimer is taken back through it. His shuffling footsteps are said to be heard to this day, while his mother, Queen Isabella's ghost has been heard screaming for her son to have pity upon him. The truth is a bit less exciting - the lovers were captured before Mortimer was tried and convicted before being executed (his trial was quite a sham and he was not afforded the rights granted a member of the peerage, as punishment for usurping) and the Queen was kept under house arrest for the remainder of her days. Since this was served at Windsor Castle and then her home at Rising Castle, it was a pretty cushy sentence.

It was intended to be used to raid invaders' boats crossing the river before they knew what hit them. What I find interesting is if someone knew of this entrance, they could just enter the castle from the river at night (which has happened as detailed above). Physical security is a joke.

The Dungeons

No longer in use, and cleaned up quite a bit, the dungeons were never destroyed by war or riots due to it being underground. Now they serve as a place to explore history and lore of the castle.

Brewhouse Yard

On the lower grounds sits the Brewhouse Yard, which is technically owned by the churches in the area, and untouchable by johnny law. Many laborers and their families lived there for 400 years. The sheriff had to wait for someone to leave this area if they were wanted, before he was able to grab them. This led to a lot of hoodlums living there over the centuries. Hey, religious beer was important!

It became a home of Luddites, because the weavers and other cloth manufacturers that were living here had their livelihoods jeopardized by new automated machines, and they trashed the factories. ChatGPT metaphors, anyone?
The gate, the castle never fell in battle That is some old stone Start here or end here, this is one way to bring down the kids energies level Entrance to the Mansion and galleries Quite a view of the countryside. You could see hours of travel distance away Movie art Looks old but this stained glass is actually pretty new Outstanding clothing styles and related to the cloth production in Nottingham The main gallery, the classical painted art 3d pic of bears in the woods (glasses are available to use here) Down we go Steep, passage (there used to be stairs but they wore down over hundreds of years and rain) The old entrance which you would need a couple ladders to access now The exit, at the river level. Those holes in the cliff are from centuries of erosion opening up the passage Lots of things were hanging offenses back in the day. Like... speaking against the crown What the castle used to look like eons ago Think you can beat Little John with a quarterstaff? Robin couldn't Multiple screens all talking about Robin and trying to identify who he actually was (the stories are many and actual existence still in doubt) Brings a different meaning investing in stocks and bonds Fairly typical 17th century kitchen/dining room/office/workspace Climate controlled (by the nature of caves) storage area for foods, beer, criminals While not actually on the grounds, this is supposedly the oldest operating inn in England. Don't debate it, it may not be true but you can get a nice fight from that discussion. This was an actual meeting and jumping off point for the crusades and pilgrimages to Jerusalem Substantial food offerings and booze


What a cool and storied place. Easily will kill several hours and delight those of us who still have a little imagination left in our souls. There are a few places to grab a bite (and a Pint). Take the extra tours, they're so worth it.

Oh, and of course, since it's a museum, here is the shop and cafe!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated, so they will be posted after approval