The following are Groundhopper Paul's best tips for planning a trip to watch soccer in…
Planning a Trip to Watch English Soccer? Consider Staying in Nottingham
If you are headed over to England to see some soccer games, consider staying in the city of Nottingham. Here is a photo tour of the place, which makes a great hub for groundhopping explorations.
At least, this is what I managed to see of it in a couple of walks. I spent basically one of my two days there being sick, and part of another going to a game at Notts County.
Since Nottingham is a great tourist town — Robin Hood and all that — with plenty of attractions, and since it was recently named England’s City of Football, it seems a fine base for exploring.
Before we take our little walk, here are the clubs within about an hour by train:
- Nottingham Forest (currently Championship) is right in town
- Notts County (National League) is right across the river from Forest
- Derby County (Championship)
- Chesterfield (National League)
- Burton Albion (League One)
- Leicester City (Premier League)
- Peterborough (League One)
- Sheffield United (Premier League)
- Sheffield Wednesday (Championship)
- Mansfield Town (League Two)
Heck, I may have even missed some! In fact, Birmingham, with two Premier League teams and two Championship teams in town, is barely an hour away, and I would rather stay in Nottingham than Birmingham.
Nottingham has a charming City Centre filled with 18th century architecture, and many of the streets are pedestrian only. There are shops and cafes and pubs all over, affordable hotels in the middle of town close to the station, a redeveloped waterfront on one of the canals, large parks, attractions near town, and of course Nottingham Castle and all the Robin Hood stuff you can stand.
So here’s a quick walking and photo tour of Nottingham:
We start in the center, where I had a nice walk and lunch:
There are several really old pubs in town, and in fact some mild controversy about the oldest. The one below says it was established in 1437 and is the oldest in town. More on that in a bit.
There are two restaurants that confuse me. One offered “Rhode Island Hamburgers,” which I’ve never heard of, and then there was this one. My family in Maryland has never heard of it:
Some of the cool architecture in town:
On the subject of football, there are two professional clubs in town, and their stadiums are closer than any other two in the country — though they are separated by a river.
Also of note is that the statue of their greatest football hero, Brian Clough, who led Forest to two European Championships, is in the middle of town rather than at the Forest ground.
One of the quotes around its base is something like, “I wouldn’t say I’m the greatest manager, but I am definitely in the top one.”
And now off to Nottingham Castle, which I didn’t enter because it’s mostly just an art museum inside, and I don’t care much about most art or any royalty. The grounds are nice, though, as are the views of the city:
From up there you can also spot the (supposedly) oldest pub in England, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, allegedly founded in 1189. I say allegedly because there are no documents to support this, but who cares. It’s way old, and it’s built into the caves under the castle. You can also take cellar/brewery tours here.
The final thing I want to share is their redevelopment along a canal very near downtown. It wasn’t happening much when I was there, it being Christmas and all, but it’s really cool. There’s a walkway all along the canal, old buildings, restaurants and clubs, and even a pub with a “world of beers” and a canal that goes through it!