In the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire lies the city of Nottingham. As one of the eight members of the English Core Cities Group the actual city of Nottingham is quiet small with little more than 250,000 residents. The urban area of Nottingham, which includes the strictly bordered city and a wide surrounding area, is much larger making Nottingham one of the see largest urban areas in England. Founded around 600AD Nottingham is rich in history and folklore.
Nottingham contains a wealth of architectural styles. Visitors can enjoy wondering the city and viewing many of its ornate buildings. While the western third of the city is full of mainly modern office buildings there are many other sites throughout the city.
One of these architectural structures for visitors to enjoy is Nottingham Castle. Located on the castle rock it is boarded by cliffs to the south and west. While it is not certain that a castle on the "castle rock" prior to the Norman Conquest, it is certain that anything that resided on the rock prior to this time was not a substantial castle. Originally built of wood in 1067 a stone castle took its place during the reign of Henry II. The castle itself has been the place of many skirmishes of power. Prince John's few followers captured it in 1194. This made the castle the site of the decisive siege of King Richard I when he returned to England to regain control of his throne from his brother. It was also the site of a coup d'etat for Edward II against his mother. Today Nottingham Castle is the site of a Museum. Here visitors can see art collections, historical artifacts and archaeology of Nottingham and the surrounding areas.
Another popular stop for visitors is the famed Sherwood Forest. A part of the Royal Forests, Sherwood actually lies not just in Nottinghamshire but many other shires as well. The Forestry Commission has provided many walks and trails among the activities visitors can enjoy. The main reason many people visit this beautifully wooded area is because of the Legend of Robin Hood. Since Sherwood Forest is the fabled home of the great legend it is a popular stop. Every year the annual Robin Hood Festival is held here in Sherwood and visitors can enjoy the recreation of medieval times and even "meet" the famous Hood himself. The Major Oak is the site of many of the festivities since it was supposed to be Robin's main hide out. The tree itself is rather old, anywhere from 800 to 1,000 years in age, and many of its branches have to be supported by scaffolds due to their size.
Sherwood and Nottingham Castle are not the only things to see in Nottingham. Nottingham is also known as the City of Caves. Since Nottingham is built on a sandstone ridge it was very easy for early settlers to the area to carve caves into the soft stone. Because of that Nottingham was once considered to be the home of the most man-made caves in England. While they were originally used as housing, places of work, or even air-raid shelters, visitors can now tour this labyrinth of the underground. This area is the only place to house an underground tannery as well.
Whether you are choosing to come here for the history or the legend Nottingham will not disappoint.
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