Best Autumn Experiences in Nottinghamshire
28 October 2021
Vivid leaf displays, touring historic homes, tracking down Batman (ideal for Halloween), brisk country walks and warming up in a sauna - or with a gin beside an open fire. Autumn is a prime time for grand days out or short breaks. Here’s our selection of tempting things to do in Nottinghamshire this autumn.
Image: Visit England
If one tree gives us a bit of a boost with a burst of autumn colour, imagine just how uplifting a whole wood can be. And if those trees are good at summoning up a seasonal leaf display, better still. Which is why a trip to 3800-acre Clumber Park is such a joy. The mature deciduous woodlands here bring blazes of autumnal colour as the season progresses, providing an ever changing array of vivid leaves. Explore the woods, then take in views of rolling parkland, the walled kitchen garden and the gorgeous impressive lake.
There’s more than a touch of the fairytale about gorgeous Brodsworth Hall. A fine example of a Victorian country estate, it was built in the 1860s, complete with elaborate pleasure gardens. A beautiful restoration means you can wander beside rolled lawns clipped hedges, statues and fountains, before ducking into a fern dell grotto and admiring colourful seasonal plants. Then head into the vast Victorian kitchen to imagine life as a servant - working at the huge range, trying to cook on the Aga and (hopefully) taking a breather in the housekeeper's chair in the scullery.
Wollaton Hall & Park
Autumn brings Halloween, Halloween brings bats, or cartoony images of them, out in force. Making it a fitting time to visit Wollaton Hall. This imposing Elizabethan manor house featured as Wayne Manor – home to Batman himself – in the 2012 film, Dark Knight Rises. Awash with towers and turrets it was built in the 1580s and was dubbed the ‘architectural sensation of its age’. These days the elaborate interior is home to reconstructed rooms and Nottingham’s Natural History Museum. This autumn, you can only visit Wollaton Hall as part of a trip to the Titus: T-rex is King exhibition. As this is a rare chance to see a real Tyrannosaurus Rex, you get even more bang for your buck.
Ye Olde Bell Hotel
History-rich Wollaton Hall and Brodsworth Hall are within easy reach of Ye Olde Bell Hotel at Barnby Moor, just off the A1 at Retford. The hotel also has a wealth of heritage features, but with fine furnishings, plush carpets and contemporary bathrooms, you’ll be a darned sight more comfortable than in the draughty rooms of a stately home.
Brisk walks & birdwatching
The autumnal nip in the air somehow makes a brisk country walk all the more appealing. And where better to wander than the Idle Valley Nature Reserve. At more than 450 hectares and with four signposted walking trails, it’s one of the biggest nature sites in the East Midlands. A mix of wetland, grassland and lakes it’s also one of the region’s best places to go birdwatching. This autumn look out for barn owls, redshank, gadwall and little grebes. And the best bit? Idle Valley is just 2 miles from Ye Olde Bell Hotel.
Warm up with a sauna or a pub lunch
All that walking means you’ve earned a treat. Having spotted some species and soaked up the scenery, it’s time to get toasty and warm. Just how warm depends on which of the 11 thermal spa experiences at the Ye Olde Bell Hotel you’d like to try. Perhaps a Stonebath steam room, the Vitality Pool or the Alpine Sauna. Or get cosy in the hotel’s oak panelled restaurant or art deco-style bar. A drink from our Gin Menu or our extensive whisky collection beside the open fire will make you even warmer still.