Looking for the light
A city is just a city unless it’s your city – and then it’s home.
Posted: Jan 2024
Nottingham’s Old Market Square sparkled spectacularly this Christmas. Deep in the glowing heart of the German-style market, visitors immersed themselves in the traditions and magic of the season.
In contrast to the glittery frivolity of December, January can feel like the party-off switch that everyone hoped no one would find. So where do we look for the twinkle now that the last string of festive lights has been unplugged and the spring feels so far away?
Well, we suggest going for a bracing mid-winter walk and shine a light on the unique features of this city, and let’s travel light too! Nottingham has great transportation links and boasts nine accessible Park & Ride sites across the network.
Sainsbury’s customers will also be aware that they can take advantage of three hours’ free parking at the Castle Marina store, which gives you plenty of time for a wander along the canal. From Tinker’s Leen to Castle Wharf, you will soon spy the stately castle through the eclectic mix of period and modern properties. Keep walking, and you witness the sheer magnificence of the iconic British Waterways building.
If you haven’t already nipped across the bridge at Castle Lock for a cheeky half at The Navigation, you might want to consider a light lunch by the water from the classic pub menus at Via Fossa or Fellows, Morton and Clayton – both have vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options available.
A Grade II listed former warehouse; the old Canal Museum’s last reincarnation is as Canalhouse. Castle Rock Brewery’s first real ale pub not only has a section of the canal running through it, but there is also a large outside terrace with cover so you can sit out and truly enjoy the canal side experience.
If you plan to stay longer, it’s definitely worth staying Southside and heading up towards the train station for a gander at how the cityscape is being transformed. With the bones of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre almost completely crumbled to dust, the forest green pillars that flank the walkway between the college and the new improved bus station hint at the green spaces to come.
And don’t worry, there’s a reward waiting when you have scaled those steps to the Nottingham Contemporary, because someone had the marvellous idea to make the back entrance into a cool, airy café space. At Blend you will find freelancers and families alike scattered around the café tables and easy chairs - flick through the collection of zines whilst you sip on your beverage of choice.
But if you don’t fancy the climb, then access to the City Caves is at the foot of these stairs and promises to be one of those experiences that highlights just one of the many interesting quirks of our city. The gallery is also accessible via a gentle slope on the left, and the exhibitions and gift shop offer a good deal of quality browsing time.
Whilst we are looking for the light, it’s worth remembering that one of Nottingham’s brightest winter attractions is only a few short weeks away. A shimmering showcase of illuminated art forms, Nottingham Light Night brings January to a close with brilliance, colour and luminosity, re-firing our imaginations.
Meanwhile, let’s make the most of the daylight hours and discover our Nottingham.
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