IIN News / Independent City

Shop independent: It’s in Nottingham


When you’re out and about in Nottingham, do you feel the community vibe? We certainly do, it’s because we’re a small, big city, and we look after each other, that’s the Nottingham spirit.

Posted: Jul 2023

Nottingham’s got personality too – no doubt you’ll have heard about our rebellious nature or maybe you already think we punch above our weight? We agree – Nottingham has confidence and energy by the bucket load – and the abundance of independent business in the city says a lot about who we are as a city.

Our city centre streets promise independent leisure and retail experiences which we think you won’t see anywhere else. Chic retail, enticing eateries, quirky indie subcultures and entertainment to suit all ages and tastes can be found side by side with big name brands but wander off the beaten path and you’ll really get a treat.

Tucked away in Nottingham’s distinctive districts and historic passageways the city’s indies entice you to discover the individuality and creativity of unique homegrown traders - these are the places you stumble upon by accident, tell your friends to visit, and find yourself returning to again and again.

Where we recommend

Cobden Chambers is home to exciting creative businesses making and selling everything from quirky home accessories, vintage and antique items, to boutique fashion, jewellery and music. The Courtyard plays host to pop-up street food vendors, markets and street art, drawing visitors into the Chambers and creating a dynamic, vibrant atmosphere. Take a walk through the gate, and discover a whole new side of Nottingham…

Head over the hill and through Hockley and you’ll find yourself at Sneinton Market, built in the 1930s as a wholesale market, but now home to a colourful mix of creative businesses thanks to a regeneration project that started in 2014. Down at Sneinton Market, you’ll find an exciting mix of vintage clothes, pubs, award-winning chocolate, jewellers and colourful cafés.

Wander back up to Hockley, which was named by The Times as one of the 'coolest postcodes to move to' in 2022, and you’re guaranteed to find a shop window that will interest you. Vintage, urban, alternative and new-age styles are all catered for here, and the shopfronts blend with a cool array of international restaurants, bohemian cafes and lively bars which spill onto the streets. Impress your mates with a fact; from the late 18th century Hockley was at the centre of the city’s lace production.

The hustle of Hockley changes to tranquil, historic charm as you enter The Lace Market – you know why it’s called that now – where the tall lace factories are now home to many studios and creative spaces plus cool cafes, and major attractions like Nottingham Contemporary and the National Justice Museum.

Head back into the city via Bridlesmith Gate – we like to think it’s our very own Carnaby Street – with its incredible street art murals and more indies. Cross the Old Market Square and you’ve more indie options to explore.

Deep in the heart of the city, quite off the beaten track in fact, Hurt’s Yard is just off Angel Row and Old Market Square. Discover a range of cocktail bars, a micropub and a locally famous record store Rob’s Records, this walkway has been used by locals for years as a cut-through but is now also a place to enjoy a trendy cocktail with friends.

King’s Walk and Trinity Walk are two small walkways near Theatre Royal but with a selection of independent retail shops and salons, as well as Escape Rooms.

Derby Road and Mansfield Road have a range of long-established indie galleries, quirky shops and cracking pubs. Just off Old Market Square you’ll find a stunning Victorian music hall (here’s a clue, it’s The Malt Cross) with its own caves, plus live music, local beers and gin tastings.

This is just a taste of what you will find if you set out to explore Nottingham’s independent scene, and with an ever-evolving cityscape, the variety is bound to blossom throughout the coming years, making for a brilliantly exciting city to keep on discovering.

And whilst you're here navigating your way through Nottingham's independents in the city centre, drop by the Ay-Up Market at Old Market Square and discover over 60 independent stallholders ranging from retail to food, enjoy free entertainment and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the bustling market from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 April.

Download our app to plan your day in Nottingham

We’ve created the It’s in Nottingham app which is loaded with the latest shops, restaurants, bars, venues and events across the city centre - plus Google maps to help you get around easily.

Whether you're a music fan, a foodie, looking for a great night out or things to do: our app will point you in the right direction and help you enjoy your time in our city.

Download it free today on Apple or Android and start exploring Nottingham!

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