Robin Hood is one of England’s most popular heroes and if film and TV have taught us anything, it’s that he lives in Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. Although he has medieval origins, plenty of 21st century tourists are hot on the outlaw trail, travelling to the East Midlands from around the world. Perhaps they’re hoping for their own slice of a swashbuckling adventure, but Robin Hood can still be an elusive character if you don’t know where to look for him. Never fear, for help is at hand in this article, where I reveal the best places to find Robin Hood in Nottingham…
Most people have seen photos of the famous Robin Hood statue that stands below the walls of Nottingham Castle. Countless tourists have posed with invisible bows and arrows by its side and examined the four plaques in the wall behind, which depict scenes from the traditional legend. The Castle itself is quite a surprise to first-time visitors, as although the walls and gatehouse suggest a medieval stronghold, the main structure is actually a 17th century ducal mansion. A relatively new Robin Hood trail around the city has its first stops here and visitors can follow the 12 boards as far as St Mary’s Church to learn more about Robin and Nottingham.
If following the Robin Hood trail boards isn’t enough, why not sign up for Robin Hood’s Town Tour? Robin Hood himself will guide you around the city on foot, starting at the Castle gatehouse and even descending below the city to the old sandstone cave network. The tour gives a fascinating insight into Nottingham’s medieval and industrial past and asks some thought-provoking questions about what our favourite outlaw stands for in the 21st century.
Contrary to popular belief, Sherwood Forest is not on the immediate outskirts of the city of Nottingham. However, the Visitor Centre is worth the 45 minute car journey. There is an excellent gift shop to satisfy every Robin Hood fan, an exhibition about his long-standing connections to the forest and even a restaurant. One of the oldest trees in Britain, the Major Oak, is a 15 minute walk away and will astonish all visitors with its gargantuan branches. Every August the annual Robin Hood festival is held around the Visitor Centre and is an excellent family day out.
Known as ‘Robin Hood’s Village’, Edwinstowe is only a five minute drive from Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre. Most local businesses bear names with some relation to the legend and there is a statue of Robin and Marian by the library. The village church is even said to be where the romantic couple were married. A quick wander around Edwinstowe can be the perfect end to a day spent in the forest, particularly if it includes a visit to Robin Hood Plaice…
Written by Jemma Saunders
Read Jemma’s blog or follow her on Twitter @JemSaunders1