Country Parks & Gardens
Nottinghamshire’s country parks and gardens are always a popular place to explore outdoors and take in a breath of fresh air. With some attractions open almost all year round, our country parks and gardens are great if you want a family day out with a picnic in the summer, get active on a bike or foot, spot wildlife and enjoy annual events and festivals.
Explore our country parks...
Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve extends over 450 acres and incorporates slender birch trees alongside more than one thousand veteran oaks, most of which are over 500 years old. The largest and most famous of these is the Major Oak which still produces acorns after standing at the heart of Sherwood Forest for an amazing 800 years!
Of course, this Forest is the legendary home of Robin Hood – and the site of one of the county’s most popular FREE festivals, the annual Robin Hood Festival.
Browse around the visitor centre shops or relax after a stroll at the Forest Table Restaurant. Take a walk along one of the fun family nature trails, or just admire the weird and wonderful shapes of the ancient oak trees, twisted by age and weathered into living sculptures.
Sherwood Forest has a unique ecology system: the natural decay of fallen wood means the woodland teems with insect life, fungi, birds and bats. In partnership with the Sherwood Trust, a woodland grazing project featuring Hebridean sheep and Dexter cattle ensures that open areas of medieval heathland do not revert to scrub. It’s little wonder that Sherwood Forest Country Park welcomes around 500,000 visitors each year.
Located near Ollerton, on the edge of the famous Sherwood Forest, Rufford Abbey's 150 acre park is one of Nottinghamshire’s most popular visitor attractions.
At its heart are the picturesque remains of a 12th century Cistercian monastery and later country house. Around these buildings lay charming gardens, meadows and woodland.
There’s plenty to do all year-round here; stroll around the woods, bring a picnic in the summer or explore the spooky Abbey ruins (said to be one of Nottinghamshire’s most haunted spots)!
Sherwood Pines Forest Park is the largest forest open to the public in the East Midlands with over 3,300 acres to discover.
It’s a centre for a wide variety of outdoor activities, so you can choose to explore on foot, on two wheels with numerous cycle paths, or high in the trees at Go Ape Tree Top Adventure. The Visitor Centre is at the heart of it all with a cafe, cycle hire and children's adventure play trail available.
Standing on a natural hill, only three miles west of Nottingham city centre, Wollaton Hall is a flamboyant 16th century Elizabethan mansion set in a scenic 500 acre historic deer park. The Hall, in 2012, became internationally famous as ‘Batman’s pad’ when it starred as Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises.
Throughout all the seasons, the park is a popular visitor attraction. In summer, enjoy the glorious sunshine and kick back with a picnic with your friends or family, and in winter wrap up warm and take to the hills on your sleigh!
Discover local history in the Industrial Museum, explore the caves underneath the Hall, or enjoy a tour inside the Hall where you will find Tudor kitchens, prospect room, salon, dining room, bird room and the natural connections gallery - which is in addition to the exhibitions inspired by art and science in the Yard Gallery.
Kelham Hall & Country Park is a magnificent Victorian house, built in 1863, set within 44 acres of gardens and parklands and located in the heart of Nottinghamshire.
It has a rich history as the ancestral home of the Manners-Sutton family, along with its use as a theological college for an Anglican Order of Monks. The distinct design features of renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott make it a fascinating place to visit.
Bestwood Country Park
Mentioned in the Doomsday Book, this 650 acre park, on the northern fringe of Nottingham, boasts an incredible variety of different wildlife habitats. From Mill Lakes teeming with water birds, to meadows full of wild flowers, ancient oak woodland and a reclaimed coal tip, Bestwood has a landscape which reflects the varied history of Nottinghamshire itself. For example, the Winding Engine House, a splendid piece of industrial archaeology, is a memorial to the coal mining industry which was once extremely important to our economy.
Set in the beautiful south Nottinghamshire countryside within easy access of Nottingham, the country park has around five miles of footpaths to explore and enjoy. With many diverse settings including a lake, woodland and meadow, the park is an absolute delight! If you’re feeling peckish during your exploration, why not visit the highly regarded cafe which is available on site?
Explore our gardens...
This traditional Japanese garden provides beautiful surroundings with a pond, pagoda, waterfall, bridges, stream, stone lantern, maple trees, cherry trees, bamboos, irises and water lilies. Visitors to the garden enjoy the peace which reflects the harmony of nature and the inner self of man. Meditation and relaxation tuition and courses are held here all year round.
Make sure to add to your calendar the annual Pure Land Lantern Lit Evenings – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in August and September. The evening honours an ancient and venerable Japanese tradition and is a truly magical experience.
Newstead Abbey is a beautiful historic house set in a glorious landscape of gardens and parkland within the heart of Nottinghamshire. The Abbey was once home to the notorious romantic poet Lord Byron, from 1808 – 1814, and visitors can explore the Victorian room settings and the poets private apartments.
Explore more than 300 acres of gardens and parkland at the Abbey where paths meander past lakes, ponds and waterfalls. The formal gardens are the perfect place to relax and offer something in all seasons.