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Country parks with legendary links
Just 20 miles north of Nottingham, Sherwood Forest Country Park is the home of Robin Hood. It extends over 450 acres and incorporates some truly ancient areas of native woodland. Gently strolls along the paths leading to the famous Major Oak and a host of equally impressive ancient trees, most of which are over 500 years old. Entry into Sherwood Forest is FREE and the normal charge for the car park is £3.
A five minute drive away is Rufford Abbey and Country Park which once housed a 12th century Cistercian Abbey on a grand estate. Robin would have been among friends here and some of the monks were in fact outlaws.Entry to Rufford Abbey and its park and gardens is FREE and the normal charge for the car park is £3.
Another place worth adding to itinerary is Kelham Hall & Country Park. Kelham Hall is a beautiful Victorian stately house built in 1863 and located in the Trent Valley and nestling within 44 acres of stunning parkland. Open daily with free admission, the hall offers a number or year-round leisure facilities and an active family event calendar, making it the perfect place for days out. 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.
The largest forest open to the general public in the East Midlands is Sherwood Pines Forest Park. There you’ll find all manner of activities to keep family members of all ages entertained. FREE activities entail picturesque walking and cycling trails amongst the woodland. For more suggestions of what is on offer at Sherwood Pines, visit the outdoors activities section.
Admission to the park is FREE and is open all year (apart from Christmas Day). The price to park is £1 per hour, or £4 for a whole day.
To the north of Notts you’ll also find Thoresby Park and Gallery in over 1,000 acres of unspoilt English countryside. Still the picture of a traditional country estate, you’ll find Longhorn cattle among the farm animals in the grounds plus a retail and multi-arts venue at the Courtyard. FREE admission and car park.
Just a few miles from Nottingham city centre is Wollaton Hall, a magnificent Victorian mansion set in 500 acres of deer park. The park is open all year round, except Christmas Day, and is always a popular attraction for family and friends. In summer why not bring along a picnic? Or in winter, tackle the snow on your sledge and glide down the hill which the Hall sits upon. Entrance to the park and Hall is FREE, but the car park is £2 for 3 hours or £4 for a whole day.
On the northern fringes of the city is Bestwood Country Park with its incredible variety of wildlife habitats. There’s a memorial to Nottinghamshire's coal mining past with a soon to be refurbished Winding Engine House. Stay in the park at The Bestwood Lodge Hotel, a former Victorian hunting lodge. Entry to the park is FREE.
Alternatively to the East of the city, you can explore Colwick Country Park which is accessible via public transport and is well placed just off one of the region’s key cycle routes. Offering a large, diverse area of water, woodland and meadows it provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of wildlife and recreational activities, including angling, sailing, walking and jogging.
The majority of our paths are dedicated as Public Bridleways, making a horse-ride or cycle around the park a real must and at the heart lies the excellent adventure centre which runs a range of land and water based activities to keep the more energetic audiences entertained. There are some fantastic opportunities to photograph a rich diverse wildlife including butterflies, dragonflies and a large number of migratory birds including the nationally important population of wildfowl that are present during the winter.
Colwick House and parkland can be traced back to before 1362 where the ownership of the hall had passed through a number of families including the infamous Byrons and Musters. The current house dates from the late 18th century although there have been various modifications to the building and the design over the years.