The 30 Best day trips from Nottingham by a local

Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands are one of the more underrated areas of the UK in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean there aren't plenty of things to do and day trips from Nottingham to suit everyone.

a sandy coloured castle with turrets and many windows. Landscaped gardens in front

Belvoir Castle

I’ve lived on the outskirts of Nottingham since I was five and I grew up being taken on family days out near Nottingham, visiting Nottingham places of interest with school and now as an adult, my day trips from Nottingham are usually outdoors, involving walks in the Peak District or visiting country houses and gardens near Nottingham.

So to help you plan your days out in Nottinghamshire and beyond, I’ve put together this list of 30 places which can be visited on a day trip from Nottingham, all of them are around 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Nottingham or less, so you can really make the most of your day out!

They are listed in order of price, starting with the free things to do near Nottingham or that only cost for parking. Followed by activities £10 or under, then £15 or under, then £15 or more.

I hope you find plenty of inspiration for days out in Nottinghamshire and beyond!

You might also be interested in:

A Nottingham Weekend Guide

Photo Spots and Instagrammable places in Nottingham

Ideas for Day Trips by Coach from Nottingham

The 30 Best day trips from Nottingham by a local

The 30 Best day trips from Nottingham by a local

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Free things to do on day trips from Nottingham (or only have a parking charge)

Peak District Mam Tor and Winnats Pass

Time from Nottingham: 1 hour 15 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: West

Cost: FREE

Mam Tor and Winnats Pass are two stunning locations in the Peak District and my personal favourites because they’re spectacular, the views are amazing, they’re both free to visit and are one of my favourite day trips from Nottingham by car.

Mam Tor is one of the High Peaks in the Peak District and you can park at the car park labelled Mam Nick Car Park at the bottom of the hill.

Parking is straightforward and the walk itself is very easy, takes approximately 1-2 hours round trip and I see people and children of all ages doing this walk.

The path is stone laid or clearly marked the whole way up and once you reach the top and enjoy the beautiful views over Edale and the Hope Valley, you can enjoy a picnic up there and either head back down or perhaps continue your walk in the opposite direction up Rushup Edge. Check out all these great ideas for Derbyshire picnic spots.

After Mam Tor, head towards Castleton and you’ll drive through Winnats Pass, a limestone gorge with incredible dramatic cliff faces and amazing views if you walk to the top.

Winnats Pass can be enjoyed from the car with a simple drive through, or you can park up at either end and walk up the gorge to see the dramatic views and winding road from above.

As with both these locations, proceed with caution in bad weather or high winds and use appropriate footwear.

If you’re planning a weekend away in the Peak District, use this Peak District itinerary to plan your trip.

Coming from Manchester? Book a Peak District day trip tour.

A woman in a yellow jacket sitting on a cliff looking down on a deep grass-covered valley with a road running through at the bottom and several cars on it

Winnats Pass, Peak District


Dovedale Walk and Stepping Stones

Time from Nottingham: 1 hour

Direction from Nottingham: West

Cost: FREE + £5(up to 4hrs) - £7(4+hrs) parking

The ultimate Peak District day out from Nottingham is the Dovedale Walk, a perfect day out that’s cheap, active and involves plenty of fresh air! There are three options depending on how far you’d like to walk.

If you park at Dovedale car park, it’s a fairly short walk from there, along the River Dove, to reach the Dovedale Stepping Stones. The stepping stones are great fun for adults and children alike!

If you’d like a little bit more of a walk, then park at Ilam Park and do the 1.5 mile walk from there to the Dove River and the Stepping Stones.

Alternatively, the complete Dovedale Walk route is around 8 miles up to Milldale and back again. The return route on this one can be tricky so I wouldn’t recommend it for children or casual walkers.


Biddulph Grange Country Park and Gardens

Time from Nottingham: 1 hour 20 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: West

Cost: Country Park = FREE / Gardens = Adult £12, Child £6, National Trust members are free

an asian style red and yellow pagoda surrounded by greenery in lush gardens at Biddulph Grange National Trust on a day out near Nottinghamshire

Japanese gardens at Biddulph Grange National Trust

A well kept secret and definitely one of the more unique day trips near Nottingham, this little-known country park and garden in Staffordshire is a gem that not many people are aware of.

Located in Biddulph and not far from Congleton, the country park area is a huge area of lush greenery, walking paths, ponds, meadows and a cute cafe. You can get a license from the cafe to fish in the ponds. This green space area is perfect for an easy day out in the spring or summer to enjoy picnics, games and a treat or two from the cafe.

Right next to the country park are the Biddulph Grange Gardens which are owned by the National Trust. This Victorian botanical garden is inspired by east Asia, with Japanese architecture and gardens, as well as plants and flowers from around the globe, there’s even a recreated Himalayan Glen!

Here you can enjoy the quaint tea rooms that open into the garden, the oldest surviving golden larch in Britain and a beautiful Dahlia walk through the grounds.

Definitely one of the most underrated stately homes near Nottingham!

Click here for booking and more info.


Wollaton Hall and Deer Park

A large grassy lawn lined by trees on both sides, leading up to a stately home in Nottingham - Wollaton Hall and Deer Park

Wollaton Hall and Park

Time from Nottingham: 10 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: West

Cost: Entry = FREE, Parking = £5 all day

If you’re looking for nearby days out Nottingham has to offer, it doesn’t get much closer than Wollaton Hall and Deer Park.

The spectacular hall is famous for its appearance in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. The hall is beautiful to see and enjoy from the outside, but entry is also free where you can explore the Natural History Museum inside as well as the history of the hall. Guided tours of the building cost £12 per person.

The grounds of Wollaton Park are great to enjoy on Nottingham day trips too and are one of the best free things to do in Nottingham, especially if you’re within walking or cycling distance, there is no fee to enter the park itself unless you’re parking a car.

With plenty of walking paths, space for picnics and games and often there are fairs and events happening on the grounds in front of the house.

Also, look out for the majestic deer that roam the grounds, they’re beautiful to see, but always make sure to keep your distance.

For the latest events happening at Wollaton, click here.


Attenborough Nature Reserve

A cloudy day by a lake with two picnic benches and a tall tree. Ducks swim in the water atAttenborough Nature Reserve Nottingham

Attenborough Nature Reserve

Time from Nottingham: 20 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: West

Cost: £3

My newest discovery for Nottinghamshire days out is the Attenborough Nature Reserve.

Attenborough is located between Chilwell and Toton in Nottingham and was originally privately owned. It’s existed since 1966 and is now owned by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. It was opened by the man himself, Sir David Attenborough.

The area is famous for its wildlife habitat and specifically the huge range of bird species it’s home to thanks to the diverse wetlands and waterways in the reserve.

There are countless walking routes within the reserve and bikes are also allowed on the paths. The visitors centre is home to a shop, cafe and plenty of information about the reserve. This spectacular reserve is an area we’re so lucky to have right here in the city, so I highly recommend it for places to visit in Nottingham and things to do in Nottingham that are budget-friendly too.


Newstead Abbey

Time from Nottingham: 30 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: North

Cost: £6 parking, free access to gardens, £12 per adult for a historic house tour, Childreen are FREE

Looking through a stone archway in Newstead Abbey Gardens which frames the back of the abbey, a stone coloured building with large windows

Newstead Abbey Gardens

Over 800 years old, this monastic abbey was once home to famous poet, Lord Byron.

Tours will show you where Byron lived, the historic cloisters and the magnificent interior history of the building. But if you don’t want to pay £12 for the tour, just pay for parking and you can enjoy the gardens and 300 acres of parkland. The house is only open on weekends, so if you plan on taking a tour keep that in mind.

The rear of the property is home to a maze, rose garden, formal gardens, Japanese oasis, lakes and waterfalls, as well as countless walks to enjoy.

A grand entrance to a large sandstone building with turrets and large windows. Main porch is flanked by two christmas trees - Newstead Abbey

Newstead Abbey


Creswell Crags

Time from Nottingham: 45 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: North

Cost: FREE + additional cost for parking £4 (up to 4hrs) or £6 (all day) , cave tours and exhibitions

Creswell Crags is a stunning limestone gorge that dates back to the Ice Age. There’s caves with cave drawings that pre-date the pyramids of Egypt and a museum of stone age artefacts.

The Creswell Crags is a non-profit so they aim to keep costs low and that means that visiting the gorge, meadow, visitor centre and cafe are all free.

However there is a charge for parking and an additional charge for cave tours (£14 per person) and special exhibitions.

Find out more here.


Rufford Abbey and Rufford Country Park

Time from Nottingham: 35 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: North

Cost: FREE + £4 car park charge

If you’re looking for the free days out Nottinghamshire has to offer, Rufford Abbey offers parkland, history, abbey ruins and a historic mansion all for just the cost of a car park fee!

The incredible 12th Century Cistercian abbey ruins are spectacular to see the surrounding gardens. 

The Rufford Country Park area is perfect for walks, picnics and slow afternoons with family, friends and children.



An indoor shopping arcade with blue pillars and diamond patterned floor, woman is walking down the centre of the arcade in jeans, boots and a black jacket

Birmingham Great Western Arcade

Time from Nottingham: 1 hour

Direction from Nottingham: South

Cost: FREE plus activity costs

Visiting Birmingham is a great option for a day trip from Nottingham by car or by train. If you’re looking to keep costs down, this is also one of the easiest day trips from Nottingham by coach.

Driving is around an hour and there are several cheap park and ride options. Alternatively, there are direct trains from Nottingham to Birmingham that take an hour and a half into Birmingham New Street.

A Birmingham city break or day trip is a great option for families, couples, friends and groups alike. With plenty of famous Birmingham landmarks to explore, a variety of shops and restaurants, great bars and pubs plus plenty of family activities.

I love the Gas Street Basin and Gas Street area along the canal for great bars and pubs with a chilled out vibe and outdoor seating by the water. 

The Bullring is perfect for a girls shopping trip with multiple floors of shops, department stores and a food hall. In the surrounding area of Digbeth and the Chinese Quarter, you’ll find plenty of vintage clothing shops and warehouses too.

For kids and families, the National SeaLife Centre and Legoland Discovery Centre are both centrally located and a great day trip treat for kids that Nottingham doesn’t offer.

Want to learn more aout Birmingham? Book a Birmingham City walking tour.


Northamptonshire Villages

Time from Nottingham: 1 hours - 1 hour and 30 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: South

Cost: FREE

This may be a bit of a niche idea, but if you’re anything like me and love exploring the countryside with no real aim in mind but to see beautiful, quaint villages and thatched cottages, then forget the Cotswolds, because Northamptonshire is the place to be for this in the Midlands.

Until recently I didn’t know what an undiscovered gem Northamptonshire was, it really is like the Cotswolds but without the tourists.

Rockingham, Cranford and Wadenhoe are a handful of my favourites but you can just drive around the area and see countless chocolate box cottages and fairytale villages.


Foxton Locks

Time from Nottingham: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: South

Cost: FREE + £3 - £8 parking cost depending on carpark

A series of locks on a canal with people walking on the path either side at Foxton Locks

Foxton Locks

Foxton Locks is a series of 5 locks on the Grand Union canal in Leicestershire, making it the largest lock staircase on the UK canal system.

There is a car park at the top and both, both of which are pay and display, then you can easily walk along the towpath and marvel at the lock staircase.

If you visit in fair weather or the summer months, you’re very likely to see a canal boat or houseboat using the locks which is fascinating to see! Over 4000 boats pass through the locks here every year!

On site there’s the Canal Museum as well as a cafe and a pub to sit outside if the weather's good at the Bridge 61. A short walk to Foxton village will also bring you to a couple of other pubs and accommodation options if you choose to stay in the area.

Market Harborough is also a lovely market town just a short drive away.


Bradgate Park

Time from Nottingham: 40 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: South

Cost: FREE + £1 - £5.50 parking depending on how long you stay and if you visit on a weekend or weekday

Bradgate Park is a beautiful outdoor space on the outskirts of Leicester, just 40 minutes drive from Nottingham. 

Bradgate Park is an amazing place to visit, not only because of its 830 acres of parkland, but also because of the beautiful deer and peacocks you can see roaming around. Bradgate Park became an enclosed deer part over 800 years ago.

The spectacular craggy hills and rocky outcrops make you forget you’re just a short distance from Leicester city centre as it feels more like you’re exploring the Yorkshire moors! For those with young children, pushchairs or wheelchairs, there are also plenty of level paths at the front of the park around the Visitors Centre.

On your walks, you can explore St John’s Tower and see the ruins of Bradgate Hall. You can download a copy of the map and walking routes here.

There are also two tea rooms and a shop on-site, as well as the Visitors Centre. The parking fee goes towards running Bradgate Park as a charity, so this is a budget-friendly day trip idea from Nottingham that helps a local outdoor charity too.


Bestwood Country Park

Time from Nottingham: 20 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: North

Cost: FREE

Bestwood Park is a much loved local parkland, often overlooked by those living in other areas of the city. But the 650 acres of park are perfect for walks, bike rides and birdwatching.

The park is also home to a Japanese Garden, lakes, a cafe and the Winding Engine House - the last remaining part of Bestwood Colliery which was one of the major coal mines in Nottinghamshire. The Victorian style building is unique to see and many visitors come for the free tours of the Engine House.

The Dynamo House is also part of the old colliery and is not home to a cafe which opens on weekends.

For more information about visiting or tours, click here.

a red brick gatehouse with a timber framed roof and slate tiles. Path leading to the gae is lined with green hedges and there are trees behind the gatehouse

Bestwood Country Park Gatehouse


Sherwood Forest

Time from Nottingham: 40 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: North

Cost: FREE + plus £5 parking(FREE for RSPB members)

A large oak tree held up by wooden stakes in Nottingham Sherwood forest

Major Oak, Sherwood Forest

Days out in Nottingham don’t get more essential than this if you’re a Nottinghamshire resident! The famous Sherwood Forest is home to myth and legend as the home of the famous Robin Hood and his merry men.

The 375 hectares of Nature Reserve are home to over 1000 ancient oak trees, the biggest concentration of them in Europe. Many trees are 500 years old or more and the Major Oak is believed to be over 1000 years old!

The Sherwood Forest Visitors Centre has recently been renovated and the new facility is full of information about Sherwood, its history, interactive displays and activities. There are also shops, cafes and events all year round.

The Nature Reserve is popular for walkers, joggers, wildlife watchers and cyclists, with miles of trails.

Make sure to visit Major Oak itself, rent a bike and explore the bridleways, check for seasonal events or special wildlife trails hosted by the RSPB. Every summer there’s the Robin Hood festival, with medieval attire, sword fights, jousting, archery activities and fun festival atmosphere for families.

Learn more about the new facilities here.


Rutland Water and Oakham

Time from Nottingham: 1 hour

Direction from Nottingham: East

Cost: FREE + £2-£12 parking fee depending how long you stay for

Rutland Water is a spectacular all-year-round option for days out from Nottinghamshire. The county of Rutland is the smallest county in the UK, but it’s home to Rutland Water and Nature Reserve which offers enough to do for a day or longer!

If you’re looking for the closest beach to Nottingham, then this is your nearest option without driving all the way to the coast! Rutland Water Beach is 140m of sandy beach area offering you the opportunity to swim in the lake, build sandcastles, picnic and enjoy the sunshine with a lifeguard on duty too.

Rutland Water also offers countless walking trails, bike trails, water sport activities and an Aquapark! There are also children's play areas, an outdoor gym, a visitors centre and two cafes!

The walk around the lake to Normanton Church is one of my favourites and a great one for photographers as the church is idyllically situated on the lakeshore.

If you fancy staying overnight there’s even a campsite on the Hambleton Peninsula, so you can wake up with the lake around you and in the middle of nature.

There are four car parks so check the website which tells you the best one to park in depending on your plans as well as the seasonal opening times.

If visiting the lake isn’t enough, head to Oakham for dinner and explore the quaint market town, castle and museum.

A lake with a church on a small island

Photo by Karen Cann on Unsplash



Time from Nottingham: 1 hour

Direction from Nottingham: East

Cost: FREE plus parking

an aerial view of lincoln ciy with the cathedral towering over small houses and narrow cobbled streets on a cloudy day

Lincoln Cathedral seen from the Medieval Castle walls

Lincoln is definitely an underrated city in the East Midlands and a great city day out from Nottingham. The cathedral city is full of stunning historic buildings and architecture, as well as the beautiful Gothic Lincoln Cathedral.

Historic buildings and quaint cobbled streets are your thing, I highly recommend exploring the Cathedral Quarter of the city. This is the historic area, home to the cathedral and the castle, which houses one of only four original copies of the Magna Carta.

You can also pay £11 per adult and £6 per child to walk along the medieval city walls and see the view from the picture shown above.

In the modern quarter of the city, you’ll find countless shops, cafes and some of my favourite bookstores like Lindum Books and Lincoln Waterstones.

If you’re a Nottingham resident at heart, you’ll also be pleased to know that they have a 200 Degrees coffee roasters and a Doughnotts branch!

Lincoln is a great day trip option if you don’t have a car and want to take a day trip from Nottingham by train, with direct trains from Nottingham station to Lincoln station. Or for a budget friendly option coach trips from Nottingham to Lincoln leave daily.


Newark on Trent

An old timber framed building that leans slightly to the right with wood windws on a small town square

Tea Rooms in Newark

Time from Nottingham: 40 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: East

Cost: FREE plus parking

Another nice and easy city day out if you’re looking for places to visit in Nottinghamshire. Newark-on-Trent is a market town to the east of Nottingham, along the River Trent. Newark is also a great option if you don’t have a car and are looking for days out from Nottingham by train, with direct routes from Nottingham to Newark station.

Spend some time exploring the market square, where markets are still held regularly. Enjoy a drink at one of the many cafes or the beer garden outside the Queen’s Head pub.

The ruins of Newark Castle and Gardens are free to explore and located along the side of the river, along which runs a lovely river walk. 

There’s countless modern shops to wander around and an Odeon cinema for those rainy days! If you prefer history, the Town Hall Museum & Art Gallery is home to local and national artwork, whilst the Newark Air Museum is slightly outside the town but home to iconic aircraft, fighter jets and bombers in aircraft hangers which is a lot of fun to explore for adults and kids alike.

Nearby there’s also plenty of things to do in Southwell, a beautiful town to visit and home to the stunning Southwell Minster. Kelham Hall is also a great day out, set in a stunning manor house which houses an escape room, a fishing dock, campsite and maize maze on site!


Grantham Canal and the Dirty Duck

Time from Nottingham: 45 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: East

Cost: FREE

One of my favourite, easy day walks in Nottinghamshire is the Grantham Canal in the Vale of Belvoir. You could pair this walk with a trip to Belvoir Castle that I mention later on in this post.

The Dirty Duck is a pub and restaurant that sits right alongside the canal with a large outdoor beer garden and seating area. They have a big car park on site which you can park in for free, cross over the bridge and walk in either direction along the canal.

This is an easy walk along gravel paths, suitable for all ages and pushchairs too. Having a pint or a pub meal at the Dirty Duck is a great way to reward yourself after a nice long walk too!

A house alongside a canal and a brick bridge on Grantham Canal starting point at the Dirty Duck

Grantham Canal starting point at the Dirty Duck


Thoresby Park and Hall

Time from Nottingham: 45 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: East

Cost: FREE + £3 parking

Thoresby Park and Hall are north of Mansfield and one of the great options for day trips from Nottingham by car. 

Visiting the park is completely free, except for a small parking fee. Unfortunately, you can’t go inside Thoresby Hall unless you’re a guest at the hotel or spa, but you can enjoy this stunning stately house from the park and gardens surrounding it.

There are plenty of walks as well as shops and cafes at the Courtyard. Plus an art gallery and military museum in case the weather changes you and need to head indoors!


Things to do on day trips from Nottingham that cost £10 or less per person

Clumber Park

Time from Nottingham: 45 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: North

Cost: £5 adult, £2.50 child, £12.50 family, National Trust members free

Clumber Park is perfect for family days out in Nottinghamshire or anyone who’s looking for a fun, active day outdoors. With 3,800 acres of parkland, miles of cycling trails, woodlands, lakes and wildlife.

The park was once the estate of the Dukes of Newcastle and although the house has been demolished, you can still see the walled gardens, the lake and the beautiful chapel.

Clumber Park is also home to the longest avenue of Lime Trees in Europe, so don’t miss taking a stroll here!

There’s also a woodland play area for children, a Garden Tea House to relax and enjoy a nice warm drink, there are also often food outlets or pop-ups if you fancy a snack from all that fresh air!

A long church surrounded by grass with a tall spire in th centre of the building

The Chapel at Clumber Park


Renishaw Hall and Gardens

Time from Nottingham: 40 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: North

Cost: Tickets for the gardens - £10 adult, £5 children, £25 family

Tickets for the hall guided tour - £14.50 adults, £8 children

Renishaw Hall is another recent discovery I’ve made and although it’s in Derbyshire, it’s actually much closer to the city of Sheffield, if you’re looking to make a weekend of it or perhaps go on a nearby city break.

psst… Sheffield is another great option if you’re looking for a city day trips from Nottingham by coach.

Unfortunately, the only way to go inside Renishaw Hall is to pay for the guided tours which are a little pricey. But I highly recommend buying tickets for just the garden which are absolutely spectacular and the beautiful house makes a stunning backdrop to the formal gardens so you can enjoy it just as much from the outside.

The gardens are formal Italian style and there’s even a stunning vineyard which offers tours and tastings through the summer months, perfect if you’re looking for day trips for adults from Nottingham.

More information can be found here.


Papplewick Pumping Station

Time from Nottingham: 20 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: North

Cost: £13.50 adults, children under 12 are free on steam days

Another great option for places to visit in Nottinghamshire county itself. Papplewick Pumping Station is a Victorian Waterworks that used to provide clean water to the expanding industrial city of Nottingham.

Now the works are preserved and are a beautiful example of Victorian industrial engineering and you can see it operational on steam days throughout the year. These are usually for events held there such as craft fairs, classic car fairs, steampunk events or Christmas markets. Check their website for event days.

The pumping station is run by volunteers as a charity so your tickets help to keep this part of Nottinghamshire history preserved.


Calke Abbey

Time from Nottingham: 40 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: South

Cost: Park and Gardens: £7 - £7.50, House: £11 - £12.50, National Trust members are free

Although Calke Abbey is another National Trust property, this one is well worth visiting because it’s unique in that it’s completely unrestored.

In the 20th Century, many stately homes and manors fell into disrepair because families no longer had the money to maintain and upkeep the properties. Calke Abbey is one of these and you’re able to get a real insight into the deterioration and decline of these powerful families and their assets.

National Trust usually restores these properties but have left Calke Abbey almost untouched to give an insight into how these powerful parts of English history can decline.

In the grounds and gardens, you can explore the walled gardens, the orangery and the Nature Reserve. You can see red deer and 1200 year old Old Man of Calke oak tree. There are numerous walking routes and the Tramway cycle path.

a dark, very decorated room with paintings on the wall in an unrestored room of Calke Abbey National Trust with dark stained walls and fabrics, lots of framed paintings on the wall, low lighting and full length curtains on two windows on the right

Inside Calke Abbey


Things to do on day trips from Nottingham that cost £15 or less per person

Castle Ashby

Time from Nottingham: 1 hour 25 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: South

Cost: Adults £11/£7.30, Children £5.50/£3.40, lower prices are for winter visits

Castle Ashby is a longer day out from Nottingham at nearly an hour and a half drive, but it’s well worth it for the price to enter. The price includes entry to the grounds, walled gardens, Orangery, tea rooms and the Menagerie where children and adults alike can enjoy a range of cute animals from rabbits and ponies to marmosets and meerkats.

The grounds have several garden areas including an Arboretum and Nature Trail, as well as a Butterfly Garden and a Secret Garden. There is also an Italian garden and stunning Orangery which is my personal favourite.

The tea rooms on site are perfect for a quick snack, or you can order high tea for an afternoon treat. You’re also welcome to picnic anywhere in the grounds of the property.

Check the seasonal opening times on their website before you travel.

a glasshouse full of green tropical plants and a venue statue

Little Moreton Hall

Time from Nottingham: 1 hour 20 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: West

Cost: Adult £14, Child £7, Family £35, National Trust members free

a large 3 storey black and white timber framed tudor mansion that leans outwards, situated in a grassy meadow

Little Moreton Hall National Trust

This spectacular Tudor Mansion is another lesser known property near to Congleton and north of Stoke-on-Trent.

Probably one of the most unique National Trust properties I’ve ever seen, this timber framed manor house looks like it’s permanently tilting or listing to one side with it’s rambling architecture. It’s also surrounded by a moat, gardens and an onsite tea room.

Here you’ll be taken on a guided tour to learn about the history here from Tudors to Victorians.

Little Moreton Hall is a great day out near Nottinghamshire for couples, history buffs, families and anyone interesting in photography and architecture.

Check opening times here.


Bolsover Castle

Time from Nottingham: 35 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: North

Cost: Adults £12.70, child £7.70, family £33.10, English Heritage members free

Built in the 11th Century, this small castle and fortified grounds sit on a hill with spectacular views overlooking the Vale of Scarsdale in Derbyshire.

The grounds are small enough to enjoy on an afternoon trip but fascinating to learn about the long history, explore the extensive ruins that still remain and also to explore inside the main castle where the stunning wall paintings are still intact and incredible to see. You can follow the interactive tour for free on your phone to learn as you explore.

Make sure to walk along the fortress walls to enjoy the view of the castle and the valley backdrop beyond.

There’s also a gallery, cafe, shop and riding school if you’re looking for indoor activities. The castle also hosts half term day trip activities for children such as the Explorer Quest within the grounds.

Coming from overseas? Bolsover is included in this overseas visitors pass.


Things to do on day trips from Nottingham that cost over £15 per person


Time from Nottingham: 50 minutes drive

Direction from Nottingham: West

Cost: Adult £28.50 for House and Gardens

Chatsworth House and Gardens - a very large stately home on a day trip near Nottinghamshire, in a grand estate with a stone bridge and river in the foreground

Chatsworth House and Gardens

It would be wrong to write this list without mentioning one of the most famous country houses in the East Midlands. Although located in Derbyshire, Chatsworth House is just a 50 minute drive from Nottingham city.

Chatsworth House is home to the Cavendish family and has been since the 16th century. The lavish stately home is complete with art collections and stunning historical artifacts, but it’s not just the inside that’s worth exploring.

The extensive gardens and grounds are perfect to visit throughout the year, although they’re at their most spectacular in spring and autumn, with lakes, fountains, a hedge maze and countless pathways, it’s a great day out for the whole family to enjoy.

Also on the grounds there are retail stores with local produce, a farm shop and at certain times of the year there are also craft fairs, special exhibits or events happening in the grounds.

Parking is free with your ticket. Check their website for more details about events.

If you're coming from Manchester way, who not visit Chatsworth as part of a Derbyshire and Yorkshire Dales tour.


Great Central Railway

Time from Nottingham: 30 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: South

Cost: Adult £23, child £12, family £51

For adults and children alike, there is something just so exciting about seeing and riding traditional steam trains. So you’ll be pleased to know that just 30 minutes from Nottingham is the Great Central Railway in Loughborough.

The Great Central Railway is the UK’s only double track and the only place in the world where you can see two full size steam trains pass each other - just like they did in years gone by. It really is like stepping back in time!

There are three stops along the line and you can purchase various tickets to ride to a certain stop, single or return, or a multi-rider ticket. There are also seasonal events all year round like the Santa Train during the festive Christmas period.

There’s also train driving experiences, 1st class dining experiences and more.

This is one of my favourite Nottingham day trips because it’s such a unique and fun experience for a family, or a unique romantic day out near Nottingham.


Caving in Peak District and Castleton

Time from Nottingham: 1 hour 15 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: West


Speedwell Cavern - Adult £20, Child £12

Peak Cavern - Adult £18.75, Child £11

Depending on how much time you have, you could do this on the same day trip that you visit Mam Tor and Winnats Pass, as Castleton is the opposite side of the Pass. But the caving experience also makes a great day trip in itself

The Peak District is famous for its caves with the largest natural cavern in Britain being located here: Titan Cave. Two of the main attractions are both located in Castleton: Speedwell Cavern and Peak Cavern. 

Explore the old rope making works on your guided tour of Peak Cavern, or drift around Speedwell Cavern on an underground boat tour of some of the UK’s most spectacular cave networks.

This is one of the best day trips from Nottingham particularly if you’re looking for a family day out.

Click here to book.

Peak Cavern entrance view of Castleton

Peak Cavern entrance view of Castleton


Hardwick New Hall

Time from Nottingham: 35 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: North

Cost: Adult £17, child £8.50, family £42.50, National Trust members free.

Just into Derbyshire, Hardwick Hall has been one of my favourite discoveries for days out near Nottingham in the last year.

This stunning Elizabethan Hall was built by the remarkable Bess of Hardwick, who, after a series of marriages in which her husbands passed away, she inherited large amounts of power and wealth which led to her becoming the most powerful woman in England after the Queen.

Bess of Hardwick was a Derbyshire local and after her first marriage to William Cavendish, the two of them bought and built the first Chatsworth House. Cavendish died and Bess remarried 3 more times. After the death of her last husband she moved back to her childhood home, Hardwick Old Hall. But soon began to lay the foundations for Hardwick New Hall.

The New Hall was revolutionary at the time, with each floor of the house taller than the one below. This house was also unprecedented because of the number and size of its windows, a sign of her wealth at a time when heating a house that big and with so many windows would be extremely costly! This led to the local saying, ‘Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall’.

You can explore the house and gardens as well as the surrounding walks and parkland which are all owned by the National Trust.

The Hardwick Old Hall ruins are next door and owned by the English Heritage, after extensive renovations in 2021-2022, they have now combined their tickets with the National Trust. So although the National Trust tickets have gone up from £10 to £17 for adults in recent years, this ticket now combines both the old and new halls as well as access to the whole estate.

A mowed grass walkway lined by tall hedges leading to a large stately home with huge glass windows

Hardwick New Hall


Burghley House

Time from Nottingham: 30 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: South East

Cost: Adult £20, Child £9

Burghley House is one of the best surviving examples of 16th century Elizabethan architecture and this huge house is still lived in by the same family - sixteen generations later!

It’s important to note that you can park and walk around the Burghley House estate for free (and see views of the house like the picture below), however to enter the house and gardens is £20 per adult - definitely not cheap, but it is beautiful.

The gardens were designed by the famous Capability Brown and are a must see if you’re a horticultural enthusiast!

The estate is home to the world-famous Burghley Horse Trials and you can also see deer roaming around the deer park in the estate.

Note that the house and gardens close during the winter season, however the estate is open and free to visit all year round.

A green lawn with a large stone coloured manor in the background

Burghley House


Belvoir Castle and the Vale

Time from Nottingham: 40 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: East

Cost: various ticket types £8-£18 per adult, free-£9 per child, family tickets available

I was born and lived the first year of my life in a house with a view of this castle, but for many Nottingham residents, Belvoir Castle might be relatively unheard of. Four castles have existed on the land since the 11th Century, the current castle was built in the early 1800s and has belonged to the Duke and Duchess of Rutland for most of its existence.

It’s believed to be one of the best examples of Regency architecture in the country.

Now the castle and gardens are open to visitors, there’s also the Engine Yard which is home to local businesses and hosts craft fairs and Christmas markets. There are events throughout the year including classic car fairs, flower shows, jousting tournaments and more.

There are various ticket types for Garden entry, Garden and Castle free flow entry, Guided Castle tours and special events. Check their website for up to date ticket prices.

Belvoir Castle

Belvoir Castle


National Space Centre Leicester

Time from Nottingham: 40 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: South

Cost: Adult £19.95, child £17.95, under 5s free

Did you know the National Space Centre is just a 40 minute drive from Nottingham? This is the perfect family day out from Nottingham, with interesting and informative galleries about space, satellites and space missions, as well as interactive exhibits and events about space travel.

The Space Centre is home to the famous Rocket Tower as well as the UK’s largest domed planetarium. You can journey through the solar system and experience what life is like as an astronaut during space travel!

You can easily spend hours here and it makes for great activity to do on a rainy day in Nottingham and the East Midlands.


The Heights of Abraham Cable Car

Time from Nottingham: 55 minutes

Direction from Nottingham: West

Cost: £28.50 per adult, £21 per child, £80 for family of 2 adults, 2 children

Did you know we have a cable car right on our doorstep?!

The Heights of Abraham is located just outside of Matlock in Derbyshire and it’s a hilltop park that can be accessed by the cable car (or a very steep uphill walk!)

The cable car ticket is pricey but it does also include full access to the hilltop park, woodland trails, adventure playgrounds etc and also two includes two guided tours through illuminated caverns and exhibitions. Plus the stunning views over the Derbyshire countryside.

Book here


Summary: the best day trips from Nottingham UK

I hope this list gives you some useful and fun ideas for day trips from Nottingham. There really are so many things to see and do in Nottinghamshire and around the East Midlands area. Whether it’s rainy or sunny, I hope this list helps you plan a few days out in Nottinghamshire and beyond.

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