Nottingham is a city in the East Midlands which sits on the River Trent, located 16 miles to the east of Derby and 30 miles north of Leicester. It is perhaps most famous for its role in the legend of history’s most famous outlaw, Robin Hood, but it is also a significant hub for lace making, coal mining and bicycle production.
During the Industrial Revolution, Nottingham was a thriving centre for the textile industry, but in the years since it has reinvented itself as a major contributor to the nation’s sport scene. In addition to its two football clubs – one of which is the oldest professional outfit in the world and the other the ninth – Nottingham is also home to ice hockey, cricket and rugby, as well as a major annual international tennis tournament.
It is also an increasingly popular destination for tourism, with more visitors per year than anywhere else in the East Midlands.
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Dog Friendly Nottingham Must-Sees
Attenborough Nature Reserve
A wetland reserve located in the south of the city, the Attenborough Nature Reserve was named for and opened by television presenter and naturalist Sir David Attenborough in 1966. It is dominated by a huge lake and the River Trent, both of which have made it a significant habitat for rare birds. Over 250 different species have been recorded at the site, and it remains one of the most accessible places in the UK to see bitterns, kingfishers or wild otters.
The 558 acre site also boasts ponds and walking trails. It’s a great spot to experience a slice of British country life while still in the heart of civilisation.
Rufford Abbey Country Park
Situated 17 miles to the north of Nottingham city centre, near Sherwood Forest, Rufford Abbey was home to an order of Cictercian monks from the 12th Century until its dissolution by King Henry VIII in the 16th Century. Today the ruins are looked after by English Heritage, but of far more interest to your four-legged friend will be the 150 acres of country park that surround them, featuring woodlands, wetlands, meadows and formal gardens.
Old Market Square
At 3 acres, Old Market Square in the centre of Nottingham is Britain’s second-largest pedestrianised public space, beaten only by London’s Trafalgar Square, and it is similarly filled with a continually changing array of things to see and do.
Make sure to not miss the stone lions which guard the council building steps or the fountains, in addition to newer attractions such as Speakers’ Corner or the bronze statue of football manager and local folk hero Brian Clough.
The Castle Quarter
Nottingham Castle is one of the most famous buildings in the story of Robin Hood, Good King Richard and Bad King John. Sadly, as we write this the Castle itself has just gone into receivership, but the area around it is still teeming with life. There are several guided tours in and around the area, much of which dates back to the time around the Norman Conquest.
One walk of particular interest is the Original Nottingham Ghost Walk, based out of the city’s oldest pub. Dogs are welcome on the tour and if they turn up in costume, one of their humans gets to go on the tour for free. So if anyone has ever told you that there is no financial benefit to dressing your dog as Maid Marian, or the Sheriff of Nottingham, they were wrong.
The Best Dog Friendly Walks in Nottingham
There are over 800 trees (of 65 different species) in this beautiful 19th Century park, which is based just to the north of Nottingham city centre near to Nottingham Trent University. First opened in 1852, The Arboretum is the oldest public park in the city and a beautiful, calm oasis in the centre of town. With countless weemails to send and receive, your dog may never want to go home.
A large 500 acre park just to the west of the city centre, close to the University of Nottingham. In addition to historic Wollaton Hall, which houses both the Nottingham Natural History Museum and Nottingham Industrial Museum, the park boasts both wide open and heavily wooded areas, as well as a boating lake. There are also significant populations of roosting corvids as well as red and fallow deer.
Bestwood Country Park
Situated just north of the city, Bestwood Country Park is 650 acres of woodland, grassland and lakes on the site of an old colliery. Bestwood was a Crown hunting estate until the 17th Century, when King Charles II gifted the land to the family of his favourite mistress, Nell Gwyn.
A coal mine until 1967, it opened as a country park in 1973. The site’s industrial heritage is commemorated with a preserved Victorian-era winding engine within the grounds. Your dog is unlikely to care about any of this, mind you.
The Meadows Recreation Ground
A park set around one of the bends in the River Trent, a mile south of the city centre and close to both Notts County and Nottingham Forest football stadiums. In addition to the riverbank, the Meadows also offers ponds and large wide open areas.
Grantham Canal Walk
The 33-mile long Grantham Canal opened in 1797 between Nottingham and Grantham, Lincolnshire, for the transportation of coal. Its profitability declined in the latter half of the 19th Century and after it closed for good in 1929, much of the distance has been reclaimed by nature. This is good news for both you and your dog, as it now serves mainly as a 33-mile long walking trail.
Perhaps the best section for people based in Nottingham is the Gamston trail, which runs from just east of The Meadows Recreation Ground out to the north of Nottingham City Airport.
Obviously, we couldn’t leave this one out. However, you may be as surprised as we were just how far outside the centre of Nottingham Sherwood Forest actually is: it’s about 24 miles to the north, roughly an hour’s journey by car. If Robin Hood and his Merry Men were around today, you can be sure that they would have been claimed by the people of Mansfield or Worksop instead.
Geographical complaints aside, who wants to go to Nottingham and not be able to say they’ve visited Sherwood Forest? Certainly not your dog, who is bound to have a wonderful time.
Dog Friendly Cafes and Restaurants in Nottingham
22 Friar Lane, NG1 6DQ
A contemporary-style European cafe in the heart of Nottingham city centre, the alcohol-free Sobar specialise in breakfasts and lunchtime sandwiches, be they the traditional type, hamburgers or falafel wraps.
Forest Recreation Ground, Mansfield Road, NG5 2BU
Based at the Pavilion of the Forest Recreation Ground, a large park just to the north of The Arboretum, the Homemade Cafe is an ideal pitstop after a day spent running around after your excitable hound. There’s coffee, brunch, lunch and homemade cake on the menu.
9 Pelham Street, NG1 2EH
A cafe specialising in brunch, based in the heart of Old Market Square. There are extensive options for both breakfasts and hearty, gourmet sandwiches, too, as well as plenty of vegan and gluten-free alternatives.
The Golden Fleece, 105 Mansfield Road, NG1 3FQ
A fully vegan restaurant based at The Golden Fleece pub, a hundred yards or so east of The Arboretum. The Prickly Pear claim to be Nottingham’s first vegan restaurant and they offer an impressive menu of plant-based comfort food favourites as well as brunch, hot drinks, beer, wine and cocktails.
97 Carrington Street, NG1 7FE
Based in the city centre, right by the River Trent, Cured specialise in charcuterie platters and cheese boards as well as fresh bagels, ciabatta sandwiches and small plates.
Oscar and Rosie’s
8 Stoney Street, NG1 1LP
Situated in the city centre, less than 100 yards from Old Market Square, Oscar and Rosie’s is an independently-owned pizzeria which boasts an impressive range of 14 inch crust pizzas, plus vegan alternatives, comfort food classics and even a metre-long pizza challenge.
Please note: we accept no responsibility for the consequences of your dog eating a metre of pizza.
Portello Lounge, 3 Central Avenue, West Bridgford, NG2 5GQ
Bendigo Lounge, 55 High Road, Beeston, NG9 2JQ
If you’ve read any of our other city guides you will know how hopelessly devoted we are to The Lounges. From brunch or morning coffee to after-show cocktails, The Lounge will always have both you and your furry friend covered. Nottingham has two Lounges: one in West Bridgford to the south of the river; the other in Beeston, not far from Wollaton Park to the west of the city.
Bustler Street Food Market
Avenue E&D, Freckingham Street, NG1 1DW
Located just to the east of the city centre, Bustler is a relatively new arrival on the East Midlands food scene. A canteen-style indoor market of pop-up world food stalls, there will always be fresh choices to hand at Bustler, be they food, drink or entertainment.
Dog Friendly Pubs in Nottingham
16 St. James’s Street, NG1 6FG
A bar and kitchen set in an ornately decorated period building just outside Old Market Square. In addition to food and drink, Malt Cross also offers live music, entertainment and a pub quiz. Even better, the whole enterprise is run for the benefit of local charities.
12 Bridesmith Walk, NG1 2FZ
Situated just to the east of Old Market Square, Junkyard specialise in craft beer – be it from the tap or the bottle – and offer an ever-rotating range of selected brews from around the world. If your dog passes muster they may even win a spot on their Instagram wall of fame.
Bread and Bitter
153-155 Woodthorpe Drive, Mapperley, NG3 5JL
You can expect nothing but classic pub vibes from Bread and Bitter, housed in an old bakery building in Mapperley, a district in the northeast of the city. An array of real ales and a wide selection of pub grub favourites await on their menu.
The Frame Breakers
15 High Street, Ruddington, NG11 6DT
A community-minded local located to the south of the city, a few miles from the Attenborough Nature Reserve, The Frame Breakers promise proper food and drink. This also applies to four-legged patrons, who will find their very own doggy dishes on the menu.
The Robin Hood (AND) Little John
1 Church Street, Arnold, NG5 8FD
There’s been a pub on the location of The Robin Hood (AND) Little John since 1726 and the current incarnation remains a fine example. A friendly neighbourhood local with good menus and a big beer garden, it can be found in the Arnold area in the north of the city.
The Doctor’s Orders
351 Mansfield Road, Carrington, NG5 2DA
Nottingham’s first micropub, The Doctor’s Orders is housed in an old pharmacist’s shop on the main road out of the city centre, not far from the Forest Recreation Ground. While space may be at a premium, it’s a great place to find some unique ales you won’t necessarily find anywhere else in the city.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem
Brewhouse Yard, NG1 6AD
Local legend has it that Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, built into the caves and caverns that surround Nottingham Castle in the city centre, was first established in 1189. If this is true, it makes it the oldest pub in the world, a claim the owners proudly lean in to! Whether or not the history is accurate, it is well worth a visit to see the characteristic wonky and uneven interiors or perhaps to share a pint with one of the ghosts and ghouls that are said to hang around the area.
Ye Olde Salutation
Hounds Gate, NG1 7AA
A further development in the “world’s oldest pub saga” can be found just up the road. Parts of Ye Olde Salutation Inn (known locally as “The Sal”) date back to 1240 which, should The Jerusalem’s claim ever be definitively disproved, would instead make this the oldest pub in the world. Still, the rest of The Sal dates back to the 15th Century and so they have nothing to be ashamed of, whatever happens. Your best bet is to take your four-legged friend for a visit to them both.
Dog Friendly Nottingham: Where To Stay
If you’re looking to stay in a dog friendly hotel in Nottingham, here’s our recommendations:
Lace Market Hotel
29-31 High Pavement, NG1 1HE
A four-star hotel situated in the city centre, The Lace Market Hotel – named for the Lace Market area in which it is based – accepts doggy guests for an additional fee.
Ibis Nottingham Centre
16 Fletcher Gate, NG1 2FZ
Located just round the corner from Old Market Square in the city centre, this modern two-star hotel will allow your dog to stay for a fee of £10 per night.
Milton Street, NG1 3PZ
A four-star hotel in a large old Victorian building in the city centre, just to the north of Old Market Square. Dogs can stay for a fee of £25 per night.
1 St. James’s Street, NG1 6BN
An informal three-star hotel set in a modernist high-rise building just to the west of the city centre, the Britannia allows dogs to stay for a fee of between £10 and £25 per night, depending on their size. Good news for animal lovers, if not necessarily for your pooch, is that the Britannia also allows cats.
Novotel Nottingham East Midlands
M1 Junction 25, Bostocks Lane, Long Eaton, NG10 4EP
Located just off Junction 25 of the M1 to the south of the city, Novotel’s rather unromantic location is compensated for by their dog policy. Up to two pooches, of any size, can stay for a fee of £12 per dog, per night. A refreshing change, as many of Nottingham’s more centrally-based dog-friendly hotels impose size or weight limits.
Cottages and Private Lets
As always, we recommend you check out prices and availability for cottages or holiday lets in the area before you commit to booking a hotel. These homes-away-from-home could prove to be ideal for the holiday you and your dog are looking to enjoy, particularly if you prefer to be based in the countryside rather than in the city.