• Emily Malone

10 reasons Nottingham should be European Capital of Culture 2023

For those of you who have visited us in Nottingham, you might have already experienced the delights the city has to offer. Nottingham is our home, and recently it’s been entered into the race to become 2023’s ‘European Capital of Culture’. So naturally, we feel pretty compelled to shout about it! 

For those who reckon there’s nowt in Notts to deem it a likely candidate, think again. We can’t think of a better place for the title. Here’s why…

1. City of literature

From poetry nights to famous writers, this city thrives in terms of literature. And it isn’t just the legend of Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor that deems us a rebellious city. World-class rebel-writers such as Lord Byron and DH Lawrence hail from Nottingham, which helped name us City of Literature in 2015 — joining Norwich, Melbourne, Prague and Barcelona as one of only a handful in the world!

2. Arts, crafts and galleries

With more galleries than you can shake a paintbrush at, Nottingham is full of amazing art. From the Castle halls, to The Contemporary, to Lakeside Arts (over the road from oe:gen HQ!), there’s always lots of things to do to get creative. Check out the Nottingham Art Map to find out more!

3. Festivals

There are loads of festivals held around the city throughout the year: Dot to Dot, Y Not?, Carribean Carnival, Waterfront, Detonate, Download, Bloodstock, Gloworm… you get the idea. And we’re a charitable bunch, too! The next festival will be Hockley Hustle in October — a music, arts and community festival which donates ticket profits to local charities.

4. Museums

We’ve got the Elizabethan mansion-turned-museum, Wollaton Hall (AKA Batman’s LITERAL house in The Dark Knight Rises), The Galleries of Justice, Newstead Abbey, Green’s Windmill, The Castle. Plus loads more hidden gems.

Monday’s #MuseumWeek theme is food, which suits our Mamenchisaurus, as he’s being mounted in prime leaf-chomping position! This huge sauropod is being mounted in rearing position as it’s too long to fit in our hall! When it’s constructed, Mamenchisaurus will stand 13 metres tall, making it the tallest mounted dinosaur in the UK! 

A post shared by Wollaton Hall & Deer Park (@wollatonhall) on Jun 21, 2017 at 12:21pm PDT

5. Entertainment venues

Rock City is the best live venue and club in the country. FACT. It even says so on the outside of their building. Plus, there’s The Motorpoint Arena, Rescue Rooms, The Maze, and The Bodega to go gigging at each night of the week. Or if you’re after a film, you’ve got the choice between Broadway, The Showcase, The Savoy Cinema, and The Cornerhouse, which also has Adventure Golf and FunZone arcade.

Like what we do? Want to have your say on the heavy music scene? Head to the link in our bio and vote for us as Best Venue in the @heavymusicawards 🤘🤘 You can vote for Best Live Band, Best Album and more as well #rockcityuk 

A post shared by Rock City (@rockcitynottingham) on Jun 23, 2017 at 6:14am PDT

More recently, there’s been a couple of gaming lounges pop up in Hockley. No need to own your own console, you can chill in ALT gaming lounge with a drink and play whatever game you please.

Gears Of War #KnowYourRoots EU OPEN! #gearsofwar4 #gearsofwar #esports #multiplay #nottingham #xbox #microsoft #gaming #altgaminglounge #gamingbar

A post shared by [ALT] Video Gaming Lounge (@altgaminglounge) on Aug 19, 2017 at 4:08am PDT

6. Nottinghamshire Pride

Did you know Nottingham had the UK’s first genuinely-licensed LGBTQ club? We’ve got lots of social, cultural, and support services for LGBTQ individuals. Each July, the city hosts Nottinghamshire Pride. Plus, drag queen legends frequently perform shows at Spanky Van Dykes. There are also social groups and societies for both Universities. 

#flagraising #rainbowflag #nottinghamcastle a few weeks ago for #IDAHOT #rainbowfam #nottspride

A post shared by Nottinghamshire Pride (@nottspride) on Jun 2, 2014 at 1:41pm PDT

7. International foods

So many restaurants, so much culturally-diverse food to stuff your face with. You could do what my friends have once tried and failed to do — see if you can get ‘international food bingo’ by eating at them all in one day. Or you could just go get a metre of pizza followed by crazy doughnuts for dessert…

That Crunchy is back on Special Today! #Nottingham #Doughnotts 

A post shared by Doughnotts (@doughnotts_official) on May 7, 2017 at 12:42am PDT

8. History and heritage

Secret man-made caves, historic houses, castles, cathedrals, and links to the lace-making, bicycle, and tobacco industries. Plus, our pubs are really, really old…

Nottingham is known as a city of caves. A great place to enjoy this experience is the oldest pub in England #yeoldetriptojerusalem. Student takeover by @marianexfer 

A post shared by NTU International (@ntuinternational) on Apr 28, 2017 at 12:57am PDT

9. Music scene

Nottingham’s musicians are making some pretty big waves in the UK recently. From Jake Bugg to Kagoule, to Sleaford Mods, and more. Visit our pals over at Nusic.org.uk to read more about the talent that’s amplifying out from our music venues. 

Just wrapped up out first interview with @indianathegirl at Wollaton Hall for Nusic Presents Indiana. Exciting times! #indiana #filming

A post shared by Nusic NewNottsMusic (@feelthenusic) on Aug 7, 2014 at 5:57am PDT

10. Theatres

The Theatre Royale Concert Hall, the Nottingham Playhouse, and the Nottingham Arts Theatre… you won’t have to look too hard for an evening with the thespians around here. 

A few tickets have been released for Saturday’s now almost sold out matinee show! Book now if you don’t want to miss out!!

A post shared by Nottingham Arts Theatre (@nottinghamarts) on Dec 17, 2015 at 5:25am PST

See? We’re rarely bored in Nottingham. There’s plenty to do, see, and participate in for all kinds of folk, all year round. I reckon we’ve got it in the bag.