Nottingham's Hidden Gems for Students: Free and Low-Cost Adventures

For a student city, Nottingham has a lot to offer. There is a busy and exciting nightlife, plenty of historical things to explore, art and culture, and a great food scene to satisfy all types of tastes.

What there also is for the intrepid explorers amongst you are some hidden gems that Nottingham is proud of. We’ve told you before how Nottingham isn’t all about Robin Hood and lace, that there is more to the city, and here we’ve put together a guide of some of the low-cost and free things that you can do on your time off in Nottingham as a student.


Visit Nottingham Contemporary

For an immersive experience where you can delve into art and culture, Nottingham Contemporary is a fun and thought-provoking place to visit. It is an elegant building located within easy reach of the railway station and the Lace Market.

Inside, you’ll discover an art gallery, a café, and a learning area. There are some great free exhibitions and special events year-round at this, one of the largest contemporary art spaces in the whole of the UK.

For art students or just any of you who like to visit a gallery and explore local art, this is the space to be in Nottingham!

Nottingham Contemporary

Take a walk around Colwick Country Park

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to go for a walk. Whether alone or with a friend, a walk outside in nature is a great way to blow away the cobwebs, to recharge your batteries away from the stresses of university life, and see some beautiful locations.

There are some beautiful options in and around Nottingham, including Colwick Country Park on the outskirts of the city. It is a beautiful country park with 250 acres of woodland and grassland, and loads of open water, and there are some great self-guided walking tours for Colwick Country Park that you can take.


Wollaton Hall, Gardens and Deer Park

One of the most popular parks in Nottingham, Wollaton Hall combines a grand, Grade I listed Elizabethan building with an exceptional Natural History Museum that is the largest in the country.

The grounds are filled with plenty of places to explore, such as the botanical gardens and nature trails. There are three onsite cafés and shops within the courtyard and the hall, giving you chance for a tasty refuel. The big selling point though, are the wild deer on the grounds, with over 90 red and 120 fallow deer on site.

Go see the animals at Stonebridge City Farm

This urban farm in the heart of Nottingham is a fantastic place to go with a group of friends for the day. It’s another big tick for Nottingham as a good place for nature-lovers, and another free activity.  At the park, you’ll see sheep, cows, ponies, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, and meerkats.

Girl holding a hen in a farm

Explore the markets

Within the city itself, there are some great free things to do within walking distance of your student accommodation.

Old Market Square is a brilliant place to make a meeting spot with your friends before walking around elsewhere or just chilling out there when the weather is nice.

The Lace Market is full of stunning red brick Victorian warehouses, and you’ll find great charity and thrift shops here to get stuck into and find some bargains to take home with you.

Lace Market

Take in the Notts tourist attractions

Nottingham is a good city to walk around and take in all the tourist attractions. Sometimes, it’s just great to be a tourist in your own city.

This is especially good as a student because you’re probably not from Nottingham, but you’ll have been straight into working hard every day and socialising, so take a day out to go and do all the tourist things and explore your new home.

Nottingham has the famous Robin Hood statue outside the castle in the city centre, the New Arts Exchange is a great creative space to visit for free, and Nottingham Arboretum is a wonderland of greenery and flowers to get lost in.

Robin Hood Castle

Go ice skating

For just £5.50 you can spend an hour on the ice at the National Ice Centre when you show your student card.

Whether you’re a novice at ice skating and want to have some fun with friends or you have some experience and want to keep it up, it’s a great activity to stay fit in the most fun way possible. There’s also a café and bar there to get some food afterwards too!

Ice Skating

Take a spooktacular walk

Nottingham has centuries of history, and as such it is one of those places where you can visit dead old pubs and hear stories of the ghosts of centuries past. There are some great, scary ghost walks in Nottingham, where you can explore parts of the city you wouldn’t normally get to see, with guides scaring you as you go into haunted houses and hidden caves underneath the city. You can expect to pay around £6 for a 90-minute to 2-hour ghost walk.


Play adventure golf in the Lost City

The Lost City is a fantastic place to go for some adventure golf with a group of your mates. It is a rainforest-themed indoor golf course, where you must avoid an alligator and ancient statues to make par. It’s only £7 for students to play a full 18-hole game of indoor golf, and there is a tiki bar to sink a few drinks once you’ve put the clubs away at the end of the game.

Indoor Golf

What are your favourite things to do in Nottingham? Have you got your own list of ‘hidden gems Nottingham’ that you use to great effect when you have family and friends visiting? We’ve all got our favourite restaurants in Nottingham, but this gives you more things to do for free or relatively cheap that rounds out a full day out and gives you a few different things to do, whether out with friends, on a date, or with family members in town for a day or two. Let us know what you think!


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