Those who've heard the story of Robin Hood know that the outlaw and his Merry Men hung out in Sherwood Forest on the outskirts of Nottingham. But there's a lot more to this city than fairytales, including a world-renowned university, England's oldest inn, and a medieval castle that has been turned into an art gallery and museum. This Midland city, 128 miles (206 kilometers) from London, makes for a great escape from the chaos of the sprawling metropolis. You can get to it by bus and car, but the fastest way to travel is by train.
|Bus||3 hours, 30 minutes||from $6||Minding a budget|
|Train||1 hour, 45 minutes||from $30||Arriving on a time crunch|
|Car||2 hours, 40 minutes||128 miles (206 kilometers)||Exploring the local area|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From London to Nottingham?
The bus is by far the cheapest mode of transportation between London and Nottingham, with tickets starting at $6. National Express runs an hourly bus service between London Victoria Coach Station and Nottingham Coach Station from 6:30 a.m. to midnight daily. The journey takes about three and a half hours and costs $6 each way when booked in advance. Pro tip: National Express offers a limited number of "funfare" promotional tickets that are very cheap. They can only be purchased online and are usually posted a month or a few weeks before the trip. If you can be flexible about the time and day of travel, you can save a bundle.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From London to Nottingham?
If you need to get there fast, then go by train. East Midland Railways services Nottingham Station from St Pancras International in London, with trains departing several times per hour between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. The journey takes approximately an hour and 45 minutes and fares start around $30. The best way to find cheap train tickets is to be flexible about your travel times and check tickets on the National Rail Enquiry Fare Finder in advance. Use the "All Day" function to look at fare breakdowns for any time of day.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
Nottingham is 128 miles (206 kilometers) north of London via the M1 and the A543 highways. It takes about two hours and 40 minutes to drive it on a good traffic day, but it can take much longer when the M1 is clogged with articulated lorries (this is one of England's busiest roads). There isn't much in the way of scenery on this highway route, but if you insist on driving yourself, you can find car rentals in London for as little as $20 a day.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Nottingham?
You should always carry an umbrella anytime you're traveling throughout the UK, but summer is generally a drier season and therefore more conducive to tourism. If you're planning a trip of broader England, consider that the country is more crowded—and more expensive—during the good-weather season. Those looking for something more low-key might rather visit during spring, when the weather is mild (albeit rainy) and the flowers begin to bloom.
With Nottingham being a university city less than a two-hour train ride from the capital, it's common for Londoners to travel here for work during rush hour times, which Trainline identifies as 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Tickets outside of those times will inevitably be cheaper and the trains will be less crowded. Expect the highways to be backed up during rush hour, too.
Otherwise, try to avoid traveling at the beginning or end of a school holiday (or any Friday or Sunday afternoon, for that matter), when many of the University of Nottingham students might be commuting to and from London.
What Is There to Do in Nottingham?
Nottingham is famous for its association with the legend of Robin Hood, who was known to hang out in the Sherwood Forest, a real National Nature Reserve that encompasses 423.2 hectares (1,046 acres) of greenery. There's a statue of the heroic outlaw in town and also a Robin Hood Stories and Boardgame Museum, among other literary landmarks. If you're in a hurry and want to hit the sites quickly, then consider taking the Robin Hood Town Tour, led by a guy dressed as the character himself.
Nottingham is home to England's oldest inn, Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem, a quirky little place built into a stone cave. While you're in town, pay a visit to the Nottingham Castle, now an art gallery and museum, the nearby caves, Newstead Abbey, and Old Market Square, the centerpiece of Nottingham's shopping streets.