Best Cities in the UK: Nottingham
Best Cities in the UK > 20 Best Cities > Nottingham
Given that ‘all roads lead to London’, it can be hard to imagine that there are any other cities in the UK.
From the outside looking in, the capital is the centre of this country. All the other towns and cities just orbit it, like little satellites lost in space.
But hidden in these mud-lined shores and rolling fields lies a secret.
Despite what you may think, there is life outside of the capital.
Shocking, right? I know.
But, even more startling is this: Not only is there life outside of London, but this life is also thriving.
Away from the Big Smoke and its skyscrapers, the UK is packed with towns and cities carving out their own identity. One of these cities in Nottingham.
Home to the legendary Robin Hood and his Merry Men, Nottingham has more going for it than just a load of blokes running around in tights. The city is a modern and evolving beast. It’s a creative hub with a young population set on transforming its fortunes.
Once regarded as one of the worst places to live in the UK, Nottingham has had a face-lift in recent years. The city is now flourishing and has plenty of secrets waiting to be discovered and explored.
Employment in Nottingham
Nottingham is home to roughly 300,000 people, with students making up an estimated 60,000 of the population. Unsurprisingly, given this huge talent pool, businesses have begun moving their HQs to the city.
This boom in potential careers has seen Nottingham named as the third best city in the UK for jobs by Glassdoor. The survey looked at how easy it is to find a job, employee satisfaction, and the cost of living.
The city has a long history in the science sector. It was the birthplace of the international health and beauty retailer and pharmacy, Boots. It was also named as one of six ‘science cities’ by the government in 2005.
This title has led to investment in Nottingham’s science sector, with BioCity being the jewel in its crown. The science park is the UK’s largest bioscience innovation and incubation centre and is home to numerous labs and offices. The centre is home to both renowned companies and exciting, science-based start-ups.
Of course, being home to two leading universities, Nottingham has marked itself out as a city for education.
The University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University are both world-renowned institutes. Not only do they provide jobs for residents, but they also produce talented graduates for companies in the city.
While BioCity contains some thriving start-ups, Nottingham also has some big hitters in its armoury.
Boots still has its headquarters in the quaint suburb of Beeston and employs 8,000 people. Elsewhere, Experian has its operational headquarters in Nottingham. Pendragon (the largest car dealerships operator in the UK) also resides in the city. Vision Express, the University Of Nottingham’s Energy Technology Research Institute, and fashion designer Paul Smith’s flagship store can also be found here.
Given its growing employment sector, Nottingham’s reputation as a city to live in is blossoming. MP Vince Cable recently described the city as “a place for innovative businesses and individuals to thrive”.
We all know that life isn’t all about our work, however.
Nottingham might be a good place to work, but is it a good place to live?
Let’s start with property.
Property in Nottingham
We’ve all dreamt of living in a trendy warehouse conversion, haven’t we?
You know the type. Stripped back brick walls, shelving units made of metal, loads of plants everywhere. It’s an aesthetic that a lot of us reach for, but never fully achieve.
In London, these conversions would set you back over £1,000 a month, and you’d also be living with people. In Nottingham, though, you’re looking at nearly half that price.
Due to its long history in the textiles industry, Nottingham is full of old warehouses given a new lease of life by developers. These luxury apartments are particularly prominent in the trendy areas of Lace Market and Hockley.
The light-filled spaces can be grabbed for around only £600 per month for a one-bed apartment. In other words, say goodbye to those London warehouse spaces that chew away at over half your salary.
Nottingham isn’t just a city of warehouse apartments, though. The city also has suburbs and modern complexes ready to be lived in. As the below figures from Numbeo show, renting in Nottingham is a relatively cheap affair.
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – £584.21
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – £457.06
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – £997.86
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – £714.29
Of course, all this is relevant to how much you earn. But, with the average salary in Nottingham being £1,539.91, residents are left with a fair amount of disposable income.
Nottingham is also a great place to buy, but you might want to get in fast.
Nottingham homeowners have seen the price of their homes rising twice as fast as the national average, according to HM Land Registry.
As of October 2018, the average property price in the city stood at £144,416. That figure is 5.6 per cent up on in October 2017, where the average home was £136,771.
It’s not just the city where prices are rocketing. Nottinghamshire county is also experiencing a rapid rise in house prices.
Across the county, the average price of the property was £178,641 in October 2018. That figure is 5.2 per cent higher than in October 2017, which was £169,838.
Although the average property in Nottingham is around £140,000, you can still expect to pay more in the most popular parts of town.
‘The Park’ is the most sought-after and exclusive postcode. Formerly the grounds of Nottingham Castle, properties in this area do not come cheap. According to Rightmove, Victorian houses on these tree-lined streets sold for an average of £372,680.
The Park isn’t for everyone, however. The close-knit community has a ‘lamp-man’ to turn off the street lights and may feel too old-fashioned for some.
For city-slickers and young professionals, the area of Hockley and Lace Market should tick your boxes.
Steeped in history and in the centre of town, this area offers city-living at its finest. Residents are spoilt for choice with bars, restaurants and boutiques on their doorstep. But, the majority of properties are apartments, so you’d be hard-pressed to find a garden.
If you’re looking for a bit more space while still being close to the city, there are plenty of options for you. The areas of Beeston, Lenton and West Bridgford all offer a mixture of living spaces, while still being close to the city.
Transport in Nottingham
Living outside of Nottingham city centre is not a problem. The city prides itself on its public transport and for good reason.
Nottingham has previously been named as England’s least car-dependent city. The city’s award-winning bus service and tram lines have been credited with keeping residents out of their cars.
Despite the accolades, the city has continued to develop its tramline, while also improving bus and rail links.
The city also benefits from direct links to London and other major UK cities. Not only that, but it’s a short trip to East Midlands airport and its flights to Europe.
Things to do in Nottingham
While there’s plenty of routes out of the city, Nottingham has enough charm to keep residents from leaving the city.
There’s a variety of music and theatre venues to suit all preferences. Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall host contemporary and classical music and comedians in the centre of town.
For a more rowdy affair, Rock City is the famous indie venue and boasts a packed programme of bands and club nights. There’s also Rescue Rooms, with amazing gigs and creative events. Then you have Ocean, a mega-club with themed nights for students.
The hipster crowd is found at Jam Cafe: A trendy venue that offers evening gigs and DJ sets in a ‘casual but funky European-style cafe-bar.’ While Bodega is also an intimate venue that offers gigs to rising musicians and acts.
If you’re after a more alternative affair, Pit and Pendulum is the place to be. The atmospheric Gothic-themed pub serves cocktails and classic pub food with a heavy metal soundtrack.
Nottingham’s nightlife may be enough to keep you entertained, but what about in the day?
The city is a shopper’s paradise. There are two main shopping centres in Nottingham: the Victoria Centre and the Broadmarsh Centre. Both have all the staples you’d need but are also a little worn out.
Nottingham’s best shopping experience is found away from the mainstream. Bridlsmith Gate, the Exchange and Flying Horse Walk offer high-end stores and boutiques. While Hockley Village is the place to be for boutiques, vintage shops, and independent cafes.
Food and Drink
You’ll need to wet your whistle after all that shopping. Thankfully, Nottingham is home to possibly the oldest pub in England.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub is connected to a Medieval cave system and built against the cliffs of the Castle. It has a charming wonky interior and serves delicious food. Oh, it’s also haunted by ghosts.
Nottingham is also a place for foodies. The city has a wealth of casual dining options and a two Michelin star restaurant.
Sat Bains offers creative and modern British dishes. There’s a wonderful tasting menu, workshops and rooms available to stay in.
Nottingham’s affiliation with Robin Hood is well known. The city celebrates the outlaw through guided walks and activities in Sherwood Forest. You can also have your photo with the Robin Hood statue outside of Nottingham Castle.
The castle is located in the centre of the city and has been since Medieval times. It’s been the location of many battles during its lifetime and served as a royal residence in the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries.
The castle is now home to Nottingham Museum and Art Gallery. Here, you can find out more about the city’s culture and history and also take a look at the art in the Long Gallery.
Nottingham is also a green city – 20 per cent of the city is green space.
Wollaton Park is the pick of the bunch. Situated in the west of the city, it’s a vast deer park with a stunning Elizabethan stately home in the centre. For superhero fans, this home may be recognisable: It’s Batman’s house in the Dark Knight Rises.
The last place of note is the National Videogame Arcade. Yep, you heard me right.
Unsurprisingly, the arcade lets you can spend the day playing retro video games and learning about the platform. While London may have trendy bars devoted to gaming, Nottingham has a whole museum.
Nottingham is evidence that there is life outside of London. The city may not be as well known as the like of Manchester or Birmingham, but it more than makes up for it.
What Nottingham lacks in reputation, it makes up for in low house prices, a good job market and brilliant restaurants and bars. If you are thinking of relocating, keep Nottingham on your list: you won’t be disappointed.
Published at Tue, 22 Oct 2019 10:00:51 +0000