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Nottingham, or Notts, as it's known to locals, is best known as the home of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest.
While it is mostly an industrial center in the East Midlands region of England, it has deep literary roots that attract thousands of visitors each year. D.H. Lawrence, famous for Lady Chatterley's Lover, called Nottingham home/ He was born in a small miner's cottage, a place he wrote about in later books. Newstead Abbey, the ancestral home of Lord Byron, is also located in Nottingham and welcomes thousands of devotees of the Romantic poet.
Nottingham has historical significance as well, thanks to its strategic location on the River Trent, a gateway to England from the north. William the Conqueror built a fort here in 1068, and Prince John surrendered to Richard the Lion Hearted here in 1194. Queen Isabella of France was captured in Nottingham after assassinating Edward II.
The city changed dramatically during the Industrial Revolution, when it became a manufacturing hub. The region is still home to major British manufacturers, such as bicycle company Raleigh, and pharmaceutical maker Boots.
While the region isn't well-known as a tourist destination, there are plenty of comfortable hotels in Nottingham, thanks in part to the two large universities located here, on a hill by William the Conqueror's son, and the former home of the Sheriff of Nottingham. It is now open to the public as a museum, and well-known for tours of the maze of caves beneath the structure.
Some of the area's most beautiful churches and cathedrals are located in Nottingham's pastoral countryside. Southwell Minster, completed by the Normans in the mid 12th century, is known for its stately Norman nave and Chapter House. The Church of Saint Mary was completed around 1175 and is famous as the church where Robin Hood and Maid Marian wed. Saint Mary Magdalene Church is Lord Byron's burial place.
Nottingham has a number of museums and cultural monuments celebrating its heritage as a center of industry. The Nottingham Industrial Museum houses collections of artifacts related to textile manufacturing, transportation, and mining. The Greens Mill Windmill grinds organic flour in a working windmill. For something completely different, try knitting a sock on a 19th-century knitting machine at the Framework Knitters Museum.
No adventure to Nottingham would be complete without a pint of ale and a pub snack at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, the oldest inn in all of England. The inn, which is nestled at the base of Nottingham Castle, has a bit of museum ambiance, but the food is wonderful and the atmosphere festive.