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August 13, 2019


Here at Best Western Nottingham Derby Hotel, we welcome guests who join us for all manner of reasons; some stay with us for business, others are simply passing by and many choose us as their hosts of choice during a weekend getaway. That might be because our onsite restaurant serves up the finest Full English breakfast in the region, but we suspect it’s possibly due to our ideal location between Nottingham and Derby.

A weekend away in the heart of the East Midlands makes for a fantastic getaway that doesn’t break the bank - especially if you look for a cheap hotel in Nottingham. As well as numerous tourist hotspots and places to eat and drink in both Nottingham and Derby, there is also plenty that you can do without spending a penny.

Sceptical? Don’t be, because below we have listed no less than five free things you can do in our vicinity that will make your weekend away one to remember.

Derby Museum & Art Gallery

Our first pick comes on the western side of our hotel; Derby Museum & Art Gallery. Here you will find various collections of artistic value, offering something for visitors of all ages in the art gallery. If art, however, isn’t quite your forte, that’s okay because you will also have the pick of the Museum of Making (more on this later) and Pickford’s House, the show home of architect Joseph Pickford.

Inside the building that is neatly tucked away behind cobbled pavement and era-defining construction, you will find the stark contrast of lifestyles between the servant and master in the 18th to 20th centuries. Pickford’s House has seen many changes over its 250-year lifespan, bridging the gap between Georgian and modern-day architecture.

Attenborough Nature Centre

Over in Nottingham, to the east of Best Western Nottingham Derby Hotel, is one of the most famous nature reserves in the country, Attenborough Nature Centre. While parking does cost £3, the entry itself is free and you can walk around the two-and-a-half-mile centre that is noted for its bird sanctuary.

The centre also hosts a variety of events for children young and old, offering the opportunity to volunteer at Attenborough Nature Centre (specifically for teenagers) while young tots (aged between two and four years of age) can join in with parent and toddler sessions.

When you have finished exploring the many trails and wildlife you can find at the centre, you can sit down and enjoy a spot of lunch. No doubt you will be more than ready for a little pick-me-up at the end of your walk, so this would make for the perfect end to your family afternoon together.

Derby Silk Mill – UNESCO World Heritage Site

We head back to Derby for our third freebie, and it’s also back to Derby Museum but specifically Derby Silk Mill, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Currently, the Museum of Making is undergoing a £17 million renovation which is designed to “create an inspirational and active” area for the community and is scheduled for a full reopening in summer 2020.

The museum was originally established in 1974 as the Derby Industrial Museum, located on the former site of Lombe’s Mill, the first successful silk throwing mill in England. The original Mill was named after John Lombe, who built the facility after returning from Piedmont after learning of Italian silk throwing machines. As many as 300 worked at the mill at its height.

Now, the site is maintained as a keepsake of history, so as the glory years of Derby industrial will never be forgotten.

Nottingham Cathedral

Open between 7am and 7pm every day, Nottingham Cathedral is regarded as one of the hidden gems of the city. Making for a fantastic family day out, the cathedral has maintained much of its rich history – to visit is akin to reading the history of Nottingham, which will be displayed before your eyes.

To give the cathedral its full name, the Cathedral Church of St Barnabas and the Nottingham Parish of St Augustine of England, began construction in 1842 by Bishop Nicholas Wiseman. The foundation was made using relics of Saint Barnabas from Rome, which exclaims the building’s importance to the Catholic Church.

The cathedral doesn’t just serve the city, as it is the Mother Church of the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham serving counties such as Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland.

Derby Arboretum

The first public park to open in Britain, so iconic that New York actually based its world-famous Central Park on its design (yes, really). That alone should serve as reason enough to take a stroll around this Grade II listed site, which you can find not too far south of Derby City Centre. With cafes and playgrounds aplenty, Derby Arboretum makes for the ideal afternoon with the family.

In the summer, you will find nowhere better to site down with friends and family out in the glorious sunshine. At the opposite time of the year, the park for a picturesque winter wonderland or autumnal scenery where couples can head to for a romantic stroll (or take pictures aplenty).

This just goes to show that you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a fantastic weekend away with friends and/or family in the East Midlands. Book your stay at Best Western Nottingham Derby Hotel today or get in contact with a member of our team today for more information.

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