Nottingham is known for its links to the legend of Robin Hood and for its lace-making, bicycle and tobacco industries with an estimated population of 315,000. It was granted its city charter in 1897 as part of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Nottingham is home to the National Ice Centre, the National Water Sports Centre, Trent Bridge Test cricket ground, two Football League teams, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and Nottingham Panthers ice hockey team. Over 60,000 students attend the city's two universities Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham.
Culturally, there are two large-capacity theatres, numerous museums and art galleries, the Broadway Cinema and several live music venues, including the Nottingham Arena and Rock City, both of which regularly host major UK and international artists. In 2013, Nottingham was also named the most haunted city in England.
Nottingham has the largest publicly owned bus network in England and is also served by Nottingham railway station and the Nottingham Express Transit tram system. East Midlands Airport is 13 miles south-west of the city.
During the Industrial Revolution, much of Nottingham's prosperity was founded on the textile industry; in particular, the city became an internationally important centre of lace manufacture.
Electric trams were first introduced to the city in 1901; they served the city for 35 years until the trolleybus network was expanded in 1936. The city's road network was improved between 1922 and 1932 and trams were reintroduced after 68 years when a new network opened in 2004.
In the sporting world, Nottingham is home to the world's oldest professional football club, Notts County, which was formed in 1862. The town's other football club, Nottingham Forest, (under manager Brian Clough) had a period of success between 1977 and 1993; winning the First Division, four League Cups, a UEFA Super Cup and two European Cups. During this time Forest signed Trevor Francis, Britain's first £1million footballer, who joined the club in February 1979 from Birmingham City.
In 1980, Nottingham-born ice dancers Torvill and Dean won Gold medals at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Their performance is the only one to have obtained a perfect 6.0 score from all on the judging panel. The pair went on to gain numerous gold medals, including at the World Figure Skating Championships, European Figure Skating Championships and the British Figure Skating Championships. More recently the pair have appeared as coaches on the television program Dancing on Ice.
The geographical centre of Nottingham is usually defined as the Old Market Square, the largest city square in the UK. The square is dominated by the Council House, which replaced The Nottingham Exchange Building, built in 1726. The Council House was built in the 1920s to display civic pride, ostentatiously using baroque columns and placing stone statues of two lions at the front to stand watch over the square. The Exchange Arcade, on the ground floor, is an upmarket shopping centre containing high-end boutiques. Portland Stone was used to construct the Council House and Exchange Arcade.
Nottingham Castle and its grounds are located further south in the western third of the city. The central third descends from the University district in the north, past Nottingham Trent University's Gothic revival Arkwright Building. The University also owns many other buildings in this area. The Theatre Royal on Theatre Square, with its pillared façade, was built in 1865. King and Queen Streets are home to striking Victorian buildings designed by the likes of Alfred Waterhouse and Watson Fothergill.
To the south, is Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. The Canal-side further south of this is adjacent to Nottingham railway station and home to numerous redeveloped 19th Century industrial buildings revived as bars and restaurants.
The eastern third of the city centre contains the Victoria Shopping Centre, built in the 1970s on the site of the demolished Victoria Railway Station. All that remains of the old station is the clock tower and the station hotel, now the Nottingham Hilton Hotel. The 250 feet-high Victoria Centre flats stand above the shopping centre and are the tallest buildings in the city. The eastern third contains Hockley Village. Hockley is where many of Nottingham's unique, independent shops are to be found. It is also home to two alternative cinemas. The Screen Room in Hockley claims to be the smallest cinema in the world with only 21 seats.
The Lace Market area just south of Hockley has densely packed streets full of four to seven-story red brick warehouses, ornate iron railings and red phone boxes.
The Georgian-built tourist attraction The Galleries of Justice was Nottingham's main court and prison building for 200 years from 1780; although the site's use as a court stretches back as far as 1375.
Nottingham is home to two universities: the Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham; both of which have several campuses in the city boasting over 60,000 students between them making Nottingham one of the largest centres of higher education in the UK. The University of Nottingham Medical School is part of the Queen's Medical Centre and Three further education colleges are located in Nottingham - Bilborough College, Central and New College Nottingham.
Nottingham is home to the headquarters of many well-known companies. One of the best known is Boots the Chemists, founded in the city by John Boot in 1849 and substantially expanded by his son Jesse Boot and grandson John Boot. Other large companies include the credit reference agency Experian, the energy company E.ON, engineering company Siemens, sportswear manufacturers Speedo, high street opticians Vision Express, games and publishing company Games Workshop and the American credit card company Capital One (whose European offices are based in the city). Nottingham is also the home of the Nottingham Building Society (set up in 1849), the offices of HM Revenue and Customs, the Driving Standards Agency, and BBC East Midlands. Nottingham is also one of the eight members of the English Core Cities Group.
Nottingham was made one of the UK's six Science Cities in 2005. Among the science based industries within the city is BioCity. Founded as a joint venture between Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham, BioCity is the UK's biggest bioscience innovation and incubation centre. The lab houses around 80 science-based companies.
Nottingham was the birthplace of Raleigh Cycles in 1886. Raleigh bicycles are designed and assembled in Eastwood, and still boast Nottingham on their logo.
Many of the UK's railway ticket machines and platform departure boards run software written by Atos Origin in their offices in Nottingham. An increasing number of software developers are located in Nottingham: Reuters, Crytek UK, Nexor and Legendary Games are based in the city centre, and Serif Europe are based between Wilford and Ruddington. The global Business SMS company Esendex was founded in the Lace Market district and now operates in 6 markets across the world. Ceramics manufacturer Mason Cash was founded in, and continues to operate in Nottingham. Nottingham is also the birthplace of, and joint headquarters of Paul Smith, the high fashion house.
There are two main shopping centres in Nottingham: Victoria Centre and the Broadmarsh Centre both of which are being further improved. The Victoria Centre was established on the site of the former Nottingham Victoria railway station, and was the first to be built in the city. It has parking for 2,400 cars and a bus station. Victoria Centre is also topped by 26 floors of apartments, the tallest building in Nottingham.
Smaller shopping centres in the city are The Exchange Arcade, the Flying Horse Walk and newer developments in Trinity Square and The Pod. The Bridlesmith Gate area has numerous designer shops, and is the home of the original Paul Smith boutique. There are also various side streets and alleys that hide some interesting and often overlooked buildings and shops – streets such as Poultry Walk, West End Arcade and Hurts Yard.
Nottingham has a number of department stores including House of Fraser, John Lewis, and Debenhams. Hockley Village caters to alternative tastes with many alternative and independent shops.
The Creative Quarter is a project started by Nottingham City Council. Centred on the east of the city (including the Lace Market, Hockley, Broadmarsh East, the Island site and BioCity), the project aims at creating growth and jobs. In July 2012, the government contributed £25 million towards a £45 million venture capital fund, mainly targeted at the Creative Quarter.
Nottingham has two large-capacity theatres, the Nottingham Playhouse and the Theatre Royal (which, together with the neighbouring Royal Concert Hall forms the Royal Centre) The city is also host to smaller theatre venues, such as the Nottingham Arts Theatre the Lace Market Theatre and New Theatre (the only entirely student-run theatre in England).
Regarding pubs, the Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, partially built into the cave system beneath Nottingham Castle, proudly displays the title of "England's Oldest Inn Est.1189". The Bell Inn on the Old Market Square, and Ye Olde Salutation Inn on Maid Marian Way, both contend in terms of age. An episode of the Channel 4 TV documentary series History Hunters tested attributes of the three claimants and found that, while each has its own evidence, none can claim exclusivity.
The city contains several museums and art galleries including the Nottingham Castle Museum.
The city has several multiplex cinemas. Independent cinemas include the Broadway Cinema, Savoy Cinema, as well as the arthouse cinema Broadway in Hockley. Quentin Tarantino held the British premiere of Pulp Fiction there in 1994.
Nottingham has several large music and entertainment venues including the Royal Concert Hall, Rock City and the Nottingham Arena which attract the biggest names in popular music and comedy. Nottingham is host to the award-winning rock music venue Rock City. The city has an active classical music scene, with long-established groups such as the city's Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra, Nottingham Harmonic Society, Bach Choir, Early Music Group Musica Donum Dei and the Symphonic Wind Orchestra giving regular performances in the city. Out of the city centre, Wollaton Park hosts an annual family-friendly music festival, Splendour.
Since the turn of the decade the city has produced a number of artists including; Jake Bugg, London Grammar, Indiana, Natalie Duncan, Dog Is Dead, Saint Raymond, Amber Run, Harleighblu and Sleaford Mods.
There are several hundred restaurants in Nottingham, with several AA rosette winning restaurants and double Michelin-starred restaurant, Sat Bains. The Old Market Square is host to the annual Nottingham Food and Drink Festival, and numerous foreign food markets throughout the year.
In 2010, the city was named as one of the "Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2010". Many visitors are attracted by Nottingham's nightlife, shops, history, and by the legend of Robin Hood. Popular history-based tourist attractions in central Nottingham include the Castle, City of Caves, Lace Market, The Galleries of Justice, and the City's ancient pubs.
Parks and gardens include Wollaton Park (over 500 acres (202 ha) centred on Wollaton Hall), Colwick Park (which includes the racecourse), the Nottingham Arboretum, Forest Recreation Ground and Victoria Park. Sherwood Forest, Rufford Country Park, Creswell Crags and Clumber Park are further away from the city itself.
There are two main Robin Hood events throughout the Nottingham area, including the Robin Hood Pageant during October, and the Robin Hood Festival during the summer. The pageant is held at the Castle, whilst the festival is held in nearby Sherwood Forest. The city is also home to the Nottingham Robin Hood Society, founded in 1972 by Jim Lees and Steve and Ewa Theresa West.
Many local businesses and organisations use the worldwide fame of Robin Hood to represent or promote their brands. Many residents speak using the East Midlands dialect. The friendly term of greeting 'Ayup me Duck' is a humorous example of the local dialect but with an unclear origin.
The annual Nottingham Goose Fair is held during the first week of October and is one of the oldest and largest travelling fairs in Europe, having since 1284 only been cancelled for The Plague and the two world wars. The fair has been held on the Forest Recreation Ground since 1928, having previously been held in the Old Market Square.
Nottingham is home to the GameCity annual videogame festival, which attracts leading industry speakers from around the world.
Nottingham is home to two professional football clubs: Notts County and Nottingham Forest. Their two football grounds, on opposite sides of the River Trent, are noted for geographically being the closest in English league football and won the title of 2015 City of Football after five months of campaigning, which resulted in £1.6m in funding for local football ventures and to encourage more people to play the sport.
Nottingham is home to one of the biggest ice hockey teams in Britain, the Nottingham Panthers. The team compete in the Elite Ice Hockey League, and share an intense rivalry with the Sheffield Steelers.
Nottingham is home to Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, who play at Trent Bridge (a major international cricket venue with a capacity of 17,000). The club were 2010 Cricket County Champions. Trent Bridge cricket ground is a regular host of Test Cricket each and was one of the venues for the 2009 ICC T20 tournament.
The National Water Sports Centre is based at Holme Pierrepont. The centre has a 2000 metre regatta lake for rowing, canoeing and sailing, and a white water slalom canoe course fed from the River Trent.
Nottingham Outlaws are an amateur rugby league club who play in the Rugby League Conference National Division. They play their home games at Harvey Hadden Stadium, which has a capacity of 1600. Nottingham is also home to Championship Nottingham RFC who have played their home games at League One, Notts County's Meadow Lane stadium since 2006. In January 2015 they will play home matches at their training base, Lady Bay Sports Ground. If Nottingham are promoted to the Premiership they will return to Meadow Lane for home matches.
The city was the birthplace and training location for ice dancers Torvill and Dean, who won Gold at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics; their performance is the only one to have obtained a perfect 6.0 score from all on the judging panel. The pair went on to gain numerous gold medals, including at the World Figure Skating Championships, European Figure Skating Championships and the British Figure Skating Championships. More recently the pair have appeared as coaches on the TV program Dancing on Ice. The citys National Ice Centre, opened by Jane Torvill, is a national centre for ice sports. The square in-front of the centre is named "Bolero Square" after Torvill and Dean's perfect 6.0 performance. The Great Britain Olympic Speed Skating team train in Nottingham.