So you’re officially a student of Nottingham Trent University or the University of Nottingham… welcome to the start of late nights, making new friends, having to sort your own washing out, and the beginning of the most carb-heavy years of your life.
Here at Framework Design, we know that it can be daunting getting used to a new city, many of our employees hail from far-flung places, like France, Brazil, and Stoke-on-Trent. From our many years based here in the glorious city centre of Nottingham, we’ve picked up some ideas of the best places to go for food and drinks, days out and other excursions. So without further ado (we know you’re very excited), here is the Framework certified guide to Nottingham City for students (and you, a person who is no longer a student but wants a few ideas of things to do with the kids).
In this guide you will find recommendations on transport, bars, restaurants, and days out in and around Nottingham City Centre.
Nottingham City Transport
There are so many different modes of transport to get you around Nottingham quickly and easily, let’s take a look at them…
When these babies are running on time, you best believe they’re a great way of getting around.
The Nottingham train station is located just on the edge of town and strategically connected to the Nottingham station tram stop. If you’re heading home, or fancy a visit to surrounding cities like Leicester, Derby, or Birmingham, the train is a great option.
There is no official student ticket for the train, however, there are ways to save some of those pennies. You can get a 16-25 Railcard which saves you up to 1/3 on train tickets, or a 16-17 saver which can give you a 50% discount. If these aren’t for you, there are a number of other ways of saving money on your tickets, you can find out more about them here.
The Nottingham trams are one of the BEST ways of navigating the city. A 20-mile tram system spanning from Hucknall to Toton Lane and Phoenix Park to Clifton South.
The trams have convenient stops all over the city from the very centre (where you can find the main high street) at Old Market Square, to the Train station and beyond. On the Hucknall Line, you can even hop off at the University of Nottingham or University Boulevard. It is all ‘buy before you board’ so make sure you grab a ticket before you get on!
You can either buy a ticket at any of the ticket machines positioned at every stop, or you can download the NetGo app (for slightly cheaper tickets), or use a Robin Hood Card. Tickets themselves are very reasonably priced and there are student ticket options available too, but make sure you carry your student card around with you. You can have a look at the various tram ticket options here.
Also, it’s always good to know that there are 7 Park & Ride sites at: Clifton South, The Forest, Hucknall, Moor Bridge, Phoenix Park, Toton Lane, and Wilkinson Street. These are all free to park at, and combined they have 5000 spaces… so that’s pretty useful.
The Nottingham buses are another option for getting around. There is even a student bus travel pass option that offers discounted tickets but you must have purchased them before October 30th and you must have a valid student ID card to do so!!
For those who do not opt for a student bus travel pass, you can either pay for a bus ticket on the day using the NCTX Buses app, or with cash but it must be the exact fare. To get the best prices however, it’s recommended that you buy your tickets in advance for the academic year using the NCTX Buses app or easyrider smart cards. Remember to carry that student card with you just in case. Check out your ticket options here.
There is also a useful and very reasonably priced night bus service to get you home safely after a night out with your mates, you can find out more about that here.
An authentic Bavarian bar experience, Bierkeller is a buzzing sports bar venue in the very heart of Nottingham, a 2-minute walk from the Old Market Square. If you visit Bierkeller you’ll find a lively bar, a large beer garden, pools tables, and darts. Serving a selection of draught beers, bottled beer, cocktail steins, and foods such as burgers, chicken wings, and loaded fries, what more could you possibly need on a Friday night.
It is worth saying that Bierkeller does a Sunday to Friday deal on cocktails which lets you get 2 for £10. The site also mentions great student deals if you enquire.
Located on Bridlesmith Gate, just a couple of minutes walk from the Lace Market tram stop, Coco Tang is a beautiful venue that by day is an Oriental cafe and by night a lively cocktail bar/nightclub. With an incredible cocktail menu including a fight club-themed iced tea, happy hour at Coco Tang is 8-9 pm Tuesday to Thursday.
Coco Tang also runs a key fob discount scheme which allows you to give a donation to support CNCF and underprivileged children in Vietnam, and in return, you get 20% off meals and drinks for a certain duration.
Pizza, ping pong, and good times define Das Kino, a bustling ping pong club on Fletcher Gate in Nottingham City Centre. Das Kino is well known for its pizza, of which they have a gloriously vast selection, but every Sunday from 2 pm-9 pm they also host Wingsday, a day dedicated to all-you-can-eat chicken wings for only £9.95.
Sounds like Sundays are sorted…
The Rescue Rooms combine a welcoming bar and patio for socialising, with an intimate live music venue space. Having hosted some well-known artists including The Killers, Jake Bugg, and London Grammar, Rescue Rooms are the place to be.
If you’re looking for a place with a bit of a mix, Rescue Rooms host an indie disco called Pressure, on Tuesday nights. There are also Karaoke nights on Wednesdays, and Rescue Rooms link with their neighbour, Stealth, for a huge, multi-room party on Saturday nights.
Happy hour is daily from 4 pm until 7 pm and until midnight on Mondays. Or if you’re more of a cocktail fan, Rescue Rooms cocktail hour is 7 pm until 9 pm daily, and until midnight on Wednesdays!
Nestled in the heart of Nottingham is the Southbank Bar. Offering live sports coverage shown across 24 4K screens, and a variety of live music and events, an evening at Southbank Bar is never dull. You can also hire out darts, pool, a ps4, and private booths for you and your friends. The bar also boasts a great selection of alcoholic drinks, and an extensive menu of food favourites such as pizza, burgers, wraps and more.
The Southbank Bar provides a generous 40% off all food for students, valid with an NUS card, so be sure to pop that in your pocket before heading down.
Cosy cocktail bar, Pepper Rocks, can be found at 12 Pepper Street in Nottingham City centre, near the Lace Market tram stop. This bar consists of two spacious floors and offers a large selection of cocktails and delicious Icelandic-style hotdogs called Bunk Dogs.
Pepper Rocks have a fantastic offer on house cocktails, meaning you can grab yourself anything from a drumstick to a gin bramble for just £5.50 any day until 10 pm.
In Nottingham city centre, you’re never far from a bunk. With venues on Stoney Street, Lower Parliament Street, and Wollaton Street, you’re never far from getting your cocktail and chicken fix.
Bunk lets you choose from traditional wings, boneless wings, nuggets, vegetarian nuggets, and vegan tofu, add your choice of seasoning and finish it off with your favourite sauce. On top of that, they have a cocktail menu full of classics and new flavours to try. Happy hour is every day from open until 10 pm!
If you enjoy games such as bowling, beer pong, pool, or perhaps a bit of karaoke, then you’re gonna love the Roxy Ball Room. This venue has two locations in Nottingham, one at the Cornerhouse and one on Thurland Street.
You can grab drinks such as cocktails, shots, beers and spirits here, as well as pizza slices and sides should you feel peckish. You will need to book any games you wish to play in advance to avoid disappointment, but for just drinking, the Roxy Ball Room takes walk-ins.
The Walrus is an eclectic underground bar decorated with neon signage and vintage touches. It offers a fun and colourful selection of cocktails, from classics like mojitos and cosmos to showstoppers like the Kinder martini or a mysterious ‘Ey up mi duck’.
The Walrus has 4 full-sized American beer pong tables available, and every Wednesday they host their weekly rock night, Jump Ship, which features all the alternative anthems and metal music you could wish for.
A must-try for those new to Nottingham, Annie’s Burger Shack serves a glorious combination of real slow cask ales and handcrafted Rhode Island-inspired burgers.
Annie’s also serves real American breakfast, with options such as rocky mountain stuffed toast and authentic American grits.
You can find COSMO on Milton street, just around the corner from Trinity Square. An amazing all-you-can-eat world buffet, COSMO offers around 150 dishes to choose from, anything from Thai to Italian all under one roof. There is even a dessert section for anyone with a sweet tooth where you can help yourself to ice cream, a selection of cakes, classic desserts, or fruits.
Students get 10% off food at COSMO, be sure to check out the website to see the fixed prices for different days of the week.
Located at 8 Chapel Bar, smack bang in the centre of Nottingham, Fat Cats is a cafe and bar serving a selection of food favourites, from pizza to burgers, to Italian and Greek-style sharing platters. They also offer 2-4-1 cocktails all day Wednesday to Sunday and 50% off food and drink all day Sunday!
Fat Cat provides a great student discount of 50% off food and 25% off drinks. You will just need to check the menu and look for a paw print that indicates the food and drinks this discount covers.
A vibrant and modern venue in the heart of Nottingham City centre, right beside the Old Market Square tram stop. Slug and Lettuce offers an extensive menu serving lunch and dinner, bottomless brunch, afternoon tea, and breakfasts.
They also have a HUGE selection of cocktails, shots, soft drinks and hot drinks, with many included in a 2-4-1 deal.
Zaap is a vibrant Thai street food restaurant, decorated with neon lighting, tuk-tuks, and vibrant colours to transport you to the street markets of Bangkok. Zaap offers a huge array of delicious food options ranging from steamed bao buns to curries, to thai-style dim sum.
If it’s not already, Oscar & Rosie’s will be your favourite street pizza joint- we’re not kidding. Serving up a variety of delicious pizzas and other classics like garlic bread and mac and cheese, Oscar & Rosie’s really know their way around a pizza. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even opt for the infamous metre-long pizza! Imagine…
If you’re in the mood for authentic Italian food then Sexy Mamma Love Spaghetti is the place to be. Located in the centre of Hockley, a short walk away from the Lace Market tram stop, Sexy Mamma serves a vibrant menu of Italian classics with warm and welcoming Italian hospitality.
Located in the INTU Victoria Centre, the Nottingham Street Food Club is ideal for those days where you’re not sure what you fancy. The club brings amazing local traders together on a rotating roster, to enable you to sample a variety of different cuisines all in one place. Nottingham Street Food Club is open from Friday to Sunday only, so it’s perfect for a relaxed weekend.
Specialists in vegan dining, No.Twelve provide fresh and local vegan food from their restaurant at Eldon Chambers, Wheeler Gate. Offering a menu of sophisticated and seasonal options, the dishes at No.twelve are designed to be shared by the whole table. This is the place to go for fresh, plant-based options with stunning ambiance and great service.
Ahhh Solo Grano…a firm favourite here at the Framework office. Just a short walk from the Old Market square you can find delicious stone-baked pizzas and pasta, all made using top-quality, organic ingredients. This is the perfect place for grabbing a truly authentic Italian lunch in a cosy setting with great service. What more could you want?
Free Days Out Around Nottingham City
One of the largest contemporary art galleries in the UK, Nottingham Contemporary presents free exhibitions, special events and family activities. First opening in 2009, the Contemporary has held more than 50 exhibitions and has welcomed two million people through their doors.
A wonderful venue for exploring many different exhibitions on offer and a great way to spend a chilly autumn day.
Wollaton Hall and Park is an area much loved by many and it’s not hard to see why. 500 acres of woodland and grassland make up the idyllic park which is home to various wildlife. The park specifically is home to wild deer, red deer, and fallow deer which roam the area freely and are incredible to see. The hall itself sits on a hill in the park and is one of the country’s finest grade I Elizabethan buildings, and the largest dedicated Natural History Museum in the county. Also, fun fact… in 2011 Wayne Manor scenes for The Dark Knight Rises were filmed outside of Wollaton Hall!
This place is perfect for a day of studying on a picnic blanket in the sun or a relaxing weekend autumn walk. It is encouraged that you walk to the park which means entry is totally free, otherwise you will need to pay for parking.
When you want to get out of the lecture hall and into the fresh air, the Sherwood Pines are always a good shout. One of the midlands most well-known forests, the pines has three walking trails, 3 cycling trails and 2 running trails. A lovely place to while away the hours in the great outdoors and maybe grab a coffee from the Sherwood Pines cafe.
The Stonebridge City farm is a wonderful little haven from the hustle and bustle of city life. Considered an urban farm due to its location in the centre of Nottingham, Stonebridge allows you to step out of the busy streets and into a slice of the countryside.
The farm is home to a wide range of animals including goats, cows, pigs, sheep, ponies, ducks, chickens, and many more. There are also beautiful gardens to explore, where vegetables, fruits and flowers are grown.
Stonebridge City Farm is a registered charity, so although they do not charge an admission fee, they do rely on donations to keep the farm running.
The Arboretum is a historic and scenic park located at Waverley Street. Possessing a collection of over 800 trees and plant life, the rumour is that J.M Barrie’s Neverland was inspired by the beautiful park. A perfect place to take a relaxing walk along the tree trail or heritage trail.
In need of a bit of retail therapy? Behold, the Victoria Centre located right in the City Centre. You can find all sorts of shops here from WHSmith to Morphe, Superdrug to Game.
The Centre holds a dedicated student night at times throughout the year, so do keep an eye out for the next one.
Paid Days Out in Nottingham
Release your inner bowling genius by taking a trip to Nottingham Bowl. They offer a reduced student rate meaning you can have a game for only £5.50 each or £8.50 for two games. If you’re feeling like mixing it up a bit, you can even opt to have a go at the mysterious Disco Darts game.
Now the Framework Design office is just opposite the Kitty Cafe, and as a result, we are in the rather enviable position of being able to see some of the adorable cafe residents snoozing in the window.
The Kitty Cafe is a cat rescue centre and cat cafe which offers people the opportunity to cuddle lots of adorable cats and grab coffee and snacks.
Just to note, you will need to pay an entry fee upon arrival which goes towards looking after the lovely feline residents.
An incredible landmark positioned on castle rock and looming over Nottingham, the Nottingham Castle has a wealth of history behind it. From 1068 when it was first constructed, it has endured through the years and been rebuilt many times to the current structure we see today.
You can visit the castle, the caves beneath, and experience exhibitions and galleries containing stories about the castle over the many years. It’s a great day out with lots to do and definitely with a visit during your time in Nottingham.
Student tickets are £12 each but access to the caves is charged separately at £5 each.
Nottingham actually has the UK’s largest network of underground caves with over 800 present under Nottingham City centre. The caves have been used for many purposes for many years. At one point in history they were the homes and workplaces for many local people, and during WW2 they were used as air raid shelters. You can visit the caves and follow the trail to see the various passageways and indents carved over the years.
The caves offer student tickets which are £6.95 each, student ID is required.
At the National Justice Museum you can experience law and justice brought to life in new exciting and relevant ways. You can browse the different collections and objects on display, pose as a judge in the museum courtroom, and head down to the country gaol and dungeons to see the dark, cold cells that would have been used hundreds of years ago.
Student tickets are available at the National Justice Museum for £10.95 each.
Ever dreamed of gliding like a penguin across the ice? Well now is the time to get learning! The National Ice Centre sits right in the centre of Nottingham and offers a wonderland of ice-based activities, from figure skating to ice hockey.
The Centre asks that you pre-book public skating sessions, which cost £5.50 with a physical student card. Skating lessons are even available at a very affordable price should you wish to learn a new skill.
If you head over to the Corner House you will happen across Lost City Adventure Golf! An epic mini golf adventure through a jungle themed course, Lost City Adventure Golf has 2 fantastic 18-hole indoor golf courses ready to be explored. The venue has a colourful tiki bar where you can grab some pizza and cocktails following your game.
You can get student tickets for one course at £7 each, or two courses for £11. You can also save 10% on food and drink when you book online and show your booking email at the tiki bar.
Situated besides the Royal Centre tram stop, Nottingham Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall are leading arts and entertainment venues in the East Midlands. The Theatre Royal holds a beautiful 1,107 seat auditorium, while the Royal Concert Hall has a huge 2,257 seat auditorium.
Showing everything from ballets to musicals, comedy to music shows, these venues are always a great place for an evening of entertainment.
Located on Wellington Circus, the Nottingham Playhouse has been producing theatre since 1948. A stunning venue, the Nottingham Playhouse has over 760 seats in its auditorium with stalls and a circle. Regularly showing plays, musicals and concerts, the Playhouse will always have something for everyone.
The Savoy is an art-deco style cinema located on Derby Road. This cinema has been running for around 85 years and is the only surviving pre-second world war building in Nottingham. The venue has three beautiful auditoriums where visitors can catch the latest films in cosy, vintage style surroundings.
Tickets cost £5 for students and a valid student photo ID is required. You can also take advantage of the Meerkat Movies offer which allows you to get 2 for 1 cinema tickets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Aaaaand that concludes the Framework Design Ultimate Student Guide to Nottingham City! We hope you’ve found some new ideas of places to visit or restaurants to try during your time in this wonderful city.
If there is a venue or location that you think should be included within this list, drop us an email at email@example.com and we would be happy to include it.
Enjoy your time in Nottingham and explore as much as you can!