Thursday, 26 January 2012

Finding Robin Hood

What do you do when you have a day to kill and you live in a foreign country?  Travel.  If you don't feel like traveling very far from home, the best thing to do is get on a train and go on a day trip.  So my lovely day trippers, the first destination on your list of must-sees should be Nottingham.  And yes, it is the famous Nottingham from the Robin Hood legends.

Now, most people who go to Nottingham usually only go to two places: the giant shopping plaza and Nottingham Castle.  I can't say much about the shopping plaza because I'm not much of a shopper, but Nottingham Castle is definitely worth a look around.  Also, there's an excellent opportunity for a photo-op with the statue of Robin Hood.  Inside the castle grounds there is an art museum and a walk-through of the story of Robin Hood.  The story exhibit is set-up well, especially if you unleash your inner child.  If you don't mind acting like a child, they have a dress-up section in the basement with scenes set-up, so you can feel as if you've walked into the famous myths.  Of course, if you don't feel comfortable with pretending you're Maid Marian, then you can laugh at your friends who have no inhibitions of acting out a love scene with the cardboard cut-out of Robin Hood.

However, one of Nottingham's little known tourist attractions is one of the coolest and creepiest.  The Galleries of Justice show Nottingham's darker side with the infamous Sherif of Nottingham leading the way.  Way back when, crowds would gather in front of this building to watch criminals be punished and hanged.  Needless to say, they don't do things like that anymore.  However, the cavernous jail is still there, perfectly preserved, carved into the miles of rock and limestone the city rests on top of.  The best part: there's an interactive tour!  A convict from the past takes your tour group around while you explore the damp underground prison.  Not only is the tour guide a convict, but you get a convict number when you buy a ticket, so you get to play along.  Yours truly was caught breaking and entering and sentenced to twelve months in prison!  Don't ask me why I'm so excited about that.
Anyway, our tour guide, Mary, who was charged with murdering her own baby and due to be hanged, took us around to see all of the sites.  Such as the obliette--a small space where they would lock up prisons and forget about them, so they could enjoy a slow death--and the hard labor work areas like the laundry room and the crank room.  We ran into a few issues like getting "accidentally" locked in the black-out cell by Mary, freaking out about the dark figure at the top of the stairs, and ending up on a ship to Australia, but it the end we escaped from prison and wound up back on the streets of Nottingham.

So if you like an adventure, play acting, ghosts, and various forms of torture the Galleries of Justice are waiting for you.  If you don't care for the previous things, I promise that you'll still have an excellent time.


  1. Since no one ever comments on your AWESOME blogs!!!! I thought I would be the first!!!! So here I am commenting on your blog that you wrote about the time that we went to Nottingham together :

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