There are plenty of places around the country that can enhance the learning experience by providing an up-close-and-personal look at the past. We often think first and foremost of the big national museums such as the British Museum, but there are some local gems too that we should also make the most of. In this post I’m going to list a few that I think are worthy of a visit in Nottinghamshire, perhaps as part of a family day out, but since this clearly cannot be an exhaustive list, if anyone has any other suggestions please leave them in the comments.
1. Galleries of Justice Museum, Nottingham: also known as the Shire Hall, this is an independent museum in the Lace Market area of Nottingham. The courtrooms date back to the 14th century and the gaol dates back to at least 1449. The prisons are still there. There was also a working police station from 1905 to 1985, and the courts closed in 1986. A joint ticket is available which includes the City of Caves beneath the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre.
2. Holme Pierrepont Hall, Nottingham: A grade I listed medieval hall that is open to the public on a limited basis.
3. Newark Castle and Gardens, Newark: Tours of the castle, ruined during the Civil War, are available. The Gilstrap Heritage Centre is a free-admission museum in the castle grounds about the history of the town of Newark.
4. Nottingham Castle, Nottingham: houses most of the City of Nottingham’s fine and decorative art collections, galleries on the history and archaeology of Nottingham and the surrounding areas, and the regimental museum of the Sherwood Foresters. Ticketing for the museum is now combined with admission to the Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard located nearby in five 17th-century cottages at the bottom of the castle rock.
5. The Workhouse, Southwell: A National Trust property, this is one of the most complete workhouses still in existence.
6. Wollaton Hall, Nottingham: This 16th century country house now contains the Nottingham Natural History Museum with the Nottingham Industrial Museum in the outbuildings.
7. Mr Straw’s House, Worksop: A National Trust property, this shows how a grocer’s family would have lived in the 1920s.
8. Rufford Abbey, Ollerton: The best-preserved remains of a Cistercian abbey west cloister range in England, dating mainly from around 1170. Incorporated into part of a 17th century and later mansion, set in Rufford Country Park.
9. Mattersey Priory, Mattersey: The remains, mainly the 13th century refectory and kitchen, of a small monastery for just six Gilbertine canons – the only wholly English monastic order.