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Robin Hood Lives!

Written by  Christopher Cooke

Europe Brirain
We have all been acquainted with the legend of Robin Hood, but where do these tales come from, and what are the places that inspired them? While there is some question as to the true identity of our hero, or even the existence of a singular Robin Hood, the places often featured in the associated ballads and folklore are unquestionably real, and have quite a bit to offer a literary themed travel itinerary.

Nottingham
When on the trail of Robin Hood, Nottingham is just where you want to begin your adventure. This historic “city of caves” is the largest urban area in the East Midlands, and is a dynamic blend of old and new. Don’t let the splash of modern architecture fool you. Situated beneath the city streets are hundreds of sandstones caves, predating Anglo-Saxon times. Nottingham as we know it today, is a product of its lace, bicycle, and tobacco industries, but is perhaps most recognizable to visitors from abroad as a key location in the legend of Robin Hood.

There is nothing in Nottingham more captivating and enthralling than a tour led by Ade Andrews, aka Ezekial Bone. The award winning actor, historian, and “official outlaw” is the local authority on Robin Hood. The Robin Hood Town Tour is an immersive and fun way to experience the history of Nottingham. Ezekial Bone, an embodiment of Robin Hood, takes guests on a tour of Nottingham that transcends time and place, a tour that leaves the participant feeling entertained, enlightened, and wanting more. With each step, your clients will travel further through time, and through the rich, storied past of Nottingham. The tour does require clients to be willing to walk a few kilometers around the city, though stops for bits of ballad recitals and quick history lessons are frequent, so fear not. The tour visits Ye Olde Salutation Inn, one of the oldest in Nottingham and greater England as well. Within the walls of the basement cave, the final chapters of the story of Robin Hood come together to form an unexpected whole. The Robin Hood Town Tour is an opportunity to experience a city hidden in plain sight. It is only with the knowledge and expertise of narrator and guide Ezekial Bone that the medieval city hidden beneath the guise of a modern metropolis begins to awaken and come to life. www.ezekialbone.com

The focal point of this medieval town turned modern metropolis is still Nottingham Castle. It is currently undergoing a major renovation to the tune of 30 million pounds, and is due to reopen its gates in 2020. With plans to incorporate interactive displays, a restaurant, and new visitor center, the reinvigorated Nottingham Castle has a promising tourism future. The end result promises to be nothing short of spectacular.

Situated at the base of Nottingham Castle sits Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem pub. The public house claims to be England’s oldest inn, having been established in 1189. It is thought that the caves in the rock against which the pub is built served as a brewery for Nottingham Castle. The atmosphere at Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem is cozy and casual, exuding an aura of a classic medieval gathering place.

The National Justice Museum, housed in Nottingham’s historic courthouse and jail, serves as a wonderful backdrop for the legend of Robin Hood and sets the stage for an exploration of the British justice system. The iconic museum gives visitors the chance to get acquainted with crime and punishment by meeting historic characters, perusing vast collections, and taking part in immersive exhibitions.

Located in the heart of the Lace Market district, Pitcher & Piano is built around the skeleton of the late 19th century High Pavement Chapel. This unique pub and delicious eatery is a fantastic example of the marriage of old and new that can be seen throughout Nottingham. The stone framework, stained glass windows, and old organ act as a wonderful backdrop for the sleek pub and eatery to really shine with fine drink and an innovative, smart menu.

When considering accommodations in Nottingham, Hart’s Hotel should be at the top of the list. Situated on the ancient ramparts of Nottingham Castle, Hart’s is redefining luxury and is everything you would want in a home away from home. This modern and comfortable hotel boasts lovely views from its 32 guest rooms, and Hart’s Restaurant is serving some of the finest meals in town. www.hartsnottingham.co.uk

Sherwood Forest
Located in the town of Edwinstowe, and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Sherwood Forest is an enchanting line item on any Robin Hood fan’s bucket list, as it should be. Though just a fraction of its former glory, what remains of the fabled woodland is quite remarkable. Home to hundreds of different species of ecological importance, Sherwood Forest is a true haven for the vestige of a wild spirit that lives within us all.

While a walk in the forest is enjoyable at any time and on any occasion, as is demonstrated by the dog-walking locals, Sherwood Forest is best explored with the guidance of knowledgeable individuals. Cultural Heritage offers an innovative and immensely enjoyable Sherwood Forest Tour that combines the legend of Robin Hood with the ecology and history of Sherwood Forest. The tour gives visitors a unique opportunity to be led through the forest by an archeologist who explains all the flora, fauna, and history, while Ezekial Bone further entices visitors with ballad and tale from the legend of Sherwood’s most infamous outlaw. www.culturalheritageuk.com

When searching for a “home base” in Edwinstowe, look no further than the Forest Lodge Hotel. Located just a few minutes walk from the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, the Forest Lodge Hotel is a quaint, charming inn with depth of character and incredible food. The staff is friendly and accommodating, doing their best to make guests feel right at home. Their award-winning restaurant serves classic English fare; simple and thoughtfully prepared. Dining here, whether for a quick bite at lunch or a multi-course dinner, is an absolute pleasure. www.forestlodgehotel.co.uk

Just a short ride from Edwinstowe, Creswell Crags is a small picturesque limestone gorge lined with ancient caves. With historic finds dating back to the Ice Age, Creswell Crags is worth a slight detour to indulge in a bit of the natural history of the region. Recently, the caves have made the news with a significant discovery hidden in plain sight, Witches Marks. Witches Marks, or ritual protection marks, were used to protect against evil spirits and Creswell Crags is home to the greatest concentration ever found in the UK.

It is quite possible that clients will be left with more questions than answers at the end of their exploration of the legend of Robin Hood. This is of course due to the elusive and secretive nature of the outlaw in question. To ensure they are on the right path and are asking the right questions, have clients check out the World Wide Robin Hood Society

(www.robinhood.info) prior to departure. WWRHS is a wealth of information on all things Robin Hood, and material on their website helps to set the stage for a well informed Robin Hood focused adventure through the English Midlands.
For more information on this destination, please visit: www.visit-nottinghamshire.co.uk

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