Located in central England just off the M1 and with excellent rail connections, Nottingham is a thriving city with plenty of shopping and entertainment opportunities for visitors. For residents, decent employment rates coupled with affordable house prices make Nottingham a viable place to work and live – it’s also entirely feasible to live in Nottingham (taking advantages of the lower cost of living) and commute to London direct by train.
According to moneysupermarket.com, Nottingham ranks in the top ten cities to raise a family based on factors such as its outstanding schools, good employment opportunities, security, income and house prices. If you’re thinking of moving to Nottingham with your family, here are our top reasons why we think that could be the best decision you’ll ever make.
1. Easy access to beautiful countryside
You may not picture countryside when you think of Nottingham, but in fact, there are plenty of green spaces surrounding the city that you can reach in minutes. Right on the city’s doorstep are English Heritage’s Rufford Park and the National Trust’s Clumber Park, both of which offer beautiful woodland walks (which are perfectly achievable for little legs), playgrounds and cafes serving home-cooked food. Nottingham’s best-known area of natural beauty is, of course, Sherwood Forest, which you can access at various points and which has a visitor centre close to the historic Major Oak. Being located so centrally means that you can also visit The Dukeries, the Peak District and even the Yorkshire Dales for weekend day trips with your family.
2. A thriving city centre
Nottingham’s city centre is full of 18th and 19th-century sandstone buildings and has been largely spared the scourge of 1960s redevelopment; it’s an attractive centre with more big name brand shops than you can shake a stick at, plenty of art galleries and theatres and an interesting and diverse food scene. An efficient tram system runs through the centre to make getting around even easier.
3. Proper villages
Surrounding Nottingham are numerous small to medium-sized villages that are ideal places to raise your children, with plenty of green spaces, fresh air and decent schools. Settling in a village will also give you plenty of opportunities to make new friends in these close communities and you’ll soon feel at home. The villages are all within easy reach of the centre thanks to excellent rail, road and bus connections so if you plan to work in the centre, your daily commute will be easy and you’ll be able to keep childcare costs to a minimum.
4. Interesting and fun things to do with your children
If your children want to spend all day playing on their games consoles and you want to get them out of the house and socialising with other children, The National Videogame Arcade
(also known as GameCity) provides the perfect compromise. Set on three levels, the NVA is home to all manner of computer games, ranging from retro classics like Donkey Kong and Space Invaders, through more recent favourites like Mario and Sonic, to games that are still in development and are not yet available to buy or play elsewhere. Pay a single entry fee and play all day with like-minded children – there’s a strong sense of the need to ‘play fair’ and staff are on hand to deal with any technical issues if they occur.
If you can drag your children out of the NVA, the City of Caves
is a really fun and interesting – if rather bizarre – experience. The entrance is set inside the Broadmarsh shopping centre (located rather incongruously next to a fast-food restaurant) from where you are led on a guided tour of the man-made cave system that has been used since Anglo Saxon times, on top of which the shopping centre was built (one of the few unfortunate examples of 1960s planning). Or take a tour in the Galleries of Justice, set in a once-functioning Crown Court building, see for yourself how justice has been administered over the centuries.
If you just want a relaxed afternoon or evening, The Cornerhouse is a one-stop centre offering a multi-screen cinema, plenty of restaurants and an indoor mini-golf course; next door is one of the city’s theatres if you choose to take in a performance.
5. Excellent education options
Primary and secondary schools vary as they do in all major cities – you would need to choose your precise location carefully when selecting which village or area to settle in so that your child’s catchment school is to your liking. However, Nottingham does have a couple of aces up its sleeve for secondary education in the form of NUAST – the Nottingham University Academy of Science and Technology, which is a free school established by the University in partnership with industry partners. Children can join in Years 7, 10 and 12 if they have a particular interest in science, engineering or computing. Your tech-mad child who won’t leave the National Videogame Arcade might just like it here. If your child is more of a thespian than a techie, The Television Workshop provides support and links to the television industry for talented students.
Since so many students of higher education are choosing to live at home rather than go away to university (mainly for financial reasons), settling in Nottingham will give your children two top-class universities to choose from, both of which offer a wealth of courses. Nottingham University currently ranks at 18th place on The Complete University Guide league tables and Nottingham Trent University won the prestigious “Times Higher Education Awards” in 2017.
6. Sporting and cultural prowess
Nottingham avoids being ‘just’ a student city by virtue of its rich cultural history – it was home to Lord Byron, J M Barrie and D H Lawrence in times gone by, and of course, its most famous one-time resident was Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest. Most recently, it is widely known as being home to Nottingham Forest and Notts County football clubs, Nottingham RFC and, at Trent Bridge, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club.
As Nottingham is so accessible, why not spend a few days in the city – maybe choose a B&B in one of the villages you like the look of, or stay in one of the countless city centre hotels. Using the Park & Ride system is far easier than navigating an unfamiliar city by car, and a family of four can travel all day on the city tram system for a fiver. If you like what you see and decide to move there, you may decide to rent somewhere for a few months before committing to buying, so that you are certain that you are in just the right location for you and your family.
If you do so, or if there is a natural gap between selling your old house and moving into your new home, we can help with storing your belongings in our Nottingham Storage Facility
to keep them safe and dry until you are ready to settle.