I must fess up, having spent my teenage years in Leeds and then living in London & Manchester before moving to Southwell, it’s taken a while for me to discover the charms of Nottingham. Whilst Southwell flourishes and celebrates it’s fab independent shopping, Nottingham has seen a sharp decline with shops shutting on Bridlesmith Gate soon after opening and big name brands like French Connection shutting their doors. So while other cities pull on my heart strings and give me a buzz, Nottingham has felt quite a sad place to head to in recent times. All the more reason to seek out those special places that feed the soul, inspire and make you feel alive. So here’s my edit of Nottingham independents and Nottingham shopping and the places I head to on a day out in this East Midlands city.
Eating out in Nottingham is perhaps my favourite thing to do. My go to places for lunch/brunch and a quick coffee include:
With their own speciality roast of coffee and aptly named because they roast their coffee at a slightly lower temperature than normal of 200 degrees centigrade, that yields a smoother, deeper taste and then serve their coffee at around 200 degrees Farenheit. Get it?! Nope! But they do and boy do they make a good coffee!! This coffee shop is the perfect place to go and sit, grab a light bite to eat and drink some of the best coffee in Nottinghamshire. Finding a table is hard and this shows what a popular cafe this is in Nottingham.
The finest delicatessen in the East Midlands celebrating independent food and wine and serving beautiful locally sourced food. A stones throw from Market Square and Bridlesmithgate and near the gorgoues Jigsaw for a quick shopping mooch before you dine. Beautiful tapas style menu that a gorgeous place to head with friends for brunch. Treat yourself to some fine wines and foodstuffs while you’re there!
If you haven’t already twigged, I love eating cake! Im also partial to a doughnut or two so what better independent shop in Nottingham could there be than a handmade Doughnut shop. Pretty to look at and lush to eat. My top pick on Kings Street in Nottingham.
My go to pre-gig/ pre-cinema place to eat in Nottingham. With a relaxed Vietnemese cafe and a gorgeous roof garden, awesome mural art work and the best street style order at the counter food you ever did sample. LOVE the vibe and the fact you don’t have to book. A big hit with my kids too! A winner on the Nottingham Independent restaurant front. Oh and it’s opposite Reiss on Byard Lane, so what’s not to like?
I’ve spent many a birthday here. One of my all time fave restaurants on High Pavement in the Lace Market area of Nottingham. Modern Spanish tapas and the perfect location to dine out with friends. They’ve recently been awarded a a "Bib Gourmand" from The Michelin Guide for exceptional food at a reasonable price. LUSH!
From there head to...
Who hasn’t stood underneath the blossom roof on the top floor of the Hockley Arts Club with a esspresso Martini and felt a little bit giddy? Located in the Hockley area of Nottingham this quirky stylish (well my kind of 70’s kitsch styled vibe) bar with a great atmosphere, music and cocktails is one of my top picks for a night out.
Whilst we’re talking about Hockley, this area of Nottingham has kept the independent shopping flame in the city burning. Walk down Pelham Street and discover fabulous vintage shops, jewellery shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and my fave indie cinema, it isn’t any wonder why students and those craving different head to this cool end of town. I particularly love...
Hard to find and off the beaten track but a gorgeous little discovery in Hockley, Nottingham. Based at the top of Pelham Street, Cobden Chambers is a hidden courtyard where you get to discover a whole new side of Nottingham. Discover Studio Chocolate for handmade chocolate and edible delights, the most gorgeous journals and stationary at Ideas on Paper. Another shop I love is The Front Room and Forever records, a specialist new and old vinyl records shop.
Describing themselves as independent purveyors of great music, you’ll love Rough Trade (Broad Street, Nottingham) if like me you’re into your music and you fancy an idependent music shop with a difference. Live music and signings, staff that are passionate about being there and know their stuff and the best photo booth (who hasn’t had a Rough Trade photo?!) this place is top of the list for Nottingham Independents. It recently housed a clothes Style Swap Event hosted by Nottingham blogger Sarah Jackson (@myfashionforecast - https://www.myfashionforecast.co.uk )
Nottingham is lucky enough to have retained a fabulous arthouse cinema which showcases some of the best arthouse films. The Broadway cinema located in Nottingham’s Cultural Quarter on Broad Street in Hockley is my favourite places to watch a film. I particularly love the Paul Smith cinema covered in Paul’s iconic fabric.
Whilst we’re talking about Paul Smith, I love the fact that his flagship store, Willoughby House is located on Low Pavement.
But what about independent gift shops / lifestyle shops in Nottingham?
Southwell is full of independent gift shops so it’s lovely to stumble across a couple of finds in Nottingham such as the Tokenhouse located on St Peter’s Street and also Behind the Red Door located in the historic Lace Market area and opposite Nottingham Contemporary Gallery.
My girls Charlotte and Amy who I love work at this fab independent Hair salon leading the way in Hair Design and one of the top salons in Nottingham with Simon Tuckwell at the helm. The loveliest of atmosphere’s which houses a coffee bar on the ground floor and home to Coco Flow yoga on the top floor.
With the loss of many shops and a city centre that’s struggling retail wise with big players opting out for nearby cities in the Midlands, there’s still so much going on culturally in Nottingham that needs celebrating!
Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery is worth a visit and often puts fab things to do for the kids in the Nottinghamshire school holidays. There’s lots going on in the Nottingham music scene at places like legendary music venue Rock City located on Talbot Street in Nottingham and The Bodega (23 Pelham Street).
So it’s not all doom and gloom where our nearest city centre in concerned. Seek out the gems, celebrate the Southwell independents and the Nottingham independents too, shop locally where you can and support the small businesses in the East Midlands.