Nottingham is a city of around 320,000 people, which increases to around 770,000 when you add in the surrounding areas. This makes it one of the largest urban areas in the UK, so consequently there are plenty of things to do. You’ll have no doubt been told “Oh, go to Wollaton Park, it’s lovely!” or “Go to the Victoria Centre, there are so many shops!” and all the other known places in Nottingham, but not as much about its hidden gems. No matter whether you’re an incoming fresher looking to get to know your uni city a little better or you’re a current student looking for something new, there are plenty of hidden gems in Nottingham that most people don’t know about. Here are some of the best ones. 

1. Sky Mirror

These are the best hidden gems in Nottingham

Just outside the Nottingham Playhouse in the city centre is the Sky Mirror. It was sculpted by Anish Kapoor, the same artist who made the world-famous The Bean in Chicago. There are different versions of these sculptures at the Rockefeller Center in New York City, Kensington Gardens in London and the Chateau de Versailles in France. It’s 6m wide and was designed to reflect the constantly changing environment. It was once considered the most iconic landmark in Nottingham, but it’s now more of a hidden gem. 

Address: Wellington Circus, NG1 5AA

2. Sneinton Market Avenues

These are the best hidden gems in Nottingham
Source: Sneinton Market Avenues

About 10 minutes outside of the city centre, you’ll find Sneinton Market Avenues. They focus on independent businesses, with bakeries, award-winning chocolates, and jewellery shops, along with many other stalls. But, it goes beyond just your traditional market. There’s a co-working space, if you’re looking for a new spot to do some uni work, a couple different coffee shops (we all know that uni students run on coffee) and a street food club. 

Address: Sneinton Market, NG1 1DW

3. Hockley Arts Club 

hidden gems in Nottingham
Source: The Hockley Arts Club/Johnnysphotography

We could put the entirety of Hockley on this list, but let’s focus on the Hockley Arts Club. It’s essentially three venues in one, with the independent bar Stockholm on the bottom floor, the Blue Rooms on the middle floor and another bar The Electric Garden on the top floor. On a night out, what more could you want than three venues in one? They also do bottomless afternoon tea every weekend for groups between 2 and 34, so as long as you don’t want to have bottomless afternoon tea with more than 35 people, you’re all set. 

Address: 20a Carlton Road, NG1 1NN

4. Five Leaves Bookshop

These are the best hidden gems in Nottingham
Five Leaves Bookshop Facebook

Tucked away by the Primark in the city centre, you have Five Leaves Bookshop. It’s pretty small and easy to walk straight past, but the inside makes up for it. It’s an independent bookstore that specialises in politics, LGBTQ+, feminism, Black Lives Matter, sci-fi, and so much more. They also put on some events, like book groups, author talks, writing workshops or afternoon teas with a theme.  It’s a great place to buy birthday presents for friends, especially if you’re friends with a politics/social sciences student.

Address: 14a Long Row, Swann’s Yard, NG1 2DH

5. Penny Lane


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Penny Lane is an arcade right by Lace Market tram stop in the city centre. Its vintage style is a throwback to the 80s with games like 2p penny pushers, air hockey, table football and so many others. On top of that, there’s also a bar with wine, cocktails, soft drinks, ice cream floats and beer, as well as sandwiches, small plates, hot dogs, wings and waffles. It’s an underrated date spot in the city centre or it could be a great spot to go out with friends. 

Address: 9 Fletcher Gate, NG1 1QQ

6.The Lost City Adventure Golf

The best hidden gems in Nottingham
Source: Lots City of Adventure Golf Nottingham

Lost City Adventure Golf is in the heart of the city centre. There are two 18-hole indoor courses, Temple Trail and Sacred Skull. They offer student discounts, where you can get an 18-hole ticket for £7.50 or a 36-hole ticket for £11.50 (Monday to Thursday only, but a £2 and £3.50 discount from standard tickets respectively). They also have a bar and pizzas, making it another hidden gem in Nottingham. 

Address: The Cornerhouse, Burton Street, NG1 4DB

So, these are some of the best hidden gems in Nottingham. Fortunately, Nottingham has so many things to do to make your uni experience memorable, you’re bound to find lots of new things to try. And if you’re searching for something to do in the sunshine (especially post exams), check out this article for some of the best places in Nottingham to enjoy the sun.