Sunday, May 25th.
Considering how late the girls were up until, the night before, they were both awake before 07:oo, ready to party again. Breakfast, at the hotel, was being served between 08:00-10:00, so we headed down at just after 08:00, which made us the first in. Emma and I had a Full English, while Erin satisfied herself with Rice Krispies. Keilyn was being fussy and, having turned her nose up at Weetabix, decided on yogurt, followed by some toast. When we had finished, we headed back up to our room and, making sure that everything was packed, checked out of the hotel.
The rain wasn’t as heavy as the previous day, instead it was that fine rain that soaks through even the most waterproof of clothing. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long for the bus to arrive. It dropped us at Upper Parliament Street, at which point the rain stopped and the sun came out in all its glory. With the time close to 10:00 the city was deserted and, as we headed down to the Old Market Square, we realised that many of the roads were sealed off, due to the arrival of the Milk Race. Also, because of the road closures, the trams weren’t running, so there were buses on Tram Replacement.
The Milk Race was a multistage cycling event that toured Britain between 1958 and 1993. This year the Milk Race returned, to Nottingham, with the elite men’s race and elite women’s races, featuring numerous world and Olympic champions.
After watching a few of the cyclists, we continued on our way to Nottingham Castle. It is a castle that I have not visited since I was little, although every time I visit Nottingham I do take another photo of the statue of Robin Hood. By now the sun was shining down and drying up the pavements and grass, so off came the jackets. Erin came out of the battlewagon and Keilyn moved into the front seat, as we made our way through the gatehouse and in to the gardens, of the Lower Bailey.
The Lower Bailey is now a manicured lawn with a bandstand, a statue to Albert Ball V.C. and the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Victoria Cross Memorial. The south path gives some stunning views down on to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, the Brewhouse Yard Museum and out over the River Trent.
From here we followed the path around, back toward the Medieval Bridge, which led us up to the Middle Bailey. The Middle Bailey is now a lawn and function space, with a ‘Lookout’ playground, with forts, sand pits, slides and a medieval throne room, complete with throne. From here you can see the remains of the North-east Tower and the Obelisk monument.
We then followed the path up and around to the Upper Bailey and the castle itself, which contains the museum and art gallery. Before we entered the castle we took a walk around the outside, taking in the spectacular views south and west. As the sky had cleared, we could see Wollaton Hall, East Midlands Airport Control Tower and much more.
On entering the castle, we bypassed the shop and headed straight into the museum. The museum is full of objects from all over the world, including; a Chinese ivory chess set from the nineteenth century.an iron stirrup from Japan, a South African walking stick, a Samurai sword (wakizashi), the Wedgwood collection, ceramics, silverware, and so much more. One thing that did strike me, as we walked around the museum, was the amount of signs that read PLEASE TOUCH. Having a chance to physically interact with pieces of porcelain, 300 year-old pieces of iron and ancient fabrics was brilliant. (A little disappointed that I wasn’t able to handle the Samurai sword, though).
We then headed in to the Worcestershire & Sherwood Foresters’ Regimental Museum, which displayed uniforms and memorabilia from this famous regiment. With uniforms and private belongings dating from the 1750s through to the present day, there was a lot to see and take in.
There was so much more to see and do within the Castle, but time was against us, so next time we will do The Caves, Mortimer’s Hole and the Brewhouse Yard Museum.
We decided against visiting the Art Gallery, but instead headed to the Museum Shop. A few cards, postcards, toys and pins were purchased, before we headed out of the castle. We took the path around the castle, which led us passed the entrance to Mortimer’s Hole and down along wooded paths, beneath the Medieval Bridge and out to the Castle Rockery. We then left the castle and headed for the Robin Hood statues, for the obligatory photo shoot. After getting a photo of Erin with Robin Hood’s statue, we headed off to get some lunch.
There was only place that we wanted to go for lunch, and that was to the Wimpy restaurant, as Emma and I hadn’t had one in many years, After waiting to be seated, we ordered a thick shake each (large) and then ordered our food. The shake was exactly as I remembered and was perfectly thick. The burgers, Fiery BBQ Chicken for me and Mushroom Burger for Emma, were very tasty and filling. Erin busily tucked into some Chicken Chunks and chips, washed down with a drink of squash. On leaving, both girls received a magic string picture, to complete.
With time getting on we made our way to the station, ready for our trip home. And that’s when the problems began…
To be concluded…