8 unique and different things you can do in Nottingham

A general view of Nottingham city centre
-Credit: (Image: Nottingham Post/Marie Wilson)


As the new year rolls in, many of us might be considering a range of resolutions, from diet changes to fresh hairstyles. While there's nothing wrong with sticking to tried-and-true goals, the new year can also be an excellent opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and try something entirely different.

Nottingham is brimming with unique activities, from pole dancing classes to life-drawing sessions and wine-tasting experiences. All these options are conveniently located within the city centre or just a short tram or bus ride away.

Who knows, you might uncover a hidden talent or stumble upon a hobby you wish you'd discovered sooner.

Here are some top suggestions to kickstart your adventurous new year:

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1 - Life Drawing

Life drawing may not be the first activity that springs to mind when planning a night out, but it can be surprisingly enjoyable. There are several venues to choose from, depending on what you're interested in sketching or the atmosphere you prefer.

The Hungry Ghost cafe hosts queer life drawing sessions, providing a safe and fun space for anyone keen to unleash their inner Picasso. If you're up for a bit of doodling over drinks, head over to Nonsuch Studios on Pelham Street every Wednesday from 6 pm to 8 pm for their life drawing sessions.

Both venues welcome all skill levels, so don't fret if you're more finger-painting than fine art. Just remember to check in advance what materials you need to bring along and any associated costs.

2 - Watch a 'so bad it's good' or classic film

While Nottingham boasts a number of beloved city centre cinemas, there are also plenty of pop-up venues to keep film buffs entertained. The Notts Bad Movie Club has recently launched a 'good movie' version, doubling the opportunities for fun at their Hockley location.

However, it's not a weekly event, so pre-booking is advised and keeping an eye on social media for screening dates is recommended. Another great option is the Fortune and Glory Film Club, where classic films like Mean Girls and But I'm a Cheerleader can be enjoyed as they were meant to be - complete with goodie bags and games. Again, social media is the best place to stay updated on upcoming events.

3 - Go for a forage

In light of the cost of living crisis, many are exploring alternative sources of food. Nottingham's parks and woods offer ample opportunity for foraging wild ingredients.

For beginners, organisations such as Primary in Lenton have previously run mushroom foraging walks and fermenting food workshops. The Nottingham Forager also regularly advertises open-to-all walks on Facebook, in various locations including Attenborough in Beeston.

4 - Support local drag

Nottingham is a hotbed of exceptional drag talent. While it's easy to be drawn to the glamour of Drag Race tours, true drag fandom begins with supporting local acts by attending their events and performances.

Nana Arthole and Marilyn Sane are two of Nottingham's most hilarious drag queens, hosting a variety of events from bingo nights to club outings. It's well worth popping along to one of their bingo sessions for some top-notch banter or tuning into their individual or joint podcasts for a good laugh.

5 - Learn a new skill

Ever looked at a craft and thought, I could do that.... but where do I start?

The initial outlay for all the necessary equipment can be steep, but thankfully, there are alternatives available.

Tucked away in Sneinton, Hackspace in Nottingham is easily accessible. For a modest monthly fee, you gain access to all their equipment and space to create whatever you fancy, with workshops and guidance available if needed.

6 - Learn a new dance.

Ever considered trying a new form of fitness like dance? If Zumba or hip hop doesn't quite get your pulse racing, there are plenty of more unusual options out there. Nicola Martin Studios in Beeston provides more than just pole dancing classes; they also offer a touch of burlesque for those seeking something spicier than traditional tap dancing.

Conveniently located off Queen's Road, the studio offers reasonably priced classes. For those looking for something more 'PG', ballet classes are available at both Victoria Gym and Virgin Media, although membership is required.

If these options don't appeal to you, consider heading to Ken Martin Leisure Centre in Hucknall for a line dancing class. Alternatively, if you're not afraid of heights, The Circus Hub in Sneinton market offers aerial hoop classes.

7 - Delve into the art of tease

While performing burlesque might not be everyone's cup of tea, watching it can be an entirely different experience. The Gilded Merkin at Glee Club in Nottingham boasts a dedicated fanbase who often arrive an hour early to secure the best seats.

The show frequently features top names in drag, promising a performance unlike any other. Remember to dress your best as there are often best-dressed competitions with free entry to the next show as the prize. Expect everything from aerial hoop-performing twins to pole dancing, fire breathing, and much more.

8 - Enjoy some garden gazing

The Park Gardens tour, a biennial event that offers a peek into the private gardens of a residential estate for charity, is set to return in 2023. This summer event, which was paused due to lockdown, allows visitors to enjoy street food or strawberries and cream while exploring other people's gardens. A programme costs around £6, allowing you to soak up as much greenery as you desire.

9 - Spin the wheel

For those inspired by Channel 4's 'Great Pottery Throw Down', Primary in Lenton provides an opportunity to try your hand at pottery wheel spinning. If you're not quite ready to become the next Grayson Perry, you can opt for their Raku classes instead.

The workshop fee covers two pots, tutorage, and all necessary dyes for this Japanese pottery art form. Additional pots and plants are available for purchase if you wish to create more. But be warned - it can become addictive after just two pots!

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