Last Resort Nottingham

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The Independent Travel
"Everything I do, I do it for you ..." In the summer of 1991, Bryan Adam's inexplicably popular theme song for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves helped to put Sherwood Forest back on the map. Buoyed by the film's and the song's success, Nottingham's then tourist officials waited for a flood of visitors to pour into town. They are still waiting.

Why does Nottingham, a city of great cultural wealth, fail so spectacularly to attract a reasonable purse of dollars, yen or even sterling? The tourist trail from London to Scotland relegates it to a mere blur on the M1. It is almost as if some international visitors believe that Robin Hood and Nottingham exist only as legend.

For the rest of us, Nottingham offers a clear, though xenophobic, advantage: few foreign tourists. It is unlikely that you will be bothered by Japanese courting couples politely asking you to capture their special moment on Fuji film or, for that matter, by Euro-teenagers blocking the path. You might trip over a few shoppers, though. From Paul Smith's boutique on Byard Lane, to the 800-year-old inn Trip to Jerusalem, there are plenty of opportunities to shed a pound or two. This is a city that will not disappoint - apart from the castle. (Size does not always matter but, when it comes to castles, it tends to.)

Then there is Sherwood Forest, only 30 minutes away. The 450 acres may not have been used in the film, but it is the closest you will get to the real Robin Hood. This weekend sees the warm-up to the 11th annual Robin Hood Festival (31 July-6 August). More details from the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, Edwinstone, Nottinghamshire (01623 824490).

David Sandhu

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