Overlooking a lake, the spire of the Trent Building is one of Nottingham’s most distinctive sites, representing over 135 years of higher education in the city.
With its roots in the first University Extension Lectures ever offered by the University of Cambridge in 1873, the University of Nottingham has a long and proud history of bringing learning to the Midlands. Now accommodated in a beautiful early 20th-century site on the shores of a lake west of the city, it is one of the U.K.’s biggest universities. Wander across the verdant lawns that spread out from the porticoes of each building as you admire the architecture and planning that has made Nottingham one of England’s most celebrated university campuses.
Begin any visit at the Trent Building, the most famous campus sight. The huge white limestone monolith presides imperiously, with its distinctive clock tower, over the activity happening around its base.
Explore the rest of the campus leisurely. Be sure to stop at the physics department, where a blackboard used by Albert Einstein during his time lecturing at the college in the 1930s is on display. Peruse the extensive manuscript collection in the Weston Gallery, which hosts a rotating exhibit of some of the rare materials owned by the university that are usually only available to researchers.
Visit the Djanogly Art Gallery, also sometimes called Nottingham Lakeside Arts, where innovative exhibits are mounted several times each year celebrating the best in contemporary art from the region and farther afield. Watch a show at the D.H. Lawrence Pavilion or have a restful and meditative stroll through the Millennium Garden. Take a field trip to the Jubilee Campus, a 25-minute walk or 15-minute bus ride away. Look up at Aspire, one of the U.K.’s tallest freestanding sculptures jutting out toward the sky.
Reach the Trent Building in the center of the University of Nottingham’s campus, in a 10-minute drive from Nottingham’s main train station. Walk here in 50 minutes from the center of town or drive in 15. The campus has a designated tram station with connections throughout the city. A parking lot on campus is free on the weekends and in the evenings. Check online for open hours for specific buildings.