Summer in the City: Three Nottingham BID Members on The Re-Opened City Centre

Photos: Curtis Powell
Illustrations: Natalie Owen
Thursday 13 May 2021
reading time: min, words

It’s been a long time coming, but it feels like life is finally being breathed back into Nottingham. The city centre no longer resembles the ghost town it has done for the majority of the past year; in its place, pavements are covered with Parisian-style seating, filled with friends laughing and catching up over long-overdue drinks. And with the next deadline of May 17, in which dozens more venues like cinemas, arcades and bowling alleys will open, just around the corner, it’s a time to be cautiously optimistic that the city is finally returning to normal. To celebrate the city’s next steps to opening up, we spoke to some of the Nottingham Business Improvement District locations to find out how the process of reopening has gone, and to find out which places they’re most excited to visit...


Alice Carr, The Lost City Adventure Golf

We can’t wait to get back open and the team are working hard behind the scenes to bring back some adventure to the fine people of Nottingham. We’ve been working on a new website and online booking system which will make it easier for customers to book tickets in advance. A lot of people have found the latest lockdown really difficult so we’re just looking forward to being able to open and provide everyone with some much-needed fun!

I don’t live in the city centre so have really missed popping in for a browse around the amazing charity shops and Sneinton Market. There’s definitely more of a buzz about the city now that retail has opened up and it’s really lovely to see more life back in Nottingham. 

So many to choose from… definitely looking forward to all our neighbours around The Cornerhouse opening and going to see a show (anything!) at the Concert Hall again. As nice as the pavement hospitality is, it will be lovely to enjoy a cocktail at Copper or a coffee inside Fox Café. In the meantime, I’ll be heading to the amazing Watered Garden to stock up and try to recreate The Lost City’s jungle at home!


Olly Hunter, Oscar and Rosie’s

Each time you close then re-open a restaurant it feels like opening up for the first time. On one hand it's time-consuming and expensive, but on the other you get a sense of renewal and a chance to revisit and improve things all over the place. When you're open day-in day-out you don't get the chance to reflect so much, so despite the hard work we're really trying to see the process as an opportunity.

I've spent a lot of time in the restaurant despite being closed so have been seeing Hockley empty and bereft throughout the whole lockdown. I'm looking forward to the streets round here teeming with big crowds of people again, and I mean BIG crowds of people, like on Hockley Hustle or Gay Pride.

I've been able to get out to some of the early openers with their outdoor areas so have already visited some of my favourite places, but of those still shut I'd have to say that a great big dim sum Sunday lunch at The Mandarin is top of my list. I've been making dim sum at home over the pandemic, but there's no substitute for the real thing.


Laura-Jade Vaughan, Nottingham Contemporary

We’re really looking forward to reopening on May 22 with three new solo shows – Allison Katz’s paintings are filled with humour, puns and language games; Erika Verzutti’s sculptures in bronze, cement and papier mâché reference many unusual objects; and Mélanie Matranga’s exhibition uses film, sculpture and installation art to explore our everyday lives and themes of intimacy.

Our shop is already open, stocking many unusual gift ideas and products by independent designers and makers. It’s been great to welcome back visitors. We offer a click and collect service and we still have an online shop and for anyone who’s not yet ready to pop in.

We’re so lucky to have so many great cultural venues in the city – we’ve missed seeing a film at Broadway or relaxing on their terrace, visiting Theatre Royal and Nottingham Playhouse for performances, or seeing shows at galleries like Surface, Backlit, Primary and One Thoresby.

We can’t wait to see Bonington’s exhibition, The Gold Ones Meet, an exhibition by local art collective Reactor. Using video, performance, games and installation, it describes a fictional Cosmic Care Home – it sounds so unusual, we’re not sure what to expect!

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