5 Must-Visit Historical Pubs in and Around Nottingham

Words: Danielle Boaler
Wednesday 22 March 2023
reading time: min, words

Whether you enjoy river walks, nature trails, railways, learning about local about history or just simply relaxing and having a refreshing pint and a delicious Sunday dinner, Nottingham has a pub for you... 


The Final Whistle - Southwell

This stunning little pub located in the impressive minster town of Southwell is found at the end of a former railway line that once connected the town to the Midland Railway network. The railway line was extended to Southwell in 1847 and saw its final service in 1964. Today, it is locally enjoyed as a nature trail. The pub itself resembles a railway station, boasting a train platform and an array of railway-themed memorabilia, allowing us to step back into the past. A little pull-train known as the ‘Paddy’ moved along the former tracks of this railway line. 

Pub highlights: Wide range of local ales, gin, ciders, live sports, local pop-up food stands plus a lovely walk along the old railway line!

Station Rd, Southwell, NG25 0ET


The Malt Cross – Nottingham City Centre

Sit back, relax with a pint and enjoy the original features of this Victorian music hall constructed in 1877 - opening just before Goose Fair. Its name is derived from the Malt Cross monument, which was a trading site for - you guessed it -malt.            

Over the years, it has been used as a storage warehouse, an Italian restaurant, a place for those who need counselling and, once again, a music hall in 1981 and 1998 - reopening thanks to the help of the Heritage Lottery. The hall has survived endless struggles, even losing its license before the First World War for being associated with ‘felons and whores’. 

In 2018, challenging times struck again. This time, the YMCA strived to save the historical venue. Today, the Victorian music hall is back in its former glory and is proud to dedicate its space to current artists and musicians of the city staying true to its Victorian roots. 

Deep underground, you’ll discover secret rooms, hidden passages used as escape routes, and caves dating back to a Carmelite Monastery situated forty feet below street level. 

Pub highlights: Charity events, live music, Sunday dinners, quiz nights, international beers and community events.

16 St James's St, Nottingham, NG1 6FG


Sir John Borlase Warren – Nottingham City Centre

This wonderful pub is in fact named after the man himself, Sir John Borlase Warren: a Nottingham local who was cheered while walking through the city’s streets and stopping for a pint at The White Lion after returning victoriously from the ‘Battle of the Glorious’ on 1 June 1794, in which the French were strongly defeated. Warren joined the Navy and quickly rose up through the ranks. He later became involved in the aftermath of the French Revolution. The multi-talented young man even became a British Ambassador, as well as a Nottingham MP for twelve years!

Below the pub itself are several caves which were used as air-raid shelters in the Second World War - you still find writing on the walls!  

Pub highlights: Outdoor terrace, Sunday dinners, sandwiches, Lincoln Green beers, 2 for £12 pizzas on Mondays and live music. 

1 Ilkeston Rd, Nottingham NG7 3GD


The Ferry Inn - Wilford

This historical pub was once a fourteenth century farmhouse situated on the South Bank of Nottingham’s River Trent. A foot ferry allowed fifteen people to cross the river after King Edward III deemed it a safe crossing point. Sadly, during its 300 years of existence, many people lost their lives. It is unknown how many. In 1784, eleven people fell overboard, six of them were never seen again. 

Due to an increase in traffic, there were calls for the construction of a bridge - and one was built in 1870. 

The property itself became the Wilford Coffee House in the eighteenth century, followed by the Punch Bowl, and finally the Ferry House in 1860. Some of the pub's impressive wooden beams originally came from a broken-up British warship. Around the joint, you’ll also find stained glass windows in memory of the highly-thought-of Nottinghamshire poet Henry Kirke White. The pub also became popular for its cherries; many would come here to have cherry-eating parties in early July. 

Pub highlights: Cosy country pub, dog friendly, breakfasts, Sunday dinners, range of wines, British favourites and log fires.

Main Rd, Wilford, NG11 7AA


The Castle Pub - Nottingham City Centre

The Castle Pub, situated directly opposite Nottingham Castle’s gatehouse, is a great place to relax and take in the views of our city’s history. The gatehouse was constructed between 1252-1255 and was, at the time, one of the four most important castles in the country. Watson Fothergill, Nottingham’s esteemed Victorian architect, designed this unique building - as well as over one hundred other buildings across the county, which included churches, banks and warehouses. The stained glass window of Robin Hood and Maid Marion makes locals feel even more at home. 

The pub has been used for a variety of purposes over the last century. In the seventies, art exhibitions were held on the site. In 1930, it was used as an accountant’s office and, in 1984, the upstairs was opened up for cream teas and English breakfasts. 

It is a great place to chill out and enjoy a refreshing pint on those warm summer evenings. 

Pub highlights: Outdoor terrace with Castle view, stone-baked pizza (2-4-1 on Tuesdays), craft beers, Sunday dinners and live music on Wednesdays.

1 Castle Rd, Nottingham, NG1 6AA

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