Southwell is a vibrant market town with colourful independent shops and plenty of places to eat and stay.
Pronounced 'Suth'll' by most visitors and 'South-well' by most residents. Which should it be? Debate rages, quietly.
Southwell Minster is the cathedral of Nottinghamshire and one of the finest Norman churches in Britain. Famous for its two lead-capped spires known locally as the ‘pepper pot’ spires it also has a wealth of stone carvings which include intricate foliage of oak leaves, hawthorne, mulberry and vine leaves .
You could visit Southwell Minster a thousand times and you would never tire of this magical masterpiece of the mediaeval stonemasons.
Southwell Workhouse is the first workhouse to be owned by the National Trust and it is a popular location for visitors from all over the country. The Workhouse was built in 1824 by the Rev John Thomas Becher, who pioneered a system which was to influence the new Poor Law of 1834. Life in the workhouse was grim and all able-bodied men and women were required to carry out hard physical work.
The market place bustles at weekends. Good food is clearly important here, judging by the organic bread and quality cheese, meat and fish on offer. There are also outstanding cafes and restaurants and a regular country market selling home-made cakes and jams, free range eggs, honey and vegetables.
The world-famous cooking apple originated from Southwell from a tree in a garden now known as Bramley Tree House at 75 Church Street, Southwell. It originated from a planting by Mary Ann Brailsford circa 1809-1813.
Sometime before Mary Ann's first marriage in 1813, she planted the pips, core or apple which later grew into the tree bearing the original Bramley Seedling.
The apple is celebrated at the annual Bramley Apple Festival in October. This is a major date in the Nottinghamshire calendar which attracts visitors from across the county to the town.
Nottinghamshire's most famous poet, the "mad, bad and dangerous to know" and "Lord of Misrule", Lord Byron spent three years lodging with his mother, Catherine, at Burgage Manor before they both decamped to Newstead Abbey.
The manor is now occupied by Mr Geoffrey Bond, a Lord Byron doyen and member of The Byron Society.
The Gate to Southwell Festival
Held annually and now considered one of the country's premier music events, the festival has something for everyone including music, dance, a children's festival, arts and crafts, street entertainment and much more.
Southwell's Town Council has supported a local group's venture by sending a letter of friendship to the Mayor and citizens of Sarzana. The group aim to promote friendship and understanding between the people of Southwell and district and those of Sarzana and district in Italy. They want to encourage visits by individuals and groups to and from towns.
Saracen’s Head Inn, Southwell is the oldest of Southwell many public houses with its history as a coaching inn going right back to mediaeval times. Much interest has always surrounded the Saracen’s Head for one of the last places visited by King Charles I before he lost his freedom at Newark Castle in 1646.
The Museum of Timekeeping
In the neighbouring village of Upton, the The Museum of Timekeeping's fascinating clock and watch collection is held at Upton Hall.
Southwell racecourse is a busy racecourse which holds over 50 race meetings throughout the year on both its' All-Weather Flat course and Turf Jumps course.
The Racecourse also hold a variety of non-racing events such as antiques fairs, food festivals, caravan rallies and even The Gate To Southwell Music Festival. Southwell Golf Club is also on the site, with the eighteen hole course, the front nine of which lies within the Racecourse circuit itself.
Reg Taylors Garden Centre is a 25 acre site that has been in the Taylor family for well over 60 years. It includes a swan sanctuary with 5 tranquil lakes making it a very popular Nottinghamshire tourist attraction.