The city is not easy to get to from central Scotland, unless you enjoy 5-6 hours driving (mostly on very busy English motorways) or the equivalent on a meandering cross country train.
I was in Sheffield anyway, so getting to Nottingham was just a 55 minute journey… on a meandering cross country train. I paid £4.60 for my one way ticket on Northern Rail. I got discounts for paying in advance on a “this train only” basis, and for having a senior railcard. It was fine, and ran on time, even if it stopped a lot.
In that part of England you have to be very aware of whether your ticket is valid with other train operators. East Midlands Railway (EMR) also serves the route, and my ticket was not valid on their trains.
I flew home from East Midlands Airport with Loganair. The airport is 40 minutes by express bus from Nottingham. The service runs every 30 minutes during the day and costs £6.50 single. It is not very “express” in fact, and wanders around quite a bit on the way, to stop at a university, a park and ride, a business park and a freight distribution centre.
The airport is small and was very efficient, no doubt on account of being almost deserted. I suppose Monday lunchtime is off peak.
Loganair was fantastic. The flight to Edinburgh left 20 minutes early, and arrived 30 minutes early. Within 10 minutes of the plane arriving at the gate I was on my bus to Fife, to connect with a train home. I paid £58.92 for the one way flight (hand luggage only) which is just about half what I paid for my train ticket from Fife to Sheffield.
In between, I stayed at the Ibis in Nottingham. After being used to Novotel’s level of service, Ibis feels quite cheap, but it was – £40.85 including breakfast. My stay was a Sunday night, and I imagine that will be the cheapest night of the week. It was clean and comfortable, and they offer a buffet breakfast with hot food. The location was ideal for me – in the city centre close to the railway station and the ice arena.
I did not venture into any of the city’s restaurants – the massive hotel breakfast I had in Sheffield skewed my appetite a bit. However, I did enjoy a coffee shop near the railway station as I recovered from the journey.
Hop’s is quirky. It is part of a small second hand “department store”. I did not test my bargain hunting skills, but enjoyed the coffee and cake in a relaxing and friendly venue.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2019