Things to do in Southwell, Nottinghamshire
This lovely old town is 14 miles south of Nottingham and is situated on the River Greet. It probably took its name from one of the wells in the area, such as the Holy Well near the cloisters of the cathedral.
An ancient custom began in 1109 when the parishes of Nottinghamshire were asked to contribute to the building and upkeep of Southwell Minster.
Crowds would make the pilgrimage to bring their donation, ending with the Southwell Pence being handed to the Chapter Clerk before the Whitsun Fair took place.York to the Fysher family. It was in this pub during the Civil War that Charles I spent his last night of freedom.
Cromwell’s troops were rather more troublesome guests in Southwell, using the Archbishop’s Palace for stables, damaging monuments and ransacking graves.
Bridewell Palace was built as royal lodgings for Henry VIII in 1555. It was later used as a poorhouse and prison before being demolished in 1864. However, the term “bridewell” continues to be synonymous with jails and detention centres across the UK.
Famous residents of Southwell include Lord Byron, who stayed with his mother in a rented house in 1803, and Mary Ann Brailsford who first seeded Bramley apples.
Present Day Southwell
Southwell has some outstanding architectural gems, with many Regency buildings around the town. It is an affluent town of just 6,900 residents, recently declared the millionaire capital of Nottinghamshire, according to the Nottingham Evening Post.
Street markets are held in Southwell on Thursdays and Saturdays with a Farmer’s Market once a month. The Bramley Centre and the Southwell City Football Club (nicknamed "The Bramleys") are named after the apple which was first seeded here.
Things to Do in Southwell
Southwell is brimming with fun activities for both locals and visitors.
Visit The Workhouse, and discover the harsh realities of life for paupers in Victorian times. Voted Visitor Attraction of the Year in past years, this National Trust attraction hosts many special events to bring history to life.Southwell Racecourse has an all-weather track for horse racing. It often hosts National Hunt Racing, and on one occasion the Great Yorkshire (Skybet) chase was held there.
The former railway line which ran through Southwell is now a popular walking trail.
The White Post Farm Centre is another former East Midlands Visitor Attraction of the Year and has over 3,000 animals to pet, feed and stroke on the 25-acre farm.
Southwell Minster is the county cathedral and demonstrates various architectural styles dating back to the 13th century.
Visit during Evensong to hear the beautiful singing of the Cathedral Choir.