What are the transformation plans for Nottingham Castle?

Following today’s news that Nottingham Castle is to close for transformation work until 2020 – here are the details of what is planned for the new world class attraction.

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The transformation project aims to establish Nottingham Castle as a world-class visitor destination, celebrating its unique and nationally-significant 1,000 year history with tales of power, protest and rebellion across the centuries.

It forms a critical part of Nottingham City Council’s plans to develop the city centre.

The proposals for the transformation of Nottingham Castle respond to the public feedback that has been loudest and most passionate – the desire for a memorable Robin Hood experience.

Revealed: Plans for Nottingham Castle Transformation Open to Public
Robin Hood Central Space


New features will include:

  • The creation of a stunning Robin Hood Gallery, accessed via the existing tunnel leading from the outer bailey, and one of the most exciting changes to the Ducal Palace. Here, visitors will step back in time, entering a medieval experience where they are invited to find the outlaw with the help of interactive audio-visual storytelling, and be part of the legend by enjoying interactive games and experiences.
Revealed: Plans for Nottingham Castle Transformation Open to Public
Robin Hood Golden Arrow Coach Arch



  • A new Rebellion Gallery will also be created within the existing structure of the Palace, made possible by the removal of a mezzanine floor which currently divides the service wing into two small spaces. This gallery will explore four major periods of social unrest and rebellion in Nottingham, from the medieval period onwards. It will be evocative, emotionally charged and enable visitors to see how the themes of power, justice, and democracy repeatedly run through Nottingham’s history.
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  • The first floor galleries will celebrate the Power of Art and Making in the history of Nottingham. Showcasing the pre-industrial Nottingham art forms of saltglaze stoneware and medieval alabasters, the galleries will evolve to tell the story of Nottingham’s most famous industry – lace, the manufacture of which inspired the foundation of the Nottingham Art School and ultimately the opening of the Castle Museum and Art Gallery in 1878.
Revealed: Plans for Nottingham Castle Transformation Open to Public
The Story of Lace
  • The Castle’s Long Gallery will play host to the star objects from the museum’s treasured art collection, displaying paintings and 3D objects in a thoughtful and evocative way, alongside contemporary works inspired by the treasures themselves.


  • Access to the caves within the Castle Rock will be extended and parts of the Castle grounds will be remodelled to reveal more of the medieval site and to re-establish spectacular views of the Castle across the city.


  • A new visitor centre will welcome people to the grounds, encouraging them to enter and explore, and helping to guide them around the site. The centre will include a new café.

Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, said in 2016:

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“We’re excited to release details of these proposals which will make visiting Nottingham Castle a richer experience, bringing Nottingham’s history and legends alive, and so broadening the Castle’s appeal as a visitor destination of national and international significance.


“This in turn will provide a catalyst for wider regeneration across the city centre, significantly increasing visitor footfall, stimulating the local economy and providing job opportunities for local people.”


The required £30 million to complete the transformation will come from the following sources with the majority being from the Heritage Lottery Fund, subject to final approval later this year:


  • Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – £13m
  • Nottingham City Council – £5.5m
  • Fundraising via Nottingham Castle Trust – £3m
  • Regeneration and other public funds – £2.5m


Work on this project has been underway since 2013 when Nottingham City Council submitted a successful bid to the HLF to start work on plans for transforming the site. Since then, a team of professionals has been appointed to develop the plans, as well as to consult with visitors and stakeholders.


  • Submission of final round 2 HLF bid for £13m – July 2016
  • Funding decision from HLF – by November 2016
  • If successful, work on site 2018-2019 ( closure while work is carried out )
  • Transformation project complete by 2020.