Notts'Indie Shops!

We have a great independent business scene here in Nottingham, often these small creative businesses are tucked away in one of the many secret courtyards or old streets in the city centre. There are some real hidden gems when it comes to independent shopping too, you can always find something unique, from the finest foods to vintage American clothing.. here are some of our favourites!

Delilah Fine Foods - 12 Victoria Street NG1 2EX
The Midland's Traditional Delicatessen! Independent fine food and wine merchant, housed in a beautiful former banking hall. Just a few minutes walk from Market Square and Igloo Hybrid. All products are sourced from local and other small artisan producers.



Wild - 4-6 Broad Street, NG1 3AL
Possibly the best vintage clothing store in town for over 30 years, Nottingham's longest running independent clothing shop! Clothing and accessories from every decade in the last 60 years are available, loads of rare and cool stuff from the USA too.



Plates Records - 16 St James's Street, NG1 6FG.
Just around the corner from Igloo Hybrid and off Market Square you will find Plates, a record shop focused on "keeping alive things that inspire creativity, freedom and soul within music." They stock vinyl of all genres so if you're a record lover go crate digging here!

Handmade Nottingham16 St James's Street, NG1 6FG.
Situated right next to Plates Records, dedicated to showcasing local creative talent. They have all kinds of textiles, jewellery, prints and home accessories designed by locals! Great for little gifts or something to take home to remind you of your Nottingham trip.



Five Leaves Bookshop - 14a Long Row, NG1 2DH
Nottingham's independent radical and general bookshop, specialising in independent publishers. They specialise in "Cityscape and Landscape, Politics, Fiction and Poetry,Lesbian and Gay,  Counterculture,  International writing,  and Magazines and Journals."



Cobden Chambers - Pelham Street, NG1 2ED
Cute hidden courtyard with book store Ideas on Paper, jewellers Keishi Jewellery, Forever Records and Studio Chocolate.


Goose Fair

Here in Nottingham the nights are starting to get longer, autumn leaves are littering the ground, the fog and rain has arrived and a giant goose statue has appeared on a roundabout... it's Goose Fair time!

Goose Fair is one of Europe's oldest and most famous travelling fairs that has been held here for over 720 years. It is said that the fair started in 1284 and has only been cancelled a few times (once due to bubonic plague in the 1600s and then during WWI and WWII). Originally it was held in Old Market Square and gets its name from the thousands of geese that used to be sold at the fair. 

Now situated on the Forest Recreation Ground it hosts over 500 attractions and rides (think ghost trains, carousels, fun houses, dodgems, waltzers, a big wheel and LOADS more for young, old and everyone in between). There is also plenty of shopping stalls, street food and fun fair sweets (world foods, roasted chestnuts, crepes, noodles, the traditional fair brandy snaps and so on.) 

For a traditional experience at Goose Fair a cup of mushy peas and mint sauce is a must!! Then a trip to the Scouts cabin at the top right corner of the park for fresh hot doughnuts. Hidden amongst the rides and other stalls is the Cock On A Stick man who sells giant boiled sweet lollys in the shape of a cockerel, the authentic Goose Fair sweet treat that can be found nowhere else.

Admission is FREE! If you want to go on any rides they are all different prices but usually between £1-£6, you can collect vouchers or cheap ride tokens from The Nottingham Post and can sometimes find them online too, just google Goose Fair vouchers.

You can get to Forest Recreation Ground on the tram (a minute away from Igloo Hybrid) or if you are staying at Igloo Annexe and Pods it is just a 5-10 minute walk! It starts on Wednesday 4th October and continues until Sunday 8th October until 9pm. We recommend going in the evening or at night to get the full experience!

Wednesday 4th October 5.30pm - 11pm
Thursday 5th October 12 noon - 11pm
Friday 6th October 11am - 11.30pm
Saturday 7th October 11am - 11pm
Sunday 8th October 1pm - 9pm

Make to Make

Every year we choose 3 local charities to support, for 2017/18 we have chosen Arkwright Meadows Community Gardens, City Arts and Make to Make. We put aside 50p from every booking made via our website's booking button, then at the end of the year we share the funds raised between the chosen charities. We feel it really important to support what is happening in our locality, and even more so organisations without much funding or backing from major groups but who are still doing their thing and doing it well! So we would like to introduce you to our first chosen charity..


"Make to Make provides free creative workshops to anyone who wants to learn new skills, meet new people, build confidence and have a nice time while you're at it! It is a community. Make to Make is a Community Interest Company which hopes to achieve three main goals..

1. Create positive experiences through the medium of creative workshops designed for enjoyment and the chance for individuals to learn new skills.

2. Support local people from all walks of life, local creative businesses and the local economy.

3. Do some good! Improve peoples skills, increase self confidence, facilitate ethical business practice, make creativity more accessible and promote learning and collaboration."


The enterprise held a free sewing school at Gedney Resource Centre over the summer, with the theme being cultural crafts and sharing the heritage of textiles and techniques. We met up with some of the group at their final get together (lots of tea and cake.. yum) and it was lovely! They have developed a great community with all age groups learning new skills and getting to know each other.

Make to Make's latest series of events is LEGO CLUB. Held every other Saturday starting from 02/09 at Rough Tradeuntil the 21/07/2018. Take on difeferent Lego challenges, make new friends and get creative. Butties and brews on sale to feed hungry minds and the sessions are FREE!

To keep up to date with their news and events head over to:
or check out their website

Happy Making!!


What's on in September?

Dinosaurs of China @ Wollaton Hall - throughout the whole month
A one-time only world exclusive exhibition of dinosaurs in Europe for the first time. Held at Wollaton Hall with a complementary exhibition at Lakeside Arts. Featuring fossils and specimens never before seen outside of Asia, Dinosaurs of China brings to life the story of how dinosaurs evolved into the birds that live alongside us today.


Nottingham Castle Heritage Open Days - 10/09
FREE admission to the castle! Heritage Open Days celebrates England’s fantastic architecture and culture offering FREE access to properties usually closed to the public, or those which normally charge for admission.

Nottingham Mela @ Nottingham Castle - 10/09
Nottingham's annual South Asian celebration returns as Mela 2017! This year Nottingham Mela is bigger than ever, with a weekend extravaganza in September, filling New Art Exchange (NAE) and the majestic grounds of Nottingham Castle. On Sunday 10th, Mela continues in the open air, in the majestic landscaped grounds of Nottingham Castle. To coincide with National Heritage Open Days, the historic site will be filled with a colourful range of activities for the whole family to enjoy including: a dance programme, a line-up of live music performances, sports, street-food stalls, art and craft workshops for children and much more!

Broadfest - 16/09
Broad Street is about to get taken over for the second year in a row. 7 venues. 10 promoters. 1 night. Nottingham’s creative taskforce is linking up to deliver an electronic music festival to see off the summer good and proper, all centred on Hockley’s famous strip. There’ll be live art, clothing stalls, and loads of food to smash in what’s set to be one of the biggest parties of the city this year. Broadway, Rough Trade, The Angel Microbrewery, Brewdog, Bar 11,and Suede will all be stuffed full of grins and skanking bodies until the early hours. Check out their Facebook page.


Nottingham Green Festival @ The Arboretum - 17/09
Enjoy FREE live music, outdoor entertainment and adult & children’s activities plus community stalls with refreshments, ethical products and energy-saving technologies. Organised by grass roots, community based volunteers, with no regular statutory funding, the event features many product, information and food stalls, kids rides, workshops, natural therapies and sustainable technologies, performers and entertainment throughout the park and live music from the bandstand.

Leonardo Da Vinci @ Nottingham Castle - throughout the whole month
"A display of ten of the finest drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection in a new exhibition. The works have been selected to show the extraordinary scope of the artist’s interests, from painting and sculpture to engineering, zoology, botany, mapmaking and anatomy, as well as his use of different media – pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metalpoint."

Ricky Gervais @ Motorpoint Arena - 20/09
Considered one of the most influential British comedians since Charlie Chaplin, (received the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy 2016 BAFTA/LA) Ricky Gervais is returning to stage with his first stand-up tour in seven years: Humanity. Tickets and info here.


Speigeltent @ Old Market Square - 29+30/09 and throughout all of October
The Salon Perdu is one of a handful of the unique and legendary tents left in the world today; it has spent its life travelling the world from New York to Sydney, and since 2015 annually to Nottingham, as a small part of the Goose Fair returns to its spiritual home of Old Market Square. Live music, events and loads of fun!

A Day in Nottingham

Nottingham has so much to offer whether you are a solo traveller, couple, day tripper or family. We have come up with some affordable itineraries to make the most of everything going on in the city and surrounding areas. Find our first itinerary below...

In the morning use our kitchen facilities to cook a delicious breakfast that will keep you going throughout the day. There is a Sainsburys and other food stores just over the road from us so you can get your breakfast essentials there. Or pop into one of the many cafes close by. Hartleys do a great breakfast, as do Plava Laguna if you are staying at Igloo Annexe and Pods!

download (2).jpg

Then head across to the Nottingham Contemporary art museum. (FREE ENTRY! photo left) Afterwards you can explore the Galleries of Justice, a museum dedicated to exploring the history of British law and punishment, it's super interesting! Then after you might want to sit down for a cup of tea and cake, we recommend Lee Rosys in Hockley as they have over 100 types of tea to try! (My personal favourite is the vanilla tea).

After resting your legs you may want to take a trip to City of Caves where you’ll get to discover the hidden world beneath your feet. There are over 544 caves below Nottingham (read our blog about them). You can get a combination ticket to visit both the Galleries of Justice and City of Caves which is useful.

Lunch time! Head over to Malt Cross (photo below) not only has it got delicious food but the dining room is beautifully decorated with a big glass domed ceiling and lots of bunting, it’s the perfect place for a memorable lunch and has it's own heritage to explore.


Whilst you’re at The Malt Cross, pop into the shop next door called ‘Dukki’ for all your Nottingham souvenirs. ‘Dukki’ is a Nottingham term of endearment, you may hear locals in the street saying “Ayup m’duck” as it’s a widely used term for saying hello!

Now it’s time to explore Nottingham Castle. It may be called a castle but it’s actually a big stately home, the castle was burned down by angry locals a few hundred years ago. It later opened as an art gallery and museum, currently it is housing a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition. 

Take a wander down the side street leading to the castle and you can get a picture with a statue of our local legend Robin Hood. Then stroll a little further and find the oldest pub in England, Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem..


Head back to Igloo to cook dinner and socialise in the kitchen with other guests and volunteers. Or you could try out Annie's Burger Shack, (photo right) over 30 different burgers that can all be made veggie, vegan or meaty. 

If you fancy having a relaxing evening take a stroll over to Broadway, an independent cinema to watch an Indie or foreign film to top your day off without having to splash loads of cash. (Tickets are fairly priced, with under 25s only paying £4.50!)


Or If you want to explore our nightlife a bit more head over to Boilermaker, a cocktail bar hidden behind a simple boiler shop facade. Check out The Hockley Arts Club (photo below) too, hidden in an alley way in Hockley they do delicious cocktails and have possibly the most beautiful bar decor...ever?

If you're looking for live music or a club night The Bodega, Rescue Rooms, Rock City or The Maze are all great venues to explore!

At the end of your night you won't even need to worry about catching a taxi or public transport back as Igloo hostels are only 10-15 minute walk away from all central locations, so you can be wrapped up in bed in no time!

Volunteer's Experience of Igloo

Written by one of our lovely volunteers Taru who will be heading home to Finland soon *sad face*, we are going to miss her so much! She has spent the past 3 months living and working here at Igloo, so if you wanted to know more about volunteering and living here, read on..

* * *


I spent three months as a volunteer at Igloo Hostel as a part of my university course, which required me to do an internship in a country where English is the main language of communication. I couldn’t possibly be happier with my decision to do this at Igloo Hostel Nottingham; I had an amazing summer and will remember it for the rest of my life.

I applied for the position online, and took part in a fairly informal Skype interview. From the very first contact with the hostel, I felt very warmly welcomed, everyone I talked to was extremely nice, and all the arrangements were quickly done. When I finally arrived, other volunteers as well as other members of staff helped me settle in and instantly made me feel like home. The hostel provides free dorm accommodation to its volunteers as well as a weekly breakfast allowance. Personally, I was slightly worried about staying in a dormitory for three months, but in the end only ended up enjoying it!

Usually most volunteers work around twenty hours a week, but due to my university’s requirements, I worked slightly more. My tasks at work were extremely varied, which made the work very interesting and enjoyable. Some of my shifts were cleaning shifts, which includes general cleaning, changing the beds, doing laundry, and that sort of thing. Quite often my tasks also consisted of running all kinds of errands, welcoming and showing guests to their rooms, taking payments, doing check-ins and check-outs, as well as doing night shifts and being in charge of the emergency phone during the night. Most of the volunteers work in both hostels (Annexe & Pods and Hybrid), which adds even more versatility to the job.


I enjoyed my tasks, but the best part about Igloo is the people that work for the hostel. The volunteers have a very close-knit community, and they spend a lot of time together. It could almost be considered a sort of a family, so working for Igloo is also an amazing opportunity to meet new people from various and different backgrounds. New volunteers always receive a warm welcome from both the volunteers and other staff, so it is fair to say that no one could possibly feel lonely or left out here, and there is surely people to spend time with. As well as volunteers, all other people working for Igloo are just absolutely lovely, helpful and always up for a chat. In addition to the staff, the lovely guests we get also make the stay in Igloo enjoyable. In short, it’s always nice to meet new great people from around the world!

Volunteers usually get two days off every week, so there is plenty of time to explore the city as well as the surrounding areas even while working. The location of Nottingham is unbeatable, and one of the reasons why I chose this city for my internship. I have spent a lot of time in the United Kingdom the past few years and have friends around here, and Nottingham’s location makes it easy to get basically everywhere in the UK without taking ages on a bus or a train. There are loads of interesting cities within 2 hours train ride, so doing a day trip from Nottingham to another English city is easy. For instance, Manchester, London, Leeds and Birmingham are easily reached from Nottingham, as well as the beautiful Peak District.


Nottingham itself also has a lot to offer. I’ve found the people in Nottingham to be extremely nice and chatty, and as a language student, I love it that Nottingham has a quite distinct dialect of its own. When it comes to things to do, Nottingham has a castle, loads of caves, quite a few nice museums, and Wollaton Hall that was used in The Dark Knight Rises as the Wayne Manor. What I most love about Nottingham is that it’s not a huge city, but not too small either, and there’s basically always something going on. The nightlife is vibrant, and we have a lot of quirky and unconventional places to have a meal or drink at. For example, you could enjoy a Sunday meal inside a cave at Hand & Heart, or have a pint inside a former church at Pitcher & Piano, or inside a Victorian Music Hall at Malt Cross (which also has a great tour that tells you about the history of the place!). Nottingham also has loads of independent cafés and stores with loads of character, which is something I really like.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed my summer in Nottingham and with Igloo. I made some great new friends both inside and outside the hostel, and am sure to return to Nottingham at some point. I would recommend both Nottingham and Igloo to everyone who’s interested in sort of a working holiday in a lovely city with a great atmosphere!

Taru, Finland


Citylife Nottingham


Citylife Nottingham create unique experiences for international students here in the city, as well as helping them integrate into the community. It was founded by students, for students, so these guys know what they are doing! 

They offer bar crawls, meet-up events and parties at various nightclubs throughout Nottingham and include drinks offers, loads of entertainment and great opportunities to meet new friends throughout these events too.

Every Thursday they hold a free meet up event called 'Meet and Speak' at The Lacehouse from 9pm, a language exchange to help improve each others English/foreign language skills as well as making new friends! They also hold tours and trips to destinations across the UK, Europe and even Africa. 

Another brilliant service Citylife Nottingham offer is a FREE accommodation/house finding service, so to all those new and international students struggling with finding somewhere to live in Nottingham get in touch with them.

They also provide a free welcome guide too! With information about all things Nottingham, from transport, to nightlife, to health care, banking and more. You can download HERE.

So whether you are looking for accommodation, cultural experiences, parties, travel opportunities or even just meeting new people from around the world Citylife Nottingham is the group for you!

Live Music in Nottingham

We've got an amazing music scene here in Nottingham! With plenty of live music venues that host local and big time bands we highly recommend checking out, read on to explore our booming music scene.

THE MAZE  has live music nearly every night of the week, mixing a host of underground club nights and alternative band nights.  It has become a linchpin in the ever growing music community of Nottingham city, remaining one of our only truly independent venues. It has hosted the likes of Jake Bugg, Bonobo and Newton Faulkner so if you want to see any up and coming exciting musicians this is the place to be, as well as fun affordable nights out. Click here to view The Maze’s gig list:

There is only 4 ROUGH TRADE stores in the WORLD!! (New York, 2 in London and 1 here!) By day they are a vinyl, CD and book shop but at night they have a bar and music area upstairs. Here you can go to various gigs, poetry recitals, album signings and meet other like minded music lovers.  Click HERE to see Rough Trade's gig and event listings.  


ROCK CITY erupted in Nottingham back in 1980. Since then it has been one of the flagship venues in the UK for live music and club nights. They have held artists from the likes of Nirvana, Def Leppard, The Pogues, David Bowie,Guns And Roses, Ozzy Ozbourne, The Cure,Rage Against The Machine, Slipknot, Run DMC, Queens of The Stone Age, Bloc Party and that's not even close to us listing them all! A great venue for big bands to play, we highly recommend experiencing a gig here. It’s also received numerous awards, including Kerrang! magazine's Venue of the Year for ten consecutive years so that must count for something. Click for upcoming gigs.

THE BODEGA is another wonderful venue that we have in Nottingham. A close intimate gig and then a breath of fresh air in the beautiful fairy-lit beer garden. They pride themselves on having ‘festival headlining talent’ playing at their venue before they make it big including the likes of; Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Caribou, Florence and the Machine, The Libertines, Mumford and Sons and the Strokes. So it’s definitely a venue to head to for a fun night and perhaps you might become a fan of a new up and coming band. Click here to see Bodegas upcoming gigs:

RESCUE ROOMS is a real highlight to our music scene with its 450 person capacity you feel like the bands are playing in your living room, its so intimate and lovely. The stage is raised higher than most so good visibility throughout.  Check out their listings here

And of course we have MOTORPOINT ARENA holding 10,000 people a night to see some of the biggest musicians in the world, upcoming gigs include The Killers and Andre Rieu. Take a look at their lineup HERE and you may be able to experience one of the bands you’ve dreamed of seeing!

Finally, If your wanting a cheap music event to attend in the city on October 8th there is the HOCKLEY HUSTLE event. Lots of local musicians playing in different venues throughout Hockley area in Nottingham City Centre raising money for 7 local charities, with 24 venues and 300 artists. Currently tickets are only £11! For all info check out their website:

The city has loads to offer if you're wanting to immerse yourself in some music! Then after a fun gig or event IGLOO is placed so centrally that we are a short walk from all the music venues mentioned meaning you can crash out in our affordable and cosy rooms.

Nottingham Caves

Nottingham has over 500 known caves, with more being discovered every year. No other location in the UK has as many of these man made caves as we do! So much so that it was first known as the 'Place of Caves'. It turns out the whole city is built on them. They run deep underground and in the cliff side of Nottingham Castle. Many of them are linked with a network running under the whole city.

In the 11th century they were used as some of the first housing in the area and people continued to live in them up to the mid to late 1800s. Other uses for them included store rooms, a chapel, air raid shelters, slums, a tannery, work/factory rooms, a prison, storing live fish, brewing and storing beer, pub cellars, wells, cesspits and other daily life spaces most of us would now have above ground. In the present day Nottingham residents are using them as basements, bike stores, play areas and store rooms for their businesses, not much unlike what was happening here a thousand years ago!

The most famous tale of the caves is from 1330 when King Edward III went through a secret tunnel that led directly into Nottingham Castle. The castle was the residence of nobleman Roger de Mortimer who had been ruling England unlawfully and had been supposedly involved in the killing of Edward III's father. Edward III took Mortimer as a prisoner and took back his right to rule as king. The tunnel is known as Mortimer's Hole. 

To go in the caves and see their history you can visit the City of Caves attraction (check out their website here). You can also experience the caves by going for a meal at the Heart in Hand pub on Derby Road, or book a cellar tour at Ye Olde Trip. You may even stumble upon one randomly on your travels! 

What's on in August?

Riverside Festival - 04/08 to 06/08
Stretching along the banks of the River Trent/Victoria Embankment, enjoy live music, a huge fireworks display, dragon boat racing, funfairs, steam engines, craft fair and loads more. All free! An annual event enjoyed by locals and visitors every year.

Dinosaurs of China @ Wollaton Hall - throughout the whole month
A one-time only world exclusive exhibition of dinosaurs in Europe for the first time. Held at Wollaton Hall with a complementary exhibition at Lakeside Arts. Featuring fossils and specimens never before seen outside of Asia, Dinosaurs of China brings to life the story of how dinosaurs evolved into the birds that live alongside us today.

Pagan Pride - 06/08
The biggest free pagan event in the UK, just over the road from Igloo Annexe and Pods at The Arboretum park. Talks, shopping, live music, friendly family festival vibes, free entry!

Melodica Festival @ Rough Trade - 12/08
"Melodica acoustic festival brings together songwriters and musicians from around the world and gives them the opportunity to experience playing in different countries, meet local artists, swap ideas and form musical collaborations. Audiences are treated to rare and intimate performances from artists they would normally never get the chance to see and local artists then get the opportunity to play at the other Melodica festivals."

Hyson Green Cultural Festival - 19/08
A free annual event celebrating the diversity in the local community. Family friendly with loads of activites, food and music. Held on Forest Fields just a 10minute walk from Igloo Annexe and Pods.

Leonardo Da Vinci @ Nottingham Castle - throughout the whole month
"A display of ten of the finest drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection in a new exhibition. The works have been selected to show the extraordinary scope of the artist’s interests, from painting and sculpture to engineering, zoology, botany, mapmaking and anatomy, as well as his use of different media – pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metalpoint."

Pull Up! with Reggae Takeover - 19/08
An interactive all-day event shines the musical spotlight on Nottingham's rich reggae heritage. A of talks, workshops and film screenings. Music will be provided by Reggae Take Over DJs plus special guests, and a tasty Jamaican menu will be available.

Nottingham Carnival - 20/08
A parade, live music, workshops, funfair, all in true Caribbean carnival style! £2 entry,  12-8pm at Victoria Embankment. Reggae legends Michael Prophet and Horace Andy are headling the main stage too. Take the tram from Market Square near Igloo Hybrid.

The Shins @ Rock City - 23/08
On their world tour! With support from Kidwave. Tickets £27.50

Kindread Sound System @ The Maze - 25/08
Nottingham's own heavyweight roots reggae sound system! Just a few minutes walk up the road from Igloo Annexe and Pods. £5 entry, fundraiser for keeping The Maze alive and kickin. Ital food, arts and craft stalls and a 12v 'off grid' sound system room upstairs.

Jehst @ Rough Trade - 26/08
British hip-hop legend Jehst will be live in store performing tracks from his new album FREE!

Rescue Room's Beer Festival - 27/08
Celebrate the bank holiday Monday with Rescue Room's first ever beer festival. They'll be turning the venue into an Oktoberfest style beer hall, hosting live music and showcasing craft beers. Tickets £10 which includes 2 drinks tokens!