Igloo visits Berlin! Part 1

As you may know already, the staff of Igloo is made of people from all over the world (well, Europe really!) who love travelling and discovering new places, new people. This January, two of us, Attila and Sarah, went on a quick trip to Berlin to test if it is indeed the European capital of Veganism and now we want to share our adventure with you. Why Berlin, you ask? Well, RyanAir was doing round trip tickets for just £20 so we couldn’t pass on it, really.

Here we go, day 1 of the trip, 4:00 something in the morning, our 2 staff members wake up and get ready to hop on the Skylink bus to the airport (we could have taken the Skylink Express and would have been there in a short 27min-trip, but I (Sarah) apparently can’t read a timetable and was convinced it didn’t run until 5ish in the morning…Don’t let Attila know it actually starts at 4:30am, it was hard enough to get him to wake up on time!). Please note, this is January 17th and the snow is still steadily falling on sleepy Nottingham streets and on us, still-half-asleep-but-happy to-be-flying travelers. Ha, we’re thinking, take that Nottingham people: we are flying off to better skies and you are stuck with the snow! Or so we thought…

Onto the 1hr bus ride then! We grab the regular Skylink bus from Friar Lane, just a 1 min walk away from the Igloo Hybrid building on Wheeler Gate and are greeted by the smiley face of the driver who sells us 2 single tickets for £10.40 (we really want to get the Express when we return, and the tickets cannot be used on the different routes). Good thing is, on the Skylink lines you don’t need to have the exact amount, the driver can give you change. Which is not the case on Nottingham City Transports buses (inner and outer city lines) where if you don’t have the exact change, the driver will keep your fiver…

We sit down, and I immediately plug in my phone in one of the handy USB plugs that are on every seat to charge up my phone during the trip. I also log onto the bus Wifi to check if everything is alright with our flight and what the weather is like in Berlin. Big mistake. That should have been my first clue: grey sky, and snowflake symbol on the weather app, but that’s okay, it cannot be worse that Nottingham this morning, right? If only I knew…

After a smooth, if not a little cold bus ride (the heating turned on around halfway through) we easily make it to the East Midlands Airport where the bus drops us in front of the departure terminal. One last quick cigarette for Attila and off we go. Well, we actually stop at the Leon restaurant for some coffee and tea (with plant milk of course!). Time is close to 6:00am and the gate has been announced so we make our way to the security area where not too many people are waiting at this time of the day. We quickly grab our belongings and go look for Gate 2, where people are already lining up for boarding. The plane isn’t full at all so we each end up on an empty exit row with extra leg room since they must have people there in case of an accident. Very roomy!

After a less than 2-hour flight, we land in Berlin Schönefeld Airport where we quite easily find the train station (4min walk away from arrival terminal) and buy 2 single tickets into the city center for 3.40€ each. The train is super comfortable and fast and we get to Ostbahnhof train station, right next to the Hostel we booked in the cool and trendy Friedrichshain quarter. We don’t see any of the cool and trendy though, as we are blinded and numbed by the cold rainy snow that is storming down on us. Attila is already shooting me death glares for getting the crazy idea that Berlin might be fun to visit in the middle of winter… How was I supposed to know? Just a couple weeks ago the weather was above 12℃!

We quickly check into our cool hostel Das DDR OSTEL which looks frozen in the 1960s. We feel like two spies during the cold war. True to history, our room doesn’t have a TV but a huge radio with which Attila fiddles to get some Trans music, this is Germany after all, but only ends up with some mainstream tunes and a French channel, ha!

We are starving by then (past 11:00am) and go off with our list of Best Vegan restaurant to begin our 2-day feast. First on our list is Vöner, an unpretentious but efficient Döner style place where we get a Goulash soup (!), the Wagenburger Spezial for myself and the Vöner kebab for Attila. It was all delicious and quite cheap, we definitely recommend for some low-key good vegan food. Stuffed as could be, we made our way back to the hostel after that and went to sleep around 3-4pm, still exhausted from waking up so early. We are not proud to say that we wasted a whole afternoon/evening by sleeping in and only waking up the next morning…


What's on in February?

International Postcard Show - 08 to 10/02

Surface Gallery welcomes back the International Postcard Show. This vibrant, long-running exhibition is a highly popular event which includes hundreds of original artworks from established and aspiring artists from all over the world. All submissions are included, from painting and print through to textiles and illustration, creating a wonderfully eclectic mix of artwork. All artwork is priced at £15, so this is a fantastic opportunity for visitors and aspiring art collectors to snap up an original work of art at an affordable price.


Bowling for Soup - 10/02

Now, a decade on from the original Get Happy Tour, Bowling For Soup are delighted to announce The Get Happy Tour 2018! In bringing The Get Happy Tour back to the UK, Bowling For Soup have decided to give their fans what they've been asking for for many years. For the very first time, Bowling For Soup will perform their smash hit breakthrough album Drunk Enough To Dance in its entirety. 


Chinese New Year - 10/02

A whole host of events are going on around the city to celebrate Chinese New Year. Including a Chinese New Year Temple Fair at Old Market Square, See and participate in activities which regularly feature as part of China’s New Year celebrations. There will be arts and crafts including calligraphy and paper cutting; storytelling, music and dance including the Chinese Dragon dance. Also, ample opportunities to try out some authentic Chinese New Year foods! Celebrations also include a photography exhibition, which is a great opportunity to explore Hemudu, an ancient town with over 7,000 years of history, in Ningbo. 96 photos will tell you the story of its fascinating and unique landscape, culture, heritage and development. Later on in the month there is also a Lion Dancing event just around the corner from Igloo Annexe and Pods!


It's pancake day! For £9.95 you can have UNLIMITED pancakes at The Lacehouse - advance tickets needed go HERE for more info and to book your hour long slot.

Nottingham Light Night! - 23/02

One of Nottingham's annual highlights! See the city and various locations be turned into a light installation for one night only. The Nottingham Light Night festival transforms the city and brings it to life after dark through illuminations, spectacles, music, street theatre and much more. Check out LeftLion's top light night locations HERE! "Be amazed by spectacular visuals projected on iconic buildings like Nottingham Castle and the Council House that tell stories or depict moments in time. Let the kids (and kids at heart) bring out their inner Luke Skywalker as they fight off the Sheriff of Nottingham with light sabres while being guarded by the force of Robin Hood." Many events are free and for all the family to enjoy!

Tradition Hi-Fi - 23/02

Nottingham's finest valve sound system playing old school roots and vintage reggae vinyl all night long! @ The Irish Centre


One Eye on the Road Photography Exhibition @ Bonington Building, 23/02 onwards

Documenting all aspects of alternative lifestyles and sub-cultures, Alan has photographed many free and commercial events, environment protest, land rights demonstrations, and rave culture. Giving an insightful view that only people who have been accepted into a community can really achieve, his aim has been to present a more positive view of people and communities that are frequently misrepresented.

Bill Bailey @ Theatre Royal, 28/02

Larks in Transit is a compendium of travellers’ tales and the general shenanigans of twenty years as a travelling comedian. With musical virtuosity, surreal tangents and trademark intelligence, Bill Bailey tackles politics, philosophy and the pursuit of happiness. Plus, he fashions a symphony from a ringtone, tells the real story of Old McDonald, and a re-imagines the Stars and Stripes. Two decades of touring larks from a comic described by the Daily Telegraph as ‘the brainiest comic of his generation’. £28.50 tickets.


La Rochelle Internship 2017-18

Written by our interns Alex, Antoine, Gwendal, Josué, Mélanie and Naomi from La Rochelle Business School who have been staying with us for 6 weeks since December 2017.

We are 6 French students from La Rochelle Business School. We went to Igloo Backpackers for an internship of 6-7 weeks. During this period, we met a lot of people from all around the world. Being volunteers at Igloo Backpackers was an incredible experience.

We visited Wollaton Hall and it's deers. After we also went to Nottingham Forest stadium to support Forest; nethertheless they lost 1-0. We discovered the English culture by tasting all the traditional meals like the fish and chips, the typical English breakfast and Nottingham by night with all these pubs. In fact, Nottingham has an incredible number of pubs.

At the hostel, we did a lot of things; room cleaning, the reception, some painting and a lot of other tasks. The hostel is a great place to work and rest because all the guests and staff are respectful to each other. We recommend you come here, you will meet great people!

castle view.jpg

Happy Holidays



We will also be running the Igloo Christmas Giveaway on our Facebook page so check that out too for your chance to win a night for 2 in one of our double or twin rooms at city centre hostel Igloo Hybrid.


See you in 2018... Igloo's Blog Elf x

City Arts

Our final chosen charity! City Arts Nottingham develops arts opportunities that bring people together, stimulate change and create stronger, healthier communities. They believe that participation in the arts can enrich and transform people’s lives and have been pioneering this approach for over 30 years. They work creatively and collaboratively with communities and particularly target resources towards vulnerable groups. Projects include music, performance, visual and digital arts and are all facilitated by artists particularly skilled in working creatively with people.


City Arts have done everything from "working with older people in care homes, pioneering projects to enhance young people’s well-being, created a new Community Arts Garden in the heart of Hockley, showcased the talent of mental health survivors, made stunning contributions to Light Night and Nottingham Carnival, and engaged communities in the former Notts Coalfields. City Arts can and will continue to grow and expand participation in the Arts for all, regardless of health, ability, or economic status." 

This weekend they have their Christmas Pop-Up shop! Check out all the details below:


Showcasing the best emerging artists, makers and designers in the area. Shop for a wide array of handmade items from fine art to stationery, from clothes to jewellery, and from ceramics to glass work.

Opening Party: Friday 15th December, 6.00 - 8.30 pm
Come in from the cold and join us for a drink or two and some Christmas tunes at the opening party! A great chance to chat to the artists and generally get into the Christmas spirit!

Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th, 11.00 - 6.00 pm
Our pop up shop is open all weekend, so break the monotony of the high street and pick up some unique, original and beautiful gifts.

Hannah Satchwell
Ruby Ward
Nikki Charlesworth
Stan Charles Roberts
Fourbeat Walk
Harriet Morell
Glen Keep
Nicole Solarte-Tobon
Tracey Meek
Harry Martin
Kat Christou
January Norway Ceramics
The Thursday Group”

What's On In Notts... December Edition!

Ho Ho Ho... Christmas cheer has arrived in Nottingham! From the German Christmas Market being in full swing in Market Square to ACTUAL snow falling the other day; we are feeling super festive here at the Igloo. Check out what's on to get you in the Christmas spirit too.

PANTOMIME! Beauty and The Beast @ Theatre Royal - 9/12 to 14/01

Don’t miss this year’s spellbinding family pantomime Beauty and the Beast. Dreaming of a happier life, the beautiful Belle finds herself transported to a spell-bound castle held captive by a hideous beast. Can she see beyond the monster and fall in love with her captor before the last petal falls from the enchanted rose? Or will the Beast’s selfishness cost him the world he once knew and the hand of the girl that has melted his heart. Oh no he didn't..... oh yes he did! All info and tickets here >> https://trch.co.uk/whats-on/beauty-the-beast/


A Viking Christmas @ Lakeside - 9/12

Did you know that before Christmas, the Vikings celebrated Yule - or Jól - in December? Join us for a fun-filled Viking Christmas at Lakeside. Drop by the Learning Studio between 11am and 4pm to make a Viking ring to take away... a perfect Christmas present. Visit the Museum and meet two Vikings who will show you how the Vikings celebrated Jól. Children can make a puppet of the of the twelve 'Yule-Lads' - mischievious trolls who would visit children and leave gifts or rotten potatoes. 11am - 4pm. Fun for all the family and free!

Lantern-lit Christmas Cave Tour @ Nottingham Castle - 10/12

As night falls, collect your lantern at the gate and hear the Castle’s intriguing history as you wander the grounds and descend into the caves by candlelight. Tickets £15 per person, including festive refreshments.  7.30pm – 9pm

The Park Christmas Market @ Newcastle Circus (The Park Estate) - 10/12

Seasonal food, drink, plants and gifts for sale from local producers. 11am - 4pm.


Christmas Ghosts @ Nottingham Castle - 16/12

O come, all ye fearful… Hear spooky tales of Christmases past. Festive spirits guaranteed. Tickets £18 per person. 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Gogol Bordello @ Rock City - 16/12

2017 gogol bordello poster.jpg

A Night of Dickens @ Wollaton Hall - 22/12

Listen to Dickens’ timeless classics, told by the fireside. Tickets £18 per person, including festive refreshments. 7.30pm – 9.30pm


Rise Up! The Nest Collective Winter Bash @ The Maze - 22/12

Get your Christmas dancing shoes on! Quality live bands on early to get you warmed up n in the festival spirit ready for some floor shaking DJ's that'll carry us through the night full of Nottingham talent and spirit! £5/£7 8pm till late! 18+, just up the road from Igloo Annexe and Pods.


Persian New Years Eve Meal @ Cafe Roya - 31/12

Celebrate the New Year in style at the UK's NUMBER 1 vegetarian resturant Cafe Roya! Relax and enjoy live sitar music with a glass of organic prosecco whilst a range of delightful Persian delicacies are bought to your table... Check the yummy menu out below! £50pp, 5pm or 8.30pm


Volunteer Experience - Nina

Written by one of our volunteers Nina who will be heading to Germany soon *sad face*, she has been a great member of our team and we are going to miss her dearly! She has spent the past 3 months here at Igloo, so if you wanted to know more about volunteering here, read on..

* * *

Back in July, when I decided to volunteer in the UK, I never would have thought it would be so hard for me to go back home!! However, before I leave Nottingham for good, I want to explain the reason why working at Igloo Hostels changed my view on many things.

During my stay in the hostel I met a lot of interesting people from all over the world. They told me about their journeys and their experiences in travelling. They kind of encouraged me to try it myself. So, I went around in Great Britain: to Liverpool, Dublin, Manchester, Cardiff and some other places. I really enjoyed seeing new things, taste new foods and meet various people in the hostels I’ve stayed. However, it always felt like coming home when I came back to the Igloo Hostel after one of my journeys. The people working there are amazing!! The work is not as hard as I expected, and I had enough free time to discover the city and its nightlife. For example, the Arboretum with all the cute squirrels, Wollaton Hall, the Museum of Nottingham Life, Sherwood Forest with the big oak tree, Newstead Abbey and the museum inside the castle. I also spend a lot of time with all the lovely volunteers who make the hostel a warm and welcoming place. Even though life will probably take me to many other beautiful places, I will never forget my time in Nottingham. Cheers for the precious memories!!   

Tarrah thenn!!


Arkwright Meadows Community Gardens

Every year Igloo chooses 3 local charities to support, for 2017/18 we have chosen Arkwright Meadows Community Gardens, City Arts and Make to Make. For every booking made via our website's booking button we put aside 50p, 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!

Arkwright Meadows Community Gardens was created in 2001 by local residents in the Meadows area of Nottingham. It was an unused playing field that has now been transformed into a beautiful space that provides the diverse community with fresh produce, education and oppourtunities to get gardening. The gardens also have a wide range of organically grown fruits, vegetables, herbs and plants for sale, as well as their home made chutneys, jams and other preserves. They welcome visitors and are just 10 minutes walk away from Nottingham Train Station, we urge you to take a small detour out of the city centre to see this wonderful place. Open until 4pm in the winter and on Saturday too! AMC also have a wide range of events throughout the year, with their next one being a winter hedgerow wreath making workshop - all event info here.

You can follow their community gardening adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Find directions to the gardens here.


Halloween 2017

A lowdown on all the spooktacular events occuring over the Halloween period in Nottingham this year. From ghost tours to beer festivals there is something for all the family to enjoy! Trick or treat...

Dark Tales & Dire Deeds @ The Malt Cross - 29/10

Join local raconteurs The Woolly Tellers for a evening of dark tales, stories and anecdotes in the beautifully restored Victorian music hall The Malt Cross. These experienced storytellers will take you on a journey into the dark macabre of human nature just in time for Halloween! £8, pre booking essential! Click HERE for full details.


Ezekial Bone's Halloween Guts & Gore Tour - 28/10

No ordinary Ghost Walk… Bored to death with the usual Ghost Tours? The truth is stranger than fiction! Join Nottingham ghost Mr Bone as he haunts the Lace Market, telling grisly tales of Guts & Gore. Stand where horrible history happened and hear true tales of murder, hanging, grave-robbing, misery and mayhem that took place amidst the finery and foulness of old Nottingham town.

£7, and suitable for ages 10 and above, approx. 80 minutes starts from: Cross Keys Pub. Booking: 07941 210 986 or contact Ezekial Bone

The Visited Folk @ Brewhouse yard under castle ROck- 28-31/10

In 1349 the Black Death visitation killed an estimated 1000 people in Nottingham. As more and more people died of disease, bodies were hurriedly buried and fear undoubtedly spread. To prevent the spread of the disease, caves cut into the rock beneath the Castle were used to isolate those who became known as the Visited Folk. Join archaeologist Scott Lomax and explore the caves they once inhabited. £6 entry, includes museum entry at Brewhouse Yard  underneath Nottingham Castle Rock, for more info click

Hand and Heart Halloween Beer Festival - 26-31/10

It’s Hand and Heart's 7th annual Halloween Beer Festival with 30+ real ales - many with a spooky seasonal twist, and live music.


Paranormal Investigation @ Newstead Abbey- 27/10

Join Haunted Events UK for a spine chilling evening of Paranormal Activity at Newstead Abbey, a venue that never stops delivering. Explore the stairwells, chambers and hallways of this medieval house that was once home to Lord Bryon and see if you can add to activity reports of the infamous White Lady, Black Monk or even Lord Byron himself.  7pm - 12.30am, £55 per person, 15+. More info here.

Magic School @ Intu Victoria Centre - 23-27/10

Spooktacular activities over the half term including 'The Big Trick or Treat' (28+29/10) where kids can dress up, free face painting and take part in a hunt for all the treats hidden in the centre!


Eleven eclectic companies have come together to create a fun trail guiding families around a vibrant area of the city centre. All participants need to do is follow the map to collect a number and letter from each venue. Why not ask a member of staff for a trick or a treat and you might be in for a surprise! Once all venues have been visited, the numbers and letter will reveal the winning Halloween phrase and number that enters yous into a grand prize draw –  the winner announced at Café Sobar’s Sobar Social Spooktacular on Friday the 27th of October 2017. (Guess what... Igloo Hybrid is a part of the trail!... come and trick or treat us) All info HERE.

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.

PHOTO FROM DELILAH FINE FOODS - https://www.delilahfinefoods.co.uk/gallery

PHOTO FROM DELILAH FINE FOODS - https://www.delilahfinefoods.co.uk/gallery

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. 

PHOTO FROM WILD CLOTHING - www.wildclothing.co.uk

PHOTO FROM WILD CLOTHING - www.wildclothing.co.uk

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."

FIVE LEAVES BOOKSHOP, PHOTO FROM http://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/

FIVE LEAVES BOOKSHOP, PHOTO FROM http://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/

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