Volunteer Experience: Anja

After I finished school last year, I've always wanted to spend some time working and travelling around the UK. 

But sometimes it's more difficult than you think to find a hostel which takes volunteers. Back in Germany, I spent ages in front of my laptop, writing E-mails to differnt hostels in the UK, but most of the time didn't even get an answer. That is why I was all the more happy to hear that I could volunteer at the Igloo Hostel in Nottingham. 

Many people ask me, why I came especially to Nottingham and didn't go to bigger places like London etc. But I want to use my time in the UK to explore smaller places, which maybe don't come to somebody's mind in the first place when thinking about the UK, because I believe there is so much more to discover in this country. And Nottingham is great! 


The work here at the hostel is quite easy, only four hours a day, which leaves a lot of freetime to discover the city and the sourroundings. I just completed my second week here and I've already seen a lot of beautiful places and met so many friendly people. 

Besides visiting Nottingham Castle and Wollaton Hall, I spend almost one whole day in the "Galleries of Justice" Museum and "City of Caves", which was very fascinating and a good opportunity to learn a lot about Great Britian's and Nottingham's history. While walking through the ancient caves and passageways, the tour guide of the "City of Caves" told us a lot about how the inhabitants of Nottingham lived and worked in those sandstone caves from the 11th century on. The caves where used even until the 1940's, mostly recunstructed as air raid shelters during the second world war. 

My favourite place I've visited so far is Newstead Abbey. Newstead Abbey is the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron and a really beautiful big house with a lovely garden. To go there I took the train (Newstead is only to stops away from Nottingham) and then had to walk there for about 30 minutes. Even though (or just because) the weather was really bad (it was cold and it rained all the time; there was even some snow on the streets) I enjoyed the walk towards Newstead Abbey a lot. It was kind of adventurous to make my way through the flooded and muddy streets; and the advantage: I had the garden all for my own, because no one wanted to take a stroll at this weather except for me. 


But there are also smaller places in Nottingham like bars or cafes, which are nice to visit. I enjoyed a Tuesday evening at The Bodega Social Bar tryintg to answer the challenging questions of the weekly Music Quiz and listened to funny and fascinating stories told by the "Storytellers of Nottingham" at the Malt Cross. 

So there is a lot to do in Nottingham and I can't wait to explore even more in the four weeks that are left of my volunteer experience at the Igloo Hostel. 


Where to eat...pizza

In celebration of the incredible amount of places to eat in Nottingham here is our first list of our favourite eateries.... this time pizza is on the menu and there are loads of joints that offer up a great slice. Join the Notts pizza party and head to one of the destinations below!

Death by Pizza @ Suede Bar

Hand stretched sourdough pizzas. Signature pizzas include 'Pancetta, red onion, sweet chilli infused pineapple, parmesan, olive oil' and 'Roast aromatic duck, spring onion, cucumber, on a hoisin sauce base'. (YUM!) They've got plenty of veggie options too and have vegan cheese available. Once you've squeezed all that in they also do killer shakes like 'Rolo Banoffee: Nestlè Rolos, fresh & frozen banana blended with ice cream & topped with cream' ..drool. Build your own 12" for £7 or upgrade to a large for £3 more which includes all sauces and unlimited toppings.  Every Tuesday and Wednesday it's 2-4-1 on ALL pizzas and for £12.50 on Thursday it's all you can eat. Check out their full menu here.

photo from https://deliveroo.co.uk/menu/nottingham/nottingham-city-centre/suede-bar

photo from https://deliveroo.co.uk/menu/nottingham/nottingham-city-centre/suede-bar

Secret Pizza @ Rough Trade

So secret they don't have a website or anything but we found their Instagram, word on the street is they make a fine pizza. Catch them at the side of Rough Trade knocking up special daily flavours like 'Smoked Stilton with red wine and onion marmalade' and 'oak smoked crispy salmon skin with Sicilian preserved lemons, fresh chilli and flowering oregano'. All on a fresh sourdough base... get in my mouth!

Oscar and Rosie's

The original independent Notts pizza co. They've been making their delicious pizzas since 2013 and are legends on the local food scene. They've got their famous 14 inchers for £14, pizza by the metre and a banging vegan menu. Toppings include 'The Cosmopolitan' (serrano ham, tinned peaches and fresh basil leaves), 'The Checkpoint' (butternut squash roasted in cumin & chilli, award winning smoked streaky bacon and fresh sage).. or go for a vegan option like the 'Cheat Sweats' with vegan chicken, 'fakon', and vegan ham. As well as their pizzas they've got a killer mac n cheese menu, and great locally made desserts. Head over to their website to see the full menu, book tables and all that.


Louis Louis @ Das Kino

Find "pizza innovator extraordinaire" Louis Louis at his residency at Das Kino. Find delicious and unique pizzas like the ' 'Three Amigo's'.. red peppers, red onion, jalapenos, nachos, sour cream and guacamole on a salsa base or 'Slumdog Millionaire'.. a tomato tikka base with chicken, raita, mango chutney and a mint yoghurt drizzle.. Vegan cheese and gluten free options available too. If you're looking for something sweet the Nutella Pizza is the way to go. If pizza isn't your thing (why?) there are massive burgers and sundaes too. Check out the menu here

Mod Pizza

Just a minute or so away from Igloo Hybrid, Mod Pizza serve up build your own pizzas with plenty of toppings and all kinds of cheese (including vegan options). There is loads of choice so we'd recommend checking out the options before you go otherwise you'll be stuck in the que for ages trying to decide (like we did) OR just get EVERYTHING on top.. here is the full list as well as some ideas from them. For £7 it's a bargain and they've got a great drinks machine as well. 


What's on in March?

BROMLEY HOUSE TOURS @ Bromley House Library, every Wednesday

The most beautiful library in Nottingham! Usually only open to members but throughout the year they hold open tours which are really worth a visit, £2 per person.


MEET THE GHOSTS OF THE BELL INN @ The Bell Inn, 08/03 7.10pm - 9pm

The Bell Inn has stood looking over Nottingham's Market Place since it was first built as a priory in the reign of Henry II. Through its doors have come the famous sons and daughters of Nottingham. Visitors including Oliver Cromwell, A famously well kept house especially by the Jackson family who had ownership for over 100 years. Come and explore behind the scenes where the guests rarely go and hear the stories that the staff tell each other! £15pp includes a drink.


A celebration of independent labels within the city selling their wares under one roof. 


Join Robin Hood, his Merry Men and a whole host of colourful characters in this immersive experience and be transported back in time to 12th Century Nottingham. The Castle grounds are transformed into a medieval village encampment, complete with period cooking, traditional crafts, jesters, street theatre, music and puppet shows. Tickets: ad£12.00/ch£9.00/family £30.00 includes admission to castle.



An iron man, giant birds, a diabolical Mr Punch, a treasured maiden and the talents behind the workings of the National Theatre’s War Horse will be featured in Nottingham’s first-ever Puppet Festival. Local, national and international artists, both upcoming and old-hands, will be bringing their talents and demonstrating their skills at locations across the city including the National Videogames Arcade, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, Broadway Cinema, Dance4 and Malt Cross Caves. 22-25/03.  Free and ticketed events.

The Wailers @ Rock City

Bringing their revolutionary sound to fans around the world, the UK tour will see The Wailers play the iconic Legend album live on stage in its entirety, including its greatest hits Three Little Birds, I Shot the Sheriff, Jammin’, and many more.

2018 wailers poster.jpg

Igloo visits Berlin! Part 2

Fresh and rested, ready to tackle our last day in Berlin, we make our way by the S train to the Brandenburg Gate  and Reichstag building (German Parliament building), stopping at Alexanderplatz on the way, but the weather is still horrible and we can barely stand being outside. We finally find a cute vegan Vietnamese restaurant (short walk away from the gate but Sarah cannot read a map on her phone either apparently…) where we wait in the warmth for a friend who lives in Berlin to join us. We have the best meal ever after which my friend takes us to the Jewish memorial, then the Museum Island, we walk around Mitte and sightsee in the much better weather by then. Attila who has been fascinated by the crosswalk signal on every traffic light pole has a ball when he finds out that someone made a brand out of these little guys and is actually selling hundreds of products with the green and red men on it. We then go inside Haus Schwarzenberg where not an inch of the several-story staircase is without graffiti and we take a moment to try and make out as many messages as possible. There are some very funny ones and even several “Go Vegan” ones that make us laugh. We walk around some more until the evening when my friend takes us to the East Side Gallery and a place closeby where what looks like abandoned warehouses are instead rehabilitated into restaurants, bars, clubs, a swimming pool, a bouldering and climbing place etc. All of them covered in graffiti if course.

We then go to a cool bar where we are surprised to see almost everyone smokes inside. My friend explains to us that apparently in Berlin, many bars and clubs have found a way around the smoking ban where after a certain hour, if no hot food if served and there are no minors present, people are allowed to smoke inside. After the drink, my friend makes his way home and Attila and I start walking back to the hostel. That’s when I see it: a sign outside a small place on the street saying “Vegan Waffles”, which I’ve been pestering the guys with all day at this point. It is a sign, we HAVE TO go in and try it. Attila, more than full himself is not really impressed and remains in the cold, smoking but I go in and ask the guy behind the counter if the place is still open. He answers that it is and in fact, he just started making a new batter for waffles, which just proves this was meant to be and we have to try the waffle! But the wonder doesn’t stop there: his specialty is the Thai ice cream, which we have all seen videos of when street vendors pour liquid milk on top of fruits on a very cold tray and start stirring and shaking the liquid which then becomes solid ice cream. I am mesmerized by the process as I watch him make us a vegan strawberry-Oreo ice cream. We get to talking and we find out his name and how he came up with the name for his place: Delabuu Ice Cream. Let’s just say that there is French homework and his best friend playing a football game on TV involved. You’ll have to ask him yourself for the full story if you want to know! 😊 We left the igloo mark on the chalk board so have a look for it if you go.

After the really good sweet treat, we finally make our way back for to the hostel. We checkout in the morning and make our way to the airport after getting delicious Vegan breakfast wraps and smoothies from a place at the station. We make our way to the gate and board the very crowded aircraft back to Nottingham where we get the Skylink Express bus back to the city center for even cheaper than before as the driver sells us two tickets for just £10.

After this 2 day trip, we can definitely recommend Berlin as the perfect destination to go for just a couple days or more if possible. It is very often super cheap from EMA and really quick and easy to go. Or the other way around! People from Berlin can come to Notts very easily from Schönefeld Airport and here’s a crazy thought: stay at one of our premises for the duration of their stay! Most of the staff has been to Berlin before so we’d definitely have experiences to share and tips to give each other 😊

The Vegans in Berlin, Attila and Sarah.

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