Whistle-Stop Tours: Newark
This is our first blog post since the UK has been asked to stay at home by the government in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19). We would, first, like to take this opportunity to say that we hope you, your family and your loved ones are safe and well during these difficult and unsettling times.
It’s bizarre how different our lives have become within a couple of weeks – at this point we’d have launched our English Tourism Week campaign and this blog post would be a light-hearted jaunt through Newark & Sherwood. Whilst English Tourism Week has been provisionally postponed, we’ve decided to switch it up a bit…
We present to you the Whistle-stop Tours! A series of 3 blog posts designed to bring a bit of our beautiful area to you whilst we’re all inside. The idea to to take you on a short digital tour of Newark, Southwell and Sherwood Forest; highlighting some of the places you must visit once it is safe to do so!
This week, we’re going to explore the charming market town of Newark. It is thought that there has been a settlement in this area since the Roman times due to the fact it was located at the crossroads of two incredibly important Roman communication routes; The Great North Road and the Fosse Way. This has meant that the town has always been a thriving, vibrant place!
Located near the town centre, is the National Civil War Centre. Opened in 2015, this brilliant museum, through it’s excellent exhibitions and intriguing objects, is dedicated to telling the story of Britain’s deadliest conflict, the English Civil War. The museum intricately weaves the story of the conflict, from start to finish, within the contextual background of being located in an incredibly important Royalist stronghold. With their exciting interactive elements you can try on a great variety of replica Civil War outfits and take Prince Rupert’s dog Boye for a walk around the museum. Additionally, with their new exhibitions, The World Turned Upside Down and Fake News, there is guaranteed fun for everyone!
At the moment the museum is closed for visitors, but you can still explore this great attraction within the comfort of your own home, with their online resources. Perfect for both parents teaching from home and adults who are isolated, you can play games, get artistic and even meet experts in a fascinating new podcast series.
Opposite the National Civil War Centre is Newark Parish Church, St Mary Magdalene. This beautiful building is the third church to have stood on this site, but it is definitely the most awe-inspiring! You can’t help but notice the church’s striking octagonal spire, standing at 236 feet it is the highest in Nottinghamshire and reputed to be the fifth tallest in the UK. The Church offers tours of the tower and we highly recommend you go on one when you visit, as you’ll get the chance to see the most spectacular view!
Just a short walk from St Mary Magdalene’s is Newark’s market square, home to Newark Royal Market and provides a focal point of the town. The marketplace is a traditional cobbled market square and hosts a thriving market which sells everything from fresh fruit and veg to beautiful antiques and collectibles. They also host special markets to coincide with major events within the town including Food & Drink festivals and Artisan markets. Dotted around the marketplace are beautiful little cafes and tea rooms which have outside seating areas and on a beautiful, sunny day is the perfect place for a pit-stop (and a good bit of people watching).
When exploring our market square we also recommend you have a wander down our alleyways and streets, to discover our independent shops. We have over a 100 independent shops in our town, selling everything from vintage clothes, to furniture and even a butchers and deli. We also have excellent cafes, tea rooms and restaurants – from delectable cake to yummy Thai food, we’ve got everything.
Proudly overlooking the town square is Newark Town Hall. This Grade I listed building was built in 1776 by John Carr of York and is both the administration centre for Newark Town Council as well as home to Newark Town Hall Museum and Art Galleries. This amazing building is recognised as one of the finest Georgian town halls in the country and boasts spectacular rooms including the Ballroom/Assembly Room which has been restored to its former Regency splendour. On the top levels of the Town Hall is Newark Town Hall museum and Art Galleries which detail the civic history of the town and showcase some beautiful art.
A couple of streets from the market place, is Newark Castle. Fondly named, Our Grey Lady by residents, the castle has stood on
the banks of the River Trent since around 1073. It was likely to have originally been a fortified Saxon manor, which would have been replaced with a Motte and Bailey fortress and, eventually rebuilt as a stone castle in 1133 by Bishop Alexander of Lincoln. The Castle’s Norman gatehouse is thought to be the largest in the country and is the location of King John’s death in 1216 after he ate a ‘surfeit of peaches.’ The castle also played a huge role during the English Civil War and was partially destroyed in the aftermath – whilst still incredibly impressive, only the outer curtain wall, the gatehouse and two towers now stand. The castle also boasts the beautifully restored, award-winning, Victorian gardens, which are lovely to explore during the sunshine and make it the ideal spot to wander down the river, enjoying picturesque views.
Of course we have brilliant attractions dotted in and around Newark, including the award winning Newark Air Museum, located on the site of what was once RAF Winthorpe and is perfect for aviation fanatics. Additionally, a short 5 minute journey from the town centre is the village of Kelham, and the stunning Kelham Hall which is home to Dukes Wood Oil Museum and LetsXcape’s brilliant escape rooms.
There is so much to discover and see in Newark and once this is all over, we can’t wait to welcome you back. For now please take a look at our video on our Facebook page and have a wander around our website for more info on things to see and do!