Hello! Welcome to another instalment of Whilstle-stop tours. We hope you had a good and safe weekend at home! This week we’re going to take you on an adventure through the Sherwood Forest area. This includes the home of Robin Hood himself, stunning historical settings and a very important museum. So without further ado…
We’ll start in the forest itself. Sherwood Forest has been in the hearts and minds of thousands of people for thousands of years. This ancient woodland features in hundreds of tales, but none more famous than the legend of Robin Hood. The story of Robin Hood resonates with people across the world and Sherwood Forest is always at the heart of these tales, as the safe and welcoming home of Robin and his Merry Men. The legends continue live on in the forest and if you visit you might just catch a glimpse of our favourite outlaw or hear the twang of a bow string..
There is more to the forest than our famous outlaw though, it is home to hundreds of species of bird, insects, mammal, fungi tree, plant and hundreds of ancient oaks that have thrived for more than 500 years including our beloved Major Oak, which is estimated to be around 1,000 years old. The forest’s current custodians are the RSPB and through the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre they work hard to preserve this legendary forest and tell the story of Robin Hood for generations to come. Learn more about what you can find at the RSPB Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, including a café, gift shop and brilliant trails, here.
Just a 5 minute walk from the Visitor Centre, on the outskirts of Edwinstowe town is the beautiful Church of St Mary’s. This is the supposed location of the famous marriage between Robin Hood and Maid Marian! Sometimes, during the summer, the church is open for you to have a wander around yourself and imagine what sort of ceremony it would have been! Also, as you’re so close, it seems rude not to have a wander around the town of Edwinstowe. Home to beautiful independent shops, cafes and tearooms it’s the perfect place to spend a few hours browsing.
Heading back to the car park, you have a choice – turn left and you can head to Rufford Abbey Country Park or turn right and explore Thoresby Park. Our honest answer? You should explore both! But first, we’ll take a right and explore Rufford Abbey.
From it’s time as a Cistercian Abbey, to its conversion to a beautiful country house and even life as the base of the Leicestershire Yeomanry, 6th Cavalry Brigade during WW2 – Rufford Abbey has over 870 years of history to explore. This stunning Country Park also boats native woodlands, a lake and gardens for you to explore – we recommend taking in the beauty of this extensive parkland with one of their walks or trails. Additionally, if you have little ones you need entertaining they have a whole range of activities for you to enjoy including their Adventure Play Area, adventure golf and their boating lake.
Just down the road from Rufford Abbey is Thoresby Park. Thoresby Park is on the site of what was once one of the four neighbouring country houses and estates in the Dukeries. You can wander through the extensive wood and parkland of this vibrant estate, either on your own two feet or on two wheels with their bike hire facilities. Their signposted circular walks are accessible to all and take in the sights and sounds of the estate including the lovely River Meden and St John’s Church in Perlethorpe. The Courtyard is also home to a variety of different shops and workshops, the Queen’s Royal Lancers and Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum, Thoresby Gallery and the fabulous Bay Tree Café.
Also on site is the absolutely gorgeous Warner Leisure Hotel; Thoresby Hall. Stay in absolute luxury in this Grade I listed building and feel as if you truly are the king or queen of the castle.
If you’re more of an adrenaline junkie we recommend a visit to Sherwood Pines! With activity trails you can explore on two feet or two wheels there is the perfect place for a great day out. Swing from the trees like Robin Hood himself with Go Ape’s famous zip wires and grab a bite to eat at the Sherwood Pines Café. Additionally, during the summer they host the most amazing open air concerts right in the forest itself!
On a more serious note, when you are in the area we truly recommend you visit The National Holocaust Centre and Museum. This museum is the only one of it’s kind in the UK and through their thought-provoking exhibitions and moving survivor testimonies, they encourage their visitors to be ‘Upstanders’ against hate and persecution. The museum is a vibrant memorial and a centre of learning for communities of all faiths. Through age-appropriate exhibitions the museum provides a detailed understanding of the causes and events of the Holocaust, and their beautiful Memorial Garden provides a safe space for contemplation and memorial. We also really recommend you visit the museum to meet a survivor of the Holocaust and hear their story. These stories are hard to hear and incredibly moving, but they are important and put into stark perspective the horrors of the Holocaust.
When it is safe to so do, we can’t wait to welcome you back to the Sherwood Forest area, so you can begin your own adventure in the home of Robin Hood. Until then please have a look at our short video on our Facebook page and explore our Visit Sherwood Forest website.