Nottingham and Nottinghamshire 2020 event highlights

2020 is set to be a bumper year of events for Notts. From the return of beloved festival favourites and family-friendly events to a set of brand-new calendar highlights, there’s sure to be something for everyone in 2020, so read on to see Visit Nottinghamshire’s top picks. For all the latest news and a full What’s On guide, please see the Visit Nottinghamshire website at

Beat the Streets returns for its third year on Sunday 26 January 2020, with national and local acts playing across the city in iconic venues such as Rock City, Rescue Rooms and Bodega. The festival profits will be donated to local Nottinghamshire charity, Framework, which works to improve the lives of homeless people.

The Men’s Ice Hockey Olympic Qualifying Tournament heads to Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 February 2020. See Great Britain battle it out on the ice against Hungary and Estonia on the road to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Light Night will return for 2020 between Friday 7 – Saturday 8 February, for the first time ever offering two nights of eclectic and electric light installations, parades, performances and cultural happenings across the city. Nottingham city centre will come alive with the work of various artists and an incredibly innovative Augmented Reality trail. Following the theme of Life on Earth, this year’s free event is not to be missed.

The Festival of Science and Curiosity is a week-long festival which takes Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths out of the lab and into our everyday lives. Taking place between Wednesday 12 – Wednesday 19 February 2020, the festival is about inviting the people of Nottingham to share not only what they know, but also what they would like to know; it’s about celebrating curiosity, asking questions and taking a leading role in finding out the answers.

The Celebrating Shakespeare Festival hits the city on Monday 24 February until Saturday 7 March 2020, and brings a wealth of performances and events celebrating the work of William Shakespeare. Centred around the Royal Shakespeare Company’s performances of Measure for Measure, As You Like It and The Taming of the Shrew, the festival will be packed with interactive workshops, lectures, storytelling sessions and musical performances.

Robin Hood Live (previously the Robin Hood Pageant) will take place at Newstead Abbey on the 4 – 5 April 2020 after being postponed due to poor weather conditions in 2019. This exciting and immersive event will transport visitors back to medieval Nottingham to meet Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham and a host of colourful historical characters and experience a range of medieval demonstrations and activities.

The Nottingham Poetry Festival returns for its 5th birthday from the 8 – 17 May 2020. The festival will offer a packed schedule with many events across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire that will feature a great range of local and national poets.

The Nottingham Puppet Festival (15 May – 14 June) will see local, national and international puppet artists bring their talents to the city, with a medley of free street theatre, shows, workshops and music and plenty more spectacular sights and sounds across a variety of venues.

The Magnificent Spiegeltent will be arriving in Nottingham’s Old Market Square from Thursday 30 April – Saturday 16 May 2020 – a beautiful, century-old travelling dance hall hosting a variety of exciting events for all ages.

Since starting in Nottingham in 2005, Dot to Dot Festival has established itself as the UK’s premier festival for unearthing the hottest new talent around, alongside established acts from all over the globe. Previous acts include Mumford and Sons, Florence + The Machine, Ed Sheeran and The xx. This year’s festival takes place on Sunday 24 May 2020.

Nottingham’s beloved outdoor cinema and theatre season will take place from May – September 2020 at beautiful heritage sites including Wollaton Hall and Newstead Abbey. Visitors can bring a picnic blanket and snacks and enjoy their favourite films or theatre performances under the stars.

The Nature Valley Open hits Nottingham Tennis Centre between Saturday 6 – Sunday 14 June 2020 and is a combined women’s and men’s tennis tournament of WTA International level and ATP Challenger level. The event attracts tennis stars from around the world to compete for the grass court crown. Previous champions include Stan Smith, Billie Jean King, Greg Rusedski and Jamie Murray.

Splendour, crowned ‘Best Festival’ in recent national industry awards and Nottingham’s largest family friendly festival, returns to Nottingham’s historic Wollaton Park on Saturday 18 July 2020. Previous acts include Jess Glynne, the Kaiser Chiefs, Manic Street Preachers and Paloma Faith. Tickets are on sale now.

The popular Nottingham Beach will be returning to Old Market Square from 10 July – 30 August 2020, bringing all the fun of the seaside to the heart of the city. Complete with sandpits, a children’s paddling pool, deck chairs, seaside rides, food vendors and a beach bar, the Nottingham urban beach attracts thousands of families and visitors to the city each summer. This free to visit beach also hosts a number of fantastic events, including live music performances and entertainers.

The Riverside Festival is Nottingham’s biggest free festival weekend taking place in August, with three jam-packed days of family entertainment including street theatre, live music, steam engines, a fun fair plus street food and drink stalls. This unique and fun festival stretches the banks of the River Trent, with one of the highlights being a spectacular firework display on Saturday evening.

The Robin Hood Festival returns to Sherwood Forest from Monday 3 – Sunday 9 August 2020 – a fantastic free festival offering visitors the chance to meet Nottingham’s famous outlaw with plenty of fun activities, all in the stunning forest surroundings.

Visitors can experience the excitement of the Nottingham Carnival at the Victoria Embankment on 23 August 2020, with a wealth of colourful costumes in the parade as well as live music, great food and a fun fair to celebrate Nottingham’s Caribbean heritage.

Newark Festival returns to the beautiful setting of Newark’s Riverside Park (in view of Newark Castle) on 29 August 2020, promising a brilliant evening of entertainment and a celebration of music, family, food and fun for all ages. This year’s performers include Marc Almond, Heather Small, Hue and Cry and more.

The Festival of Food & Drink returns Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 September 2020. This vibrant festival takes place at Clumber Park and offers a range of fabulous artisan food producers, award-winning food and drink, special guest TV chefs, gorgeous gifts, crafts and homewares, delicious dishes with cuisine from around the world served by fantastic Street Food ‘Pop Up’ cafés and bars and much more!

Nottingham’s Goose Fair will return to thrill and delight city residents and visitors at the Forest Recreation Ground on Wednesday 30 Sept until Sunday 4 October 2020. With over 500 attractions, Goose Fair is one of Europe’s largest travelling fairs, and has a history that dates back more than 700 years.

The Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival returns to Motorpoint Arena for its third year on Wednesday 7 – Saturday 10 October 2020 due to the ongoing renovation project at the castle. The new venue makes fantastic use of its space, with bars on the ice and food, stalls and live music in the two outdoor areas. There are over a thousand different real ales on offer – more than any other beer festival in the world.

Old Market Square will once again play host to the Halloween festival Old Market Scare from Saturday 24 October – Saturday 31 October 2020, with an ever-changing array of spooktacular rides and attractions, horrifying Halloween entertainment and Nottingham’s scariest bar.

Each November Nottingham’s Old Market Square is transformed into Winter Wonderland, the biggest Christmas market in the East Midlands. There are over 70 Bavarian-style stalls selling beautiful handmade gifts and artisan food/drink for you to sample, while kids will be kept entertained by the children’s rides including a traditional carousel and helter skelter. There’s also a real, 750m² ice rink and multiple themed bars for adults to enjoy.

With numerous other event announcements coming soon, there’s sure to be plenty of wonderful experiences to be had across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire in 2020. Please visit for the official What’s On guide.

Posted on 16 January 2020

Back to the News page

Featured author

Featured author

Sophie Milne

A member of the Marketing and Communications team at Marketing NG, Sophie manages press and PR. This includes writing and distributing press releases, arranging FAM trips, liaising with the media to gain press coverage for Nottingham/shire and Marketing NG, monitoring the news and ensuring colleagues are kept up to date with news stories and doing media interviews.