Paul Smith revealed as Nottingham Castle’s first rebel voice as tickets go on sale

Nottingham Castle Trust, the not-for-profit charity responsible for the operation of Nottingham Castle, has revealed it will be welcoming city-legend Paul Smith back to his hometown, in conjunction with the Design Museum, as its first major exhibition since its £30million redevelopment. Tickets, which include access to the Castle visitor experience as well as “Hello, My Name is Paul Smith”, are on sale from today (24 May 2021).  

Debbie Beardall, Director of Commercial and Customer Services at Nottingham Castle Trust, said: “We’re delighted to finally release tickets for sale and to reveal the first international touring exhibition, as well as providing further detail on the unique visitor experience that guests can expect.

“Nottingham Castle has been transformed into a heritage and culture tourist attraction of international standing and, as operation is moving from Nottingham City Council to Nottingham Castle Trust as a self-sustaining charity, tickets are a vital source of income with funds going directly back into education, upkeep, preservation and improvement of the Castle, its collections and landscapes.

“We are pleased to be able to offer a ten per cent discount to Nottingham residents in postcodes NG1 to NG9 and NG11 and we hope they will take advantage of our regularly changing outdoor trails, temporary exhibitions, and activities. The Trust is also committed to using a proportion of ticket income to increase the diversity of its visitors, especially local audiences which are currently less engaged in arts, culture, and heritage.

“One of the main attractions that visitors from around the world will be able to see within the ticket price is the world-class exhibitions that we are now able to accommodate due to the specialist gallery space that has been created. Being able to welcome Paul Smith, one of the city’s own legends and true success stories, as the very first to grace the amazing new Temporary Exhibition space is the perfect fit. It reflects our aim of truly championing and putting our unique city, and its rebellious voices, on the map for international heritage and culture tourism. With over a thousand fascinating objects on show, combined with Paul’s personal touch on the curation of the installation in his hometown, this will be an exhibition not to be missed.”

The “Hello, My Name is Paul Smith” exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the world of the fashion designer with more than 1,500 objects that reflect his personality, curiosity and energy. Looking at the impressive scale of its global operation today, the exhibition draws on Paul Smith’s personal archive, from the company’s beginnings in Nottingham to its international prominence today.

Debbie continued: “Plus, there is so much else to see and do. The Castle will offer visitors more than it ever has before, including the immersive and interactive Robin Hood Adventures, brand-new adventure playground Hood’s Hideout, Castle Cave tours, Explore! outdoor family trails and a calendar of special events, not to mention artefacts and artworks that simply can’t be seen anywhere else in the UK.”  

General admission ticket prices include access to the following highlights:

  • Explore! Outdoor trails that use bespoke graphics to place visitors at the point of key events and views, helping them to understand the archaeology of the medieval site and other features now lost to history. For instance, “I’m Hood” is the new family literacy trail in the Lower Bailey, featuring a new children’s poem from Nottingham’s own Manjit Sahota.
  • World-leading exhibition spaces including the Rebellion Gallery, which introduces visitors to Nottingham’s historical rebels and describes the city’s important role in the rise of democracy. Plus, the Creative Galleries that present significant objects from the collections, celebrating the unique combination of creativity and industry found in Nottingham. Displays include previously buried and then rediscovered medieval alabaster sculptures, salt-glazed pottery, and Nottingham Lace including the first lace ever to be made by machine in Nottingham in the 1760s.
  • Treasures of the art world, presented in an interactive and family-friendly way, in the Art Gallery which showcases pieces held in the museum’s permanent collection such as works by Laura Knight and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, MW Turner’s stunning watercolour ‘Nottingham’, back home from its temporary visit to Tate Britain as part of its “Turner’s Modern Britain” exhibition, as well as new contemporary art commissions such as Goshka Macuga’s three by four and a half metre 3-D tapestry “Make Tofu Not War”, viewable through 3-D glasses.
  • Hood’s Hideout – set within the dry moat of the castle, Nottingham’s newest outdoor adventure playground promises hours of fun and discovery for children of all ages, all year round.

General admission ticket prices are as follows. A ten per cent discount on castle tickets will be available for city residents in NG1 to NG9 and NG11:

 No Gift AidGift Aid
Family (2+3)£35.50£39.05
Family (1+3)£22.50£24.75
Child 0-4£0.00£0.00

Timed, ticketed activities will also be available to book in advance:

 Robin Hood Adventures:

Child (5-17)£2.50
Family (2+3)£8.50
Family (1+3)£5.50
Child 0-4£0.00

Cave Tours – Underground Adventure

Family (2+3)£14.00
Family (1+3)£9.00
Child 0-4£0.00

 As a charity, Nottingham Castle Trust can claim Gift Aid on tickets purchased by UK taxpayers who are willing to make an additional ten per cent donation on top of the standard ticket price. This is a voluntary donation.

Anne Jenkins, Director England, Midlands and East, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“We are delighted to support Nottingham Castle which, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will mean that more people will be able to visit this magnificent national landmark steeped in rich heritage.”

Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Culture, Councillor Eunice Campbell-Clark, said: “As we get ever closer to the day when we reopen our Castle, this is really significant news. Our work to transform the Castle has been three years in the making but it’s been a huge achievement to create this truly world class heritage attraction which will bring tremendous benefits to our City.

“It’s really great for Nottingham, bringing new jobs and business opportunities for local people and will help drive our ambitious plans to regenerate our city centre over the coming years. Nottingham people can feel very proud of this highly significant moment in Nottingham Castle’s long history.

“After several years of transformation work on this historic site it’s been a huge achievement to complete the project on budget and on time despite the Covid pandemic. I’m absolutely delighted that people will shortly be able to see what’s been achieved and enjoy a wonderful day out exploring the grounds, caves and new galleries and experiencing 1,000 years of the history of this historic site.”

Sajeeda Rose, D2N2 Chief Executive, said: “Today’s announcement is another exciting step towards the official opening of Nottingham Castle on 21 June. We are proud to have supported the redevelopment of the Castle with £7m of funding to help transform the historical site into a world-class attraction, supporting the regeneration and growth of Nottingham City Centre and a must-visit destination for those in the East Midlands and beyond.”

Nottingham Castle is a ‘We’re Good to Go’ and ‘Safe Travels’ attraction and will follow all government regulations that are in place at the time of opening in summer 2021. Some of the measures in place are as follows:

  • Pre-booked tickets via the Nottingham Castle website only to minimise delays on arrival.
  • Temperature checks – staff will check visitor temperature on arrival.
  • One-way routes – there may be suggested routes in certain areas of the site for visitors to follow depending on ticket type.
  • Sanitisation stations – there will be sanitisation stations situated around the Castle and its grounds. Staff will be carrying out enhanced cleaning throughout each day.
  • Face coverings – all staff and visitors will wear masks when inside the Ducal Palace and Visitor Centre.
  • Social distancing – there will be social distancing measures in place within the Visitor Centre, Terrace Café and Coffee Shop.
  • Card-payments wherever possible.

The three-year period of extensive redevelopment and conservation followed a major £30m investment from National Heritage Lottery Fund, Nottingham City Council, D2N2 and Arts Council England, plus fundraising by Nottingham Castle Trust. 

Kinga Kapias, Marketing and Communications Manager at Visit Nottinghamshire, said: “Today’s announcement brings us another step closer to the long-awaited reopening of this world-class visitor attraction, set to be truly transformational for Nottingham and a real beacon of hope after what has been a bleak year for our visitor economy.”

“From stepping straight into medieval Nottingham, discovering the legend of Robin Hood, gallivanting on the adventure playground or enjoying the remarkable city views during a leisurely ride on the land train, the vast array of exciting experiences on offer at Nottingham Castle will make it a fantastic day out for everyone whether you’re eight years old or eighty, a tourist or a local. As far as we’re concerned, the 21st of June can’t come fast enough!”

The opening date and visitor offering is dependent on government guidelines and may be subject to change.

Posted on 24 May 2021

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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.