Southwell is arguably the most attractive small market town in Nottinghamshire. With a population of around 7,500, it has an amazing array of historic buildings, cultural events, sporting and leisure activities.
The primary attraction is the stunning Southwell Minster, which, although the largest building, does not overpower the town which retains its village atmosphere. The building itself was erected in the 12th century but retains its Norman character. Inside there is a beautiful octagonal Chapter House, with the famous “Leaves of Southwell” carved in the stonework in the13th century.
Just by the Minster are the ruins of the original Archbishop’s Palace, much favored by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. The restored Great Hall is used for concerts and private events.
In Church Street and Westgate are the beautiful Prebendal Houses and Gardens, which belonged to the Minster, and were built for the Parish Canons of the outlying villages.
In the Market Place is the historic half-timbered Saracens Head hotel, where Charles I spent his last night of freedom before surrendering to the Scottish Army at Kelham.
The National Trust owned ‘Workhouse’ is on the Upton Road. Founded in 1824 by Rev. J T Becher, it was last used to give support to single mothers in the 1980s.
75 Church Street, Southwell is the birthplace of the Bramley Apple, where the first recorded growth was from a pip planted by Mary Ann Brailsford in 1809. The house and garden are owned by Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, which is based at Brackenhurst campus on the outskirts of the town.
In King Street and Queen Street there is an array of independent shops, restaurants and pubs. At the northern end of King Street is the Market Square, which hosts a market every Saturday. Further on is the Burgage, where the original Police Station, Court House and site of the old House of Correction can be found, as well as Burgage Manor, which was home to Lord Byron for a time.
Southwell has a Racecourse which has frequent meetings throughout the year.
Southwell is the hub for a wide variety of events. There is ‘Music in the Minster’ every month, the ‘Family Funday’ and the Folk Festival in June, the Music Festival on August Bank Holiday weekend, the Bramley Festival in October and the popular Lantern Walk in December are a few annual events.
The Southwell Tourist Information Centre on Church Street offers a wide range of publications, maps, booklets and leaflets on places to visit and explore in Southwell and the surrounding area. Information on local events, including markets, fairs, concerts and other cultural activities, is also posted in the Tourist Information Centre.
Click here to download a handy map to help you get around.
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