Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nottingham Castle

Nottingham Castle, like many others in the area, was built in 1067 by William the Conqueror following his coronation after the Battle of Hastings.  It was first constructed of wood and then rebuilt in stone nearly a century later by Henry II.

I didn't read my guidebooks very well prior to our visit to Nottingham, however.  The castle was destroyed after the Civil War of 1651.  In its place now stands a palace built by the Duke of Newcastle in the 1670s.

Today, the palace is an art gallery and museum.  It houses most of Nottingham's fine art collections, galleries on the history and archaeology of the area, and outfits and artifacts of the Sherwood Foresters, a local army regiment formed in 1881.

I had heard, however, that the castle (museum, whatever) had a nice children's room.  And indeed it did.
We spent several hours down in this basement play room.  Cooper cooked lots of meals.

And dressed up as a Tree Monster.  (The tiger costume is his; he chose the tree mask to complete the ensemble.)

The castle was built on a huge sandstone hill, and underneath the castle are man-made caves and tunnels, dating back to the 1300s and including a wine cellar and a dungeon. 
We took a tour of the caves, which included about 300 steps, give or take a few.

Cooper loved the texture of the sandstone.

While we were in Nottingham, we had planned to visit Sherwood Forest, but I wasn't feel well.  So we saved that for another (hopefully sunnier) day.

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