Discover Nottingham: Arts

Impact’s guide to the best arts venues in Nottingham.

For arts and cultural exhibitions:

Lakeside Arts, Nottingham Contemporary and New Art Exchange

Lakeside Arts is the University of Nottingham’s very own museum and art exhibition venue located near south entrance and the tram stop. The museum has several permanent collections, including local findings of Anglo-Saxon and medieval remains.

Working in collaboration with the University of Nottingham’s academic staff and Manuscripts and Special Collections department, Lakeside Arts also makes rare and antiquated texts available to the public in regular exhibitions on different themes during the year.


Nottingham Contemporary and New Art Exchange are art galleries located in the city centre. Both host regular arts events based on current exhibitions, along with film screenings.

Nottingham Contemporary focuses on contemporary and current art work, whilst the New Art Exchange gallery also focuses on contemporary art but has a particular focus on reflecting diversity and representing BAME artists.

For open mics and art workshops:

Hockley and City Arts

The Hockley area of the city centre, not far from Lace Market, is known for being an area of creativity and art. Many cafes and pubs around Nottingham city centre host poetry open mic nights and there is also the dedicated arts venue City Arts in Hockley.

The University of Nottingham’s Poetry and Spoken Word society have run regular open mics at Jamcafé in the past, whilst Café Sobar also host open mics based on particular themes every few months.

City Arts is a charity that hosts a huge range of arts and music events throughout the year to encourage community engagement with the arts. They are often involved in larger arts events in Nottingham, such as Nottingham Printing & Publishing Fair and Nottingham Poetry Festival.  City Arts have a group called Young Producers who run an open mic known as Friday Fuddle where all forms of art are welcome.

To find bookish treasures and hear from writers:

Five Leaves Bookshop and Oxfam bookshops

“Five Leaves Bookshop is a must-visit for any book lovers, as are the Oxfam bookshops in Beeston and Nottingham city centre.”

The city centre’s independent bookshop, Five Leaves Bookshop specialises in an array of publications, from LGBT+ to international texts, and is a real treasure trove for contemporary fiction and poetry.

What also makes Five Leaves Bookshop stand out is its engagement with the local community by running a plethora of events, from monthly drop-in book club discussions to poetry readings, to Feminist Book Fortnight events in conjunction with other independent bookshops.  

Five Leaves Bookshop is a must-visit for any book lovers, as are the Oxfam bookshops in Beeston and Nottingham city centre.

Oxfam bookshops are cornucopias of second hand literature and hidden gems. There’s a great selection of classic literature that isn’t usually found in other charity shops.

If you’re an English student, charity shops often have set texts available at budget prices. Being a fan of poetry and texts in translation I’ve been impressed by the treasures that I’ve found in Oxfam bookshops: from Kafka to T.S.Eliot, Haruki Murakami and Italo Calvino.

Oxfam is perfect for finding books you’ve always meant to read, but never got around to. Some second hand books can look yellow and worn, but the standards for books sold in Oxfam charity shops is of a good quality. Plus, buying from charity shops means you’re donating your money to great causes and finding books to read-it’s a win win!

Lauren Winson

For more Freshers content, as well as uni news, reviews, entertainment articles, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved! 

Image use licence here.  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like the Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved.

You can also like the Entertainment Facebook page for updates and information on how to get involved in the section.

Featured image courtesy of Dun.can via Flickr. Article image 1 courtesy of @lakesidearts via Instagram. Article image 2 courtesy of @cityartsnotts via Instagram. Article image 3 courtesy of @fiveleavesbooks via Instagram

To find out more information about any of these organisations, see the links below:


ArtsArts FeaturesEntertainmentFreshersGoing Out

Leave a Reply