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New Robin Hood Attraction At Nottingham Castle 

It is almost 70 years since the Robin Hood Statue was unveiled at the foot of Castle Rock, to provide visitors to Nottingham with a much-needed focal point for the city’s world famous outlaw hero.  Now, at last, as part of a £31m Castle Transformation Project, there is finally a permanent Robin Hood feature within the Castle itself and in the grounds there is Hood’s Hideout, an excellent, top-of the-range adventure playground to entertain imaginative young minds.

Of course, Nottingham Castle’s fascinating and chequered history covers much more than its legendary association with Robin Hood, so it was always going to be a difficult balancing act deciding just how to present the links with the traditional story - especially when the Lottery Heritage Fund made it clear that they “would not fund a myth!” Over the centuries, Robin Hood has also become a diverse and inspirational global “brand”; an icon of popular culture, embracing books, plays, film, television, business and commercial marketing and charitable foundations etc.

To help put things in perspective, the Robin Hood Adventures feature mainly concentrates on the traditional Robin Hood stories and their medieval origins, which are presented using large, digitally animated tapestries and audio visual “narrators”.  There is also the opportunity to try out your archery skills with some target practice using digital bows and the chance to engage in a quarterstaff fight – all linked to great information technology and guaranteed to become popular with visitors, young and old.

The transformed Castle also features a Rebellion Gallery; a Nottingham Lace Gallery; Cave Tours; a Collections Gallery; the Mercian Regiment Gallery and a temporary exhibition space –all of which combine to give visitors a feel for the building’s historic, creative and artistic heritage and its contribution to the city. The provision of a much-needed Visitor Centre and improved catering and public facilities, along with the effective use of digital technology in the presentation of the exhibits, all help project the Castle as a modern-day visitor attraction.

The scale of the new Robin Hood Adventures feature and outdoor playground reflects the significance Nottingham places on the legend’s world famous links with the city. Whether the new presentation meets expectations or goes far enough toward fully acknowledging the iconic global status that the Robin Hood legend has attained will be up to the visiting public to decide.

Bob White  -  June, 2021