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Sport and leisure

We take our sport seriously in Nottingham, England’s official Home of Sport. Nottingham is a thriving, exciting and multicultural city, spilling over with sporting opportunities and success – which you can be a part of.

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Nottingham has its fair share of superb grassroots facilities, outstanding leisure centres, an Olympic-sized pool, all manner of clubs, gyms, and societies to join, and professional coaching and competitions on offer.

If you’re into sport – whether it’s playing, coaching, or just watching – Nottingham has what you’re looking for.

Having been named Sport England’s first City of Football, it’s obvious that we take our football seriously here in Nottingham.

Our city is home to two of the most iconic football clubs in the world. On the banks of the River Trent you’ll find the City Ground, home of the Premier League’s Nottingham Forest FC, two-time European Cup winners and forever tied to the late, great Brian Clough.

Just a stone’s throw over the water, you’ll find Meadow Lane, the stomping ground of Notts County – the oldest professional football club in the world. Their famous black and white stripes were adopted by none other than Juventus – the giants of Italian football.

Along with the title of City of Football, Nottingham has also been awarded £1.6m of National Lottery funding to develop the game in the city, giving you access to more pitches, coaches and resources than ever before.

There’s hundreds of teams and leagues around the county. And that’s not forgetting NTU’s five men’s and four women’s football teams, intramural five-a-side and futsal scenes, too.

The stunning Trent Bridge is recognised throughout the world as one of the best stadiums in cricket, and it’s proved to be something of a lucky hunting ground for England in recent years – in 2015, for instance, when England reclaimed the Ashes here. It regularly attracts international matches and is undergoing an £8m investment to ensure it keeps its place at the top of the game.

Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club – who count England internationals Stuart Broad and Alex Hales among their roster – play in the County Championship Division Two and serve up plenty of thrills and spills in the T20 Blast as the Notts Outlaws. It’s always a great evening out.

There’s plenty of local cricket teams around Nottingham too – particularly if you venture out into some of the glorious villages that surround the city. And don’t forget NTU Cricket!

As founder members of the UK’s Elite Ice Hockey League, the decorated Nottingham Panthers are the top flight’s only continuous members. No fewer than 16 Panthers are enshrined in the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Panthers play at the National Ice Arena – the first twin Olympic-sized ice rink in the UK. Over 5,000 fans regularly pack the stands for Panthers games, creating a scintillating atmosphere, and it’s also where our very own NTU side do battle in the Varsity series.

There’s also the chance to get involved with the Nottinghamshire Lions, the senior team of the Nottingham Ice Hockey Club or The Nottingham Mavericks, a team combining students from both of Nottingham's universities.

Whether you’re into the 15 or 13-a-side version of the game, it’s here and waiting for you. If Union is your thing, Nottingham Rugby – who count England greats Brian Moore, Rob Andrew and Tom Youngs among their former players – play in the RFU Championship, and are based at Lady Bay in the popular area of West Bridgford.

The Nottingham Outlaws are the city’s leading rugby league side, and have been going strong since 1999, when they were founded by players from Nottingham Crusaders and NTU. They compete in the Conference League South, and have academy, junior and women's teams too.

Both of the city’s rugby teams retain close links with NTU Rugby, with many of our players training and even competing with Nottingham Rugby and the Outlaws. Our own Head of Rugby – Neil Fowkes – is even a forwards coach with the Championship side. Our NTU Rugby Union club is among the top BUCS Rugby Union programmes in the UK.

The Nottingham Hoods are the local competing Basketball club, with two Men’s teams in the English National Basketball League (NBL). Their home games take place at the Jesse Boot Wildcats Arena, a £2 million multi-functional sports centre based just outside of the city centre. NTU Basketball work with the Nottingham Hoods to deliver first-class coaching, and we currently have 3 Men’s and 2 Women’s teams competing in BUCS.

It isn’t just ice hockey we get our skates on for at the National Ice Centre. Nottingham is renowned for its ice skating - as you’d expect from the home of Olympic and World champions Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean. There’s also a whole host of figure skating and ice dancing programmes backed by the National Ice Dancing Association to get involved with.

If fast and furious sports are more your thing, you won’t be disappointed here either. This is where the GB Short Track Speed Skating Squad have their home, including Elise Christie, 2016 European Championships gold medal winner. Watch skaters go head-to-head in thrilling knock-out races, or even learn to speed skate yourself for the ultimate adrenaline fix.

Nottingham is also home to a thriving skateboarding community with over a dozen skate parks - including Flo Skatepark, one of the UK’s largest indoor skate parks which is a 15-minute ride away from the city centre. It’s open to skaters of all levels and abilities, with regular sessions for beginners, over 30’s and women and girls’ only nights – it’s a park with an open and friendly vibe.

Nottingham isn’t shy when it comes to boxing talent. No doubt you’ll be familiar with Carl Froch – the former four-time super-middleweight world champion and Leigh Wood – the current WBA featherweight champion.

But Nottingham’s association with boxing reaches beyond world titles and headlines. There are numerous boxing clubs and gyms around the city, just waiting for you to get involved.

NTU also has its own boxing club, which welcomes everyone from novices to pros alike.

Our Clifton Sports Hub is the perfect spot to work on your game, off-course.

When you’re ready for a round, there are loads of glorious parkland courses around Nottinghamshire for you to take on, and don’t forget NTU Golf.

The Nottingham Tennis Centre boasts eight indoor tennis courts, 19 outdoor tennis courts and nine individual grass courts, as well as a whole host of other facilities for all levels of player. It also hosts Aegon GB Pro-Series events, Aegon British Tour events, the British Deaf Championships, and the British Wheelchair Championships. In the past, it’s even welcomed David Cup and Fed Cup fixtures.

NTU has a tennis club, alongside squash and badminton clubs. There’s no shortage of facilities both at the University and around the city, so make sure you bring your racquet with you!

It’s only fitting that – as the home of Robin Hood – Nottingham hosted the 2016 European Archery Championships. There’s the chance for you to get involved in archery too, with several clubs located across the city, as well as NTU Archery.

Rebecca Adlington OBE is an Olympic champion, world champion, and world record holder from Nottinghamshire – make her your swimming inspiration in Nottingham! We’ve got loads of pools throughout the city, including an Olympic-sized one at the Harvey Hadden Sports Village.

So whether you’re just looking to keep fit or compete in the pool, drop NTU Swimming and Water Polo a line – they’ll throw you in at the deep end.

The National Water Sports Centre is located at Holme Pierrepont, just outside the city centre – you can try your hand at canoeing, kayaking, rowing, sailing, wakeboarding, and white water rafting. We've also got our own state of the art sports facilities at NTU such as the Clifton Sports Hub.

There’s also local rowing and canoeing clubs based along the banks of the Trent. And don’t forget NTU’s RowingCanoeWakeboard and Swimming teams!

If athletics and gymnastics are your thing, you’re in the right place in Nottingham. Olympic gymnasts Becky Downie, Sam Oldham, Niamh Rippoin and Ellie Downie all hail from Nottinghamshire – there’s something in the air here that puts a spring in your step! There are plenty of clubs and events running throughout the year, and in the Harvey Hadden Sports Village – reopened in September 2015 after £16m refurbishment – we have one of the nation’s best athletic centres right on our doorstep.

NTU Athletics and NTU Gymnastics are two of the biggest and fastest growing clubs at the University – but you could also get in touch with Nottingham Amateur Athletics Association or British Gymnastics if you’re looking for help, advice or a group to train with.

  • Nottingham Forest Football Club
    Nottingham Forest Football Club
  • Varsity Ice Hockey
    Varsity Ice Hockey
  • NTU Rugby team
    NTU Rugby
  • Trent Bridge Cricket Ground
    Trent Bridge Cricket Ground
  • The Womens Football team celebrating a goal
    Womens Football
  • NTU student wakeboarding
  • Students at the start of a race
    Athletics starting block

That's just a small taste of the types of sport and activities available in Nottingham. Visit NTU Sport to see the full range of individual and team sports on offer at NTU.



Nottingham is a diverse and welcoming city for everyone, where there's always something going on. From playing ping pong with friends to exploring our hidden gems, you'll never be bored in your free time.

Board game cafés

Play board games, card games, and table-top games to your heart’s content at Nottingham’s first and largest board games café, The Dice Cup, or book out a table for the day at Ludorati.

Crazy golf

Put your golfing skills to the test on two separate 18-hole indoor mini-golf courses at The Lost City. Located in the Cornerhouse, this is a perfect activity for you and your friends after grabbing some food and drinks at the many restaurants that all sit under one roof.


Enjoy some food and drinks while playing bowling and darts with your friends at Nottingham Bowl, or make a day of it at Clifton Boulevard with the Tenpin bowling lanes, the Showcase cinema, and laser tag.


Fancy yourself an arcade master? Funstation is packed with fun activities and games to play with your friends such as bowling, arcade racers and carnival machines – hit the arcade and see what prizes you can win.

Escape rooms

Nottingham offers several escape rooms and city-wide mysteries to solve. Sleuth your way out of abandoned laboratories, cursed crypts, terrifying toy shops and more at Escapologic. Put you and your friends’ minds and wits to the test by taking on a variety of escape rooms packed with thrills, suspense, mystery, and horror.

Bars with a twist

Nottingham plays host to many unique bars, where drinking isn't the only socialising activity on nights out. Visit Das Kino for pizza and ping pong. Roxy Ballroom lets you challenge your mates at a range of ball games, or sing your heart out in their karaoke rooms. Penny Lane and Beeston Social contain entire arcades for you to try and beat high scores. There's something for everyone in Nottingham's nightlife scene.

There's a lot of culture to soak up in Nottingham. From the Nottingham Contemporary art gallery to the National Justice Museum and Nottingham Castle, history buffs and art fanatics will quickly find their new favourite hangout spots. Find out more on our Nottingham Art and Culture page.


Our city has music thumping its veins. Whether your vibe is A-list gigs at the Motorpoint Arena, more intimate gigs at our own venue Metronome, or open mic nights in local pubs, we've got the lot. If rhythm and lyricism are your thing, tap into the poetry open mic scene in various Nottingham pubs and writing venues.


There are regular comedy nights at comedy clubs Just the Tonic and Nottingham Glee Club for a few drinks and laughs. Well-known comedians also regularly pass through on their national tours at the Motorpoint Arena and the Theatre Royal, so make sure to sign up to their newsletters so you never miss out!

Theatre and the silver screen

Whether you're looking for a cinema to see the latest blockbuster, or something more quaint for independent releases, Nottingham has a wide range of cinematic experiences to choose from.

If you love live performances, be sure to catch a concert, musical, or play at one of Nottingham's prestigious theatres.

Find out more about live events around the city on our Arts and Culture page.

Thrill seekers have plenty of ways to spend their leisure time, with infamous theme parks like Alton Towers and Drayton Manor on our doorstep, and lots of adrenaline-fuelled societies and sports clubs like Sub Aqua and NTU Motorsports to join.

For nature and wildlife enthusiasts, Twycross Zoo is only a forty minute drive away, and the beautiful Peak District under an hour away. Find out more about natural Nottingham on our parks and green spaces page.

There are plenty of gyms and leisure centres in and around Nottingham, so you're bound to have facilities near (or even in!) your accommodation. An NTU Sport membership will grant you access to our range of facilities, fitness classes and social sport sessions.

Nottingham has all the big name gym brands and more, so you'll be able to transfer any current memberships over to your new city.

Nottingham Trent Students' Union (NTSU) is home to over 130 societies and 60 sports clubs, where you can meet like-minded people and attend regular activities doing what you love. Visit our sports clubs and societies page to learn more.

  • Ice skating at the National Ice Centre
    Ice skating at the National Ice Centre
  • Exterior of the Theatre Royal
    Theatre Royal
  • The Point - pool
    Pool in The Point
  • Student playing a racing game in an arcade
    Racing game in an arcade
  • Ed Byrne at Just the Tonic
    Ed Byrne at Just the Tonic

Don't just take our word for it – explore Nottingham and our stunning campuses at one of our open days. One short walk around Nottingham and you'll fall in love.

Book your place.