When you think of Nottingham, it is almost impossible not to immediately think of Robin Hood, that highly-skilled archer and outlaw of (probably) the late 12th century who, at least fictitiously, is a definite candidate for all time people’s champion, certainly to the English! Robin is without doubt one of the most enduring of English folk-heroes. He has been immortalised through the centuries, in medieval ballads and epic poems right through to the present with the blockbuster Hollywood movies of recent times. From his base in Sherwood Forest, on the outskirts of Nottingham, Robin and his Merry Men would (apparently) rob the rich and give to the poor. His arch-rival, the Sheriff of Nottingham, was always hot on his heels, but Robin and his pals would always melt away into the forest eluding capture. The tourism of Nottingham owes a good deal to Robin Hood. One of the main attractions to the city, Nottingham Castle, was of course the residence of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and the castle is the setting for many an exciting scene in Robin Hood dramatisations. Another Robin Hood-related Nottingham crowd-puller is of course Sherwood Forest. The forest has in the region of half a million tourists a year with attractions such as the famous ‘Major Oak’, the massive one thousand year old oak tree, which legend has it was the principle hideout of Robin and his men. There is also the annual Robin Hood festival, held for a week in summer, a hugely popular event, that recreates a medieval fair and atmosphere with jousters, strolling players, jesters, fire-eaters and of course the main characters from the Robin Hood legend. Well what else is Nottingham famous for? Dating back to the Industrial Revolution, the city obtained worldwide recognition for its lace-making industry and today, a very popular tourist attraction is The Lace Market, an historic quarter-mile square area of the old city. A recent face-lift has left the area resplendent with restored Victorian buildings and it has now become a very fashionable part of the city accommodating many trendy bars, restaurants and shops as well as luxury apartments and academic buildings. On another historic note, a number of famous British companies have their origins in Nottingham. These notably include Boots, founded in 1849 and Raleigh Cycles established in 1886. The famous Triumph Road factory of the latter recently closed but achieved fame as the location for the acclaimed British film Saturday Night Sunday Morning.
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