A little gem of a place on the outskirts of Nottingham, Lakeside Arts Centre sits on alongside Highfields Park and within The University of Nottingham campus.

Despite my better half attending Nottingham Uni for the past 4 years as a post graduate, the first time I knew about the place was when we visited the Wheee! Festival earlier in the year. Perhaps because it’s tucked at the far end of a huge campus, she knew of it’s existence but had never ventured to see it.

Unsurprisingly it sits by a lake, which boasts wild fowl and boating and the cafe is smartly located overlooking the water. The centre hosts music, dance and theatre shows alongside visual arts and family events. It was heavily redeveloped in 2001 to add the D.H. Lawrence Pavilion to the existing portfolio of the Djanogly Art Gallery and Djanogly Recital Hall. Good word, Djanogly.

Highfields Park was mainly landscaped by father and son team Joseph and Alfred Lowe on the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. Sir Jesse Boot of Boots and Co. Ltd purchased the estate in 1920 and was further developed as part of Nottingham University to form the setting for the Trent Building built between 1922 and 28.

I grabbed the opportunity to visit again after an early morning networking meeting nearby, took a detour on the way home to dodge traffic and drove by, the sun was shining and I had my new NEX-5 in the bag so it would be rude not too stop.


The Lakeside building itself is a striking copper clad, pale yellow brick and concrete construction, with the green copper dominating the eye. It stands out from the still formal look of the adjacent park with it’s turn of the 19th century stone construction and formal layout, as well as contrasting with the light grey 1920’s Trent Building clock tower which overlooks it. The facility is surrounded by less attractive concrete faculty buildings that seem to have been designed through the as yet to be appreciated ’60’s and ’70’s architectural period.

I highly recommend it for a visit, the lake can be circled in either a short or long walk suitable for buggies for the child rearing of you out there. If you do have kids, I’d wait a month or so as they are upgrading the play park which is closed during the refurb. And if you’re of the civilised sport set, the Nottingham Croquet Club is based in the grounds too, there’s posh.

Colourful Boats

I don’t think I appreciate the municipal green spaces as much as I should, we often visit Markeaton Park, which is based close to Derby Uni. It’s a really valuable, free space (you pay for parking) that’s most delightful during the week when it’s a little quieter. Let’s hope we don’t lose any such services to the cuts.

If you know of any other under promoted parks around the area (ideally with a cafe!), let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear and take a visit.

More Photo’s on Flickr.