For many people, the mere mention of Nottinghamshire conjures up images of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest. Besides a certain legend, the prosperity of Nottinghamshire is built on coal, lace making, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. There was one chemist who didn't do too bad himself - today his stores adorn most of the UK's High Streets!
In more recent times, Nottingham has asserted itself as the de facto capital of the East Midlands. The arrival of the M1 motorway in the 1960s and its 1970s extension to Yorkshire has made Nottinghamshire an attractive conference venue. Within a short distance is East Midlands Airport, a few miles outside the county with a wealth of domestic and overseas flights.
The city of Nottingham has many redeeming features and historic attractions. One is the castle off Friar Lane. Another - at the foot of the castle - is the Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn - the oldest pub in the UK, with some of the rooms backing onto the rock. Other attractions include the Galleries of Justice and the Lace Market.
Two of Nottingham's other attractions is out of sight though well worth a visit - the City of Caves. This is a network of caves carved out of sandstone which has hitherto been used as a tannery, cellars and an air raid shelter. This is accessed from Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. From the cellar of Nottingham Castle, the University of Nottingham run guided tours through Mortimer's Hole, which leads to the Brewhouse Yard.
Nottingham is a superb place for shoppers. As well as the Broadmarsh and Victoria shopping centres, the area around Upper Parliament Street and Low Pavement is good for browsers and shopaholics. Speciality shopping is available around the Council House and Beast Market end of the city.
Away from Nottingham city centre, Nottinghamshire has a number of market towns from Worksop to Mansfield and Newark-on-Trent. Newark is on the eastern side of Nottinghamshire and is known for its ruined castle. Further north along the A1 is Retford. Both have direct rail links to London King's Cross on the East Coast Main Line.
Whether in rural or urban settings, Nottinghamshire has a wealth of conference venues to suit any number of delegates. These vary from its wealth of hotels to sports clubs, the latter category is one where Nottinghamshire excels. Southwell Racecourse not only offers conference facilities but also an attractive package for golf fanatics. Trent Bridge hosts test match cricket fixtures as well as delegates.
'The Beautiful Game' is just as well represented in Nottinghamshire. Separated only by the River Trent are Nottingham Forest and Notts County Football Clubs. Both The City Ground and Meadow Lane have a number of suites suitable for conferences or small meetings. This is also true of the One Call Stadium, home of Mansfield Town.
By night, the Nottingham Playhouse Theatre, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall and the Theatre Royal are known for top class live entertainment. On a bigger and, some may say, heavier scale, the Trent FM Arena and Rock City are known for live music. Mansfield's Palace Theatre also offers first class live acts.
By road and rail, Nottinghamshire is pretty easy to get to, with regular trains from London King's Cross and St. Pancras International railway stations. The M1 and A1(M) are within easy reach of its main centres as well as being ideal for Clumber Park, the Vale of Belvoir and Sherwood Forest. It is these credentials which make the Nottinghamshire boundary a very good conference venue.