Since the Middle Ages, Nottingham's Sherwood Forest has been associated with Robin Hood, the outlaw who stole from the rich to feed the poor. The city celebrates its most famous son with a Robin Hood Festival in August and a Pageant in October.
No one knows whether Robin Hood really existed. If he did, who knows if he was, as legend has it, a nobleman who fought the Crusades with King Richard Lionheart and was thrown off his lands by Richard's wicked brother Prince John. But many of the places mentioned in the legends are real. Sherwood Forest itself, the Major Oak, a huge oak tree Robin Hood is supposed to have used as a hideout, and the Church of St Mary in the village of Edwinstone, which is where Robin is supposed to have married his true love, Maid Marian. The Major Oak is believed to be 800 years old and measures 10 metres in circumference. It's easy to imagine Robin Hood and his entire Band of Merry Men hiding in its branches.
From 31 July to 6 August, Sherwood Forest will be in full Robin Hood mode for the annual festival, with actors appearing out of nowhere to play out scenes, and especially fights, from the legends. Little John, Friar Tuck; Will Scarlet, Maid Marian, and of course notorious Sheriff will be in attendance. There is plenty of medieval music, storytelling and food, and visitors can try their hand at archery in the hope of emulating Robin Hood's famously accurate shots. Normally, the festival also includes jousting and falconry, but those are on hold for this year because of work on a new Visitor Centre.
Robbing the Rich
In Nottingham itself, you can visit the castle, home to the legendary and dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham. Don't miss the selfie opportunity in front of the castle with Robin Hood statue.
There are Robin Hood references wherever you look in Nottingham. Perhaps the most appropriate is " Robin Hood energy", a not-for-profit energy supplier run by the City Council to help low-income citizens. That's an initiative that Robin Hood would definitely approve of!