Life in Nottingham: What You Need to Know
14 Apr 2020 Studio News

Based in Central England, Nottingham is a thriving metropolitan city which was once an instrumental player in the world’s lace, tobacco and bicycle industries and the home of the mythical Robin Hood.

In more recent years, our city has become a recognised hub for art, culture, education and the headquarters of many house hold names including Boots and Games Workshop.

The city is well known for being home to two of the UK’s top universities with the University of Nottingham regularly ranking within the top 100 universities in the world (QS World University Rankings) and Nottingham Trent being awarded University of the Year in 2019 by the Guardian.

Students travelling from abroad to attend university and Nottingham’s influx of talented workers from across the country and the globe, makes our city a truly modern metropolitan city with a diverse and multi-cultural community.

Games are the New Lace

Near enough since the kick off of video game development in the UK, Nottingham and the surrounding areas have been a focal point for the industry with a pedigree of titles being created wholly or in part at local studios.

From our early days as Free Radical Design back in 1999 right through to the present day as Dambuster Studios, we have remained amongst the most prominent developers within the area and one of the only studios that has focused exclusively on AAA projects.

Getting to and From Nottingham

Nottingham’s central location makes visiting anywhere in the UK convenient, with the likes of London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester reachable in just a few hour’s drive.

For international travel, East Midlands Airport is situated just under 14 miles from Dambuster Studios and Birmingham International can be reached by car within less than an hour.

The City’s excellent transport links make travelling to, from and around the city simple and efficient with the train station less than a five minute walk from the Studio’s door and both the tram and new bus station in very close proximity too.

For a truly scenic day out, you need look any further than the neighbouring Peak District, which is home to some of the most beautiful views and best walking trails in all of the United Kingdom.

As well as having plenty to do, eat, see and drink, Nottingham boats a vibrant economy and is one of the most affordable UK cities to live in.

[The Peak District]

Living Costs and Locations

The Price of Living in Nottingham is on average 35% cheaper than in the country’s capital London, with the average price for renting a one-bedroom home coming in at £661 pcm.

If you are thinking of purchasing a property, the average cost to buy a flat in Nottingham is £152,284 and a terraced home is around £159,402.

Nottingham is the 7th largest city in the UK so there are plenty of great areas to live, but here are some areas we recommend you consider.

West Bridgford:

A desired part of Nottingham to live in with plenty of great pubs and restaurants within walking distance. This area contains West Bridgford Park and is the home of sport in Nottingham with Trent Bridge, The City Ground and the National Water sports Centre in close proximity. The area is also just a short stroll to town and Dambuster Studios, but also has excellent public transport links.


Beeston is a town in Nottinghamshire that lies just over 3 miles away from the city and is popular with people who want easy access to the centre. The area has many great pubs and restaurants and is well known for its golf courses and deer park. The town is fairly quiet with a relaxed pace of life making it an ideal choice for those who enjoy calmer living and families too.


A truly beautiful village just 5 miles outside of Nottingham, Ruddington offers a more traditional way of living. Here you can find local shops, a village hall, a community centre, cosy pubs, a couple of museums, great schools, and a steam railway. Properties here tend to be cheaper than West Bridgford, with the city centre and Dambuster Studios still easy to get to via car or public transport.

[The Exchange Shopping Mall]

Things to Do

Kelham Hall and Country Park - 44 aces of grounds with a large Victorian hall, tea rooms, a river to fish in and more.

Wollaton Hall and Deer Park - Home to both Nottingham’s Natural History Museum and the Industrial Museum.

Bonus fact – the hall appeared in the Christopher Nolan Batman Films as the caped crusader’s home, Wayne Manor.

Greens Windmill - Step inside the mill, visit the science centre and walk around the beautiful community gardens.

Nottingham Contemporary- Situated in the historic Lace Market, this contemporary art museum offers regularly updated exhibitions, workshops, study sessions and family activity classes.

Warhammer World - As Nottingham is the table top game’s birthplace, its only right that ‘Warhammer World’ be situated here. Come down to enjoy exhibitions, seminars, great food and drink, shopping and of course play Warhammer!

Goose Fair - This funfair has been running for over 700 years and brings visitors from all over the UK each year. At the fair, there are over 100 unique attractions to enjoy.

Hockley Hustle - A local music, arts and community festival, held annually within Nottingham’s creative quarter that supports local charities and initiatives. This street party features food, drink and shopping from a variety of local vendors and attracts a large footfall every year.

Sherwood Forest - Great for a day out exploring trails and learning about the historic Robin Hood myth. If you have the time, you can also visit the Arts and Crafts Centre.

Independent Cinemas - There are several independent cinemas based in Nottingham, which show independent, art house and foreign cinema as well as mainstream releases. We suggest checking out Broadway and Savoy.

Theatres and Playhouses - As well as cinemas, Nottingham boasts an array of theatre and playhouses. These intimate venues host the very best in local, national and international talent. We recommend seeing what’s on at The Theatre Royal & Concert Hall, Nottingham Playhouse and Nottingham Art Theatre.

Shopping - Nottingham is a well known shopping destination that offers a similar variety of shops and outlets to bigger cities without the often overwhelming crowds. Victoria Centre is in the northern part of the city centre and is consistently rated one of the top 15 shopping centers in all of England. It has over 120 shops which include a Boots flagship store, Gap, Game, CEX, House of Fraser, Republic and Qube.

Broadmarsh is located at the southern end of the city centre and features more than 120 stores in a large shopping area. The centre offers an array of both independent and well established retailers and is currently under refurbishment to expand its offering.

[Nottingham Winterwonderland]

Gaming Meet Ups and Groups

As Nottingham has such a strong gaming community, there’s a host of local meet ups and groups for professionals working within the industry, here are some we recommend:

East Midlands Indies - A monthly developer meetup for those working in the game industry, regularly attended by people from indie as well as AAA studios.

Nottingham Audio Drinks - This meet up is actually ran by members of our own audio team, but those working in audio from various AAA and indie studios come along for a drink to socialise and network.

Women in Tech - This is not a gaming specific meetup, but definitely has a strong attendance from members of the gaming community.

[Nottingham Contemporary]

Places to Eat, Drink and Dance

Nottingham is well known for its vibrant food and drink scene, with restaurants, bars and clubs a plenty, but below you will find some of our favourites.

We recommend trying these restaurants:

Pistachio - Pistachio is a small family run restaurant, inspired by Persian heritage and cuisine, this establishment serves the flavours and most popular dishes from Iran but with a unique and modern twist.

Kayal - This Healthiest Restaurant Award winning venue is a small family run establishment that serves authentic Kerala seafood, in a warm and friendly environment. Kayal is all about tradition, qualities, discoveries, fresh ingredients and aromas.

Sat Bains - The renowned Sat Bains is a Double Michelin Starred restaurant based close to Nottingham City Centre, which serves creative and modern British cuisine that the Telegraph dubbed ‘sublime cookery for 10 courses’.

World Service - Hidden in the extension of a Georgian property, this restaurant serves traditional British Cuisine with a modern twist as well as an extensive spirit and cocktail menu, making it the perfect location for dinner or just drinks.

Harts Hotel and Kitchen - This luxury boutique hotel was built in 2002 on the old ramparts of Nottingham’s medieval castle and now offers world class dining with a menu created by Michelin Star Executive Chef Aaron Patterson.

Alchemilla - Based in an abandoned Victorian carriage house that the Guardian describes as ‘a sort of House Stark Game of Thrones vault’, this Michelin starred restaurant offers plant based, imaginative fine dining with heavy influences from Japanese cuisine.

Check these places out for a drink:

Cottonmouth - Amongst Nottingham’s top venues for a tipple or two, this table service cocktail bar is tucked away in the vibrant Hockley area of Nottingham's city centre and proclaims to offer ‘high end drinks, low lit vibes and zero pretence’.

400 Rabbits - One of the most unique places to go for a drink in Nottingham City Centre, this cocktail bar specialises in Tequila & mezcal based drinks and offers a funky, modern and vibrant Mexican décor alongside warm and friendly staff.

Brewdog Nottingham - Located in an abandoned, one hundred year-old factory building, this watering hole offers a plethora of draught, bottled and canned options for ale lovers and non-beer drinkers alike. As well as great drinks, you can find juicy burgers and pizzas on the menu as well as regular live entertainment.

Boilermaker - Hidden behind a boiler showroom in the Hockley district, this speak easy style cocktail bar has a stylish and contemporary vibe. Take a seat, relax and allow the ever friendly and knowledgeable bar staff to grab you a drink from the vast cocktail menu (we recommend the Old Lady Marmalade).

Lost Property - Nestled away in Hockley, Lost Property is a dimly lit penny-top bar and cocktail speakeasy decorated with parrots, glitter balls and suitcases. Come try one of the signature cocktails, a hand rolled pizza or a beer from the extensive menu.

Canalhouse - Opened in the former canal museum, Canalhouse offers a vast menu for beer lovers with over 250 beers from around the world in bottle and can, alongside up to 6 real ales and 10 keg beers. Located just a stone’s throw away from the studio, this is the Friday drinks venue of choice for the Dambuster team (we even get a 10% discount at the bar).

[Robin Hood Statue at Nottingham Castle]

Want to Know More? Just Ask!

We hope that you have found this blog useful, but if you have any more questions about life in Nottingham, Dambuster Studios or our current vacancies, you can get in touch.

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