October 23, 2015, by International students
4 ways to spend Autumn and Winter in Nottingham
Dear international fresher students, welcome and congratulations on getting into university! And to any returners, welcome back!
I have to say, dear freshers and returners, you’ve made a great choice – Nottingham is an absolutely gorgeous place to live. From watching the leaves turn orange by the lake, to having a late picnic in Wollaton Park on a midsummer’s eve, to taking pics of the campus covered in snow – Nottingham is beautiful all year round.
This place has so much to offer – so take your time getting to know it. Explore every chance you get! There’s so much going on all the time that even after four years, I still find myself being charmed by this place. One thing you’ll probably notice in the coming weeks is that the sun will start becoming conspicuously absent. The cold will start to set in and make your bones feel like ice. You will likely get the urge to just curl up in a duvet beside the radiator and stay there till Spring comes around, but don’t do it! Nottingham is just as easy to love in December as it is in July, if you just give it a chance. Below are a few of my favorite things to look forward to during autumn and winter. Definitely not to be missed!
- Goose Fair
Goose fair is purportedly one of Europe’s oldest and largest travelling fairs, but do not be misled. It does not involve a single goose. What it does involve instead are lots of fluorescent rides and loud noises and brightly lit game and food stalls, most of which are overpriced and impossible to win, except for the basketball one – that one’s alright. The first time you see it, I think it’s impossible not to get excited. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before – the crowd, the roar of machinery and deafening amplification of pop music that assaults you from every single direction. The sense of constant motion, the ocean of spinning things and screaming heads. During my first year, there was a huge white Ferris wheel that towered over the whole fair and I remember staring up at it in awe, its immaculate emanation becoming a beacon of hope amidst the frantic pulsating, vibrating, all-singing all-dancing extravaganza of the occasion. That year’s Goose fair made the biggest impression on me, and even though I’ve gone for it every year since, it’s still the one I remember best.
- Bonfire night
Across the UK, the 5th of November is celebrated as Guy Fawkes Day as a commemoration of how the gunpowder plot was thwarted, which you can read up about if you’re interested – but more importantly, it’s an excuse to light a massive fire and get to watch a spectacular fireworks display – and the fireworks are indeed spectacular. It will be held at the Forest Recreation Grounds – the same place as Goose Fair. The bonfire is lit at 7.45pm and the fireworks start at 9pm. Admission is free. I’d recommend turning up a few minutes early to try and get a good spot and avoid missing the beginning. Also, remember to wrap up warm before you head there, because it’s going to be c-o—o-o-o-l-d.
- Winter Wonderland
Starting from the 20th of November, the Old Market Square in the city will get a festive makeover in the form of a public ice skating rink and multiple wooden shacks selling mulled wine and frankfurters and hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts and gimmicky hats and other Christmassy things. Walking around the wooden market stalls in the day is pleasant enough, but the market truly shines at night. Against the icy cold evening, the lights look extra warm and just incredibly pretty. I really can’t explain it any better than that – you just have to see it for yourself.
- Cozy up with a few friends and some good food
I think there is a tendency for international students to get a little bit homesick once winter properly sets in, and I believe there’s no better way to combat the cold than with some good food and good company, and maybe a portable heater or two. I don’t know why but an evening in with Chinese take-out seems like more of a blessing when it’s minus 3 degrees outside. I don’t know if this is peculiar to Malaysians, but when you’re sharing a cozy meal with friends, there’s a kind of warmth that just fills you up from the inside and spreads all around. It feels a little like being home again. Or maybe it’s just the soup.
Blog post by Jonathan Yee.