The whitewater course in Nottingham is a perfect place to improve your freestyle skills. The ‘Inlet Gate’ is probably one of the cleanest, smoothest and nicest holes you will ever get to paddle, every trick seems to be easier there. The rest of the course changes throughout the year, but there are multiple features, even a wave. From beginners to advanced freestyle boaters, a trip to Nottingham is definitely worth your time. I have only been to Nottingham a few times, but have gathered quite a lot of information on how to get there and where to stay, hopefully, this will help you plan your trip better and help you find the good deals!

Getting there

Let’s get started, how can you get to this amazing whitewater course. If you live in Europe, driving there is an option if you don’t mind driving long distances and taking the ferry. If not, good news! Flying here is pretty easy, aim for either East Midlands (EMA) or Birmingham (BHX) airports.

Birmingham is a relatively large airport that is easy to get to no matter where you are in the world, with plenty of flights from Amsterdam, London and Dubai where you’ll likely be changing flights.

From the airport

From Birmingham (BHX):

  • If you are over twenty-five, car rental is probably the best and cheapest option, allowing you to fit two boats at the back if you choose the right car and put the seats down. This costs around £10-£15 a day.
  • The train and bus is your second option. You’d catch the train from Birmingham International to Nottingham, which costs around £25 off-peak and takes an hour and a half. You’ll then want to take a bus from Nottingham station to Holme Pierrepont, Holme House, which costs around £3 and takes around twenty minutes. This is the pricier option which will save you time and it’s more likely that there is space on the train for your boat compared to the coach.
  • The third option would be catching a coach and then a bus – you’ll have to get from Birmingham Airport to Nottingham Station Street with National Express, this costs around £9-£13 if you book a ticket in advance, and take around three hours. You’ll then want to take a bus from Nottingham station to Holme Pierrepont, Holme House, which costs around £3 and takes around twenty minutes. Be sure you check baggage options for the coach, it may cost you a few quid extra to get an extra item on board.

From East Midlands (EMA):

  • If you are over twenty-five, renting a car will probably be your cheapest option if you are spending a few days there. It costs around £10-£15 a day. If you choose the right car, you’ll manage to fit two boats at the back if you put the seats down.
  • The bus is your second option. Get the Skylink to Clifton (£6 one way, £11 return) and stop at the County Hall, just before Trent Bridge. Skylink Clifton is not to be confused with Skylink Nottingham which doesn’t stop before the city centre! From there, you can either walk to the course (about 45min), or get the bus 11C (local NCT bus) from Radcliffe Rd stop, outside Bombay Bridgford Restaurant (near cricket ground) to the whitewater course. The 11C bus does not run often, but the bus number 11 might bring you closer. You can bring your boat on the bus.

Where to stay

Again so many options. I would personally highly recommend booking an Airbnb. If you, unfortunately, end up being sick, having your own room, in a warm house, makes a huge difference. There are a few Airbnbs around Lady Bay (I would definitely recommend the one called Cosy Loft Space with Ensuite + Bkf. West Bridgford, Ann is very friendly and provides breakfast!)

Holme Pierrepont country park hotelYou can’t get any closer to the whitewater course. Rooms are comfy. You can go for a nap between two sessions and dry your gear in the bathroom.You will have to find a way to get lunch (maybe at the course) and dinner. If you don’t have a car, you are pretty far away from town. You can however walk or get an Uber to Lady Bay.Walk to the course (5 min).From £40 for a single room and £50 for a twin room. Includes breakfast (not amazing though).


You cannot cook so you will probably spend more money on food.

Holme Pierrepont country park campingSomewhat cheaper and close to the whitewater course.Well, it’s camping. You need camping gear, and if it is raining you might not have the best time of your life.Walk to the course (10 min)From £22 for a grass camping pitch with electricity. From £26 for a camping arch (no need for a tent).


Again, you will spend more money on food, and probably on coffees and hot chocolate to keep yourself warm

AirbnbYou have a room, if not a full house for yourself and a proper bed. You can cook for yourself and will save money on food and eat healthier.You might end up far away from the stadium.You more than likely will need to drive to the course. If you rent a car, it’s not a problem. Otherwise Uber is your best option, depending on your location, an Uber ride to the course will be around £3-£5.Around £30 a night. Always cheaper if you share a room with a friend.

Travelling to the course from your accommodation can be tricky, buses to the course do not run that often. Ubers are very cheap, I would highly recommend downloading the app before getting there.

TOP TIP: You only have to carry your boat on the first and the last day of your trip, as you can leave it at the course. If one of your Uber drivers has a big enough car to fit one or two boats, don’t be shy and ask for their number. Tell them what time you’re planning on leaving and that you’ll have to put the seats down to get two boats in their car. Tell them you will pay cash (not using the app), and they more than likely will be happy to give you a lift to the airport on the last day. I did that twice, and haven’t paid more than £40 in total for two people and two boats. A bit more expensive but it saves you the hassle of trying to find buses to get to the airport and only takes 30min!

Flying with your boat

You shouldn’t have any trouble flying Ryanair with a playboat. You can check your freestyle boat as ‘sports equipment‘. No need to book a large sports item! The weight limit is 20 kg. You can have the paddle attached to your boat as long as it is secured. If you haven’t bought yourself one of the Palm Paddle bags yet, you can put your paddle into your boat, clip your helmet around the shaft, and duck tape the other end of the shaft to your back grab loop.

Top tips

If you’re planning a trip to Nottingham, you’ve probably heard of “Trent belly”. The water quality at the course can be quite bad, especially after heavy rainfall when pesticides and other chemicals are drained from the fields into the river. Everyone has their own ways to try to avoid getting sick.

  • Drink Coca-Cola (or a fizzy drink) after every session. This is more a myth than anything else, but Coca Cola is quite acidic, but not much compared to stomach acid, so who knows if it actually works?
  • Shower after every session. You have access to warm changing rooms if you pay your entry fee for the stadium (£7.50 student, £10 adult per day). Rinse yourself rinse your gear if you can.
  • Wash your hands after you touch your gear and once you’re out of the water. We all know how important to wash our hands with soap, but especially here because of the water. You can buy a pocket-size hand sanitiser at the airport for around £3.

Hope you found this helpful, if you have any questions, hit me up on Facebook!