Bucket list – ‘Go to the Goose fair in Nottingham’ = completed.
I had the Goose fair in Nottingham down as a must to do for 2016 but circumstances didn’t allow that. So when I found us with a spare day in October in 2017 with nothing on and the Goose fair was on I knew that we really should go. I was so glad we did because we had a really unique day out. The Goose Fair is certainly one of the best travelling fairs in the UK, everyone needs to go at least once in their life. I can’t believe I grew up not too far away and this is the first time I’d ever been.
About the Fair
The Goose Fair comes to the Forest recreation ground in Nottingham every year. In early October the land is transformed into a sea of fairground rides, big and small, classic and modern. There really is something for everyone.
It is thought that the fair started back in 1284 and has only been cancelled a few times in it’s long history due to war and disease. It hasn’t always been at the rec, pre 1927 it was held in Nottingham’s Old Market square.
The Goose Fair started off as a trade fair where thousands of geese were ‘driven’ from Lincolnshire to Nottingham. Nowadays it is known for it’s rides, games and mushy peas.
There are so many amazing sights and smells at the Goose Fair. I wish this post could be brought to you with smell-a-vision. You are never far from a hot or cold food stall from hot dogs to world cuisines. Plus sweets and candy floss and all other manner of sweet delights.
Getting to the fair
This needs to be sorted with a bit or prior research. Although the site partly stands on a large car park you can not park there during the fair. If you are coming from outside of Nottingham I can highly recommend parking at one of their free park and ride car parks that has a tram stop. There is a tram stop right outside one of the main entrances to the fair.
We parked for free at Wilkinson street park and ride. You can purchase your tickets online in advance or from machines on the platform. You must purchase a ticket before boarding the tram. I paid just £3.50 for a day return (travel anywhere ticket) and nothing for Jamie as under 5’s travel for free. This was great value for money for us.
There’s also plenty of bus services that stop at the goose fair.
Family Friendly rides
With over 500 rides and attractions there really is something for everyone. We visited on a Sunday, when the fair opened a little later than the other days, at 1pm. We actually arrived before the rides were supposed to be operating. However lots were open and it made getting around a lot easier than it was to just a couple of hours later. The Goose fair does get very busy at the weekend and even more so when it gets dark. I barely let go of Jamie’s hand while we were there.
I downloaded some 50p off rides tokens via the Nottingham post website. They were great for us as the rides he went on should have cost £24 in total and instead cost £18.
Sometimes the choice was a little overwhelming. It’s amazing how many rides they cram in. A lot of them are very similar. There were quite a few Helter Skelters but only one really classic one and boy was it fast. I thought Jamie would be scared of it but he loved it and wanted to go on again.
Another thing they had a big choice of was fun houses. They were everywhere. Jamie is a little too young to go on by himself and as I’m 5″10 and I was carrying a big bag I didn’t fancy it myself. But your kids will be spoilt for choice if that’s their thing.
Some of the rides added an extra fun element to them. Some blew bubbles and some, much to our surprise, blew out fake snow. I couldn’t stop laughing when Jamie got caught in an unexpected snow storm. I’m not sure that he knew what to make of it.
They had many traditional fairground rides for the kids. It wouldn’t be a fair without a carousel right?
Look out for the playground and grass/tree area across one side of the fair. It made a nice pit stop for us to get away from the hustle and bustle for a bit. It meant a bit of freedom for Jamie and a bonus as it didn’t cost anything to use.
There was a large area just for children’s rides. I was expecting this to be the only place for kids rides but in reality they were dotted all around the place as well. If you fancied a go on a ‘big’ ride you would never be far away for something for the kids to go on afterwards.
We also managed to find a Thomas the tank engine ride tucked away where we weren’t expecting it.
As well as all the rides and stalls selling food there were plenty of stalls offering fairground games such as hook a duck, throw a hoop on a bottle, darts and more. Nearly everywhere was offering a prize a turn so for £2.50 we played hook a duck and Jamie won a toy of his choice (a snake!).
The ‘bigger’ rides
There is a really big selection of faster and higher adrenalin rides. Most of them Jamie was way too small for, thankfully. A lot weren’t too expensive and only just a little bit more cost wise than the kid’s rides. So if you visit with more than 1 adult I’m sure you will have a great time trying them out. Some of the them rivaled rides at the best theme parks. I was amazed at how they got some of them there. Let alone how they then assembled them.
Watch this space for dates for the Goose fair in 2018. It is usually held from the second Wednesday of October. I urge you to go, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Even if rides aren’t your thing it’s worth going just for the sights, sounds and smells. If you can brave heights there’s always the big wheel. Don’t forget to look online nearer the time for discount tickets!
I hope you enjoyed my review. Have you ever been? Is there a large fair near you that’s worth us trying out? Please comment below.
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