The Park Tunnel, Nottingham

On a recent trip to Nottingham, I visited the Park Tunnel, a curious piece of Victorian construction tucked away in a residential area just north of Nottingham Castle (which I didn’t visit).

I first heard about the Park Tunnel via a video on YouTube by The Tim Traveller, an English travel vlogger. I made a note to check it out myself next time I was in Nottingham, and so on a very sunny October day, the 18th, I headed up to see it.

There are a couple of ways to get into the Park Tunnel, one is the easy way via Tunnel Road and the other is a slightly more difficult way through a gate at the top of Upper College Street. I opted for the latter.

Through the gate, there is a staircase which leads down to the ground level of the tunnel. One end leads out to the aforementioned Tunnel Road, the other leads to a modern car park on Derby Road.

The Park Estate in Nottingham was formerly a private estate owned by the Duke of Newcastle (the one under Lyme, not the one on the Tyne), and he commissioned the architect Thomas Chambers Hine to design and build a grand entrance tunnel to the park. It had to be built so that horse drawn vehicles were able to traverse the steep gradient of the tunnel. It was carved out of the natural sandstone and partially lined with brickwork.

After it opened in 1855, it was discovered that the gradient (1 in 12) was too steep for horses to climb with a carriage attached to them, and so it was never used for its original intended purpose. A different, easier entrance to the estate was used instead.

The Park Tunnel is now owned by Nottingham City Council, and is free for the general public to access. If you are ever in Nottingham to visit the castle, it is just a short walk from there, and it’s close to the city centre as well. Royal Centre is the closest tram stop.

The architect for the project, Thomas Chambers Hine, also designed and built some of the railway stations I have previously visited, including Radcliffe, Aslockton and Bingham.

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