Monday, March 23, 2020

A Trip to Nottingham: My Pilgrimage to Warhammer World

In July of 2019 my lovely bride and I boarded a plane and set off for our honeymoon. Our destination? Ireland and the UK with a one night stop in Nottingham of course!

I have to thank my wife for allowing me to set aside one day out of our honeymoon to indulge my nerdy hobby. That isn't to say we didn't take advantage of all that Nottingham has to offer. This little city is full of sites to be seen and things to be done. But clearly the highlight of that day's adventures was a trip to Warhammer World and a leisurely tour of the Exhibition Center.

For those planning a visit may I recommend you allot a full day to the endeavor. Properly appreciated, the Exhibition Hall alone could take the better part of a day. Then there's the shopping, restaurant, conversation with the friendly staff, and even the ability to take in a game. A full day enjoyed here would leave scarce time to enjoy the other things Nottingham has to offer.

We arrived by train (departing from Edinburgh in the morning) and enjoyed a short walk to the St. James Hotel, chosen because of it's close proximity to many of the other sites we wanted to take in.

As in the rest of the UK there is no shortage of pubs in Nottingham. Of note is Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, England's oldest inn, boasting an establishment date of 1189. The place was packed when we went and all we managed was a quick walk through. Ye Olde Trip sits at the base of The Castle of Nottingham. While it was closed to visitors at the time we there, we were able to walk around the exterior and take in the statues of Robinhood. We stopped for lunch at The Castle Pub and Kitchen and enjoyed a pint of Cask Ale and Cider, then it was off to Warhammer World.

A 4 minute Uber ride was all it took and we were there. If you don't care for ride sharing the buses can get you there but the trip takes a while longer and wasn't that far off in cost. Time was limited so we took the Uber.

As you approach the building there are various icons of the company greeting visitors. Each is a testament to the epic proportions of what lay inside.

The front lobby has a few small display cabinets, an appetizer if you will, wetting your pallet for what is to come. There's also a vending machine which dispenses coins for Loyalists and Heretics alike.

Growing up perusing the Citadel catalog and issues of White Dwarf I would often sit for hours looking over every detail of the models and dioramas displayed on the pages. To see them in the flesh was a trip. Almost immediately one small diorama immediately called out to me. It was that of Azrael and his helmet bearer in a Dark Angels chapel. All this time later it is still an impressive and well composed piece.

After the lobby we set off inside. To your left is the register where you can buy tickets to the exhibition hall which will empty you into the store. To the right are the game tables and Forgeworld and specialist games. I suppressed the urge to ogle the merchandise as best I could and we began our tour of the exhibition hall.

Pictures and words scarcely do justice to the eye candy on display. Room after room visitors are treated to massive dioramas telling stories of war, triumph, and defeat. Each diorama boasts incredible skill in not only construction but composition. There are so many little stories playing out in each that many return visits would be required to appreciate them all.


The most epic of all dioramas is the Battle For Angelus Prime. This piece is two stories tall and 20 feet long. It took several artists months to create and is the highlight of the Exhibition Hall. Plan to spend some time enjoying this piece. Literally expect to spend half an hour to an hour on this one alone.

After exiting the exhibition hall you're greeted by an overwhelming amount of plastic crack for sale. Being that we were traveling with only carry-ons and had half of our trip ahead of us I had to keep my purchasing to a minimum. In the end I went for the exclusives, a book about the exhibition hall a set of pins, and a miniature of Bugman sitting aside a couple of casks of ale. Our tour complete we headed back to the hotel to get some rest before dinner.

That evening we enjoyed tasters and split a pizza at BrewDog had a round of minigolf at The Lost City Adventure indoor golf course and picked up a couple of shakes at Kaspa's Desserts before walking back to the hotel. Walking around Nottingham at night was a treat. We were impressed by how dressed up everyone was for a night out. Saturday night downtown is the place to be!

We had such a good time on our trip I hope to return someday. We never got to take a proper tour of the castle nor were we able to grab a pint at Ye Olde Trip or enjoy Bugman's bar. No doubt we'll be back some day. If you get the chance don't pass up the opportunity to make your own pilgrimage to this mecca of the hobby.

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