Nottingham Goose Fair
If you’re in Nottingham or any of the surrounding areas then a visit to the annual Nottingham Goose Fair is a must. Taking place in the Autumn every year, it’s a massive fair spread over a few days and is well worth a visit.
The Goose Fair 2023 will take place at Forest Recreation Ground with dates to be confirmed.
What is Goose Fair?
Officially Europe’s biggest traveling fair, the Goose Fair is a year event that both residents and tourists flock to every single year. It’s different every year, but with over 700 years of history under its belt it’s had time to perfect the event – and it really has. It takes place over nearly 20 acres and is packed full of games, attractions and rollercoasters. It boasts having over 100 rides just for children, which means if you take your little ones along you can be sure that this is going to be something to keep them suitably entertained.
As you may imagine, as a fair that has been around for over 700 years it has gone through some changes it is time. In the past it has hosted things such as performing fleas and other oddity type shows. It is thought that in 1888 Professor Thomas Scott Baldwin even made the first ever Nottingham parachute jump into the fair at Wollaton Park too – what a sight that would have been!
It has an interesting history and originally started as a livestock trading event and somewhere farmers could sell their goods – it gained a reputation as the place to go for phenomenal cheese! It has grown over the years and although there is no live stock now, it’s one of the most established events in Nottingham and something that residents and tourists alike look forward to every single year.
As per last year’s huge return, Goose Fair is due to come back this year with over 500 fair rides and so much more across 10 days. Entry to the goose fair is free of charge and then you can just pay for what you would like to go on while you are there. Street parking is nearby although it can get busy so people often opt to visit by public transport as it is so easy to do.
Whether you want to go and try to win a massive cuddly toy at the coconut shy or you fancy blowing off the cobwebs with a whirl on the waltzers you can be sure that the Nottingham Goose Fair will have what you need. Then you can treat yourself to a toffee apple and a hot chocolate and head home, sounds heavenly doesn’t it?
What Can You Do at Goose Fair?
toffeAn easier question to answer might be, what can’t you do at the Goose Fair? The truth is that with nearly 20 acres of attractions it’s packed full of things to do for everyone.
For most, a trip to Goose Fair means they’re going to:
• Take the family out or meet up with mates
• Fill up on hot dogs and burgers
• Get dizzy on the never-ending sea of rides
• Play on the arcades
• Ram random strangers on the dodgems
• Binge on candy apples
• Win something on the Hook a Duck
It’s a wholesome family day out which has something to cater to all members of the family – thrilling rides, gentle twisting slides and even a big wheel, you’ll be hard pushed to try and do everything on one night. Don’t worry though, the event takes place over a number of days each October so you can always come back another night and try to experience the Goose Fair attractions you’ve missed out on!
Don’t worry if fast rides aren’t your thing there is plenty more to do – from delicious food stalls to traditional games such as Hook a Duck, the Nottingham Goose Fair really does have something for everyone.
If you’re into a gentle ride or two then you could take a trip on the carousel, which has been with the fair since 1895 – making it the Goose Fair’s oldest attraction.
With arcade machines, competitive games, fortune tellers and a plethora of light up toys, you can be sure that you’ll be feeling completely entertained at the fair because there is so much to do.
Food wise you’re well catered for with all of the food you would expect from a fair – an abundance of candy floss and sweet treats. Different food vans even offer up some international culinary delights, so make sure you go hungry as there’s plenty for you to try.
Free entry means you can attend and wander around at your leisure, taking everything in and getting an idea of what is there before you go ahead and play any games, enjoy any food or jump on any rides. It’s usually a busy event but well managed so you can feel confident you’ll have a fuss-free fun time.
Where is Goose Fair?
While there have been many changes over its 700+ history, in recent memory the annual Goose Fair event has taken place at Forest Recreation Ground. This outdoor venue gives enough space for the 500+ attractions that are expected at the event.
Getting to the Nottingham Goose Fair is easy, although there is only official parking for Blue Badge holders (at a cost of £7). There is some on street parking nearby, but the event does get very busy and as such, parking does get taken up quite quickly. Instead it is recommend that you use the park and ride service on offer from Nottingham City Transport; accessible from Queen’s Drive. NET also has a range of park and ride services available. There are also great transport links by both tram and bus, so the possibilities are almost endless.
The event does get busy so if you plan to drive to park nearby, it is recommended you use a journey planner in advance to organise your route and set off with plenty of time to get to the event.
History of Goose Fair
Although we know that the Nottingham Goose Fair is one of the oldest fairs in history, no one can actually be certain when it started. That said, most historians can agree that the fair started around 1282. A charger from King Edward talk about Nottingham city fairs so it is assumed that the Nottingham Goose Fair is the one being referred to.
Although the event that is attended today is in October, it originally started in September in celebration of St. Matthews Day (the patron saint of Tax Collectors).
As well as the exact starting date of the fair being debatable, there are many theories on the name too. What we do know is that at some stage it changed from St. Matthews Day Fair to ‘Goosey’, although we’re not sure why or exactly when this happened. On The Nottingham Borough records in 1541 there is an entry by John Truswell, who bought breaches for 1s10d at the Goose Fair Day.
It is widely assumed that the reference to our feathered friends comes from the fact that a traditional dish to celebrate St Michael’s Day was stuffed goose. As such around 20,000 geese were transported from places such as Cambridge, Norfolk and Lincoln to be sold at the fair.
The event was originally held at the Old Market Square and would have been a place to come to buy, sell and trade livestock. Old Market Square is no longer suitable for such an extravagant affair and as such, it’s now held at the Forest Recreation Ground, which has more than enough space for an event of this size.
It is thought that event moved to October in 1571; where there was a revision to the whole British calendar – this bought us into line with the rest of Europe. This change resulted in September becoming 11 months shorter, which pushed the Nottingham Goose Fair into October, where it has remained ever since.
Is Goose Fair Cancelled?
Just like 2020, the 2021 Goose Fair was cancelled. However, since things have been running smoothly in 2022 and 2023, so you have nothing to worry about for the future either. Goose Fair is going ahead once again in autumn 2024.
Who is the Goose Fair Goose?
If you have driven around Nottingham when the fair has taken place then you have no doubt seen the goose monument that is located on the roundabout at Mansfield Road. This is The Goose Fair goose, known affectionately by locals as ‘Goosey’. She has appeared on the roundabout whenever the far has taken place since the 1960s. She stands over 6ft talk and is made from timber and fibreglass. She’s much loved by the residents of Nottingham and people look forward to seeing her return to the same spot every year.
When is the Next Goose Fair?
Goose Fair 2023 will take place in autumn 2023. We are yet to get any further details about the dates and whether or not it will go back to the standard 3-day event, or if the 2022 10-day spectacular will be repeated again.
Is This the Only Goose Fair?
Although we’re biased when it comes to goose fairs and think that the Nottingham Goose Fair is the bee’s knees, there are other amazing events that take place each year. Popular ones include the West Devon Tavistock Goosey Fair, the Chertsey Christmas Goose Fair and the Michaelmas Goose Fayre in Colyford, East Devon. They’ll have plenty of entertainment, although when it comes to the number of attractions on offer the Nottingham Goose Fair definitely wins.
We’ll be attending the Nottingham Goose Fair this year – maybe we’ll see you there?
The tram strike scheduled to cause disruption to this week's Goose Fair event has been called off. Tram services will run as normal towards the Goose Fair site. The GMB union came to an agreement with NET staff, including a 10% pay rise. Chris Wright, managing...
Discount vouchers for Nottingham Goose Fair 2023 are now available for you to get ahead of Goose Fair between 29th September and 8th October. Each voucher can be reused by you to gives you 50p off every applicable ride you use and it only costs £1. Get a £1 voucher to...
The opening times for Goose Fair 2023 have been announced. The times will differ between the weekdays, and each day of the weekend. This year's event will span over 10 days (including two weekends) from 29th September to 8th October, so the times will differ to how it...