Things to do in Newark

Newark is a blossoming market town with historic and picturesque heritage attractions. There are plenty of vintage and antique shops that are dotted around the town to explore if you love shopping and looking for gems. Here are some of the must-see attractions we picked out for you.

Newark Castle

Newark Castle is famed for its role in the English Civil War as a Royalist stronghold, and remains one of the town’s main historic attractions. Its key position on the banks of the River Trent meant that the castle has been damaged over the years.

What’s left of the ruins of Newark Castle include a striking Norman gate and a series of underground passages and chambers. The real King John, who is portrayed as a villain in the Robin Hood legend, died in the castle in 1216. Its grounds are still a popular location to host concerts, festivals and various cultural events.

Newark Market Place

The focal point of the town, Newark Market Place hosts regular market days and visitors can buy local produce, antiques and much more. The market runs every day except Tuesdays, Sundays and bank holidays, but when the market doesn’t run it’s still worth checking out the historic architecture and buildings surrounding the area. Close to the market is Newark Town Hall Museum.

Newark Town Hall Museum

Overlooking the marketplace, Newark Town Hall has housed the Mayor and the Town Council since it was build in 1776. The Grade I listed building is recognised as one of the finest Georgian town halls in the country.

In 1999, Newark Town Council opened a museum within the building to allow daily access to its treasures. Visitors can enjoy a Fine Art Gallery, the Spotlight Gallery and a Civic Gallery.

St Mary Magdalene and Civil War Cannonball Hole

Newark’s medieval parish church is one of the largest and finest parish churches in the country and has a magnificent spire. There is a visible hole in the spire, which marks the spot where the shot from a Parliamentarian cannon is said to have struck the church in 1664 during the Civil War.

One of the church’s treasures is an early 16th century painted panel, which shows a skeleton and a well-dressed man with his hand on his purse. It supposedly serves as a warning that nobody can escape death despite their wealth.

Governor’s House

During the sieges of the Civil War, the Governor’s House was the headquarters residence of the military commanders of Newark. A path from the house was made to connect the south door of the Parish Church was laid out so that the Governor could walk to the church without soiling his feet.

It was said that King Charles I visited a number of times and in 1645 was involved in a violent quarrel with his nephew, Prince Rupert, over the latter’s supposed cowardice in surrendering Bristol. Rupert and his troops were banished from Newark and as they left the town the King is said to have watched from the Governor’s House with a tear in his eye.