To celebrate the summer solstice, Nottingham will host its first-ever Lightest Night this Friday – 21 June.

The city will come to life from 5pm; offering all kinds of free, family-friendly entertainment as well as special, later opening times at some of the city’s favourite venues. From the Arboretum to Green’s Windmill; performances, music, dance, food, arts and crafts…there will be something for everybody to enjoy.

To get as much enjoyment from the evening as possible and to help visitors plan their evening, there is a handy guide to the event. This guide lists all the activities in various parts of the city. It can be downloaded from the What’s On Nottingham website or there will be a limited supply of printed copies which can be collected from the Nottingham Tourism Centre on Friday evening. The centre will be open late on Friday until 7pm.

A Google map has been created which captures venues for the event. This can be used on mobile phones and will allow users to highlight activities and plan an itinerary. The map is also available on the website.

Planning travel into the city for Lightest Night is easy with the Let’s Keep Nottingham Moving journey planner. Those travelling by bus can take advantage of the Nottingham City Transport NCT Grouprider ticket (Up to two adults and three children can travel on a Grouprider ticket for just £6) and those travelling by tram can purchase off-peak group tickets which are valid weekdays after 4pm and cost £5 for 1 or 2 adults and up to 3 children.

Cllr Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture said: “Following another fantastic Light Night this year, Nottingham City Council is proud to bring a brand-new summer event to our residents and visitors alike. Lightest Night is a brilliant opportunity for families to explore the city centre on what promises to be a fun, safe and – with a bit of luck – sunny evening!”

“It’s great that we are celebrating the longest day with this diverse programme of entertainment and activities to attract people to the city centre and we are pleased to be supporting this initiative through our brand, It’s in Nottingham,” said Jeff Allen, chairman of Nottingham BID.

“Nottingham does such a great job of attracting families into the city centre for Light Night on what can be a cold evening in February, imagine what could be possible in June. From small acorns grow mighty oak trees and in time Lightest Night could become just as popular – and just as much fun – as Light Night” Stephen Barker, CEO Nottingham Creative Quarter

For more information about late-night openings and the full entertainment programme, visit

The interactive map can be accessed at:

International Market in Old Market Square

The guide splits the activity into sections of the city – highlights are as follows –

Arboretum – A programme of performances, music and magic…

Live music, DJs and entertainment in the Bandstand (6-10pm)
Nottingham residents RTO Sound System will be serving up an eclectic blend of chilled musical vibes, alongside live music from NUSIC Future Session guests. Plus magician Matthew Arwen-Langham will amaze with his mind-blowing stage magic.

Nottingham Singer-songwriter Tayla Jayde will be performing 8-8.45pm at the Arboretum bandstand.

Tayla Jade

Look Up by Hikapee (5.15 and 7.15pm) – A beautiful, playful and exciting collaboration of circus, puppetry and theatre – an outdoor performance for family audiences. Look Up follows Robyn, a child puppet, who is fearless, playful and not interested in phones or work, but instead has a curiosity with birds and flying. Why is everyone else only looking down?

Awakening Titania (5-9pm) – It’s Midsummer’s eve and Queen Titania is awakening in the Arboretum

Trinity Square

RTO Sound System DJ sets (from 6-10pm)
– Nottingham residents RTO Sound System (feat. Cutz) will be serving up reggae,and jazz funk through to latin and soulful house, perfectly setting the tone for the Lightest Night.

EMCANN Costumed walkabout from Trinity Square (Pictured right) – East Midlands Caribbean Carnival Arts Network present the latest amazing costumes from our regional carnivals.

Carnival Walkabout

CAN Samba across the city centre – Colourful carnival and the rhythms of Can Samba will be joined by a special fleet of mobility scooters championing a safe space for our elderly and disabled citizens.

Old Market Square


Lifeboat with institute for crazy dancing (6-9.30pm) – Welcome aboard the Slowest Ride on Earth…people of all ages and persuasions… The structure is a 6 metre long timber keel with four rib sections. It forms the skeleton of a small boat. Canvas hammocks are strung between each of the ribs. It is a contemplative ride that creates a beautiful and compelling energy wherever it lands.

Tuneless Choir – (7-7.45pm) – Join members of Tuneless Choirs as they perform Summer Songs! Feel free to join in singing like no one is listening – and laughing when they hit the wrong note!

Bicycle Bistro with Circo Rum Ba Ba (6-6.40pm and 8-8.40pm) (Pictured right) – Two eccentric moustachioed waiters arrive in style on their bistro on wheels. They lay the table, wind up the gramophone and unleash cafe circus mayhem. Vaudeville hat juggling, spinning plates, tea dancing, acrobatics, musical saw playing and a marvellous table cloth trick to delight the audience.

Ridewise (4.30-7.30pm) – Come and find out more about getting on your bike, make a badge, and maybe even get yourself a cycling related freebie!

International Market (Until 10pm) A selection of continental and international flavours including Spanish, Greek, Chinese and Indian street foods to name but a few. Those wanting to take the flavours of the world home with them can choose from a great selection of fresh foods including olives, cheeses, breads and cakes. Find a spot to relax and unwind in the Street Bar with a variety of Continental beers and wine.

Sneinton/Lace Market

Craftea and Lace Market Tour at Debbie Bryan – Try hand-painting your own glass tea light (book between 2-7pm, £10 including tea and cake). Later, discover the hidden gems of Nottingham’s Lace Market on this short guided walk (5-6pm, £10 including tea and cake to finish). Booking essential. St Mary’s Gate, NG1 1PF.

A Curious Midsummer Happening (5-7pm) – Curious Nottingham, Sneinton Avenues. Fairy lights and magic, come and explore this illuminated world with moving lights and magical pictures. Then celebrate the longest day by helping decorate the Green Man and the Woodland Queen!  NG1 1DU

Visit the Lace Market Theatre (7-11pm) – Visit a working amateur theatre in a grade11 listed building. See how the technical side works, some of the costumes and play in rehearsal in the congenial atmosphere of a welcoming bar.  Halifax Place, NG1 1QN

Draw and Play at City Arts – Families (6-8pm), Adults 18+(8.30-10.30pm)
Draw portraits of yourself, your friends and family. Draw a stranger to make new friends! There will be a range of board games available (including giant Jenga!).

Take the opportunity to check out ‘markmaking’, our new exhibition for Nottingham Refugee Week, as you play, relax, make friends and have a drink at the café bar.  Hockley, NG1 1FH

Dash Garden Cafe – Solstice Eve Vegan Beats and Eats (from 7pm) Featuring the Herbivore Baker (Vish and Chips) No Baloney (Dog Bites) and The Loving Kebab (Vegan Kebabs) – Join the team in the beautiful courtyard for a great night of food and beats. Cobden Chambers Garden Courtyard, NG1 2ED Find out more about Dash Cafe

Further afield

Mill at Midsummer (Open to 8pm) – Explore Green’s Windmill and Science Centre after hours on this special open evening for Lightest Night, a rare occurrence providing a unique opportunity for visitors to look over the city as the sun begins to set from the top of windmill. During your visit grab a homemade pizza from the pizza oven. Windmill Lane, NG2 4QB.

Studio Groups Exhibition at Nottingham Society of Artists (6-9pm) – View artworks produced by the society’s various painting groups. Watch live demonstrations by society members and have a go yourself at drawing our summer floral display. Friar Lane, NG1 6DH.

Nottingham Street Food Club at Sneinton Avenues – (5-10pm) – Traders at this next edition of the club include Huns Vegan (Vegan Chicken Burgers), Smoqued (Mexican Street Food), Vietcentric (East Asian Street Food). Music is provided by Funk & Soul DJ’s Phlexx Records and Hummar with live art from Elroy the artist and Scarce.

One Night in Miami… Nottingham Playhouse (from 7.30pm) (Ticket required) – Go back to 1960s America with four icons; Sam Cooke, Malcolm X, Jim Brown and Cassius Clay, later Muhammad Ali, for One Night in Miami… You can also enjoy a drink in the outdoor seating area at Playhouse Bar and Kitchen before the show. Wellington Circus, NG1 5AF. Book One Night in Miami…tickets