Attenborough Nature Reserve is located about 6 miles south of the City in the old gravel pits near to Attenborough. It has been evolving since around 1966 when part of the working pits were converted to a reserve that was opened by Sir David Attenborough. In 2005 the visitor centre was opened up and in that centre they have a rather nice café that served up tasty morsels and drinks all year around.
On the website the tell us that; “Our café has views of the lakes and islands of Attenborough Nature Reserve. With a south facing balcony it is possible to sit outside to enjoy a hot drink and a doorstep sandwich on organic bread after a healthy walk around the reserve.”
There certainly are lovely views from the deck outside the café. I took this panorama picture of the lake the day we popped over for lunch. We didn’t actually take a ‘healthy walk’ on that visit but we did sample the door step sandwiches.
They have a good selection of your classic sandwiches here at the café, all the expected options from ham, to cheese, to egg, to chicken dressed up all fancy for you to try. There is usually a selection of hot specials on a board as well, when we were here there were a couple of hot pies, a bowl of stew, tomato soup and a minestrone soup.
The website also tells us that they have “A good selection of cakes and snacks and fair trade coffee is complemented by a home made lunch menu with delicious daily specials featuring fair trade, organic, free range and local produce”
I have eaten here on quite a few occasions and have found that the best thing on that sandwich menu is the
“Derbyshire Chicken, Mature Cheddar Cheese and Bacon” effort.
You get a really huge doorstop sized sandwich packed with thick slices of chicken breast, a couple of slices of grilled bacon, and a thick layer of strong mature cheddar cheese. The slices of bread are cut pretty thick, but the bread is so soft, that once you start to chomp you way into the sandwich it does not seem too overwhelming. You also receive a rather generous side of salad leaves packed with tomato, cucumber, red and yellow pepper. I didn’t really need that to be honest but I did enjoy eating it as I munched my way through the doorstop.
The café can get quite busy but there always seems to be a space on a table somewhere. You just have to be willing to share you space with a fellow dog walker, twitcher, stroller pusher, or random diner. If you want to be alone then just grab your sandwich to go and stroll off along one of the footpaths that snake there way around the reserve and the lakes.
You can get here by public transport travelling by train to the nearby Attenborough Train Station which is just 5 minutes walk from the reserve and a further 10 minute walk from the Nature Centre. You can also take a bus from Nottingham Broadmarsh Station and the Derby Bus Station. I think that is the Trent Barton ‘INDIGO’ Bus Service but I would check when that is running if you read this and want to plan a visit. That bus stops at the Chilwell retail park which is about a 5-10 minute walk away. You can also park your car nearby as well. If you have the time and the energy you can also walk here from the city along the river on a number of riverside footpaths