Vendor City Guide: Nottingham

Street secrets revealed by the people who know them best

Our guide this week: Paul Snape sells The Big Issue in the West Bridgford area of Nottingham. Last year Paul hit the headlines after he became the first vendor in the region to start taking contactless payments for magazines, though he believes it’s his dog Lottie who makes most sales.

Why I like living in Nottingham

It’s just the right size

I’ve lived in Nottingham on and off since 1998. It’s better than most places I’ve lived. It’s not too big, not too small – easy living. We’ve got a good tram system. It’s quite cheap and it covers most of the places you’d want to go. West Bridgford is just outside the city centre. The people are nice and friendly; it is a well-to-do area. It’s where all the rich people come and go so it can be a good place to sell.

The most famous thing about Nottingham   

Robin Hood

This is where Robin Hood comes from, but it’s a myth. There was no such person, even if we do have a statue. Sherwood Forest still exists, not much of it though. Nottingham was famous for its cotton, cigarette and Raleigh bike factory. The factory has closed down, they’re built abroad now. Even the fag factory’s closed. There’s one cotton factory left. We’ve got Nottingham Forest in the Championship, Notts County just got relegated to the National League [the fifth tier of the English league system]. They’re the oldest football club in England.

What there is to see and do

Get some history

The castle’s alright, it’s from medieval times, and the cathedral. Nottingham can be a good shopping town. It’s gone downhill a bit, like anywhere else. High streets are dying. West Bridgford is better but it’s full of charity shops and coffee bars. I don’t really use restaurants or cafes but we do have McDonald’s and Burger King. You know what you’re getting there. The city is full of students. It means there’s always something going on and a good nightlife. You can get up to all sorts. There’s quite a few places with live music. You’ve got the Playhouse and the Theatre Royal, which is a good theatre. Nottingham’s good for culture.

My favourite place

Attenborough Nature Reserve

When I’m not on my pitch I go to Attenborough Nature Reserve a lot. It’s got a big lake and a little village inside a forest. It’s a good place for walking my dog. Lottie is a three-and-a-half-year-old Staffordshire English Bull Terrier. There is quite a bit of green in Nottingham but on the outskirts, not in the city centre itself. But you’ve got the Arboretum, which is a park that people visit. It’s a big green area with trees and it has an aviary too.

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