The ‘secret entrance’ to Nottingham Castle - and how you can see it for yourself

The secret passage dates back nearly 700 years and is open to the public
Mortimer’s Hole at Nottingham Castle Mortimer’s Hole at Nottingham Castle
Mortimer’s Hole at Nottingham Castle

If you’ve grown up in Nottingham, then chances are you’ll have visited Nottingham Castle at some point in your life. 

The current building, opened in 1878, was built on the site of the original Medieval Castle and has been an iconic part of the city’s skyline ever since. 

The castle is visited by thousands of people each year, many of whom start their day by walking through the famous gated entrance. 

READ MORE: Your Nottingham

But beneath the main part of the castle, hidden amongst the sandstone, is a secret entrance that dates back almost 700 years. 

Mortimer’s Hole, a 98-metre-long man-made tunnel, runs from Brewhouse Yard up to the castle terrace. 

The history of the tunnel dates back almost seven centuries and involves a former Queen of England. 

In 1330, Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer sought refuge in Nottingham Castle from Edward III.

Edward and his band of faithful nobles entered the castle via the secret tunnel and captured his mother Queen Isabella and Mortimer. 

Edward blamed Mortimer for having his father, Edward II, killed at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire. 

Edward burst into his mother’s bedroom and found her with Mortimer, who was then taken to the Tower of London and executed. 

Fast forward several hundred years and Mortimer’s Hole is now open to the public thanks to a four-year restoration from 2018 to 2022. 

Nottingham Castle now runs daily tours of Mortimer’s Hole, which last roughly 40 minutes. 

Visitors will be able to walk up the very 127 steps that led Edward III to his mother and Mortimer. 

Tickets cost £5 on top of the general castle admission and can be purchased here.