Why I Love Nottingham Goose Fair

Nottingham Goose fair is 700 years old. It’s absolutely magic and a jewel in the crown of Nottingham’s cultural history It.is one of Europe’s most famous travelling fairs and it always opens the first Wednesday in October and now runs for 5 days. It has over 500 rides.

It is dear to my heart as both my dad and ny grandad before him worked at the fair selling coconuts and Grantham gingerbread and brandy snap and toffee apples that my granny made in her kitchen. Their pitch was right next to their friends mushy pea stand. Both stalls are still there today and dad’s friends are still selling their mushy peas. He is looking down from heaven and loving the lights and the fact I’m there with my kids  I’m sure.

Goose Fair is jam packed with tradition.  You can get Cock on a Stick (a cockerel made of candy on a stick) and guess your age man is still there offending people. The same gypsy ladies with wise eyes tout their  wares from their caravans and I long to have a go but don’t quite dare.

When I was a child we never went to school when Goose Fair was on, we went to the fair and played whilst dad worked. I can smell the fair in the air when it starts and it makes me smile. Whenever it was chillier and the leaves turned orange mum would say ‘ooh its a real goose fair morning’ even if it was November. Now I do the same.

As teenagers we would meet boys there and have such fun. Ii’d see everyone I knew it seemed and it was so exciting. When I first met J and he took me to the fair he won me a big cuddly bear on a game of darts! Unheard of. I thought he was fab. Now we take the kids.

Outside what you used to be my dads pitch

I have taken them every year of their life even when they were only months old. It’s part of the fabric of their history and I want them to know completely who they are in all the rich diversity of their roots. Fairs are in our blood. George the Gentle Giant and Tiny Tim, the boxing matches and  the  goldfish in bags are long gone (thats a good thing!) The dollies with their HUGE lace skirts and the wooden boat swings are gone now too (that’s a shame) But the spirit of the fair remains. The colours and the smells, the lights, tastes and booming sounds remain.

This year both children adored the bouncy jumping thing (I have no clue what it is called!)  Frankie loved the fun house and a rather whirly roller coatser that I made J go on with him because last time Frankie made me ride a roller coaster I nearly cried with fright!  Annalise loved the teacups and won a Scooby Doo inflatable hammer.  Very cool.


goose fayre

We ate too much. We bought fluffy wiggly worm toys on sticks and light up mohicans. We ate caribbean veggie wraps and candy floss too. I feel a little sick but that is always the case post Goose Fair.

We got a taxi home because we were completely worn out.

Goose fair …fabulous for every age and stage. I shall go when I am an old woman. Even if I am quite alone I will still go to ride the horses, eat my peas, hook a duck  and buy daft headgear that lights up. I shalll return home with shining eyes, a big balloon and a smile in my heart for one of my favourite places to be.

I love you Goose Fair!

Opening times 2012 :

Wednesday 3 October – 5.30pm – 11pm Thursday 4 October – 12noon – 11pm Friday 5 October – 11am – 11.30pm Saturday 6 October – 11am – 11pm Sunday 7 October – 1pm – 9pm


Forest Recreation Ground Gregory Boulevard Nottingham NG7 6HB

Vouchers are in the Nottingham Evening Post that save you money on rides. It is a VERY good idea to get them. Fairs are expensive!



  1. Kate S
    October 6, 2012 / 7:29 am

    Enjoyed reading your post, I remember the Goose Fair as a student while studying in Nottingham. Happy memories, and agree with you about it being a truly magical atmosphere there

  2. Amanda @gidders1
    October 6, 2012 / 8:00 am

    Oh what a brilliant write up! Lovely that you know so much about the tradition surrounding goose fair. I usually wait and go to Ilkeston Fair, which is smaller but the same people I believe. Love a fair, the smells, lights and hustle and bustle.

  3. Emma @ Mummy Musings
    October 6, 2012 / 8:24 am

    We’re going to the goose fair today. We’ve not been before & I’m really excited about it after reading this!

  4. October 6, 2012 / 9:01 am

    Wow, I didn’t know you had such strong connection with the Fair! We weren’t sure whether to go but you’ve won me over and we’ll be bobbing along on Sunday afternoon 🙂

  5. October 6, 2012 / 10:58 am

    What lovely memories!

    We’re going today as well – can’t wait!

  6. May 6, 2014 / 12:36 pm

    Hi, I worked the Goose fair Guessing Ages under the tree at the Noel Street entrance next the Scout hut from 1971 to 1999 when I retired and moved to Granada, Spain. My wife had a pitch on the top row in front of the toilets selling Nottingham Lace Dolls which my mother had from before the fair moved to the forest site.

  7. October 9, 2017 / 12:39 pm

    Hi, just read this post, I was the ‘Guess your Age’ man at the Goose Fair for more than 30 years until I moved to Granada Spain in 1999. My family also made and sold Nottingham Lace Dressed Dolls with a pitch right opposite the Hot Pea stall on the top row. Also, my Mother told fortunes in Noel Street just out side the sowground. Happy Memories, Thanks.

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