A guide to renting a shop in Nottingham

5th December 2022 | Jack Oliver

Looking for shops to rent in Nottingham? Here’s what you need to know.

The historic city of Nottingham is the largest in the East Midlands, both in population and area. The city’s economy has roots in tobacco, lacemaking, and up until recently, bicycle manufacturing.

Nowadays, Nottingham looks to its digital media; life sciences; financial and business services; and retail and leisure sectors to grow its economy.

Benefiting from several shopping centres as well as an enterprise zone, Nottingham is a suitable candidate for business owners looking for shops to rent.


Tourism was valued at £628m in 2017 and Nottingham remains a popular destination with great value for money.

Named in 2015 as the official ‘Home of Sport’ Nottingham is famous for its renowned sporting heritage. Home to the world’s oldest football club in Notts County as well as two-time European Cup winners Nottingham Forest, the city has a football culture going back further than any other in the world can boast.

Nottingham is home to two large-capacity theatres as well as a number of museums and galleries, including the National Justice Museum, Nottingham Contemporary and the City of Caves, an attraction made up of a network of man-made caves beneath the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre.

Nottingham Castle was built in 1068, just after the Norman Conquest, and forms just a part of the city’s rich medieval history. The city is of course home to the stories of Robin Hood, with Nottingham Castle the scene of the final showdown between the legendary outlaw and the Sherriff Of Nottingham.

Partially built into the cave system beneath the castle is Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, which has a claim to be the country’s oldest pub. However, this is disputed by two local rivals, The Bell Inn and Ye Olde Salutation Inn, who both argue their position as England’s oldest watering hole.

The city also has a thriving music scene, home to several venues of varying size and is home to popular classical music shows and an up-and-coming hip-hop scene.


As the most populous city in the East Midlands, over 330,000 people live in Nottingham, with a sizeable chunk in education. Over 60,000 students attend one of Nottingham’s three universities, making it an ideal city for a business aimed at a young audience.

The greater Nottingham area houses nearly 730,000 people while over one and a half million live in the wider metropolitan area, making it a great city to looks for shops to rent.

Nottingham’s population is diverse and represents the UK’s largest proportion of people identifying as mixed-race (6.7%).


Nottingham has a history of being an important hub for rail travel, and Nottingham Railway Station is the second busiest train station for passenger entries and exits. The city used to have five other railway stations, however now Nottingham Railway Station stands at the only remaining station in the city.

Martin Arrand / flickr.com

Trams were reintroduced in the city in 2004 and made Nottingham the newest of only nine English cities to have a light rail system. The tram service extends through a number of the city’s suburbs, allowing customers from wider areas to come to the city centre to shop.

In 2010, Nottingham was named England’s least car-dependent city by the Campaign for Better Transport.

Shopping centres

In 2017, Nottingham came seventh in Harper Dennis Hobbs’ Top 50 British Centres, and is home to several shopping centres.

Nottingham’s 950,000 sq ft Victoria Centre is considered to be the city’s main shopping centre and was the first to be built in the city. Opened in 1972, It contains multi-level parking, able to accommodate up to 2,400 cars, and the centre contains a bus station. Regenerating a redundant railway station, this mixed-use scheme incorporates 464 flats as well as 36,000 sq ft of office space. The Victoria Centre is also home to a John Lewis and a House of Fraser.

It’s No Game / flickr.com

Smaller shopping centres include The Exchange Arcade, the Flying Horse Walk, Hockley and newer developments seen in Trinity Square and The Pod. The original Paul Smith boutique has its home in the Bridlesmith Gate area, which hosts numerous designer shops.


Renting a shop in Nottingham is a little more costly, with an average price per square foot of £29.78, the 19th most expensive place to rent in the UK. It’s important to ensure your rent fits your budget. You can do this by calculating the percentage of your income that will go towards it. Retail businesses typically spent 5-10% of their income on rent.

Business rates are another important factor to consider. This is a tax on non-domestic properties, calculated using the property’s rateable value. You can find detailed information and calculate your business rates here.

Fitting out your shop can also be costly, especially if you are a first-time shop owner. The average costs of a shop fitting per square foot in the UK are:

  • Low specification – £60 per sq ft
  • Medium specification – £90 per sq ft
  • High specification – £140 per sq ft

Be sure to get quotes from the various tradespeople and specialists you may need so you can compare and get the best deal. Buying from second-hand sites can also help you save money. Additionally, consider essential services such as water, gas, electricity, internet and insurance. Look around to find trustworthy and competitive suppliers. You can read more tips on opening your first shop here.

Agents with Nottingham offices



Leaworks Estate


Box Property



Annual visitors

36.6 million

Properties on Completely Retail


Find shops to rent in Nottingham here.


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