Hucknall is 7 miles (11 km) north-west of Nottingham, on the west bank of the Leen Valley, on land which rises from the Trent Valley in the south and extends northwards to Kirkby-in-Ashfield. The Whyburn or Town Brook flows through the town centre. Farleys Brook marks its southern boundary.
The town’s highest point is Long Hill, at 460 ft (140 m) above sea level, with views over the city and Trent Valley, which descends to 22–24 metres (72–79 ft) AOD, flowing just beyond most of the city centre.
The town is surrounded by farmland or parkland. To the north-west lie Misk Hills and Annesley. To the north-east of the town are the villages of Linby and Papplewick, and beyond these two, Newstead Abbey and its grounds, once the residence of Lord Byron. To the west lies Eastwood, birthplace of D. H. Lawrence and an inspiration for many of his novels and short stories. To the east of the town is Bestwood Country Park.
The contiguous settlements of Butler’s Hill and Westville often appear as distinct entities on maps, but are generally seen as parts of Hucknall. They belong to its historic and present-day Church of England parish, although the town itself has no civil parish council. The identity is reinforced by being part of the post town and by being shared wards of Hucknall.