The funding for the building has been secured following approval of additional capital by Nottinghamshire County Council.
The design, created by an in-house team at the council, is a single-storey curved building that will sit unobtrusively in the landscape.
The site is sloping, and earth banking and tree planting will help the building follow the contours of the landscape.
The new centre is planned to open in 2010 and hopes to attract an extra 25 per cent of visitors. The existing 32-year-old visitor centre attracts 400,000 visitors a year.
The major driver behind the plans is that in 2005 Sherwood Forest became a National Nature Reserve (NNR). Natural England and Nottinghamshire council signed an agreement to work towards better management of the site.
The current visitor centre is located among some of the forest's most ancient oaks, so to better conserve the forest for the future it needed to be moved to a new site outside of the NNR boundary.
The council's proposals for the iconic visitor centre include dividing it into five separate zones including a welcome zone, a cafe with an external terrace, and a retail area.
A learning zone will provide information on conservation and the special ecology of Sherwood, and there will be a space for conferences, weddings and other functions.