Cities and market towns
“Take a detour. Discover small towns
and friendly faces that don't grow along the highway.” Khang Kijarro Nguyen
Most overseas visitors make a trip to the Cotswolds but you might be astonished to discover that our area of South Lincolnshire is built with the same limestone and features the same quality of market towns and stately homes but with half the tourists.
The first stop for any student of Georgian architecture has to be Stamford (about 15 miles away). The streets are lined with house upon house of interesting features and classical lines. This brings with it boutique shops and good places to eat. Like all old towns, parking can be a challenge and we suggest that if you come into Stamford after Great Casterton that you park in the first council carpark you see - It isn't a long walk and is the best chance of finding a space quickly. A cream tea in the Old Coaching Inn, The George is like having tea at the Ritz for Lincolnshire folk and The George has a carpark at the back for customers.
Oakham, the County Town of Rutland, is another pretty market town with low attractive buildings centred around a ruined castle and some great local shops, including Cavells for lots of beautiful clothes. Oakham is about 20 minutes away, full of medieval history, scrumptious food & stylish shopping it's a pretty, traditional English market town, bustling with activity. Packed with heritage, there’s plenty to see in Oakham which makes it ideal for a day trip. A visit to Oakham isn't complete without buying fresh artisan bread from Hambleton Bakery, who specialise in traditional breads made using long and slow fermentations. The bakery now has six shops or you visit the Exton Shop & Bakery, just outside Oakham, where it's all made.
Rutland’s smaller market town of Uppingham is about 30 minutes away. Enjoy shopping amongst honey-coloured buildings, steeped in history, in a distinctly charming English market town. Uppingham is blessed with a range of speciality shops and traditional retailers, many of whom are still family owned and run.
Oundle is a quintessentially English market town with many of its central buildings dating from the seventeenth century. About 35 minutes away, it sits amidst the rolling countryside of Northamptonshire. Oundle has a quaint old market place full of bespoke shops, two tea rooms and a number of traditional old pubs that serve good food.
Grantham is our nearest town and has suffered in recent years from inappropriate development but it still boasts a very fine church (St. Wulfram's), friendly people and a good market on Saturdays. The East Coast mainline train stops in the pretty station and is a surprisingly good service at just over one hour from London.
Our county town with it's historic centre and soaring Cathedral is about 50 minutes away by car, and full of old charm. Lincoln offers a rich history combined with independent boutique shopping, great arts and culture and a wealth of places to eat and drink.
A deeply practical choice if you want to catch a train or visit John Lewis and other stores in the Queensgate shopping centre. The cathedral is outstanding and the precinct and market square are unrecognisably good after a major facelift. If you park at the Queensgate centre you can walk through the mall to the cathedral and stop at Carluccio's for a quick bite. The tourist information centre is also here so a good place to pick up other ideas.
A little further afield, about and hour's drive, the University city of Cambridge is one the most beautiful places to visit in our area, if not in the UK as a whole. Be inspired by the many beautiful museums and art galleries. Admire the beautiful architecture and majestic college buildings. Explore quaint passages set around the historic market place and colleges, where a unique and relaxing shopping experience can be found.
Here are some quick links to the rest of our local guide: