Events and festivals
"Nor will I then thy modest grace forget, Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring" William Wordsworth
From February to December there are festivals and events on in the rural towns and country houses of South West Lincolnshire (also called South Kesteven.) From Snowdrops in the Spring to Science festivals in the autumn, a trip to South Kesteven is full of surprises. Here are some of our favourites:
In February, the snowdrop brings the joy of spring across churchyards, villages and parks. For a full on experience you can visit Easton Walled Gardens or Hodsock Priory to see great drifts of snowdrops and indulge in Galanthomania.
March and April are filled with a plethora of events as the area welcomes spring. Traditional events include an international music festival and the mid-Lent fair in the beautiful, ancient stone-built town of Stamford. To the North of Grantham, Belton House (made famous by Pride and Prejudice) hosts the annual Belton Horse Trials. Meanwhile, in the picturesque Deepings, a fairly new literary festival is attracting big names.
May is welcomed in with the hugely popular Denton Street Market on May Day where you can experience a genuinely local event. For more genuine authenticity, you can be part of the Bourne Festival in June which celebrates live music of all genres for families and lovers of real ales and ciders.
July kicks off with the Sweet Pea Week at Easton Walled Gardens, attracting thousands of visitors to take in the scent and sight of hundreds of sweet peas in full bloom. John Clare, the great rural poet, is celebrated in mid-July at the John Clare Festival in Helpston and the month finishes with popular Burghley Film Festival.
In August, the action moves south to Rutland Water for Birdfair. A huge event that has been described as 'The birder's Glastonbury' - birdwatching at Rutland Water is worthwhile all through the year and this event celebrates the reservoir's success. Burghley House hosts the first of two food fairs in August and, if you miss this event there is plenty of food available at Burghley Horse Trials at the end of the month.
In September, Easton Walled Gardens hosts its annual Autumn Country Market, a celebration of craft and rural activities and two of the county's biggest festivals are held.
Grantham hosts its hugely successful Gravity Fields Festival in September bi-annually. Five days of world class science, art, workshops and demonstrations culminate in a stunning outdoor spectacular that celebrates Isaac Newton, whose house is only 3 miles away from Easton and is open to the public.
The second big festival is Stamford's Georgian Festival which runs in alternate years from the Science Festival. Stamford was the UK's first conservation town and it's spectacular Georgian architecture is the perfect backdrop for a lot of dressing up!
The second big festival in the area is Stamford's Georgian Festival which runs in alternate years from the Science Festival. Stamford was the UK's first conservation town and it's spectacular Georgian architecture is the perfect backdrop for a lot of dressing up!
October features the most important event in the Corby Glen calendar: The Corby Glen Sheep Fair. A mere 780 years young, there is still a sheep auction here every year and two days of fun for locals and visitors alike. The sheep show makes everyone laugh and there are stalls, clay pigeon shooting and fairground rides for all ages.
For Christmas activities, look out for the events staged at big country houses throughout the region. Try the websites for Belvoir Castle, Rockingham Castle, Doddington Hall, Belton House and Burghley House for Christmas highlights, candlelit tours and more dressing up! Easton Walled Gardens and Burghley House also host food fairs where you can sample some of the best food from around Lincolnshire, an area already famous for its food production.
Putting this guide together it is hard to believe so much goes on in such an undiscovered part of the country. We have spent years enjoying it and we hope that your visit is the first of many!
Here are some quick links to the rest of our local guide: