I soon realised when tweeting that I was planning to head to Stamford for the day that not a lot of people have visited this UK town. I am guilty of it too, even though this town is in Lincolnshire, the county in which I grew up, I had never been. Realising that Stamford was less than an hour from where we live now and no plans for a Saturday we decided to take the drive and check it out for ourselves and let me tell you it is well worth the trip.
Although Stamford is in Lincolnshire it is only just inside the border and handily situated just off the A1 and there is a train station. You can easily spend a day visiting this lesser known UK town and here are just a few of things you could get up to on a day trip to Stamford.
Explore one of the many churches
Something I noticed very quickly upon arriving in Stamford was the fact I could see a lot of churches. There are in fact five medieval churches in the town which seems excessive but when you learn about the history of Stamford and how the Anglo Saxons chose Stamford as their main town and that later a Norman Castle was built within the town, then the number of churches is not so strange. We did not go into any of the churches but did notice that a number of them were open to visitors although even from the outside these buildings were impressive.
Take a walk around the town
Old definitely meets new in the town centre. Many of the roads are lined with old stone buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th century, something you might expect to see in Bath but not a small town in Lincolnshire. Along the main high street are a number of shops, a lovely mix of independent, chain and charity shops paired with a couple of market stalls too. Little alley ways led you from the high street to some of the surrounding streets which are definitely worth exploring to see as much of the local architecture as possible. Some of the best shops to visit are the Adnams store and the The Stamford Cheese Cellar, where of course I bought a small piece of cheese to take home with me.
As well as the large number of stone buildings around every corner there are also a few historical buildings worth looking out for, including Brownes Hospital. We managed to spend a good hour walking around what is quite a small town, just enjoying the scenery and taking it all in.
Visit St Martins Antiques Centre
I love an antique shop and for me the bigger the better. Heading out of town and up a little bit of a hill was an amazing antique shop which was huge! They had everything you could hope for, artwork, crockery, books, furniture, glassware, vintage clothing, tools and much more. It was one of those places where you pick up so many items and ask yourself whether you really need it or not, my husband got so excited about the tool section I found him on his hands and knees sifting through what they had. Luckily I managed to drag him away purchasing only one tool for his collection. They take card too, so don’t worry if you stumble across something amazing and are worried you don’t have the money on you.
Grab something to eat
There are loads of little independent cafes in Stamford and I wish I had had chance to do some research on them before visiting the town. Next time I definitely will. We stopped off at a little place called Gooch’s, this café was fairly small and served a basic menu but was still lovely. They definitely did a good hot chocolate (my drink of choice) and their cakes looked pretty amazing, although I opted for just some toast. The one downside to this place is that they didn’t accept card which I am sure will instantly put most of you off. I would have a good walk around the town before deciding where to stop for food, however don’t leave it too long as most the places we walked past her incredibly busy.
Stop off at Burghley House
About 1 mile from the town centre is Burgley House, set among parkland and home to annual horse trials (if horses are your thing). Unfortunately this house is not part of the National Trust and is a private stately home, never the less it was a beautiful place to visit. We decided to visit the house and the gardens, which is unusal for us as we tend to stay away from the houses nowadays. Tickets cost just under £20 each, which is incredibly expensive but you can then go back any time within the year and we got given some 2 for 1 vouchers to use at a number of other privately owned houses across the UK, which we will definitely be trying to use. We decided to explore the house first and without a guide book or a head set we slowly set off walking from room to room taking in the hundreds of paintings, the incredible ceilings and the lavish beds. As ever with properties like this there are plenty of volunteers in each room to answer any pressing questions you may have.
We had hoped that we could walk a loop around the house but after walking a little way realised we couldn’t. However, it was certainly worth the short walk to get some incredible photos of the front of this impressive building as from the courtyard where the properties entrance is you can’t really grasp just how big this building is.
We then headed for the gardens included in our ticket. Named the Garden of Surprises and the Sculpture Garden we didn’t really know what to expect. These gardens were certainly different to others I had seen at this kind of house and I was pleasantly surprised (haha). The Garden of Surprise was full of water features, hidden mirrors, interactive areas and other quirky features. I managed to find myself a high point to get some photos and tried to work out how to get out of this maze of a garden. Once you are able to find your way out you will stumble into the Sculpture Garden which is a large area of grassland, trees and a large lake/pond which is home to a large number of individual sculptures. There seemed to be no set ‘type’ and it was fun to walk around and see what else you could see among the garden. For me the most impressive was the large aeroplane sculpture.
You could easily spend a whole day at Burghley house, there are two shops, a café, a restaurant and plenty of parkland to explore and have a picnic in. It was a great place to stop as part of our day trip to Stamford.
Stamford is a small town in the quiet county of Lincolnshire but to me it was a hidden gem and I wish I had known about it before now. I think that it would make the perfect stop off on the way to somewhere else or if you live close enough its worth the journey out for the day. I am sure there are other things you can do in Stamford but hopefully this post inspires you to take a day trip to Stamford.