Days Out In Stamford
Things to do in Stamford
This will depend very much upon the length of your stay in Stamford, be it a few hours or a few days. If time is limited you can pick up one of the Town Trails which is an excellent introduction to the town and introduces the visitor to the buildings and history of Stamford following a chosen walk along the historic streets. The walk takes approximately 2 hours but is divided into four shorter sections each complete in itself. These are available from the Tourist Information Centre (St Mary’s Street) or from Stamford Library (High Street). These cover:
The Town Centre Trail which offers the opportunity to examine the commercial centre of the town from a shop documented to be early 13th Century - an undercroft with access to the street (St. Mary’s Hill) and to explore the sites of the numerous markets. The 18th Century brought prosperity to Stamford and the trail indicates fashionable Georgian facades in the High Street.
The Georgian Trail covers three areas which are particularly rich in Georgian buildings and includes St. George’s Square, one of the most complete small provincial Georgian Squares in Britain. The second area shows the quiet, tranquil charm of Barn Hill and the third, High Street. St. Martins. The Victorian Trail is a lesser acknowledged part of Stamford’s heritage, but during this time many houses were build and this trail explores some of the Town’s forgotten beauty. This trail follows the route of the main town trail but is divided into 4 shorter sections which are each complete in themselves. The Chimney Trail includes the earliest chimney in Stamford, which dates back to medieval times, and a number of other chimneys which pay tribute to different periods in history, whether in stone or in terracotta: the Tudors adorned their chimneys with inventive decoration; the 17th century saw ornamental chimneys; the 18th century was a period of decline but the Victorians gloried in imitating the Elizabethan era. This trail demonstrates what a fascinating world it is when you look up!
Stamford is famous for its independent boutiques and independent shops which are grouped around St Mary’s Hill and the many lanes leading off the High Street. The High Street has a good collection of national retailers. You can also visit St Martins Antique Centre in High St Martins which houses over 50 stalls. www.st-martins-antiques.co.uk
If your visit occurs on a Friday, then we would suggest that you start at the bustling Friday Market in Broad Street, which has been taking place for several hundred years and has a range of food (including local produce), clothes, bric-a-brac and household goods.
Historic Buildings and Churches
There are over 600 listed buildings of mellow limestone in the town centre including five medieval churches, all real gems, and the 12th century ruins of St Leonard’s Priory (for further information visit www.stamfordchurches.co.uk).
Walk through the Georgian splendour of our town, across the town bridge and visit the George Hotel, which has been in continuous use since its beginnings as a hospital for the Knights Templar in the 13th century, continuing as a hostelry during the age of the stage coach and is now an internationally renowned hotel.
You could take a 1-hour tour of the Town Hall on St Mary’s Hill, Stamford. This historic building was purpose built in 1776 and houses Stamford’s collection of civic regalia and Royal Charters, the Council Chamber, the Sir Malcolm Sargent Room and the old Courtroom. Open for tours Monday & Fridays, May-September; Fridays, October-May, free admission, donations to the Mayors Charity,
Stamford Arts Centre in St. Mary’s St. – here you will find the Tourist Information Centre & Gift Shop, Coffee Shop, Bar, Art Gallery and Cinema. Drawing on a rich heritage dating from the eighteenth century, the Centre contains one of the oldest provincial theatres in the country and also the assembly rooms, built in 1727. Stamford Arts Centre aims to provide the best in live arts for the area, developing an ever widening range of theatre, cinema, music, workshops and exhibitions. Coffee Shop with Free Wi Fi, Open Daily Mon to Sat 9.30am to 8pm and Bar. 01780 763203 www.stamfordartscentre.com
Stamford Library and Heritage Offer High Street Stamford - houses a recently incorporated Heritage display centre which has interactive displays and idea for children and adults alike.
Browne’s Hospital - historic almshouses built in 1474, original furniture and stained glass. Open weekends and Bank Holidays, May-September 11am-4pm. 01780 763153, www.stamfordcivicsociety.org.uk
All Saints’ Brewery All Saints Street - Restored Victorian steam brewery with award winning fruit beers. Tours and tastings by advance booking.01780 752186 www.allsaintsbrewery.co.uk
Stamford Meadows - Sit awhile in the tranquil riverside area and enjoy the views of the Stamford skyline, how many Churches can you spot?
Tolethorpe Hall, Nr Stamford – with a stage set in an enchanting glade, with fine actors, stunning sets and gorgeous costumes, the magic of Tolethorpe begins the moment you take your seat on a warm summer evening in one of Europe’s finest open air theatres.
01780 756133 www.stamfordshakespeare.co.uk