If you’re pondering what to do this summer, we have lots of exciting and interesting places to visit in South Kesteven. We’ve put together this blog, featuring some of the quirkier experiences that you can enjoy across the district.
Walk with an alpaca, at JandJ Alpacas, Dry Doddington
A simple visit to the Alpaca Centre and Coffee shop, from which you can enjoy a great view of the alpacas in their paddock is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours, but if you’re looking for a more in-depth experience there are also workshops or events such as trekking and parties. You can also adopt an alpaca or buy a cuddly alpaca toy at the shop.
Fawcett Driving Horses carriage rides, at Dunkirk Farm, Great Ponton
In recent years, especially during the pandemic, many people have been drawn to watching the likes of Downton Abbey and Bridgerton on TV. Perhaps longing for a simpler lifestyle, or just enjoying the glamour of stately homes and carriage rides.
If you like the idea of embracing your inner Duke or Duchess you can visit Fawcett Driving Horses, in Grantham, and take a 40 minute carriage ride pulled by rare breed working Clydesdales horses around the Witham Valley.
Afterwards you can enjoy a beautiful afternoon tea in the Orangery at Dunkirk Farm.
For full details and booking go to: Fawcett Driving Horses
Marvel at England’s fattest oak tree, at Bowthorpe Farm in Manthorpe, near Bourne
The Bowthorpe Oak is truly spectacular. It can be found at Bowthorpe Park Farm and is estimated to be over 1,000 years old. It is the widest girthed oak in the UK at over thirteen meters. It is naturally hollow and has seating inside the trunk. Although it is normally home to sheep, looking to enjoy some shade, in the past it has been used to host dinner parties of up to 20 people.
The tree is mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records and considered one of the greatest, and oldest, trees in Britain.
Also in the district we have The Grantham Oak, slightly smaller, but no less majestic it can be found standing proudly on Belton Lane and measuring just over seven meters in girth, it is said to be around 400-500 years old.
For full details and booking go to: The Bowthorpe Oak
Experience Twyford Wood and the disused airfield of RAF North Witham, near Colsterworth
Experience a piece of aviation and wartime history at RAF North Witham, today known as Twyford Wood, a Forestry England woodland near Colsterworth that is free to visit. Here you will discover disused runways, woodland paths and various species of wildflower, trees and birds as well as other wildlife such as the Marbled White and Silver-washed fritillary butterfly. Walk along the concrete runways criss-crossing the site, and discover the old control tower – which although out of bounds is still visible.
Car parking is free and there is an interpretation board close to the car park that explains the aviation history of the former United States Army Air Force base including information about the daring mission on the eve of D-Day that was launched from this airfield.
For more information on RAF North Witham go to: RAF_North_Witham
Buy a body part at Mannakin Hall, museum and mannequin shop, Fulbeck
Mannakin specialises in providing mannequin hire for short term events such as press shows and exhibitions, as well as publicity stunts to extras on set. There are also salvaged mannequins available for arts projects and upcycling.
It has an even quirkier side to it too – you can take part in a Drive Through Body Part Heist. You have 15 minutes to collect as many body parts as you can fit into your car boot.
Finally, there an intriguing escape room game on site. If you dare to enter you will have to solve the mystery of the 1894 disappearance of Alice Walker to win your freedom.
For details and bookings go to: Mannakin
To try your luck in the Drive Through Heist go to: Mannakin Drive Through Heist
To solve the mystery and win your freedom from the Escape Room go to: Escape Room Game
View the collection of ancient books in the Francis Trigge Chained Library, Grantham
Finally in this blog of the weird and wonderful we have a double whammy in Grantham. St Wulfram’s church not only boasts one of the tallest spires in the country it is also home to a collection of ancient books in the Francis Trigge Chained Library, itself housed within the church.
Founded in 1598 and located in the paryise over the south porch of St Wulfram’s Church it has been claimed to be the first public library in Britain and the chains were put in place to stop people from stealing the books! It was the earliest example in England of a library to be endowed for use outside an institution such as a school or college. If you think it strange that the books are chained, consider Marsh’s Library in Dublin built 1701, here the readers were locked into cages to prevent theft of rare and valuable books!
Visit the St Wulfram’s Church website for more information and opening times as the library is only open on certain days, by appointment. Also please note that the spiral staircase means that the library is unfortunately not accessible friendly.
For full details and booking go to: Francis Trigge Chained Library