UK breaks: Stamford

Amble around Stamford's seductive, stone-built Georgian streets

UK breaks: Stamford Stambridge Wharf Road - © Stamford Tourist Information Centre
By Stephen Emms

It may be a furtive delight but this stone-built Georgian town in Lincolnshire is oddly familiar, perhaps because it has starred in period dramas including ‘Middlemarch’.

Parking up on a sub-zero night, it was indeed like stepping on to a film set, the fog as thick as dry ice.

We immediately sought a pub with a roaring fire, and lucked out with the charismatic Tobie Norris (www.tobienorris.com), which dates back to 1280 and boasts stone floors, vaulted ceilings and a crowd more than willing to extol the virtues of their town. ‘We’re all hugging ourselves that we live here,’ whispered businesswoman Carol, as she pulled on her drink. ‘Stamford really is the best-kept secret.’

The next day we shivered down seductive Georgian streets, flitting between boutiques, antiques emporiums and second-hand bookshops. However, our highlight was lunch at the George Hotel near the banks of the ivy-green River Welland. Here, against a gnarled mulberry tree dating back to James I’s reign, we stumbled upon our very own real-life period drama: a glamorous wedding party between two young RAF pilots, complete with violin quartets, dozens of men in uniform and overflowing Champagne glasses aplenty.

Where to eat

The George Hotel

71 St Martin's, Stamford, PE9 2LB (01780 750 750, www.georgehotelofstamford.com). Sandwiches start at £5.85

Where to stay

The Crown Hotel

A fabulous seventeenth-century boutique hotel near the picturesque Red Lion Square.

All Saints Place, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 2AG, (01780 763136,  www.thecrownhotelstamford.co.uk). Double rooms start at £110.

Getting there

Nearest train station

Stamford is served by CrossCoutry trains on the Birmingham-Stansted Airport line and by East Midland trains on the Nottingham-Norwich line.

Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for more information.

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