It’s like being on a film set. Stamford, on the border of Lincolnshire and Rutland, feels very familiar and has doubled for both George Elliot’s Middlemarch and the village of Meryton in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. On a gloriously sunny Saint George’s Day, we arrive early whilst the streets are still quiet.
A short walk past the old stone terraces of Blackfriar’s Street takes us to Stamford Arts Centre, which is hosting an indoor market whilst Morris Dancers are setting up outside …
… and then we follow the street down St Mary’s Hill towards the river.
We pause to admire the beautiful gardens of Burghley Hospital …
… before finding a shady spot beside the river for a picnic lunch.
On our way through the park we spot a sign showing footpaths across the Town Meadows, up towards an ancient building on a hill. It looks really tempting and I snap a photo so we can return to try this on another day.
Across Lammas Bridge, on the other side of the park, there are the remains of Stamford Castle’s archways and wild flowers have set root between the stones.
We almost walk past St Mary’s Church, which has a heavy, firmly shut, wooden side door. However, a sign reads that the door is only closed to keep the pigeons out and visitors are welcome.
The church is empty, except for us, and bathed in light through the stained glass window. The donation tin for our pound is a little letterbox in a tiny door, which delights the children.
Carved angels look downwards from the vaulted wooden ceilings.
Back outside, we cannot resist an alleyway …
… which we follow to the steps of Browne’s Hospital and Almshouse.
A private stone staircase leads upwards to our right (I gently dissuade our littlest son) …
… and directly ahead, a long corridor leads to a tiny archway and beautiful gardens for the residents.
Through the arches we can see the manicured gardens. We talk to a lady who lives in one of the apartments: ‘My grown up daughter just visited, and said “Mum I don’t want to leave, it’s so beautiful …”‘
The old Almshouse bell catches my attention on our way back out onto Broad Street.
The morning sun is fully risen as we make our way back along old side streets. Window boxes are everywhere, with lavender in full bloom.
We admire the gardens of St George’s Church whilst listening to their choir …
… and then we take one last view of the River Welland from Albert Bridge, before it is time to make our way home.
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Have you read about our Dusk Tour of Lincoln Cathedral?