Welcome to the Heart of Lincolnshire!
Nestling at the Heart of Lincolnshire, North Kesteven has much to offer – both on its own merits and also as an ideal place from which to explore neighbouring locations.
Wherever you are in North Kesteven, you’re at the heart of it all; only an hour’s drive or less from coast, castles, stately homes, sensational scenery, towns, cities and country walks.
It’s a perfect place for getting out and about and particularly good for saddling up and cycling; across an area renowned for it easy access and bike-friendly highways, byways and cycle-able routes.
The area is characterised by endless countryside, interspersed with bustling and charming towns and villages and a surprisingly rich tapestry of both attractions and distractions – public art, heritage, leisure, culture and shopping – meaning there’s plenty to do, whatever the weather.
A real highpoint of any visit to the area is its enviable aviation heritage. With three operational RAF bases in the District, there is huge heritage interest and ample opportunity for active plane-spotting during your stay. With the new International Bomber Command Centre now drawing worldwide attention, the unique and extensive wealth of aviation heritage within North Kesteven and a little further afield can be easily discovered with the aid of our Airfield Trail.
Shopping in the heart of Lincolnshire
One of the striking aspects of life at the Heart of Lincolnshire is the ready availability of passionate independent traders, makers, crafters and producers all working to give you the very best they can offer. From farm gates and county markets to boutiques, country stores and speciality shops, it’s all here in abundance.
As the county town, the bustling city of Lincoln unites many of the country’s best-loved high street names alongside a rich variety of locally-owned specialist shops, the charms of farmers’, artists’ and vintage markets and lively entertainment. Likewise Newark, Boston and the larger towns are just a short drive away.
But it is market towns which are so distinct within Lincolnshire; Sleaford among them where some of the very best in British contemporary craft can be found at the National Centre for Craft & Design.
As you journey around the Heart of Lincolnshire you will be spoilt for choice as you discover farm shops, butchers, bakers, millers and makers offering fairly-priced, fresh, delicious and distinct local produce and find comfort in the fact that well over 90% of all food retailers achieve the highest hygiene ratings for quality assurance.
Within the area, Doddington Hall is a growing complex of surprises with high-end homewares, cycling, fashion and a farmshop all making for a full day out alongside the historic attraction itself. And look out for other local delights as you travel around.
And not far away at Springfields Outlet near Spalding quite literally bags of high-end fashion can be found within a setting of festival gardens.
Wherever you wander at the Heart of Lincolnshire you’ll find yourself walking in historic footsteps.
From the Iron Age tribe which minted coins at Sleaford to the Knights Templar who settled locally, via the Romans who built the Ermine Street and dug the Car Dyke, visitors from across the centuries have bequeathed a lasting legacy of historical riches throughout North Kesteven.
Viking, Norman, Saxon, Medieval, Elizabethan and Tudor, kings and countrymen; they’ve all left their mark, as have more recent generations of prestigious airmen and entrepreneurial industrial pioneers.
North Kesteven boasts the only eight-sailed windmill in Europe – if not the world – rare survivors of the Industrial Age, the largest malthouses in England, Britain’s only remaining Navigation office, some of the nation’s most iconic churches and a unique wealth of aviation assets including the oldest of all RAF bases.
Historical discovery provides the inspiration to most of the District’s 20 Stepping Out Walks through which you can actively explore the area’s tangible history; all centred on a church, a hall, an airfield or similar.
And when you’re ready to explore further afield, there’s a rich seam of history to be found around you; most notably in Lincoln with its 1,000-year old castle, cathedral and Magna Carta; Grantham with Belton House; Newark with its Civil War Museum; Boston with its association with the Pilgrim Fathers and east of the district there’s Tattershall Castle, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, East Kirkby’s Aviation Heritage Centre and the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Exploring the heart of Lincolnshire
The Heart of Lincolnshire is characterised by big skies and wide open spaces dotted with small settlements within a beautiful patchwork of natural and historical delights.
From the comfort of a car, the saddle of a bike, the back of a horse or fully absorbed on the ground at walking pace, there is so much to see and sense.
And one of the very best ways is to immerse yourself in it, taking in the sights, sounds, smells and splendours of the area on long-distance, short distance, circular and linear way-marked paths that criss cross North Kesteven to give easy access to wide-ranging natural, artistic and places of interest.
More detail of some of the free and easy opportunities to explore are overleaf.
Arts and leisure
There are plenty of delightful attractions awaiting your visit to North Kesteven, providing an unforgettable experience.
From award-winning leisure centres featuring exclusive, interactive watery fun to museums packed with historical fascination and creative exploration on an epic-scale, there’s a wealth of things to do whatever the weather.
Working watermills to amazing aviation, they all add even more fun to your holiday and make for a great day out.
Sleaford is a traditional market town with the beautiful St Deny’s Church, a market place and abundant history.
The River Slea running through it once brought barges to Navigation Wharf via the Sleaford Navigation. The Navigation was a key trade route, central to the town’s growth and prosperity. A lasting heritage legacy can be explored on the When in Sleaford trail (www.artsnk.org), which guides you around the historic buildings and places of interest of Sleaford.
North Hykeham is a more modern town with a Roman road at its core, a vintage transport museum a vintage transport museum and Whisby Nature Park nearby.
Known as the ‘Home of the Royal Air Force’, Lincolnshire has a vast aviation heritage – and nowhere more so than North Kesteven.
Airfields were first developed during World War I, with the RAF’s first bases and training stations set up here, and in World War II Lincolnshire became the most important home of Bomber Command.
North Kesteven is still home to three operational bases while former airfields, museums and memorials are testament to the bravery of those who served here.
Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum and the International Bomber Command Centre are at the heart of the story, with more to be found throughout the North Kesteven Airfield Trail.