A ancient market town know for its coaching inns and as the home town of several important leaders in their fields. Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first woman Prime Minister, was born in Grantham and the town museum has a permanent exhibition to her memory.
The Angel and Royal Inn, Grantham © Travel About Britain
Once an important a staging post between London and Lincoln, the town's ancient coaching inns have played an important role in its history. The Angel and Royal, one of the oldest in the country, was established in by the Knights Templar. King John held court here in 1213 - in a room known as the King's Chamber. The George, dating from the 18th-c, was described by Charles Dickens in Nicholas Nickleby as 'one of the best inns in England'. The sign of the Beehive Inn, in Castlegate, is actually a beehive.
Today Grantham's wide high street is home to a good range of shops, two indoor shopping centres, an excellent variety of eateries and a bustling Saturday street market. A Farmers' Market, held on the second Saturday of the month, sells a range of local and Lincolnshire produce. There is also a large out-of-town retail park, with a garden centre, cafe and superstore.
The Guildhall, St Peter's Hill © TAB
Grantham Guildhall (1869) is home to a lively arts centre and the tourist information centre. Other notable buildings include Grantham House (1380) and Vine House in Vine Street (1764).
King's School © TAB
The town's fine 15th-c grammar school (King's School) on Brook Street, has a stone-tiled roof and mullioned windows. Of the many signatures scratched on its window sills is one by Isaac Newton, a former pupil. Newton's home at nearby Woolsthorpe, where he formulated his theory of gravity, is open to the public (National Trust). His is impressive bronze statue stands in front of the Guildhall, cast from the metal of a captured Russian cannon from the Crimean War.
Sadly, the Queen Eleanor Cross. erected by Edward the Confessor after the death of his wife, (which once stood on St Peter's Hill), was pulled down in 1645 during the Civil War.
A stone conduit in the Market Place was built (circa 1597) to bring water from the springs at Gonerby. The towns impressive parish church of St Wulfram's has a chained library above the south porch, in what was once a priests' dwelling. Established in 1598, it is possibly the first public library in England. Most of the books are in Latin.
The town has a number of splendid parks and open
spaces. In particular, Wyndham Park to the east of
the town, through which the River Witham runs, is regularly
awarded green flag status. The park has a tearoom,
paddling pool, bowling green, tennis courts, skate
park, play areas and a sensory garden.
This impressive brick built building, with its ornate Victorian clock tower, has a lively arts centre, theatre and a music venue. Located in the heart of the town, the building was once a Governor's Residence, Ballroom, Jail and Courtroom.
The Guildhall also hosts a cafe and the tourist information centre. Visit here for a copy of the Grantham Town Trail and other self-guided town walks, which provide an insight into the town's local history.
Location: St. Peter's
Hill, Grantham, NG31 6PZ
Tel: 01476 406158
A fine stone built town house with a walled riverside garden. The house dates from the 14th-c but has been altered and enlarged in later periods. Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry VII, stayed here in 1503, en route to Scotland to marry James IV. Over 25 acres of open gardens and parkland surround the property. Run by National Trust.
Grantham NG31 6SS
Tel: 01476 564705
Museum and a public library founded by local dignitary Henry Preston in the early 20th-c. The museum has permanent exhibits covering Sir Isaac Newton, Margaret Thatcher and the Dambusters. Regular temporary exhibitions and events.
Location: St Peters Hill, Grantham, NG31 6PY
Tel: 01476 568783
The 13th/14th century parish church of St. Wulfram has one of the most notable parish steeples in the country, at 282 ft (86m) high. It also has a fine crypt, chained library, visitor centre and a cafe.
Location: Church Street, Grantham,
Tel: 01476 561342