Keen to impress my girlfriend on her first trip to Great Britain, my parents and I thought that nearby Stamford might be a nice place to visit. This medieval town is actually located in Lincolnshire but is only about an hour away from my parents place in Leicestershire and is best known for its old timber framed buildings, medieval parish churches and 17th–18th century stone buildings which were very interesting as on closer look many of them were just your typical high street chains but without their usual eye-sore decor!
Under-dressed in our Summer clothes we weren’t quite prepared for the cool weather (it did become sunny later on!) on the Sunday in August when we visited this very pleasant town which was lovely to roam around and a good warm-up for our visit to Stratford-Upon-Avon a couple of days later.
The town is situated on the River Welland which is the same river that runs through my home town of Market Harborough and for that reason it holds many memories from my childhood. It was nice to see it in a different part of the country but didn’t quite feel the same!
Daniel Lambert (below left) is one of Leicester’s most cherished icons due in part to his huge size (he once tipped the scales at around 335 kilo’s) and for that reason a name which has been etched in my memory since hearing about him as a child when I recall sitting in his chair at a museum in Leicester. He actually didn’t eat or drink to excess and presumably died due to a glandular condition. He loved horse racing, which is why he was in Stamford when he died in June 1809 at what is now the upmarket hotel called The George. We had a quick look at this hotel which features some interesting information about this former gaol keeper (no, not goalkeeper which is how I first read it!) and animal breeder. When he kicked the bucket a window had to be taken out to extract his body and it took 20 men to lower his body into his grave in the churchyard.
Our final stop in Stamford was Burghley house which has been portrayed on screen a few times. As well as featuring in the BBC TV adaptation of ‘Middlemarch‘ (1994) it has also starred in films like ‘Pride & Prejudice‘ (2005) and ‘The Da Vinci Code‘ (2006) with the latter being my main reason of interest for visiting. The interior of ‘Castel Gandolfo’ as well as Saunière’s retreat in the flashback scenes were filmed at this stately home. In the former it was used as ‘Rosings’; the palatial home of Lady Catherine de Bourg played by the legendary Dame Judi Dench. England’s greatest Elizabethan house is a hefty £12.70 to get into but its free to wander the vast area outside which is exactly what we did.
Corby Asda is a place I used to visit with my school friends over 20 years ago as there was a free bus going there from Market Harborough. We used to take advantage of this to go and get the 99p English breakfast and visit InterSport to look at all the latest trainers as that was what we were heavily into back then. Both those things are no more but Asda is still standing and we all had dinner there at a nice, cheap price (my girlfriend loved her meal in this place which is quite a worry!) before wandering the huge supermarket chain. After that we had a brief, final photo stop at the 82 arch Welland Viaduct (below) which is the longest viaduct in Britain…or something like that!
The fun definitely ended there as back in Market Harborough I took my girlfriend to ‘The Village Inn’ to watch Leicester against Leeds on Sky which ended 0-0 and was quite possibly the most boring game of football I’ve ever seen! Thank god I had decided against splashing out on a couple of tickets for the game which would have taken up far more of the day and would have meant forgoing the trip to Stamford.