Horncastle Antiques in Winter

As the nights draw in and the weather becomes more inclement, many tourists figure 'that's it' for another season (at least until the Xmas Holiday hotel bookings). Out here in the wolds we   breathe a sigh of relief as space is found again for parking.   Two small teddy bears in a child's pedal car in the sun There's also room and time to take a newspaper to one of the several efficient eateries and relax; shopping becomes a breeze, and if you're a collector, many deals and bargains can be found - as the antique dealers don't stop dealing, house clearances, auctions, buying, or ebaying..etc... Cupits Printers of North St do a sponsored trail map of the town, a copy of which is free at the library, and most of the antique shops which are open seven days (inc. SUNDAYS) . The names have changed in a lot of cases, but the hotspot markers are still very accurate...

  Town Map with a score of Antiquarian businesses marked

The Town is practically the center of Lincolnshire and there's quite a bit of   accommodation, including a few guest houses, cottages, camping facilities, etc, in addition to the Hotel and Inns in the town. The town is layed out N, E, S, W, so navigation couldn't be easier.
On the EAST St (Skegness Rd) are found 3 or 4 large antique emporiums, including   Seaview Antiques set back behind lawns and river. Specialising in large furniture and old country house items, the large buildings contain at least an hour's viewing. Lawrence Shaw's on the corner has more studious items in store, with bureaux and clocks, desks and statues.   Great Expectations is a giant old shop of curiosities with many dealer stands. Giant old house chimneys, furniture, and alot of bric a brac sixties items can be found there lately. It's is a sister shop to the rescued Trinity Church further up the road, and the old CoOp on North St., and each of the 3 emporiums tends to take a different price range or type of item. Trinity Church has more upmarket country items, with a blazer, hunting/shooting jacket area, billiard tables and piano, and the porcelain figurine market.

To the SOUTH is Tim Smiths Books, something of a rummage and pulp fiction specialist at the beginning of the East St. CDs and other antiquey pictures and bits and bobs adorn piles of books. Across the road can lately be espied the   Old Coach House antiques at the rear of The Bull pub, reached through the pub yard. Some serious Civil War era bureau & furniture, with the accent being on quality. The older Drill Hall and another large item antiquity shop,   The Big Chair Co. are found before the Town Hall, which may once again be hosting antiques fayres from time to time. The Big Chair Co. well worth a look with restoration/refurbishment/reupholstery carried out to concours standard. For some reason, probably because it means crossing the A-road out of town, the area to the south has less traffic. The Police Station is signposted there, in the vicinity of George Baker's antique shop.

  glass cabinet spotlit display of modern items at Locks & Leather shop At the rear of the Market Place can be found the Cobbler, Key-cutter, Engraver, Leather Specialist, Polish seller... a modern shop with some serious antiquity skills & gift ideas of their own. Generally the older and more traditional footware are easier to work with than man-made items.

  Horncastle Antiques Album

To the WEST, out the market place, are a couple of eateries and pubs, and  Horncastle Antiques Centre. Arguably the largest building in the town, it has been For Sale as a going concern, for a little while now. Once again, they should charge admission at the door as a museum, with specialist clocks, books and small collections on the ground floor.    Hare's , another large double/triple storey premise, with furniture items starting many flats and first time houses in the town. At the end of the street was Alan Read's specialist quality (furniture) shop, which has now changed hands due to Alan's retirement. Often neglected because of the walk, you will be passing Cromwell House, a building on the site of one where The Lord Protector slept after the Battle of Winceby. Watson's old schoolhouse is also worth the walk past the Queen Elizabeth 1st Grammar School Gates. Mid way down West St, next to Shakesby's, Good4Books is having another emporium, moving from their North St. operation.    Good4books  generally stock the antiquity books in the town, with 'The Pop-up Kama Sutra' a title that caught my eye. . . . The owners really know their tomes, and their previous shop was in 3 sections. An antiques area had the rarer, older and classic titles; a middling section had all those books your library no longer stocks, whilst the budget section had throw away prices with pulp fiction and such things as historic tourism and maps and atlases. Their new shop is going to focus on internet sales aswell.
Centrally, the market is found on Thursdays and Saturdays and has the Pop In cafe and Henny's tea room and access to the supermarkets, public toilets and   Jabberwock Books. Mr Jabberwock deals in what I'd call 'gift ideas', with quality modern biographies and popular fiction in amongst the older sought after titles.

book spine with title 'pop-up kama sutra'

Up NORTH St could be found fashionable house furnishings at  Kerfuffle , now again a very successful stand at Great Expectations on East St. Further up on the Conging St. corner is the Excellente shop / cafe where Good4books used to be. A host of dealer stands offer some quality picks, with still a small area devoted to 3 books for £1, which is excellent value considering many of the books are of comparable library condition or better. The cafe has a good basic menu with prices designed to stay out of the al a carte or tearoom stratosphere.   Paddington bear in shop window, looking like he's been breathing on the glass overnight
The Old Co-Op shop is a sister to the Trinity Church and Great Expectations and has outdoor rummage stalls and stands and a maze of rooms to browse in. Replenished weekly from major auction houses, clearances and collection sales, there is usually a queue on Thursday mornings for the latest stock. The buildings have had several re-incarnations, from the Tom Cat Tavern of the 16th century, to the Co-Op dairy, to a print shop to an antique emporium. The street is beginning to recapture it's post wars glory, with 2 good hardware shops further up past the Chinese restauraunt [closed Tuesdays] and hobby shop. The    Touchwood Oak  shop used to be at the town end of the street in the Bullring and should really get a mention on the antiques trail, although they do more modern items too through their website, together with children's furniture and speciality items.
These are essentially all the websites of dealers in the town.  Google Place pages and contact details of others is a simple search, and the town Antique's Trail sponsored map sheet (above) is available as a leaflet at most shops.

CHARITY shops are somewhat maligned at times by frustrated shoppers, and Horncastle has 4 on it's High St., one on South St., and another at the rear of the market, but they sometimes provide a sought after curio, toy, cd, ornament, jacket (crombie or parka anyone?) - and the more mainstream sell new stock lines aswell.

   Antiques 2014 Album 


There's a pretty good selection of the web sites linked to here ranking high in a generic search for the town. Business web sites are reasonably represented, and accommodation can be booked with confidence if a week/weekend stay is envisioned. With the coast well served by 40min buses, it sometimes pays to bivouac away from the traffic and tourists down there. One of the most detailed web sites on Horncastle is that of the    Civic Guild . With an increasing photo section, and essays on the history of the town and it's Prominente, plus the Blue Plaque Trail, the site brings the threads of the Town together. Old buildings are often lamented and the more modern despised, but just last year Horncastle had 3 serious fires in a month with commercial properties; one of the Banks having it's computer room catch fire; the King's Head thatch smouldering; and the total destruction of Longfellows Restaurant in the Bullring. Extrapolate fires like these, and two World War bombings, and it's a wonder any of our old buildings are still standing.

motivational poster - lost childhood? find it at Horncastle - with toy car collection

Out of town within bike rides are the Bomber Memorial Flight, Cadwell Racing Circuit and scenic area, Snipe Dales and The Battle of Winceby area, Fulletby scenic point and Caravan/Camp, Crowders Garden center/coffee shop, and many country pubs in the surrounding hamlets. Combined with trips to Market Rasen, Lincoln, Boston, Skegness, Mablethorpe and Louth, the Wolds makes a welcome change and fresh air break from the midlands. The scenery is none the less for a scattering of frost or snow, whilst a walk up an empty litter free beach can be more of an attraction than the hoardes of unwashed in summer.

animated rocking chair

v.small animated critter eating stalks

Main Wolds Photo Albums

Church Views

Classic Cars

River Views

Stone Work


Spring Wolds


Town Pan

Food & Drink

Other Shops

Quake Fun

Louth Trip

Town Sprung

Town Snow

Coast Trip


Kids Xmas

Classic Car 2

Classic Car 3

Antiques 2014

....or if you'd rather see some professionally shot County images,
put 'Lincolnshire' in the Search at:
 dreamstime      fotoLIBRA      depositphotos      123RF 

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