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. 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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.