Spalding Things to Do Tips by sourbugger
Spalding Things to Do: 10 reviews and 16 photos
I've never written a tip about a Garden Centre before, and I never will again.
Baytree Nurseries however, deserves a mention as the designer of the place has been sniffing too much of his own organic fertilizer - methinks.
Any place that greets you in the carpark with an ex-army amphibious landing vehicle, a beached lifeboat and an eight foot fiberglass Donald Duck can't be all bad.
Amongst the nurseries you will find plants galore (of course), an Aquatic centre (useful for keeping kids quiet) a pet centre, craft workshops, bookstores and just about anything else vaguely connected to the world of gardening, oh , and a collection of red telephone boxes standing around like a surreal Stonehenge.
At Christmas you will also find a very well done 'Winter wonderland' with real reindeer.
Baytree is also the setting for theOwl Sanctuary (see other tip)
Address: Weston Road, nr Spalding
Directions: Follow the Brown tourist signs from the by-pass or whatever ridiculous fiberglass character is pointing the way.
Where did all the snow go ?
The owl centre at the Baytree Nurseries (see seperate tips) is one of the best small zoos I have ever seen.
At only a couple of quid to go in,so it is also extremely good value for money.
As the name suggests it specialises in Owls, and there is a vast range of them to see here.
They also do a flying display in a long thin tent, with a row of chairs along each side. Be warned the show involves audience participation !
They also have a few other interesting animals to view including a troupe of Meercats (who I could happily watch all day) and a colony of leafcutter ants who are industriously trying to destroy the place.
Make sure your visit co-incides with a display time.
Address: Baytree garden Centre
Directions: Follow the brown Tourist signs from the by-pass
The Springfields garden and exhibition area has completed it's redevelopment.
The initial designs envisaged something along the lines of a National Garden festival, or a mini Eden project. As always in Britain things got delayed, things were scaled back, and the only way to make something happen is introduce retail space.
Thus the Outlet village opened in May 2004, and this commercial development provided the cash to produce some gardens that are worth visiting.
The 'Fenscape' exhibition about the local area is free, and worth a look. The outlets are there for those who like their shopping bargains.
The complex now i ncludes a 'play barn' for kids, mini-golf and a variety of gardens designed by famous designers, including that woman with the big knockers - charlie dimmock - and her inevitable water features.
Address: Follow the brown signs as you approach Spalding
Quickest train in Splading
To say that Spalding is a quiet provincial town is something of an understatement.
Once a year, however, up to a quarter of a milllion people descend on the place for the annual flower parade. Started just after the Second world war the floats that parade through the town were decorated with tulip flower heads. This was in the days when then main industry of the town was producing vast quantities of bulbs - the flowers were thus useless.
Much of this trade in the intervening years has been lost to holland, but the parade continues. Rather dissapointingly many of the floats now use crepe paper rather than flowers for the bulk of their constructions.
Each year there is a new theme - this year I believe it is TV programmes. You can also see then close up for a few days afterwards at Springfields, which has recently transformed itself into an outlet village with 'festival gardens' attached.
Every year it takes place on the Saturday of the May Day Bank holiday, usually at around 2pM. It is certainly worth a visit, but be prepared to encounter lots of traffic, parking difficulties and dodgy home-made sandwiches, which seem to be on sale everywhere.
Directions: Parade begins at Springfields, and travells for about 3 miles around the town and back.
Pinchbeck engine - all steamed up
Pinchbeck engine museum is on the outskirts of Spalding off the Boston Road.
If you have an interest in engineering, Victoriana, or just big boys toys, then this is a must see. This engine was used for a long time to pump water - purely to keep the land dry. The whole surrounding area is below sea level and would be reclaimed by the sea in a matter on months if these places stopped working (or rather their modern equilvalents)
The old boy who looks after the place is very friendly and knowelgeable. He is also has bags of patience as he is asked all sorts of stupid questions by vistors. Best of all, after explaining it all he starts the thing up. It all turns and creaks, it's just powered by an electic motor rather than steam for display purposes.
From a Spalding website :
The Pinchbeck Engine is a unique survival of the steam powered pumping stations which maintained the drainage system in the Southern Fenland. Built in 1833, it continued working until 1953 and has now been restored to working order. The Drainage Museum graphically illustrates the remarkable story of keeping water off the land.
Open daily from April to October. 10.00am - 4.00pm
Address: West Marsh Road Pinchbeck
Directions: Go out on the main road towards Boston, and follow the signs.
Phone: 01775 725468
Dosn't scan quite so well ?
If you visiting Spalding then go for a walk up and down the River Welland through the Centre of town - it's well worth the effort.
It's quite picturesque in places with weeping willows, various groups of Ducks, swans and mallards, not forgetting a couple of good pubs.
To the south of the town you can walk as far as the Sailing club, or if your adventurous you can continue along the riverbank towards Crowland.
Going North, its only worth going about half a mile up to the footbridge, as otherwise you end up in factory and power station land.
In the town itself look out for post showing the water level and an old milepost showing London to be exactly 100 miles.
Along the banks you will find a Good Pubs in the Lincolnshire Poacher (on the town side) and the White Horse (a beautifully timbered building on the Church side bank). All other pubs are dire.
A short diversion to the Main church and Ayscoughfee Hall (a Museum now closed for refurbishment until 2005) with its attached formal gardens (open) is well worth doing.
If you are a fisherman then you can also fish without a permit in the centre of town (as long as you have an rod licence)
Address: Centre of town
Directions: If arriving by Train head through town, by car you will see it as you arrive.
Gilbert Scott, the famous architect oversaw the refurbishment of this enourmous church in the late Victorian period. He is obviously better known for St Pancreas Station in London, but here you can perhaps appreciate his work on a more human scale.
The Parish church is something of a Hotch-potch of styles and fashions. in some ways it always reminds me of a manic D.I.Y builder who is always changing a room there, a wall there etc, except that in a church it takes hundreds of years to complete (just like a home them - Sourbuggers Wife)
Of particular note is the font (a Gilbert Scott creation) the impressive roof (giving an impresson of heaven) and the painted ceiling (only from 1959) in the Chancel.
I also like the nice touch of carved woolsacks on the door to the church (on the inside) which represent the wealth of the town in medieval times; which in turn provided the money for this edifice.
If Spalding was not such a small town a place like this would surely have become a Cathedral at some point in its past.
Address: Church of St Mary and St Nicholas
Directions: On the Banks of the Welland opp the main part of town
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