Grantham’s history is intertwined with famous names and events, which you can delve into with day trips to some excellent activities and attractions. We kickstart our list of days out with the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton before moving onto Belton House, the pride and joy of the National Trust’s portfolio, Belvoir Castle, where a Capability Brown garden is still taking shape, the Easton Walled Gardens that stole the imagination of President Roosevelt, and the museum where you can find out about the Dambusters and the Iron Lady.
Activities in Grantham
When it comes to days out in Grantham, one of the most popular simply has to be Woolsthorpe Manor. Without any context, this pretty little 17th-century farmhouse is rather unremarkable. What makes it special, and a site for pilgrimage, is the fact it was the birthplace and family home of Sir Isaac Newton. In the garden you can still see the apple tree which inspired his theory of universal gravity. It’s now owned and operated by the National Trust, who do a fantastic job of bringing its rich history to life while you explore the manor and revel in its hands-on exhibits.
Another National Trust favourite is Belton House. It’s a stunning stately home less than fifteen-minutes’ drive from our Grantham hotel. It’s one of the best days out in the whole of Lincolnshire. It’s been described as the most complete example of a typical English country house. It even inspired the signs you see on the motorway for stately homes. It’s surrounded by formal gardens housed within the wider woodland where deer, birds and wildlife abound. We can’t say definitively, but Belton House must be right up there with the very best National Trust properties in the country.
The third and final historic building in Grantham we’ll tell you about is Belvoir Castle – pronounced ‘beaver’ – just a ten-minute drive away from our Grantham hotel. The stunning castle sits overlooking the Vale of Belvoir. While the original Norman castle dated back to 1067, the stately home you see today is the fourth iteration of the castle and was built during the late 18th-century in the Gothic Revival style. While Belvoir Castle is still privately owned, it’s open to the public for tours on selected days throughout the year, while there’s also seasonal events such as Halloween, Christmas Markets, and Easter Egg Hunts.
However, our favourite reason for visiting Belvoir Castle is to explore the incredible gardens and grounds. A few years ago, a collection of plans were discovered in the castle archives. They had been drawn up by Capability Brown, England’s greatest gardener, but were thought to be lost in a fire in 1816. Right now, these plans are being implemented across the estate, finally turning Capability’s designs from dream to reality 200 years later.
Easton Walled Gardens
On the topic of gorgeous gardens, the Easton Walled Gardens are just a ten-minute drive away. They are the gardens President Franklin Roosevelt described as ‘a dream of Nirvana, almost too good to be true’. They stretch across 12 acres of land and have been owned and carefully maintained by the Cholmeley family for four centuries. In that time, parkland has been created, a river has been moved, bridges built, so too walls and buildings; the final product is a mesmeric day out of gardens, meadows and more.
If you fancy a bit of culture, make your way to Grantham Museum in the town centre, where you can find out all about the famous names that come from this pretty corner of Lincolnshire, including Sir Isaac Newton, Margaret Thatcher, and Edith Smith, Britain’s first female police officer. There’s also exhibits dedicated to the Dambusters and the area’s rich military history. Best of all, entry is free, so if you want to kill an hour or two with a history trip then head down to the museum on St Peter’s Hill.
Alternatively, perhaps if the weather’s taken a turn for the worst and you’re looking to stay occupied indoors, you can do a lot worse than head down to Grantham Bowl for some tenpin bowling. Prices are reasonable, the alley is in good condition – which is more than can be said about most – and there’s a menu of cheap and cheerful American dining if you get peckish.