Head north

Andrew Vaux discovers the delights that North Lincolnshire offers to both visitors and locals alike.

For visitors seeking the peace and tranquillity of the rural countryside, there’s no doubt that North Lincolnshire offers the perfect place to unwind and recharge your batteries.

The county’s market towns are steeped in history and offer a fantastic choice of independent shopping and traditional street markets. You’ll find welcoming cafés and inns serving the best Lincolnshire produce.
Whether you choose to discover the past at one of the region’s many museums and heritage attractions, relax in fragrant gardens, or explore the Lincolnshire Wolds, you won’t be disappointed.

For the more active, there’s an impressive selection of golf courses and some of the best pegs for fishing.

The area is ideal for walking and cycling. Or to really get your pulse racing, jump out of a plane, learn to shoot, or take on your friends at paintball.

So, let’s take a closer look at the network of towns which make up this delightful rural retreat.

Barton upon Humber is home to many of North Lincolnshire’s much-loved attractions. The historic streets are lined with atmospheric Georgian properties, bustling shops and helpful stores. Once a traditional market town, Barton has kept its original charm and is easy to get to.

The town is known for its creative thinking and celebrating its iconic figures from the past including Samuel Wilderspin (revolutionary educator), Sir Isaac Pitman (credited for the shorthand writing system) and Get Carter novelist Ted Lewis.

Waters’ Edge Country Park & Visitor Centre welcomes visitors all year round to watch the amazing wildlife that inhabits the park. The centre is perfect for picking up locally crafted giftwares and refreshments. The Ropewalk, St Peter’s Church and the Wilderspin National School are all a must for any visiting family.

Barton-upon-Humber was once the brick and tile making capital of Britain. The kilns down by the Humber have been churning out thousands upon thousands of roof tiles, as well as floor coverings and other things, for more than 170 years.

Barely 10 minutes from Barton upon Humber, near the village of Ulceby, you can visit Thornton Abbey & Gatehouse – an impressive gatehouse and abbey ruins which housed the 12th-century Augustinian monastery.

Brigg is undoubtedly one of the best towns for independent shopping.

Its award-winning Farmers’ Market – held on the fourth Saturday of every month – attracts visitors from far and wide ready to sample the best of what North Lincolnshire has to offer. Locally reared meats are available on the market in the form of sausages, joints, steaks, burgers, sausage rolls and homemade pies. You’ll also find Lincolnshire cheeses, traditional jams and chutneys, a wide selection of cakes and sweets, as well as international cuisine.

Meanwhile the weekly Street Market – run every Thursday from 8am – lets you rediscover your local market and find diverse crafts, foodie spoils from the surrounding area, and a friendly atmosphere and great customer service. Meet local traders who stand by three important rules: great value, great quality, and great service.

Aside from these regular markets, the snug ‘courts’ and ‘yards’ have the most unusual shops. From finding those special one-off pieces to wedding attire, Brigg has it all. With lots of places to stay and eat Brigg really is the quintessential market town.

You can explore the River Ancholme and the rest of the Ancholme Valley by following the Ancholme Valley Way. The path takes you from Brigg all the way to South Ferriby (10 miles). You can enjoy the path either by foot or cycle and it’s the perfect way to enjoy the riverbank’s beautiful wildlife and diverse landscape.

A popular centre for culture and heritage, Epworth is rich in traditions and history. Lining the pretty centre are quaint shops and places to eat, all worth visiting.

If you love shopping at smaller independent shops and boutiques, then this historic market town is most definitely for you.

Enjoy browsing in the wide variety of stores offering excellent customer service to help you find everyday goods, as well as those special items you may not even realise you’re looking for! The town boasts clothing and fashion boutiques; home interiors, decorating and garden shops; specialist shops for running, pets, suit hire; and hair and beauty salons.

You can explore St Andrew’s Church or Epworth Old Rectory, and learn all about the founders of world Methodism, John and Charles Wesley.

Kirton in Lindsey, also abbreviated to Kirton Lindsey, straddles the Lincoln Cliff between Scunthorpe and Lincoln.

This historic market town can trace its roots back to Roman and even Anglo-Saxon times and was the original home of the assizes and Bridewell. Mentioned in the Domesday Book as Chirchetone (Town with a Church), the town occupied an important position. Since medieval times Kirton has grown and there are many buildings of interest scattered throughout the town. It’s home to the site of RAF Kirton Lindsey, which played a pivotal role in World War II.

Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII, lived at Kirton in Lindsey after she married her first husband, Sir Edward Burgh.

Particular attractions worth visiting include:
• Kirton in Lindsey Town Hall – built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

• The Market Place – once home to a regular market from early times. The area now features a range of independent shops including a chemist, a bakers, a sweet shop, a chocolatier and ice cream shop, an acupuncturist, and several hairdressers

• St Andrew’s Church – dating from the late 12th century, although it probably wasn’t completed until the 15th century.  Look around the outside for the amusing gargoyles on the tower.  Inside the church there are some unusual features such as the double arch between the nave and the tower

• Whipping Post – the smallest listed building in the country. The Grade II listed Whipping Post has stood outside the Old Police House on Spa Hill in the town for more than a century and hosts three pairs of iron shackles. It’s believed that the post must have been a feature of the town’s old prison, or in the town’s old marketplace to facilitate public punishments

• Stone Barn – one of Kirton’s oldest listed buildings dating from the late 18th century with its arched doorway and small slit openings to allow little light in

• Ash Well – once one of the principal sources of water for the town, it’s known to have been in existence for several centuries, although the water is no longer suitable for drinking

• Mount Pleasant Windmill – built in 1875 this tower mill has been restored to working order.  Now the home to True Loaf Bakery, the mill is open for tours and has a tearoom with freshly baked organic bread and cakes.

Scunthorpe is a busy cosmopolitan town and a central meet-up place in North Lincolnshire.

It has two major shopping centres – The Foundry and The Parishes. The former was constructed in the late 1960s/early 1970s during a wholesale reconstruction of the old town; the latter was constructed in the early part of the 2000s on the site of the town’s old bus station.

There are also many well-known retailers on High Street.

The once-thriving market – mostly under cover in market halls just to the north of the Central Library, at the eastern end of the High Street – has shrunk noticeably in the past 10 years, and has now moved to the new St John’s Market, close to the Bus Station.

Key attractions to visit include:
• Normanby Hall Country Park – this award-winning regency mansion set in 300 acres of picturesque parkland is the region’s premier tourist attraction. For full details of events and open times, visit www.normanbyhall.co.uk

• Messingham Zoo – offers something different from larger zoos and wildlife parks by focussing on close-up encounters with smaller, friendlier animals. Education forms a big part of what the zoo delivers – teaching about animal care and welfare. For full details, visit the website

• Pink Pig Farm – enjoy indoor or outdoor play, meet friendly farm animals, and savour breakfast or lunch in the Farm House Kitchen. For full details, visit

• North Lincolnshire Museum – a visit to the museum is a step back in time through fascinating hands-on displays. Learn about some of North Lincolnshire’s amazing objects and stories. Explore the geology, local history and archaeology galleries. Discover how that history has been shaped by the landscape. Families can visit Dudley’s Den, a dedicated Under 5s space. For further details, visit

• 20-21 Visual Arts Centre – encompassing a wide range of media, subjects and artistic approaches, the museum presents a mixture of in-house curated exhibitions, touring shows and exhibitions developed in partnership with fellow creative organisations. It also produces and delivers its own touring exhibitions to other galleries nationally and offers an extensive education programme for all ages and abilities. For further details, visit www.2021visualartscentre.co.uk

• The Baths Hall – the former public bath house, dating from 1931, has served as an entertainment venue since the 1970s. It can cater for up to 1,000 people seated and 1,800 people with a mixture of seats and standing. Over the years, acts including Arcade Fire, Florence and the Machine, Paul Weller, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Kooks, Enter Shikari and Jimmy Carr have performed at the venue. For further information, visit the website at www.scunthorpetheatres.co.uk

The town still shows much of its medieval origins and has several handsome Georgian stone houses. All Saints, very large for a rural church, dates from before 1100 and has many interesting features as well as hosting Winterton’s heritage centre.

The layout is medieval with long narrow plots running north/south on either side of High Street, Low Street, King Street and Park Street. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, Winterton expanded dramatically as a result of the prosperity brought about by agricultural improvements. This made it a market town of regional significance. However, it was eclipsed by the even more dramatic rise of Scunthorpe in the late 19th century. The loose-knit town, with a distinct emphasis on east-west streets, has been infilled by successive phases of development which continued throughout the 20th century.

The best way to see Winterton is to use the free Walk Around Winterton leaflet available at the church. It will lead you round the historic core of the town, allow you to see a range of interesting buildings and learn about the local heritage.

For further information about the full range of towns, villages and attractions across North Lincolnshire, visit www.visitnorthlincolnshire.com

As experts in eye care, O’Brien’s Opticians in Brigg are leading the way in trusted personalised treatments. Director Dr Sheeraz Janjua, Doctor of Optometry, explains.

As we get older, some people find that their central vision unfortunately deteriorates markedly, with blurriness and shadowing. These effects cause difficulties in everyday life, whether it’s watching TV, or reading – even if reading glasses are used.

Some sufferers also find that it is often impossible for them to recognise faces, which can make socialising very difficult.

At the back of the eye there is an area called the macula, which has to be in good health for us to see clearly in the centre of our vision. That area can deteriorate with advancing age, causing the problem of poor central vision. That’s why the problem is called Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD.

Recent scientific research has found that compounds called carotenoids have a great influence on the macula and on the brain as well. There are more than 700 carotenoids in nature. They are plant pigments found in brightly coloured fruits and in green leafy vegetables.

Three carotenoids are present in the macula in the eye: Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin. Low levels increase the risk of developing AMD.

Until recently, it has been difficult to assess whether a person’s levels of carotenoids are adequate to protect the health of their eyes. New research has come up with a simple, non-invasive way of assessing carotenoid levels: the ‘LifeMeter’ measuring device is the product of years of research. It works by shining special light onto a forefinger and measuring the reflected light. The person being tested just has to put the tip of a forefinger into the reading device. After a few minutes, the test is complete.

If the person’s carotenoid levels are lower than recommended for continued eye health, food supplement tablets containing suitable carotenoids will be prescribed.

Improvements in levels soon occur, and can be confirmed by further testing after about a month.

On Friday 21st June, O’Brien’s Opticians in Wrawby Street is holding a by-appointment free clinic for evaluating patients’ carotenoid levels to preserve and maintain their eye health.

If you’d like to have your carotenoid levels measured, please call 01652 653595 or 01652 649024 for your free-of-cost appointment.

For more information visit www.obriensopticians.co.uk

As the leading hair loss clinic in Lincolnshire, Rituals Hair Lab in Scotter, near Gainsborough is committed to ensuring clients enjoy first-class customer service and leave this trusted hair loss clinic looking and feeling fantastic.

“After listening to your needs and expectations, we will tailor your service to give you a look you love.

Whether it’s a scalp treatment, non-surgical hair replacement, wigs or discreet hairpieces, we have the knowledge and know-how to deliver.

“Our wigs have been hand-picked to give you a variety of looks, from modern to classic hairstyles for women of all ages, and all hair loss clients are seen in a private area.

“Our wigs have also been designed for optimum comfort and will be securely fitted, cut and styled to ensure you look and feel your best. 

“We have partnered with Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, who refer patients to us who require a wig, following chemotherapy or due to conditions that cause hair loss.”

For more information visit www.ritualshairspa.com

Situated within beautiful gardens and parkland in Manton near Gainsborough, Cleatham Hall is a charming classic country house hotel catering for romantic weddings, memorable celebrations, quality dining and exclusive getaways.

This historic Grade II listed Palladian mansion, which dates back to 1855 and has been beautifully restored, has earned a reputation as a leading hotel, restaurant and venue offering unrivalled service and excellent hospitality.

Open all year around, Cleatham Hall offers guests a warm welcome with the opportunity to relax and revive in one of its eight stunning suites, and enjoy a special meal created by its excellent team of chefs in the stunning Orangery restaurant.

Specialising in elegant celebrations, its dedicated events team help to create your perfect wedding, whether you’re looking for a traditional or contemporary theme, civil ceremony or civil partnership, making sure that your dream day is fabulously flawless in every way.

For more information visit www.cleathamhall.com

Now in its 152nd year, the Winterton Agricultural Show returns once again over two days (6th and 7th July) at the Winterton Showground in Holmes Lane.

Set in more than 20 acres, this popular annual event run by the Winterton Agricultural Society, which was formed in 1872, caters to many agricultural and countryside pursuits drawing big crowds from across the region.

Bring the family for a fantastic weekend of entertainment. New attractions include Ollie’s Equestrian, agricultural horses, cattle, sheep, private driving turnouts, float parade, marching band, vintage tractors, kite flying display and fun run, plus parade of vehicles and much more. Don’t miss musical highlights in the bandstand featuring The Cover Puppets (Saturday afternoon) and The Moggies (Sunday afternoon).

Inside the Enterprise and Flower Marquees you will find a variety of displays. Outside you will find the Trampoline Madness Show, the Punch and Judy Show – and don’t miss the displays of vintage tractors, classic cars and fun fair, as well as the Rabbit Show (Saturday only) and Fun Dog Show (Sunday 2pm)

For more information visit www.wintertonshow.net

Photographs: Mick Fox

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