Town is southern belle

Dining Out

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
September 2017

The bustling market town of Spalding is looked upon as the heart of Fenland Lincolnshire and with a wealth of tourist attractions, shops and diverse businesses, it has much to offer not only visitors and shoppers but its own residents as well.
As the largest market town in the south of the county, it has a vibrant and busy town centre with many unique independent shops and many well-known high street nationals. It holds a market day every Tuesday and Saturday, a farmers’ market every first Saturday of the month and an annual Food & Drink festival, together with visiting continental markets too.

The town was once renowned for its annual Spalding Flower Parade which celebrated the region’s vast tulip production and at one stage attracted crowds of more than 100,000 with many regular visitors from around the world. Horticulture is still a prime factor for the town’s local economy. Located as it is at the centre of a major region of flower and vegetable cultivation, there are many garden centres and plant nurseries in the Spalding area as well as a thriving agricultural industry and various vegetable packing plants.

A leading force in attracting visitors to the area is Springfields which is a shopping outlet, tourist attraction and conference centre all rolled into one.

Visitors come in their droves to visit the town’s Springfields Festival Gardens which is a beautifully landscaped area featuring Chelsea-style celebrity showcase gardens, including designs by Charlie Dimmock, Chris Beardshaw, Kim Wilde and Steven Woodhams not to mention a spectacular Japanese Garden by Sansui Design.

The gardens were completely redeveloped in 2004, in conjunction with Springfields Horticultural Society, a charity dedicated to the improvement and growth of horticulture and floral design in the Spalding area.

Open all year round with free admission (except during fundraising events), Springfields Festival Gardens were first opened in 1966 as the shop window for the flower bulb industry, introducing members of the public, amateur gardeners and enthusiasts to a wide range of horticultural experiences.

The gardens are also home to Springfields Display Fountains which are the first of their kind in the UK, combining music, water and lights in a spectacular show; Springfields Activity Walks, specially designed routes for children following red and blue tulips around the gardens, which combine challenging, educational questions with fun activities for children of all ages and Jurassic Mini Golf – an all-weather themed adventure golf course with new life-sized dinosaurs in the landscaped prehistoric garden.

Springfields is also a major shopping outlet combining more than 50 stores with 25 acres of leisure attractions and a range of cafes and restaurants. SLR Outlets, which operates the centre, is also planning to improve and develop its attractions area on the site.

It has submitted a planning application which, if successful, would see a major boost to the tourism sector of the town with a £1 million investment in an imaginative new entertainment centre for all ages, incorporating a range of new and exciting play activities, and create up to 40 new jobs.

The new development would host the biggest ever JCB Young Driver Zone, an attraction which includes a large track for pedal diggers, huge JCB slide, scaffold themed climbing frame and other unique interactive play equipment.The JCB zone recreates a miniature village and construction site and will contain everything from the health and safety briefing classroom for budding operators through to a large track and building site where children can experience both fun and educational play.

Along with the new Driver Zone, a new High-Top Hobbit Village wooden climbing and play facility will also be created. Further changes will see a new sheltered infant sand play and seating area. Springfields would also be host to what is believed to be Lincolnshire’s only gold panning activity area.

“If this goes ahead then early next year it will be an additional incentive for local visiting families and tourists to come and enjoy a visit to Springfields and visit the town centre via the water taxi,” explained David Norton, chief executive of Springfields Horticultural Society which maintains the gardens and owns the Springfields Events & Conference Centre.

“Our Marquee Suite is a popular marriage ceremony and wedding reception venue with bookings now into 2019 and our ability to host charity balls for up to 600 guests means that we are able to assist with fundraising for many local and national charities.

“Other popular events are the Model Engineering & Hobby Show, Model Railway Show, Cupids Bridal Shows, Antiques Fairs and Toy Fairs to name but a few.”

There is even a 43-bedroom Travelodge hotel on the Springfields site and The Kitchen Pub restaurant.

Springfields Events & Conference Centre is ideally situated on the A16 and consists of three multi-functional exhibition and seminar rooms, a five-acre outdoor showground and free parking.

David is also vice-chairman of the Spalding & District Area of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, which is run by local businesses who have seen the benefits of working together to help Spalding compete and flourish in the current market.

“The opening of the new filling station and associated retail outlets at the Lincs Gateway development on the A16 near Cowbit is a major boost to Spalding,” he said.

“Spalding Water Taxi & Narrowboat Hire provides a relaxing welcome for visitors to the town and Ayscoughfee Hall has had another successful 1940s weekend attracting thousands of visitors to the town.”

The sixty-acre Lincs Gateway Business Park includes a petrol station, office complex, 52-bedroom, three-storey Premier Inn Hotel alongside a 190-seat Brewers Fayre restaurant/pub with a 110 car parking facilities.

The project will help to strengthen the economic base of Spalding and long term will encourage inward investment in the area.

Another major development for Spalding is a step closer after South Holland District Council formally accepted a £224,000 grant from the Government for the Northern Spalding Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE).

The funding will be used to support the development of technical and detailed design work for the Northern Phase of the Spalding Western Relief Road; infrastructure which is designed to support Spalding’s housing growth over the next 20 years and beyond.

The successful bid was a culmination of joint working between SHDC, Lincolnshire County Council and private industry involved in housing development proposed along the northern edge of Spalding.

Coun Richard Davies, LCC Executive Member for Highways, said: “This is an important step towards a relief road for Spalding, providing a new route around the west side of the town.

“This new road will help reduce the delays stemming from this and cut congestion in the town centre, improving journey times for motorists. It will also help drive economic growth in the area. We’ll continue to work closely with our partners to take this project forward.”

Residents will get the chance to have their say through a planned public consultation in spring 2018. It is anticipated that this consultation will make a significant contribution to the overall design and plans for the SUE.

Spalding is well known for its range of independent businesses and help is at hand for anyone thinking of starting a small business.

South Holland District Council is hosting a three-day training course ‘Starting In Business’ which will cover all the skills that are needed to start and manage a successful small business.

Organised by NBV Enterprise Solutions, the course will outline everything an entrepreneur needs to know to get their business up and running. The course is free to attend and aimed at people who would benefit from in-depth knowledge on how to become self-employed or start their own small business.

This intensive two-day workshop is led by an experienced business trainer and will teach the nuts and bolts of starting and running a successful business including: what skills are needed to run a business, the importance of Business Planning, how to market your business, understanding opportunities and risks and how to manage money in a business.

Another factor that Spalding can be proud of is that the number of businesses with top-ranked Food Hygiene Ratings in South Holland remains at an all-time high and that includes those in Spalding.

The latest figures show that the percentage of businesses in the district with 3 (satisfactory), 4 (good) and 5 (very good) ratings is 98.3 per cent.

Since October 2016, several businesses have seen their ratings increase up to 5 as a result of working with officers from South Holland District Council’s Food Health and Safety team to help make improvements.

And food lovers will also be pleased to hear that there are still no businesses in the district with the lowest ranking of zero.

Ratings are determined by the council’s food safety officers and show how well a business is doing overall, but also take account of the level of risk to people’s health.

Councillor Anthony Casson, South Holland District Council’s portfolio holder for food safety, said: “The outstanding current ratings in the district are testament to the dedicated work of our team, but as I always say we will never get complacent.

“The protection of the public is our utmost priority and we continue to work actively with businesses to assist them with standards and help to raise ratings where possible.”

A junior football team from Spalding which recently represented England overseas has been handed a cash boost by a leading housebuilder.

Spalding United Blue Under-11s recently flew the flag for the country in a major tournament in Denmark having enjoyed success at local level during the regular season.

The boys have extra reason to celebrate now after receiving a £750 donation from Persimmon Homes East Midlands.

The gift comes as part of Persimmon’s new Healthy Communities campaign, which will see the builder give away more than £600,000 to sporting causes across the UK over the next ten months, with an overall top national prize of £200,000.

Neil Maxwell, on behalf of the club, said: “We’re delighted to receive this generous donation from Persimmon Homes. The boys won the Peterborough District League last season and were one of three teams chosen to represent England in Denmark.

“They did really well, beating Norway, Denmark, Macedonia and Ukraine before eventually losing in the quarter-finals to a Danish academy team.

“This money will help towards the expense of that trip, as well as paying for new training jackets.”

Persimmon has a host of regional prizes of £750 up for grabs each month for the rest of 2017, with amateur sports teams and individuals aged 21 years and under across the region eligible to apply for the Persimmon Homes East Midlands awards.

A shortlist of thirty will then be created for a national final to be decided on a public vote, with the winning club or individual receiving £200,000 to create a long-lasting legacy and two runners-up receiving £50,000 each.

The new fund is in addition to the £720,000 the company already donates through its hugely successful Community Champions scheme each year.

Simon McDonald, managing director of Persimmon Homes East Midlands, said: “We are delighted to be able to hand over this cash to Spalding United Blue Under-11s. We are proud that a team from Spalding was selected to represent England overseas and we’re always pleased to be able to support clubs and groups within our operating area.”

Persimmon is currently building new homes close to Spalding at its Windmills development in Kirton, where a detached four bedroom home can be purchased for just £211,995.

To find out more or to enter the Healthy Communities competition, visit

County Interiors was established in 1979 and has become one of the largest kitchen, bedroom and bathroom retailers in Lincolnshire. Based in Spalding it operates from an amazing 5,000 square feet showroom which features 14 kitchens, 10 bathrooms and 6 bedrooms displays. The showroom has just been completely refurbished with the latest designs.

Owner James Bryan said: “This recent refurbishment offers customers the chance to view the most up-to-date innovations, giving them ideas as to how they will translate into their own homes. Grey colours and painted kitchens are hot trends for the coming season.”

County Interiors is also a major centre for Neff appliances having over 60 appliances on display. Their friendly design team is on hand from Monday to Saturday to offer expert advice to customers.

A free of charge design service is available, where a designer will visit the client’s home, survey their room and discuss their requirements in detail. State-of-the-art software is then used to produce realistic designs for customers to view in the new presentation room. This often gets the ‘wow’ factor as customers see their new room brought to life.

A complete installation service is provided with all projects managed from start to finish by a dedicated installations manager.

County Interiors has recently been accredited as a Which? Trusted Trader and provides a 12-month installation guarantee for complete peace of mind. With very competitive pricing available, there is every reason to contact County Interiors for your next project. For further information please go to

A Grade I listed hall built in the 1450s, Ayscoughfee Hall Museum is a hidden gem in Lincolnshire. Many of the Hall’s owners have left their mark on the building, meaning that a visit to Ayscoughfee is a chance to experience different architectural styles and features from the Medieval to the Victorian, and the opportunity to come face to face with some of the people that lived here. The Museum also tells the story of the historic town of Spalding and the surrounding Lincolnshire Fens.

Many events take place throughout the year, including theatre productions, craft fairs and band concerts – it’s always worth checking out our website for more information.

The Hall is set in five acres of beautiful gardens, which feature a listed War Memorial by the celebrated architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, a children’s play area and a café, all adding up to a fabulous day out.

All this and it’s free to enter too. Visit the website for details. The Hall is open 10.30am-4pm, Wednesday to Sunday (open Bank Holidays 10.30am-4pm). The Gardens are open dawn to dusk, year round.

Ayscoughfee Hall Museum, Churchgate, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 2RA, 01775 764555,,

Andrew and Company (Spalding) Ltd began trading in 1947 as a Sawmill and Boxmakers supplying the local farming community. Thomas Colin Andrew founded this business and soon after his sister Joan Fairbanks joined to look after all the administrative duties. Today Joan’s daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter own and manage the company along with family members, new and long standing members of staff. The business has grown over the years and changed its focus in reaction to market demands. Wooden boxes and crates were being replaced with cardboard and plastic alternatives so Colin made the decision to diversify in the late seventies and open up a small DIY shop alongside the factory and sawmill. In the beginning
this was primarily to provide his customers with tools and hardware items. Over the past years this side of the business has grown from strength to strength. The factory closed in the late eighties but the DIY store and Sawmill blossomed. We now sell hardware, DIY products, gardening and fencing supplies and at the hub of our business is our Sawmill. It is the only one of its kind in the area which will saw and machine timber and cut sheet materials to size. Many local farmers still trade
with us today but our customer base includes the general public, tradespeople and local businesses. You can also find us on eBay “Spalding-diy” for MDF and plywood cut to size and delivered nationwide and we are on Facebook. We are developing this side of our business so others items will soon be for sale! Today we also make bespoke items such as kennels, birdtables and log stores. Our Garden Department stocks sleepers, fencing materials, panels, arches, slabs, decking, hand and power tools and much more. We have a gift section which includes, ornaments, solar lighting, mats etc. Our Decorating, Plumbing and Electrical sections sell products for DIYers and tradespeople alike. Our weekly delivery service travels within the Peterborough, Boston, Bourne and Sutton Bridge areas. As an independent family run business we strive to provide excellent customer service. We take pride in the fact that we have many regular and longstanding customers some of whom have been trading with us from the very beginning. It has been a great achievement to reach our 70th year of trading and we hope to continue as a local family business serving the community for many more years to come.

J F Inkley, situated on the corner of The Crescent in Spalding, is a traditional gentlemen’s outfitters. A family favourite, J F Inkley provides the ultimate in quality, service and choice for the discerning gentleman.

The business was started by Jim Inkley in 1960 and since his death it has been continued by his son, Andrew Inkley and his wife Heather alongside his mother.

The shop is brimming with quality suits which are displayed in various fabrics to suit each season, with the perfect accessories available to complement any style. Although the focus lies with tradition, you will still find the latest styles available.

Although times have changed since the shop welcomed its first customer many years ago, the call for a well-made, quality suit is still apparent. Andrew and his wife pride themselves on offering a personal service which has ensured a steady customer base. They have also never wavered from traditional British names, which have stood them in good stead, with many gentlemen now choosing these names as a preference.

For personal service, and a shop where the customer is king, J F Inkley is well worth a visit.

Whether your dream travel plans are the most tranquil, relaxed beach holiday in French Polynesia, or a round the world cruise onboard an intimate cruise ship, or even an action-packed adventure holiday through the incredible countries of South America – the travel experts at the Luxury Travel Lounge will deliver a tailor-made itinerary to suit your needs.

“We offer a unique service because we work with a selection of tour operators, hoteliers and handpicked suppliers to ensure we only provide the best products to our clients. As a part of the Holiday With Us Group, we have over 250 years of travel planning experience.

“We offer complete peace of mind as we are both ABTA and ATOL protected, and as a company are extremely proud of the 5* service that our Feefo reviews reflect – visit to read our client reviews.”

It’s a busy time for Ashwood Homes, with developments in Cowbit, Swineshead, Crowland and Moulton – and plenty more on the way under construction and selling fast.

“You will get more for your money with Ashwood Homes as all our homes are built to a very high specification with features such as integrated kitchen appliances, carpet and vinyl package as standard. Your home will also come with an LABC 10-year new home warranty.

“The design of all the developments are carefully considered with both our residents and the local environment in mind, offering a variety of property types to suit a range of buyers and their differing needs. These homes won’t last long!” For more information visit the website or Tel: 01406 490590.

Founded in 1907, Spalding Golf Club is undoubtedly an ‘Oasis in The Fens’. The course has changed dramatically since its inception and it continues to improve as it moves into its 110th year.

Spalding Golf Club has for many years been seen to be one of the premier clubs within Lincolnshire, however they are not relying on this to ensure they are here for another 100 years. The club has recently approved a five-year business plan which will
take the club forward in its goal of being the preferred members club of choice by members, societies and green fees in Lincolnshire and their neighbouring counties.

The golf course is currently going through a £100,000 bunker renovation project with every bunker on the course being repositioned and redesigned, proof that it is a progressive golf club looking to move forward not only on the course but through a range of membership opportunities and practice facilities which are the envy of many within
the county.

The 18 hole par 72 parkland golf course is a challenge to golfers of all abilities. The course is surrounded on all sides by water, from the River Glen and the Blue Gowt Drain, meaning that on certain holes water plays a big part in the design and playability of the course. At just over 6,500 yards, the course has been selected to host many county, regional and national events, the highlight of which was the England Golf Junior Champion Club Tournament held at the club in their centenary year of 2007. The club benefits from a very active and competitive membership with thriving men’s, ladies, senior and junior sections, all of which run successful competitions both for club members and visitors.

However the club does not only provide a first class golf course. The facilities, both practice and social, mean that whatever you are looking for from a membership, Spalding Golf Club is able to deliver. The 12 bay driving range and short game area provide outstanding practice facilities for members, visitors and societies as well as opportunities for anyone wishing to get into the game or anyone wishing to improve to benefit from a lesson with the club pro. PGA Professional Adam Keogh
says: “Spalding Golf Club offers the ‘complete package.’ We have a course which is has an outstanding layout and with the current improvements taking place, we will undoubtedly hold big county and national events in the future. We also benefit from outstanding bar and catering facilities with our Steward having been at the club for over 30 years as well as a well stocked golf shop stocking all the major brands.” Adam goes on to say: “You need look no further than Spalding Golf Club to satisfy all
your golfing needs, whether this be getting started, to society days and social membership through to corporate membership. All will receive a very warm welcome.”

If you would like to be part of this progressive Golf Club there are many membership opportunities available. If you would like more information about the Club, membership, societies or corporate golf please call the office on 01775 680386 (option 2) and ask for Maria. You can also follow the club on Twitter @spalding__GC or Spalding GC on Facebook.

Surfleet, Spalding, Lincolnshire,
PE11 4EA
Tel: 01775 680386

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