Wolds jewel is buzzing!
The market town of Louth is always springing new surprises – and it seems to get busier every time you visit, says Glynis Fox.
A magnet for both shoppers and visitors keen to discover its history, this lively destination is surrounded by the beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds and within easy reach of the county’s coast.
The town’s attractiveness lies in its unique DNA – its fantastic mix of family-run and entrepreneurial businesses which co-exist alongside nationally recognised retailers.
It also welcomes visiting traders on its colourful market days which take place on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
In-town businesses are complemented by the huge range of manufacturing, technology, warehousing, DIY, motor vehicle, agricultural dealerships and other companies based on Louth’s edge-of-town Fairfield Industrial Estate.
The town also boasts good schools, interesting historic buildings and a wide range of cafes and characterful pubs – the latter encouraging visitors to spend even more time in this destination.
Interestingly the frequent visitor will often notice a “spot of monopoly” going on among the many niche businesses which often switch premises – rather than move out of Louth completely!
Louth Independent Traders’ chairman Gary Denniss said: “I do think that Louth is doing better than other towns, because of its mix of independent shops. We have a very high occupancy rate and few empty premises, which is good.
“I think many shoppers are looking for something a little different now. They want to come here and visit shops, to look at, touch and feel products and hopefully get good personal service.”
Mr Denniss added that sometimes when something goes wrong with an online purchase people find they can find what they want faster by shopping locally.
Homegrown businesses include the town’s much-loved department store Eve & Ranshaw – which recently celebrated its 240th year in business – highlighting how it has evolved down the decades to stand the test of time.
Established by local farmer’s son Adam Eve in 1781, it originally sold groceries, wood and linen goods, then expanded through various partnerships to include high class tailoring, fashions and home furnishings.
The Ranshaw name comes from Thomas Ranshaw, who started out as a 13-year-old apprentice in the shop.
In 1977, the family-run ethos continued when it was bought by Christopher Sandwith and his son David. Today, it is David’s son Marcus who is at the helm of a popular business which boasts both “bricks and mortar” retailing and an e-commerce website, which is introducing the Louth company to a much wider market.
The busy Cheese Shop & Deli, which is based in Eastgate, is one of those businesses which has recently switched premises – by moving into the unit next door to its original shop.
Meanwhile, its former home has been swiftly snapped-up by Amanda Buckley, the brains behind The Artisan Room, which opened on 1st November.
The Cheese Shop & Deli is owned by Paul Atmas and Steve Parris and they are already making the most of trading out of larger premises.
Paul said: “We moved because we wanted to get a better preparation area and we now have lots of kitchen space, which is ideal for both preparing and cooking foods. Our move has also meant we have been able to increase our ranges of deli foods and artisan breads.”
Paul and Steve have also employed another assistant, and now have five staff.
Amanda Buckley has travelled and lived abroad, finally choosing to settle in Louth with her husband after living in Dubai. Having previously sold her goods through her website, as well as having a successful pop-up shop in Louth, she was keen to have a bricks and mortar presence in the town and quickly decided the Cheese Shop & Deli’s former home was too good to miss.
“I really really wanted a physical shop for The Artisan Room, and I was delighted to welcome my first customers at the start of November,” Amanda said.
“I have lived and travelled abroad extensively and I am thrilled to have stocked my shop with all sorts of wonderful things from overseas, including rugs, blankets, chopping boards and other household gifts from destinations including New Zealand, Morocco, France and India.”
Amanda has created a lovely “around the world” vibe in her shop, but UK designers are not left out as she is also featuring the work of London artisans – such as interiors queen Abigail Ahern, whose work is not currently sold in Lincolnshire. The shop is open Mondays to Saturdays.
Another entrepreneurial female, Angharad Williams, launched The Saucy Lady in the town’s Cornmarket in September, and it is already doing well.
“It’s an alternative deli, but we also offer hot and cold take-outs and we even do ‘bespoke dining’ for up to four people within the deli,” she said.
Angharad has lived in Louth for 15 years and at one time ran a coffee shop.
“During the Coronavirus lockdown, I grew my own vegetables, made my own sauces for friends and did some cheffing. Then I decided I wanted to have my own business again and launched The Saucy Lady.
“I may have only been open for a short time, but I have been overwhelmed by the response. People’s feedback has been excellent and lots of customers have referred others to me,” added Angharad.
Louth has many more independent stores, including Lucks of Louth. Originally established in 1985, this popular business trades out of three neighbouring units, selling popular brands of countrywear for men and women, boots, shoes, bags and more.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Louth, with its wonderful mix of historic and contemporary buildings is a pleasure to explore on foot at any time of the year, but if you are keen to get out in the Lincolnshire Wolds, there are more challenging walks right on its doorstep!
In town, there are various attractions worthy of a visit, but do check opening arrangements first.
Magnificent St James’s Church in Upgate, a predominantly Gothic 15th century parish church, is unmissable for miles around thanks to its 295ft high tower with hexagonal spire. This famous landmark was once dubbed ‘one of the last great medieval masterpieces’ by the poet John Betjeman.
Louth Town Hall in Eastgate was built in 1854. Pevsner’s Buildings of England (1964) claims it is one of architect Pearson Bellamy’s best works. Restored and upgraded over the years, it can be hired by the public.
Louth’s independent museum in Broadbank was founded by Louth Naturalists’ and Antiquarian & Literary Society (established in 1884). It is closed for winter but is bursting with interesting information and exhibits and is a must visit if only to see William Brown’s Panorama of Louth, which gives a 360-degree depiction of the town from the top of St James’s Church spire – drawn and painted in 1844.
The international Meridian Line runs through Louth – the spot is marked by a special wall plaque in Eastgate.
For those who love walking in open countryside there are some brilliant trails to try – you can find details at www.alltrails.com/england/lincolnshire/louth
Christmas is nearly upon us and Louth locals and visitors can look forward to plenty of festive cheer – so save these dates!
This year the Festive Fabuloso can be enjoyed on two dates – and one coincides with a special town centre market.
Louth is one of five towns – along with Horncastle, Spilsby, Alford and Wainfleet – which are part of East Lindsey District Council’s Vital and Viable programme. All are being helped to celebrate the Christmas season through the Festive Fabuloso event, which is being staged in partnership with Different Light and Spilsby Sessions House.
This year’s event follows on from the success of Hope and Light, the community light projections which took place in December 2020 and, once again, town residents have been given the chance to get involved!
Just as we went to press, residents across East Lindsey were invited to complete two special festive templates ahead of their events. Their artwork is being turned into a short Festive Fabuloso film, which will be screened in each of the towns during December.
Fifty of the best designs will be chosen to form short art trails across the five towns, with the selected designs being displayed in local businesses and shop windows.
On 2nd December, the Festive Fabuloso team will be making its first visit to Louth (the time was still to be confirmed but should be around 10am). Watch out for the party’s exciting street entertainers and a mechanical musical machine (a specially created sculpture made from recycled parts of Spilsby Theatre’s disused church organ). You’re sure to be surprised and amused!
Residents should be able to spot some of the art trail posters created from the festive templates sent to the organisers by residents.
On 12th December, Louth will be hosting a Festive Craft and Flea Market in the Cornmarket from 10am and 4pm offering people the opportunity to soak up the seasonal atmosphere, browse and buy.
The same day, the Festival Fabuloso team will be back in Louth – staying from morning until evening. Once again, the group will have their marvellous musical machine in tow and they will be sharing special screenings of the Festival Fabuloso film with the local community to celebrate everyone’s wonderful artwork.
Different Light creative producer Simon Hollingworth added: “The Different Light Collective and Spilsby Sessions House are delighted to be working once again with East Lindsey District Council and the five town councils of Alford, Horncastle, Louth, Spilsby, and Wainfleet.
“We hope to bring some festive cheer, creative community spirit and more than a little bit of silliness to these wonderful towns in the run-up to this Christmas.”
ENJOY THE QUALITY… ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE AT STYLE FURNITURE!
Are you looking for affordable quality furniture without the added stress of a pushy or rushed showroom encounter? Style Furniture is here to help!
“We’re an independent business based in Fotherby, just outside of Louth. Our 14,000 sq ft showroom is home to over 56 sofa suites, 39 display beds and numerous dining and bedroom furniture sets.
“Our aim is to make your in-store and online experience as enjoyable and relaxing as possible.
“We promise not to pounce as soon as you step through our doors. Take your time, have a look around our showroom at your own pace. After all, shopping should be enjoyable!
“But if you do have any questions or would like a second opinion, our hardworking and knowledgeable staff are on hand and ready to help. You don’t have to take our word for it, come see for yourself.”
Open 9.30am-5.30pm, Monday to Friday and 10am-4pm on Sundays. Located just off Louth Road, Fotherby
CHRISTMAS AT THE KINGS HEAD HOTEL
Start your festive celebrations early by making a reservation to visit the Kings Head Hotel in the heart of Louth, which has launched its extra special Christmas menu for this year, priced at £24.95 per head. Created by head chef Andy Trench and his talented team, it offers three courses with traditional mouth-watering starters, mains and desserts with options for veggie, vegan and gluten free.
The Kings Head is a traditional old coaching inn situated in Louth town centre with a history going back some 250+ years. It has something to offer everyone, with good food created from locally sourced fresh ingredients and cooked to order. Their menus are served each lunchtime and evening in the downstairs Bar or Bistro, or alternatively Friday and Saturday evenings in the Upstairs@The Kings restaurant. Enjoy fine dining in cosy, Covid-19 safe surroundings. Reservations recommended.
All hotel accommodation has en-suite facilities, there is also a self-contained three-bed apartment within the hotel for groups or families visiting the area. The pleasant garden area is perfect for summer afternoons, with heated and covered shelter for evenings. The hotel also provides a large dedicated customer car parking area.
Bookings can be taken for special occasions and menus prepared tailored to your requirements.
All subject to availability.
For more information tel: 01507 602965 or visit www.kingsheadlouth.co.uk
JEWELLERY IDEAS FOR ALL OCCASIONS
Striacroft Jewellers is Louth’s longest established family jewellers. Now under the ownership of its second generation, this gem of a store offers a wide range of high quality diamond, gold and silver jewellery, engagement rings and wedding rings together with watches, clocks and a selection of gorgeous giftware.
A member of both the National Association of Jewellers and The Guild of Master Craftsmen, Striacroft Jewellers offers a variety of services including in-house jewellery and watch repairs, engraving, valuations and insurance. They cater for all budgets with items from as little as £10 to tens of thousands. Along with the selection of new items, there is also a large range of secondhand jewellery.
Among the leading brands stocked are Fei Liu Fine Jewellery, Amore Argento, The Real Effect and Henryka. If you’re looking for a perfect watch, Striacroft Jewellers are main agents for Citizen, Zeppelin, Iron Annie, Kronaby and Lorus watches and you will also find pre-owned luxury brands including Rolex and Omega.
Open Monday to Wednesday, 9am-4.45pm and Friday to Saturday, 9am-4.45pm. For more information visit www.striacroft.co.uk
TASTES OF THE SEASON IN HISTORIC MANSION HOUSE
Ideally situated in Upgate in the town centre, the stunning Grade II listed Mansion House is the perfect place to meet up with friends, family and business contacts offering fresh food and drinks in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
Here you can enjoy coffee and homemade cakes, together with breakfast, afternoon teas, lunches and bistro style dining on Saturday nights, as well as traditional Sunday lunches.
Originally built around 1750 by the Louth Old Corporation as the Assembly Rooms, the building became the centre of civic life for the gentry and is steeped in a rich history, which is still evident today.
In 2018, Andrew Leonard, a local businessman, secured a Lindsey Action Zone LEADER grant to help with the sympathetic restoration and conversion of the building into a restaurant in 2019.
The Mansion House restaurant is open for lunch from Wednesday to Saturday, 10am-3pm, evening meals on Saturday from 7pm-9pm and Sunday lunch 12noon-2pm.
For more information www.mansionhouselouth.co.uk
A DIGNIFIED GOODBYE
Organising a respectful and personalised funeral service which is as unique as the life it celebrates can be one of the most difficult days of our lives to deal with.
As dedicated funeral directors for the past 25 years, husband and wife team Lindsay and Richard Arnold, owners of R Arnold Funeral Services at 161 Newmarket in Louth, take time to talk to each client and listen to their individual needs, while also looking after and guiding you every step of the way.
Established in 1995, R Arnold Funeral Services, which also offers a range of funeral plans to help cover costs, is a respected member of the British Institute of Embalmers and National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, with further branches at Lincoln, Sutton on Sea, Mablethorpe, Alford and Woodhall Spa.
“As one of the most rewarding services you can offer, our compassionate, approachable team all believe it’s important to provide a personalised 24-hour service,” explains Lindsay Arnold. “We ensure we are there for you to offer guidance whatever time day or night that you might need us.”
For more information visit www.rarnoldfuneralservice.com
GET RACE READY FOR 2022 AT CADWELL PARK
The 2021 motor racing season may only just be drawing to a close, but it’s never too early to get planning for next year at Lincolnshire’s Cadwell Park.
The popular Wolds venue will host another busy season in 2022, including the Bennetts British Superbike Championship’s show stopping ‘Party in the Park’ which returns to August Bank Holiday Weekend. Tickets are on sale now, whilst a range of season passes will enable race fans to access a full season’s action for a single superb price.
There are opportunities to experience the circuit firsthand too, with track day dates available throughout the year, whilst Drive! Cadwell Park allows anybody to see the circuit from a new perspective including whole families with children as passengers – a fresh date has been announced for Sunday 23rd January at £29 per car.
For more information about all these products and the latest news, please visit www.cadwellpark.co.uk
Photographs: Mick Fox