A town with hidden treasures
Not all market towns’ attractions are immediately obvious but Bourne offers plenty of lovely surprises for those who take the time to explore its hidden depths, as Glynis Fox discovers.
Dip into Bourne’s little side streets and you will find great niche businesses, which complement its other independent shops and larger retailers on its North, South and Abbey Roads and in West Street.
The town is also well known for its connections with the world of motor sport and fashion, the impressive Bourne Abbey, its beautiful gardens, good schools and much more.
While this destination is a great place to stop for coffee or afternoon tea when you are on the way to other locations, it is best enjoyed at a relaxed pace!
Home to nearly 18,000 people (according to the 2021 census) and growing – Bourne is on the radar of families looking to relocate to Lincolnshire from further afield, thanks to being well served by supermarkets, service providers and retailers.
If you start exploring Bourne from the town centre, you can step straight off North Street into the Burghley Centre, which has a large Costa Coffee and A1 Motor Stores as anchor tenants at its entrance. Others include the health food store Spice of Life, Bourne Toys, the Two-Jays Discount Shop and the large unit, which houses Bourne Bridal and Hannah B Alterations. All are conveniently close to the Burghley Centre Car Park.
Bourne Bridal and Hannah B Alterations used to share premises in Angel Precinct, but earlier this year they snapped up a large, former café unit in the Burghley Centre, which they revamped and opened in March.
Bourne Bridal owner, Rachel Cox said: “Rising demand meant we were pushed for space and so we took the opportunity to relocate. Hannah worked in the same shop as me and we wanted to continue to run our businesses together, because they complement each other.
“Everyone based in the Centre has been really welcoming and it is handy being so close to the car park. We definitely made the right decision.”
Wherrys Lane, across the road from the centre, is home to a fun business which is a firm favourite with children and adults alike.
Family-run Paint A Pot Place (formerly based in West Street) is a magnet for those with a creative streak, who can have a great time choosing from a huge range of pottery to decorate at home or paint at one of the store’s popular workshops, before being fired on site.
The shop offers packages for children and adults, including clay parties, adult get-togethers and hen parties. Nurseries, playgroups and school clubs are also welcomed, and families can book birthday parties. The business also takes its offering out to customers.
Spokesperson Katie Ackroyd said: “People can decorate blanks pots at home or in our workshop sessions. We also have three potter’s wheels, so they can have a go at ‘throwing pots’. The store is open from Tuesday to Sunday.
A short distance away shoppers will find the quaint Angel Precinct, which flows into Crown Walk – leading into West Street.
Amanda Fowler is busy flying the flag for independent businesses at Buckle & Bows, a boutique at the entrance of the Precinct. Its North Street-facing window is perfect for grabbing the attention of passersby!
Amanda, who moved to her current shop nine years ago, after occupying another outlet in the precinct, is at the helm of a colourful shop which is bursting with ladies’ fashions, handbags, shoes, jewellery and gifts. Unsurprisingly, she has a loyal following.
“Business is going well, although of course we have our ups and downs. When Covid struck, we launched a website, which was a real help, but I really love the fact that we have a ‘bricks and mortar’ shop,” said Amanda.
“This is particularly valuable when people are shopping for shoes and need to be sure of finding the right fit straightaway. I think the benefits of running an independent shop are the fact that you can offer a personal service and really interact with your customers. We try to treat everyone in the way we would like to be treated.”
Amanda said the more ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses there are in the town, the more encouraging it is for everyone.
NICHE SHOPS AND SERVICES
Angel Precinct flows into Crown Walk, where there are more niche shops, including Stephanie’s Flowers & Gifts and the needlework shop Gather N Sew, which also runs courses.
From hypnotherapy to hairdressing and beauty services, antiques and collectables, tools and home improvement goods and services, and even a local chimney sweep, Bourne and its locality has a lot going for it.
Shaun Taylor launched Inspire Travel in the town’s former Co-op Travel premises in Abbey Road during the Covid pandemic, ploughing 15 years’ experience into his venture. He made the leap into self-employment after being made redundant and it has proved to be a great move.
Life has been non-stop for Shaun ever since. Last September he was named Best New Travel Agent in The Travel Industry Awards. Earlier this year he and his wife welcomed their first baby, Joseph, and now he has expanded and opened a second travel shop in Holbeach. Phew! Shaun employs three people across his two shops.
“There has been no change (slowdown) in my business. People are looking for all types of holidays, including long-haul breaks and cruises. Popular destinations include Cape Verde, the Caribbean and Thailand. Both ocean and river cruises are in demand,” said Shaun.
TBBT further extends the benefits of its hubs by working with partners to provide expert advice and practical solutions in income maximisation, energy, digital exclusion and mental health support.
TBBT chief executive Mark Game said the organisation was delighted to be working with SKDC (which has been allocated £3,898,582 from the UKSPF as part of the Government’s Levelling-Up process).
“We aim to unleash the power of affordable food and use it to ignite long-lasting change in struggling neighbourhoods,” he said.
“Our members tell us that over 80% of them have previously had to skip meals to feed their families. By using TBBT, most save £25 a week on their food budgets, money which they can then use for other household priorities.
“They also benefit from better quality and a bigger variety of food. Plus, we also save tonnes of surplus edible food from going to waste.”
The launch date for the Bourne hub was unknown as we went to press.
CREATE YOUR PERFECT GARDEN SPACE
Established in 2009, Cherry Holt Garden Centre is a family run business which offers a wide range of quality garden services and essentials.
Among the expert range of services offered are bespoke garden structures and buildings, including greenhouses, summerhouses and sheds, as well as fencing, hard landscaping and garden gates.
Cherry Holt’s experienced in-house landscaping team can help you create your ideal garden and offer help to design and build pathways, beds, patios and pergolas.
Cherry Holt Garden Centre has been providing a service to Bourne and the surrounding villages for more than 14 years, offering a wide variety of plants, gardening products and accessories.
Whether you’re looking for colourful dahlias, mixed perennials, pond plants and alpines, or different evergreen and deciduous shrubs, including clematis, grapevines, wisteria or climbing lilacs, the garden centre has something to suit all tastes and budgets.
Take a break while shopping and enjoy breakfast, lunch or a light bite in the in-store café which is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 8.30am to 1.30pm.
For more information visit www.cherryholtgardencentre.co.uk
ALL WELCOME AT THE WISHING WELL
SIituated in Dyke, just outside Bourne, The Wishing Well Inn is a historic 300-year-old village pub in an idyllic peaceful setting, within easy driving distance of popular visitor attractions, such as Rutland Water and Burghley House.
This dog-friendly traditional country inn, which oozes charm and character, is open all year round and features nine comfortable and stylish bedrooms with TVs and free WiFi, as well as a two-acre camping site ideal for caravans, motorhomes and tents, open from April to October.
Guests can enjoy relaxing in the cosy bar/lounge area and restaurant with low slung beams and open fire, or spacious beer garden with a fine selection of cask ales and wines. From delicious home-cooked British pub classics to popular favourites, the lunch and dinner menus feature local seasonal ingredients with vegetarian and gluten-free options.
With seating for up to 70 guests, the restaurant is the perfect venue for hosting functions and meetings, while the private dining area is also ideal for entertaining.
For more information visit www.thewishingwellinn.co.uk
Photographs: Mick Fox