Feeling festive in Woodhall Spa

Barbara Young finds out how this historic village is preparing to welcome locals and visitors as we count down to Christmas.

Woodhall Spa’s history stretches back to Victorian and Edwardian times, which is reflected in its broad tree-lined avenues and evocative buildings, thus ensuring that this characterful village remains a popular destination throughout the seasons for locals and visitors alike.

With many independent shops and niche businesses to explore, together with a wide choice of eateries and cafés, the village pulls in new and returning holidaymakers, as well as those looking to enjoy a leisurely shopping experience.

One of the most popular annual village events is the Woodhall Spa Christmas Fayre, which this year takes place on Friday 9th December from 6pm, when The Broadway is closed to traffic allowing pedestrians to take full advantage of this favourite festive countdown.

Organised by the dedicated team from The Rotary Club of Woodhall Spa, here you will find more than 70 stalls selling an eclectic mix of gift ideas, including crafts, toys, food and Christmas wreaths, plus a variety of delicious hot food stalls.

Visitors will enjoy street entertainment from Kesteven Morris Men and Pedro the Clown, as well as carol singers, music from local choirs, including Sing it Loud and the Woodhall Spa Rock Choir, plus Santa on his sleigh. And don’t miss the Rotary’s prize raffle with a top prize of £250!

The Woodhall Spa Rotary, which has 41 members, has been organising this event for the past 20 years, with the meticulous planning beginning in the spring when the organising team get together to discuss new ideas and any changes to previous years.

“This fayre is one of the highlights in the village calendar and during the evening we expect to see about 4,000 people. Most of the village supports it, either on the night or by taking part in the raffle,” explains Steve Gilmartin, chair of the Rotary’s Christmas Fayre committee.

“We start planning in May by contacting previous stall holders – some drop out, others come in, but each has to have a pitch number so they know where they are going, which can get a bit nervewracking around November time!

“We have assistance from the Woodhall Spa Lions Club whose president writes up the health and safety documents, and financial support from the parish council which funds the traffic management for road closures and garden lights.

“We would also be lost without the massive contribution of toilet facilities, event trailer and road closure barriers from local company SRP Solutions Ltd.

“Santa is always a major attraction at this event and this year Santa will be on an open sleigh rather than in a grotto. It will be free to meet him, with a small gift for each child and parents can make a donation if they wish.

“In the run-up to Christmas, what’s better than to come out for the evening as a family for fun, bright stalls with loads of different wares, some entertainment and a bite to eat.”

The window competition is also a big part of the event and this year the windows will once again be judged by Francis Dymoke, Lord of Scrivelsby Manor, and his wife Gail.

This year sees another first with the Millennium Garden featuring an animated themed light display for all to enjoy.

The Woodhall Spa Group of Churches have organised a series of advent and Christmas services over the festive season, including Carols in the Farmyard at Langton and a Crib Service at Woodhall Spa on Christmas Eve.

“Carols in the Farmyard has been a real success in the past few years with music from local schools and singing together in the yard,” says Rector Fr. Joseph Snelling.

“The Crib Service on Christmas Eve is a family friendly service with carols as well as music performed by local soprano Daisy Hibberd who studied at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

“Our Carols in the Farmyard has become a lovely annual gathering, with the opportunity to get together in larger numbers than fit in the little church. With music from local schools and readings from the local community, this time to sing together and hear the Christmas story in the cold winter air is a wonderful festive occasion.

“Our Candlelit Carols takes place in the stunning 13th-century chapel located outside the walls of the ruins of Kirkstead Abbey, the ancient church connecting us with Christmas congregations down the centuries as we celebrate again.

“There’s also a family friendly service on Christmas Day as well as a family service on 8th January for Epiphany where we will invite families to take chalk with them to mark their doors at home as a sign of blessing of the household for the year.

“We are delighted that we have services in all of our churches across the season and opportunities for all ages to come together to hear the story of God with us.”

The iconic Kinema in the Woods, which dates back to 1922, is once again celebrating Christmas with specially selected screenings of family favourite classics over the festive season.

With something for everyone, don’t miss the special screenings of films such as The Holiday (Friday 9th December), which  forms part of the Christmas Pyjama Party with prizes for Best Pyjamas and Best Teddy Bear, or Frank Capra’s classic feelgood movie It’s a Wonderful Life (Saturday 10th December to Monday 19th December)

On Tuesday 20 December, there is also an autism friendly screening of Polar Express where filmgoers can enjoy a relaxed environment with the lights on low, sound turned down and no adverts or trailers. Customers are also free to move around the auditorium.

Don’t miss a double-bill of Raymond Briggs’s The Snowman and The Snowman and the Snowdog showing from Thursday 22nd December to Saturday 24th December.

Booking is essential as tickets for all performances are selling out fast! For more information visit www.thekinemainthewoods.co.uk

The club’s two world class courses and Academy attract golfers from across the globe so visitors can be confident of a warm welcome and excellent service. Whether you live locally and call in for breakfast in the pavilion clubhouse or you are planning a conference or special occasion, the experienced team are available to ensure your visit will be memorable.

Set within tranquil surroundings, the National Golf Centre is an ideal location for conferences or business meetings. The Conference Centre can accommodate up to 150 people and you can be confident of a wide experience when organising large scale events. With plenty of on-site parking, a wide choice of excellent accommodation available locally and a skilled catering team, you can be assured of a relaxing and successful gathering for your delegates. The Conference Room can also be partitioned to accommodate fewer numbers and the second Conference Room located on the first floor overlooking the Hotchkin Course, which is ranked in the Top 100 Golf Courses in the world, can accommodate up to 60 theatre style for a more intimate atmosphere.

The stylish yet relaxed surroundings make the Club an ideal location for private dinners, special celebrations, Christmas parties, gala balls and wakes. Up to 130 people can be seated with ample space for a band and disco. The in-house catering team produce all home-made dishes with a choice from breakfast to a light bite snack through to six-course menus. There is a wide variety of options for your event, including bespoke menus, ensuring an occasion to suit your taste and budget.

Clubhouse Bar And Restaurant
Families and casual diners are welcome to visit and enjoy the excellent dishes prepared daily by the catering team. Food is served 7 days a week including breakfast, Main Courses, snacks, cakes and coffee galore. Sunday lunch in the main restaurant is popular, with an informal dress code and family friendly facilities. Whether you come along for a relaxing drink or meal or want the option of including one of the golf packages with your visit, the National Golf Centre will be happy to explain your options.

To find out more contact the events team – Alison Davis, tel: 01526 351825 or email: alisondavis@woodhallspagolf.com

Driving Range
New to golf, thinking of taking it up, or just looking to practice your swing? The Club’s range facilities are open to everyone. You can arrive at the range without an appointment and use the very latest Toptracer technology, whether you would like to simply measure how far your golf ball is travelling, virtually play a number of famous courses across the world or compete with friends and family over a number of engaging challenges such as longest drive or nearest the pin – this system really can do it all. The friendly team of professionals at the National Golf Centre offer a variety of services to help you either start your journey into golf or improve your game. For more information visit woodhallspagolf.com/meet_the_team

The Dower House Hotel, in the heart of Woodhall Spa is a hidden gem; with crackling log fires and cosy event rooms it’s the perfect spot for a festive feast.

You can enjoy a relaxing drink in the warm and charming surroundings of Harry’s Bar and sample tasty bar food, or sit down to a superb three or four course meal in The Dower House Hotel Restaurant.

Here you can tuck into locally sourced market-fresh ingredients, a delectable dessert menu and a carefully chosen wine list from their extensive cellar. A wonderful dining experience awaits, with attentive service in an intimate setting with stunning garden views.

The Dower House team is taking bookings for festive celebrations too; Christmas Day Lunch is fully booked, but there’s still time to book for the James Bond themed Casino Night on New Year’s Eve, which sounds like a lot of fun!

For more information visit www.dowerhousehotel.co.uk, or call 01526 352588; email info@the-dowerhousehotel.co.uk

Where better for a warming winter welcome than the historic Petwood Hotel. Nestled in 30 acres of award-winning gardens and woodland, the Petwood welcomes all with its roaring log fires, sumptuous menus and warm hospitality.

“Join us this December for our decadent festive sparkling afternoon teas, traditional festive lunches and plenty of Christmas spirit. Our chefs have created a range of culinary delights catering for all tastes and palettes.

“Our winter warmer offers give you the chance to escape to the countryside and enjoy the charms of the pretty village of Woodhall Spa. With its plentiful shops, eateries and places to visit, there is a lot to offer those looking for something a little different. Why not upgrade to one of our four-poster rooms with their magnificent garden views for that extra special treat?

“Our team are always on hand to help you get the best offer when booking directly with us.
If you are looking for somewhere for a special occasion, we can help with that too. With a range of function rooms from the intimate, historic Squadron Bar, to the larger private space of our Woodland Suite, there is a room just for you.

“Menus are prepared by our chefs to showcase the best seasonal delights that Lincolnshire has to offer and can be tailored to your requirements.

“With everything you need at Petwood all under one roof, we have Christmas completely wrapped up.”

Call today on tel: 01526 352411 for more information.

If you’re looking for creative festive gift ideas for friends and family, Fairy Crafters in Woodhall Spa offers a range of unique presents, featuring an artistic selection of hand-made creations from more than 40 local craft talents, including jewellery, soft furnishings, candles and art.

Owned and run by Claire Blackburn, a passionate and experienced crafter, shoppers receive a warm welcome while browsing the eclectic collection of greeting cards, gifts, pet presents and interior décor designs to suit all tastes and budgets.

Claire also runs a number of workshops at her Fairy Crafters shop for all levels of experience, including needle felting and a “knit and natter” group with tea, coffee, biscuits and cake on offer.
Open Tuesdays to Fridays, 9.30am to 2.30pm and Saturdays from 9am to 4pm.

For more information contact: Fairy Crafters, Unit 2a Goodyear House, Tattershall Road, Woodhall Spa LN10 6QJ Tel: 07832 974557 or visit the Facebook page @fairycrafters

If you’re searching for perfect present ideas for family or friends, the helpful team at Underwood Hall go out of their way to help you with a selection of gift ideas to suit all budgets.

Located on the Broadway in Woodhall Spa, this well established, highly regarded family-run jeweller is a treasure trove of quality gold and silver jewellery, including a selection of fine antique pieces, from the Victorian period to classic modern designs.

With everything selected for fine styling and quality, you can choose from a range of beautiful bangles, chains, necklaces and earrings, as well as classic wristwatches from leading brands such as Sekonda and Rotary.

Make the most of Underwood Hall’s excellent customer care, including ring resizing and restyling, as well as bespoke jewellery design and expert repair service. Open Mondays to Saturdays, from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

For more information contact Underwood Hall tel: 01526 353815.

A long-time favourite local eatery and an iconic location in Woodhall Spa, the Tea House in the Woods has been delighting diners with first-class food and service since it was established nearly 120 years ago.

Built in the Edwardian period, the original tea house was first run by the Williams sisters, two daughters of London clergyman Dr Williams, superintendent of the Spa baths, who specialised in serving dainty delicacies of the highest quality.

Today that same level of commitment remains and here you can enjoy a choice of different dishes throughout the day, from traditional breakfasts and afternoon teas, with freshly filled sandwiches, home-made scones, cakes and treats, to a varied lunchtime menu featuring light bites, salads and platters.

The restaurant is also open in the evenings for à la carte dining from 5pm, with a wide menu choice including grills, gourmet burgers, pasta and pizza, with vegetarian options.

Woods is open Wednesday to Sunday with the dinner menu served Thursday to Saturday.

For more information visit the websitewww.teahouseinthewoods.co.uk

General Photographs: Mick Fox

Photographs of Christmas Fayre 2021:
Eclipse Photographic, Dave Robson LBIPP, Woodhall Spa

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