Visit the spa of surprises!
With its selection of independent shops, historic landmarks and great hospitality, Woodhall Spa has much to offer locals and visitors alike, as Glynis Fox finds.
If you love kicking through the autumn leaves, taking a break at places steeped in history, or dream of making a move to somewhere a little different, why not discover the magic of a unique Lincolnshire village?
Woodhall Spa is becoming increasingly popular. Not only is it already home to around 5,000 people, but it is still growing – having captured the interest of housing developers. If you just drive through on your way to somewhere else or catch it at the wrong time, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a rather sleepy place – but you couldn’t be more wrong!
With its wealth of essential larger stores and tempting boutiques, plus a wide choice of coffee and tea shops, pubs and hotels, in which to enjoy anything from morning coffee to dinner, you are actually spoilt for choice. There is also plenty to keep leisure seekers happy, including those who love exploring the great outdoors.
On the shopping front, the village is well served by larger outlets, such as Sainsbury’s, Lincolnshire Co-operative and a Boots store, along with a post office.
Alongside these you will find a wealth of independents offering a huge variety of goods, including items you don’t find everywhere else.
Ladies will enjoy checking out Lily’s Boutique (run by Emma Wright), SHE and Self, for niche fashions, accessories and gifts with a difference.
Gentlemen are also catered for, having their own store – WM (Woodhall Man Menswear) – in the Broadway Centre, which is usefully next door to a barber’s shop!
In need of new footwear? Then it’s time to make a beeline for Peter Scott Shoes on The Broadway. Once seen, it’s never forgotten because this “wedge of cheese” shaped shop is easy to spot.
In the town’s heyday, when Woodhall Spa attracted visitors from far and wide to sample the spa’s waters – which were believed to have special properties – many would arrive by train to the platform behind The Broadway, in the days when the “wedge shop” was actually the railway ticket office.
Bookworms and people looking for special presents for family or friends will want to pop into The Book Fayre on The Broadway for books, greeting cards and gifts.
Clocktower Crystals in Station Road has a mesmerising selection of crystals, gemstones and gemstone jewellery, providing another option if you are in search for a treat for yourself or an unusual present.
When a shop becomes empty, it doesn’t stay that way for long. As we went to press, locals were hoping the former McColl’s Newsagents which closed in the summer would soon attract a new tenant.
If a wander around the Spa inspires you to make a return visit, you could book into one of a choice of hotels and guest houses – or start planning a caravan or holiday park break at a warmer time of year.
Hotels include The Petwood, with its famous Dambusters Bar – where members of the iconic 617 Squadron met during wartime – The Golf, The Inn and The Dower House – all of which are also good options for private celebrations.
On the topic of celebrations, your party will most likely need a cake and Woodhall Spa has its very own specialist, Dawn Blunden at Sophisticake in the Broadway Centre. It’s an understatement to say that Dawn absolutely loves her craft. Her talents see her continually creating impressive wedding cakes, birthday cakes featuring children’s favourite characters, and the sort of confections that make people gasp with joy.
Dawn has been practising her craft for at least 40 years and has been based in shop premises for 20 years. She also generously teaches her craft and especially enjoys working with her “pupils” on a one-to-one basis.
And there’s more, she also enjoys giving talks to interest groups in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire – which are typically nearer to home than the places she visited in pre-Covid days. Dawn also treasures the fact that her achievements include being commissioned on occasion to make
ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Many people love Woodhall Spa for its beautiful woodland surroundings and peaceful nature, as well as its attractions for lovers of heritage and history.
If you love being active, you will be drawn to do the 6.5 mile Spa Trail – which runs from the village to Horncastle. It’s traffic-free, so you can enjoy it on foot, on your bicycle or on horseback. Don’t forget to look for the sculptures along the way.
There are plenty of other ways to stay fit too, because Woodhall Spa boasts an amazing range of social and sporting clubs.
Woodhall Spa Golf Club, acquired by The English Golf Union in 1995 and known as The National Golf Centre, is home to the Hotchkin Course, revered as one of the finest inland courses in the world.
However, the Spa, also has numerous other clubs to satisfy the needs of bowlers, cricketers, footballers, runners, cyclists and even croquet players.
Fancy taking life at a more leisurely pace? Why not try a night at the flicks!
Kinema in The Woods is a wonderful venue, providing an atmospheric experience whatever your choice of film. People also love the intermissions, when they can indulge in an ice cream or bag of sweets!
People regularly turn out in force to soak up the wonderful atmosphere of Woodhall Spa’s Christmas Fayre – so why not make a date to join them this year on Friday 8th December?
Fair co-ordinator Steve Kilmartin of The Rotary Club of Woodhall Spa said it pulls this popular event together in conjunction with Woodhall Spa Parish Council and it typically attracts around 4,000 people.
The fun kicks off at 5.30pm and lasts through to 9pm. This year there will be at least 60 stalls laden with all manner of irresistible goodies. Other potential stallholders can get in touch, but Mr Martin said the event is already well-catered for when it comes to food vendors.
“We have stalls selling all sorts of things, from crafts to other unusual gifts, foodstuff and more.
Entertainment will be provided by local bands and choirs, adding to the festive atmosphere and there will be a lights display in Millennium Gardens.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Santa Claus and this year families can look forward to meeting him inside the warmth of one of the Spa’s well-known hotels. That’s because Santa’s Grotto is being sited within The Inn, on The Broadway.
Mr Kilmartin added that the Spa’s celebration evening is not just for local people and captures the imagination of many other visitors.
“This event is good for our hotels because it also attracts people from much further afield, such as Manchester and Leeds, who decide to stay locally,” he said.
SHOPPING FOR THE WELL-DRESSED MAN
Celebrating its first anniversary this month, Woodhall Man is a popular men’s boutique stocking carefully selected quality everyday smart/casual clothing and footwear for all ages and styles, including plus-size men.
Owner Chrissy Allwood says its popular bestsellers currently include Jack & Jones, Bench, Duck & Cover and Crosshatch, as well as Cavani for great quality jeans and D555.
“We aim to stock something for everyone with an affordable range perfect for building all types of capsule wardrobes. We will also be stocking Lyle & Scott and Farah in the future too.”
The shop offers unique grooming items too, as well as dressing gowns and pyjamas/loungewear, and if you want to take the pressure off choosing for someone else, there are gift vouchers available.
Woodhall Man’s winter opening hours are Wednesday 10am to 1pm, Thursday to Saturday 10am to 4pm
Alternatively, customers can shop online with postage, including free delivery on orders over £50, plus a click and collect service available.
For more information visit www.woodhallman.com
DIVE INTO LUXURY AT SWIM BLUE!
Launched at the beginning of 2023, Swim Blue, which is located on a picturesque, rural farm in Bucknall, is a private and exclusive modern swimming pool in Woodhall Spa, offering the opportunity for private hire, general swims and classes, as well as providing a unique party venue for children’s birthday parties with inflatables included.
If you love splashing about in warm water in your own luxurious private space, with free sauna access, or you’re looking to improve your swimming style in total privacy, Swim Blue offers the perfect solution.
“We know that pools can be a busy environment with loads of distractions, however our site at Swim Blue Swimming Pool is an incredible space for you and your children to learn to swim.”
For more information see www.swimblue.co.uk
GREAT GIFTS AND MORE AT UNDERWOOD HALL
If you’re searching for a special thank you for family or friends, the helpful team at Underwood Hall go out of their way to help inspire you with a selection of present 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 the bespoke jewellery design and expert repairs service. Open Mondays to Saturdays, from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
For more information contact Underwood Hall. Tel: 01526 353815, or visit www.antiquesandjewellery.com
SHOE SHOP IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Peter Scott Shoes, Woodhall Spa’s iconic shop on the Broadway took centre stage recently, featuring alongside the Kinema in the Woods and Underwood Hall on Channel 5’s Susan Calman’s Grand Day Out.
“The show producers were staying opposite the shop doing a recce before Susan’s visit and fell in love with the shop and asked to film it,” explains owner Oliver Salter.
“Susan thought it was amazing just how much stock we had managed to fit in and remarked on the range and quality of footwear. We often have photos taken of the shop but since appearing on TV we’ve had a lot more selfies taken outside and many locals have popped in to say they saw the show too!”
Oliver has also launched a weekly online feature called Shoe of the Week, in which he introduces some of his favourite new styles.
“Since taking over in 2021, we’ve added Gabor and Chatham to our range alongside the ever popular Rieker, and this season smart classic shoes as well as Gore-Tex lined long and short boots are already proving bestsellers.”
For more information find the shop on Facebook or tel 01526 353935.
ICONIC TEA HOUSE MARKS HISTORIC ANNIVERSARY
Established in 1903, the Tea House in the Woods has long been a favourite with those who enjoy first-class food and service with a delightful ambience and warm welcome.
Built in the Edwardian period, the original tea house opened 120 years ago and was first run by the Williams sisters, two daughters of London clergyman Dr Williams, superintendent of the Spa baths.
The Williams sisters specialised in serving dainty delicacies of the highest quality and the tea house earned a valued reputation as an excellent food and drink establishment.
This same level of commitment remains today and guests enjoy a choice of different dishes throughout the day, from traditional breakfasts and classic afternoon teas, to a varied full lunch menu available in the restaurant.
The restaurant, which also offers gift vouchers, 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.
For more information visit www.teahouseinthewoods.co.uk
If you’re looking to improve or learn new creative skills, the expert team at Fairy Crafters in Woodhall Spa can help you develop your talents.
Owned and run by Claire Blackburn, this popular handmade gift shop holds an array of daytime and evening workshops for all levels of expertise, with all materials provided and supplies for you to complete your project at home if required.
December’s classes include Knitting in Lace Christmas Cracker and Needle Felted Wreath, with January featuring Willow Weaving, Beginners’ Crochet and Fused Glass Wave.
“Anyone can have a go and it’s a good way to test out if you would enjoy a craft without having to commit to purchasing all the equipment beforehand,” explains Claire. “Vouchers are also available to be able to gift a workshop experience – ideal for Christmas or birthday presents.”
an eclectic mix of handmade gift and homewares from Lincolnshire based crafters and artisans, as well as wool and haberdashery items, with plenty of gift choices for weddings, babies, couples, families, children and pets too.
For more information, find Fairy Crafters on Facebook or visit www.claireyatfairycrafters.com
A TRUE TASTE OF INDIA
If you’re looking for classic Indian cuisine with an individual and modern twist, owner Jamal Hussain’s expert team of chefs at India Village are out to impress even the most discerning diners.
This well-established and popular restaurant on The Broadway in Woodhall Spa, serves up a fine hand-picked menu of mouth-watering dishes, including many favourites from around the north and south of the country, as well as Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Ideal for romantic date nights, family celebrations and staff parties, guests enjoy a relaxed and authentic dining experience, with a blend of traditional and contemporary Indian cuisine accompanied by a warm welcome and attentive service.
Listed in the National Curry Club Guide as one of the best Indian restaurants in the county, India Village also offers an extensive takeaway menu with easy online ordering.
For more information tel: 01526 354657 or visit www.indianwoodhall.co.uk
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF!
Situated in an exclusive cedar wood cabin, Woodhall Well Being’s owner and award-winning beauty therapist Stacy Cleaver has created a peaceful oasis. The range of bespoke luxury skin and body treatments include the latest SkinBetter Science, Dermaquest and Priori skin care therapies which are all paraben, fragrance and dye free and not tested on animals.
Winner of Individual Salon of the Year, Stacy offers exceptional, expert body treatments, specialised waxing, Jessica GELeration nails and her renowned two-hour indulgent ‘Signature Treatment’.
Here Stacy shares her top wellness tips:
• Prioritise sleep – take Magnesium Glycinate 30 mins before going to bed.• Gut health – Eat 30 plants a week. Internal health = external skin health!
• Kefir yogurt – drink one small glass a day. It is supercharged with digestive enzymes.
• Cold showers induce alertness and concentration.
• Quantum Healing, such as meditation, visualisation techniques or sound therapy help people make profound shifts in their physical and emotional wellbeing.
For more information visit www.woodhallwellbeing.co.uk
Photographs: Mick Fox