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Bourne is a small market town nestling between Spalding in the east and Stamford in the west. Known as a gateway to the Lincolnshire Fens, Bourne is surrounded by sprawling fields, waterways and drainage dykes.

It takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘burra’ meaning ‘stream coming from a natural spring’. A series of underground natural springs still supply the town with its pure drinking water – Bourne is reputed to have the purest drinking water in England.

Bourne is one of several Fenland settlements claiming to be the birthplace of Hereward the Wake, who led the final Anglo-Saxon revolt against the conquering Normans. In Roman times, Ermine Street (otherwise known as the old Great North Road, and which forms the basis of today’s A1), passed through Bourne on its way from London to York. King Street, in the town centre, is part of Ermine Street. Car Dyke – an 85mile long Roman canal/dyke – also passes through Bourne. Car Dyke formed part of a continuous waterway system built by the Romans that stretched from Cambridge to York.

Top 5 Things to do in Bourne

  1. Visit Grimsthorpe Castle, an impressive stately home with delightful gardens and magnificent parkland, dating back over 800 years. With several cycle trails through the beautiful parkland – you can hire bikes or take your own – and a Kids’ Adventure Playground, Grimsthorpe Castle offers fun for all the family.
  2. Visit Bourne Heritage Centre at Baldock’s Mill. This restored water mill houses fascinating displays from the town’s illustrious past and also commemorates two of its most famous sons: Charles Frederick Worth and Raymond Mays (see below).
  3. Take an Architecture Trail through the town, stopping off at the impressive Grade II Listed Red Hall (now used by Bourne United Charities) and the parish church of St Peter and St Paul, once part of Bourne Abbey until it was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII. The town’s Wellhead Gardens contains St Peter’s Pool, reputed to be filled by 7 underground springs.
  4. Explore Bourne Woods. Located on the western edge of the town, Bourne Woods is 400 acres of unspoilt Forestry Commission land with walking trails criss-crossing it. Car park. Picnic area. No toilets.
  5. Take a tour of Hansen’s Chocolate House in nearby Folkingham. Hansen’s Chocolate House sells hand-made chocolates and has its very own factory which you can tour and learn all about the history of chocolate.


Bourne’s Famous Sons

William Cecil – court favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and founder of Burghley House in nearby Stamford. Born in what is now The Burghley Arms.

Charles Frederick Worth – famous dress designer and perfumier who moved to Paris and founded the House of Worth.

Raymond Mays – one of the most important figures in the development of British motor sport. A successful racing driver who turned his talent and experience to designing cars, setting up ERA and then BRM in the town. Famous racing drivers who drove for the Bourne-based teams include Sir Jackie Stewart (ERA) and Graham Hill who won his world championship driving a BRM.

Mike Pilbeam – a former designer for BRM, set up the successful Pilbeam Racing Designs in 1975. Pilbeam Racing has won 17 Hillclimb titles in the last 21 years and also regularly competes in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race.

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