Sleaford

Sleaford is a small, attractive English market town located in the Lincolnshire Fenlands, with lots to do and see.

Why not visit the nationally acclaimed National Centre for Craft & Design – a great way to spend a few hours? Or how about visiting an award-winning working watermill or an 8- sail working windmill? For aviation buffs, there is the Cranwell Aviation Heritage Centre and RAF Digby Ops Room, both giving a fascinating insight into the history of British aviation.

Did you know that Sleaford takes its name from its position as a crossing place (or ford) on the River Slea, and that its skyline is dominated by the 144ft stone spire of the parish church of St Denys, which is one of the tallest in England?

Places of interest in Sleaford

Two of Sleaford’s most famous landmarks are to be found in the town’s Market Square. St Denys’ Church is the 13th century parish church of Sleaford and has one of the country’s oldest stone spires. Carre’s Hospital is a group of stone almshouses founded by local baronet, Sir Robert Carre, in 1636 for ‘twelve poor men and one servant’.

Navigation House is one of only a handful of surviving canal offices in the country. It tells the fascinating story of life on the River Slea through the ages. Free Admission. Location: Navigation Wharf, Carre Street, Sleaford, NG34 7TW.

National Centre for Craft & Design. Otherwise known as The Hub, The National Centre for Craft and Design is the country’s largest venue ‘entirely dedicated to the exhibition, celebration and promotion of contemporary and international craft and design’. With free admission, frequently changing exhibitions, demonstrations, and children’s activities, The Hub is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. Location: Navigation Wharfe, Carre Street, Sleaford, NG34 7TW.

Cogglesford Watermill. This award-winning watermill, thought to be the only Sheriff’s watermill still working in England, is situated just over half a mile from Sleaford town centre, in a beautiful setting on the banks of the River Slea. Free admission. Open daily. Milling takes place on the second Sunday of each month. On all other days, you can watch a video of the milling process. There is an award-winning cafe adjacent to the watermill, selling delicious meals and snacks. Location: East Road, Sleaford, Ng34 7EQ.

Cranwell Aviation Heritage Centre. Located just 3 miles from Sleaford near the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell (where all RAF pilots and officers are trained, including Prince William). This small aviation centre tells the story of RAF Cranwell, from its early days as a Royal Navy air service base to the present day. There are some great interactive exhibits including a flight simulator, navigation, aircraft recogniton, supply drop, and propeller development. Free admission. Location: Heath Farm, North Rauceby, Sleaford, NG34 8QR.

RAF Digby Ops Room. The Sector Operations Room, located in a WW2 bunker, accurately replicates a typical day during the Battle of Britain in 1940. With a fascinating story to tell and a great attention to detail, this museum is well worth a visit. Free Admission. Open: Sunday May – October. Guided Tour at 11am. No need to book, just arrive in good time at the Sports Ground Car Park opposite RAF Digby main gate. Location: RAF Digby Sector Operations Room Museum, RAF Digby, Lincoln, LN4 3HL.

Heckington Station Railway Museum. This museum, 5 miles from Sleaford, gives a fascinating insight into rail travel in a byegone era through artefacts and replicas of a ticket office and the stationmaster’s office. Located in the restored old Victorian station buildings at Heckington railway station. Open: Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from March – September from 12 noon – 5pm. Location: Heckington Railway Station, Station Rd, Heckington, Sleaford, NG32 9JJ.

Heckington Windmill. With 5 floors to explore in England’s only surviving 8 sailed windmill and fantastic views of the surrounding countryside, the windmill is well worth a visit. The shop on the ground floor sells flour products, cookery books and gifts. There is a small charge (£2 per adult, £1 per child) to visit the upper floors where you can see stoneground flour being produced on milling days. Open daily from 11- 5. Tea Rooms serving food with ‘a Viennese twist’. Location: Vale Rd, Heckington, Sleaford, NG34 9JW.