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Grantham & Around/United Kingdom

Introducing Grantham & Around

Those that recall the colourful 12-year reign of Britain’s first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, will find a fine model of her vision for Britain in the pleasing red-brick town of her birth. Baroness Thatcher first came into the world above her father’s grocery shop at 2 North Pde, now a chiropractor’s clinic with a modest plaque to signify its former inhabitant. Sir Isaac Newton was also born and raised in the vicinity, and his statue stands erect in front of the guildhall; as yet conspicuously unaccompanied by a statue of Maggie.

The tourist office (406166; granthamtic@southkesteven.gov.uk; St Peter’s Hill; 9.30am-4.30pm Mon-Fri, 9.30am-1pm Sat) is in the guildhall complex.

Until a commemorative statue is erected, the Iron Lady must content herself with her latex puppet from the hit 1980s political satire Spitting Image in the town’s museum (568783; St Peter’s Hill; admission free; 10am-5pm Mon-Sat). Here too is one of her famous handbags and spangled gowns, as well as displays on Sir Isaac Newton and another of Grantham’s trailblazing women, Edith Smith, who became Britain’s first policewoman in 1914.

The part 13th- part 16th-century parish church of St Wulfram’s (9am-4pm Apr-Sep, 9am-12.30pm Oct-Mar) is easily tracked down thanks to its needle-sharp 85m spire. It has an interesting crypt chapel and hidden up a steep stairwell is a rare 16th-century chained library where a young Isaac Newton once pored over his studies.

One of several favoured sets for ruffle-and-lace English period dramas in the region, the Restoration country-mansion Belton House (NT; 566116; A607; adult/child under 16yr £8/4.50, grounds only £6/3.50; 12.30-5pm Wed-Sun Apr-Oct) sits sedately amid a 400-hectare park 3 miles northeast of Grantham. Built in 1688 for Sir John Brownlow, it shelters some astonishingly ornate woodcarvings attributed to the master Dutch carver Grinling Gibbons. In the beautiful gardens is a sundial made famous in Helen Cresswell’s children’s classic Moondial. Bus 609 (15 minutes) runs here from near Grantham’s train station.