Stamford named best place to live in Britain
Stamford has been named as Britain's best place to live by The Sunday Times.
Yesterday the newspaper published a list of the top 101 places to live in Britain, with Stamford firmly at the top of the heap despite stiff competition from chic suburbs and vibrant villages.
The town was described as 'a reminder of the days when Britain was hale and hearty'.
The accolade rewarded the town's mix of ancient and modern, architecture pretty enough for a host of costume dramas, hostelries such as the historic George Hotel with its Anglo-Saxon roots and organic produce retailers next to designer boutiques.
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Judged important were the doorstep attractions of Burghley House, Rutland Water and the beautiful Rutland countryside and the fact that Stamford is 55 minutes by train to London Kings Cross from nearby Peterborough.
The newspaper compiled its list from data including crime statistics, school performance and house prices.
It also considered the elements that enhance life and change outlook, such as community spirit, proximity to Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and transport links.
And then a visit to Stamford last Thursday clinched it, partly thanks to Mary Davies from Stamford Tourist Information Centre.
Mary took reporter Matt Rudd on a whistle stop tour of the town, pointing out all the independent shops and some of the town's food gems.
"I am passionate about the town so I wanted him to see what a great place it is.
"This is going to be really good for Stamford," said Mary.
Special Sunday Times mentions went to Karen Brammer, owner of Stamford Cheese Cellar, and Mark Brecknock, landlord at Melbourn Brothers who left London for Stamford and described it as 'a cracking place'.
And a picture spread shows butcher Gordon Childs with a tray of enticing pork pies and florist Tricia Porters on the popular Friday market with the headline 'No porkies: Stamford is No 1'.
Stamford is 'Cotswolds without the cars' said the Sunday Times, describing it as 'a charming snob-free Lincolnshire town'.
Summing up the character and community spirit that perhaps won the day over 100 other nominated places was the comment: 'you are never more than a collywobble from a pint or a prayer book'.
Editor Helen Davies said: "It was a question of finding somewhere with its own identity with a range of individual shops but that was commutable to London, and where the property market has not spiralled to an improbable bubble.
"Plus Stamford is extremely pretty and very desirable."
Business is likely to be booming this coming weekend, suggests Chris Pitman, general manager at the George Hotel for the last 20 years.
"It was an amazing article.
"We are likely to be very busy at the weekend, with people wanting to come and stay and see this amazing town for themselves.
"And it won't be just us, it will be great for all the pubs, hotels and restaurants," he said.
Vernon Moore, of Moores estate agents, expects to see the impact two or three weeks down the line.
He said: "People will be studying the Stamford property market online first and then the calls will start coming in to us probably two or three weeks later as they start to seriously explore buying a house.
"It won't necessarily push prices up, but it all helps create a healthy market.
"We do bang the drum for the town nationally, particularly to the London market, where people are surprised at just how accessible Stamford is.
"We will definitely be using this coverage at the 'Move to the Country' property show in London in May."
For South Kesteven District Council, leader Linda Neal said: "We are extremely fortunate to have a town with the character and beauty of Stamford within the district.
"We have always known it's a fabulous place to live, but this confirms it on a national stage and it looks like another of our best kept secrets is out.
"We shall do all we can to build on that to promote the town as a great place to live, work and do business. "
Kendal in Cumbria was runner-up for The Sunday Times' best place to live title, followed by Wye in Kent and Thornbury in Gloucestershire.