Delightful STAMFORD is a handsome little limestone town of yellow-grey seventeenth- and eighteenth-century buildings edging narrow streets that slope up from the River Welland. The town's salad days were as a centre of Lincolnshire's medieval wool and cloth trade and it was then that its wealthy merchants built the medley of stone churches and houses. Stamford was also the home of William Cecil, Elizabeth's chief minister, who built his splendid mansion, BurghleyHouse, close by. The town survived the collapse of the wool trade, and, more recently, escaped the three main threats to old English towns – the Industrial Revolution, wartime bombing and postwar development – and was designated the country's first Conservation Area in 1967.
Above all, it's the harmony of Stamford's architecture that pleases, rather than any specific sight. There are, nevertheless, a handful of buildings of some special interest amongst the web of narrow streets that make up the town's compact centre. In the summer, there's open-air Shakespeare at nearby Tolethorpe Hall.
Stamford train station has frequent services from Cambridge, Leicester and Oakham.