An AONB is a 'an area of outstanding natural beauty'. The Lincolnshire wolds certainly fit this description. The gently sloping, or rolling hills are farmed intensively, but this agricultural landscape has not been destroyed by today's modern farming methods.
There are plenty of little lanes,villages and pubs to explore at your leisure in the area that extends for a few miles west of , roughly, the A16 road once north of Spilsby (see a Lincolnshire map). Horncastle is thus towards the bottom of this area - but an excellent base to choose/
note : there are several such AONB areas in England, they are not 'wild' country like the National parks but always pretty. Most are much more heavily touristed than the Lincs wolds, like the tourist infested Coswolds.
Of all the thirty odd antique shops in Horncastle it is probably Clare Boam's Old Co-Op, General Furniture and Bric-a-Brac, in North street that show benefits from the principle of hope over experience.
The front room of the shop is a little ragged, but beyond that it descends into a complete shambles of crockery, books, glassware, furniture records, electricals and just about anything else you could think of it.
Vans regularly bring in more consignments of stuff from house clearances, rejected lots from auctions and the lot. The chances are that the stuff has already been picked over several times by dealers before you get to it, but in the chaos amd mayhem there is always the seeming possibility that you might just strike gold. That elusive piece of Wedgewood just might be lurking in an 1970's jigsaw of the Royal family with half a dozen pieces missing.
The real star of the show here, by the way, is a white Macaw (at least I think it is) at the cash desk who says hellow to everyone. Also note the signed postcards of celebrities who have visited the place.
The vast majority of visitors to Horncastle spend all their time in the town's antique shops.
If you can bear to tear yourself away from the Delft and Wedgewood for a while, you might be interested to know that the tourist information office in North street do a little free leaflet - a town trail. It doesn't take long to do the loop of the town, and it does turn up some interesting bits and pieces. The two 'off the beaten path' tips were a result of this, for example.
Why can't adults speak properly ? The little river Bain runs through the town, and the council has done a good job of making it a nice place to be. Just below the bridge that runs between the Somerfield and Tesco supermarkets are some steps where loads of ducks, mallards, teals, swans and other watery fowl congregate for free food.
Daddy says it's also a great place for chatting with 'yummy mummies' who are also feeding the ducks there as well.
He mst be the most well known celebrity in Horncastle. He always says 'hello' to me in a strange squarky voice when I'm taken into the Old Co-op antiques shop in Horncastle. I normally reply 'Hi-ya' to him, and this continues for about five minutes. It's always good to meet 'Chester' sat there on his perch and preening his feathers. He also seems to have a bigger spoken vocabulary than me - at the moment.
Great place by the way, loads of stuff to mess with all over the place, although Dad seems to push me through the glassware and crockery rooms a bit sharpish - can't imagine why.
At the other end of the scale in terms of antique shops in Horncastle to the old co-op is the Trinity antiques centre. Oddly, Mrs Boam owns both enterprises, as well as the 'Great expectations' shop which lies halfway inbetween, both physically and in terms of the quality of the stock carried.
This particular shop is situated in what was a 'chapel of ease' attached to the Parish Church. Abandoned in the 1970's it has now been wonderfully restored by a preservation society, and given over to commerce to ensure it's continued upkeep.
Although there are some 30 odd antique shops in the town, make sure that this one is on your list.
If you are visiting Horncastle, then the chances are that you are there for the thirty plus antique shops, or to use it as a base for exploring the Lincolnshire world - an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB)
Hornacstle itslef, whilst being an attractive little town has little in the way of 'must do's. The Parish church does however date back to the 13th Century, and despite the usual Victorial make-over remains an impressive building. The stained glass is especially impressive.
Unless you go along to a service, the church is usually only open for viewing between midday two O'clock in the afternoon.