A survey of UK travel experts has revealed the 10 most charming towns in the East Midlands - and two of them are on our doorstep!
The survey by TravelMag.com invited 100 travel writers, photographers and selected professionals to name the towns they consider the most appealing.
And Long Sutton and Stamford were both named in the Top 10.
Those surveyed were asked to vote for towns in any of the region’s six recognised shires (Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland) with populations of between 3,000 and 50,000 people.
Each participant was asked to disclose their top three choices before all votes were added up to produce the final ten.
The presence of Stamford on the list is little surprise, given that it was voted the best place to live in the United Kingdom in another survey in 2013.
So what did the survey have to say about our towns which we already know and love?
Long Sutton - Sitting in the south Lincolnshire Fens, the market town of Long Sutton has been named among the best-kept villages in the region – and for good reason. Through spring and summer, floral displays adorn the streets and buildings in and around the Market Place and in the High Street, creating a visual feast for visitors and locals alike. The town is also home to numerous examples of fine Georgian architecture as well as St Mary’s Church and its lead-covered timber spire, thought to be the highest, oldest and best-preserved lead spire in England and possibly Europe. Other places of interest include a Masonic lodge, while a Civic Society plays an active role in preserving local landmarks.
Stamford - Nestled on the River Welland in Lincolnshire, the bustling market town of Stamford was once proclaimed by the novelist Sir Walter Scott as “the finest stone town in England”. Such lofty praise would help ensure that 600 of its mellow limestone buildings gained listed status, including five medieval churches. Little wonder that it commands such curiosity. Among the historical highlights are one of the oldest provincial theatres in England, the Steam Brewery, Browne’s Hospital’s and the 12th century ruins of St Leonard’s Priory. A popular Town Trail invites visitors to explore Stamford in methodical fashion, taking in its passageways, main thoroughfare and market squares.