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Arthur Mee in The Kings England said Southwell was "a little place apart from the rushing world." Southwell is a charming market town with many delights to offer the visitor.
Pronounced 'Suth'll' by most visitors and 'South-well' by most residents. Which should it be? Debate rages, quietly.
Towering over the town is Southwell Minster, with its lead-capped spires known locally as the ‘pepper pot’ spires.
The celebrated Chapter House displays astonishing carvings of oak leaves and animals including dogs, hares, monkeys and mice!
On the edge of the town is the Workhouse. Built in the 1820’s it is the best-preserved workhouse in England and was used by homeless families as recently as the 1970’s. The National Trust has done a spruce restoration job, but has deliberately left most of the brightly whitewashed rooms empty. There is a powerfully written handbook or audio tour available for visitors.
The market place bustles at weekends. Good food is clearly important here, judging by the organic bread and quality cheese, meat and fish on offer. There are also outstanding cafes and restaurants and a regular country market selling home-made cakes and jams, free range eggs, honey and vegetables.
The world-famous cooking apple originated from Southwell from a tree in a garden now known as Bramley Tree House at 75 Church Street, Southwell. It originated from a planting by Mary Ann Brailsford circa 1809-1813.
Sometime before Mary Ann's first marriage in 1813, she planted the pips, core or apple which later grew into the tree bearing the original Bramley Seedling.
The apple is celebrated at the annual Bramley Apple Festival - a major date in the Nottinghamshire calendar which attracts visitors from across the county to the town.
Nottinghamshire's most famous poet, the "mad, bad and dangerous to know" and "Lord of Misrule", Lord Byron spent three years lodging with his mother, Catherine, at Burgage Manor before they both decamped to Newstead Abbey.
The manor is now occupied by Mr Geoffrey Bond, a Lord Byron doyen and member of The Byron Society.
Held annually and now considered one of the country's premier folk events, the festival has something for everyone including music, dance, a children's festival and much more. It's a must for folk-loving folk.
Tickets are now on sale!
Visit the Gate to Southwell Festival website for information on the 2013 line-up, tickets and latest news.
For information on other events visit the Southwell Town Council events page
A number of fascinating heritage trails are available in leaflet form and provide a guided tour of the historically significant areas in and around Southwell:
The town-centre Saracen’s Head Hotel is where Charles I spent his last night of freedom before losing his own head, and has the well-weathered charm of a medieval coaching inn.
In the neighbouring village of Upton, the British Horological Institute's fascinating clock and watch collection is held at Upton Hall.
For racing enthusiasts, Southwell Racecourse is one of the country's few all-weather racecourses.
Southwell Tourist Information Centre
The Minster Centre
10am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm Saturdays
11am to 2pm Sundays (April to October only)