Bawtry may stand on the River Idle but the townsfolk are anything but – today they are determined to encourage many more people to discover how much there is to enjoy here. And following our visit, I quite understood why. Located on the South Yorkshire border with Nottinghamshire, between the conjunction of the A614, A631 and A638 roads, this gorgeous market town is centred around its main street, Market Hill, a fitting nod to its history when it was a thriving market town. Its location provides it with a sleepy, real country feel and yet it enjoys easy road links to Sheffield, Doncaster, Mansfield and Lincoln, all under an hour’s drive away.
South Parade is a terrace of Georgian houses, and both Market Hill and High Street have a number of buildings from that period, so it’s worth having a wander around the streets and seeing how many properties you can find.
The White Hart on Swan Street is the oldest surviving pub in Bawtry, dating to 1689. Keep an eye out for the older Swan Inn, also on Swan Street, although this has now been converted for other uses.
Another notable building is the Grade II listed manor house, Bawtry Hall. Like the town, the hall has reinvented itself over the years. Originally built in 1778 as a family home for mill owner Pemberton Milnes, it was requisitioned by the War Office to become the northern RAF Bomber Command HQ. Bombing raids during the Second World War and the Falklands conflict were coordinated in the operations room. Today, Bawtry Hall and its seven acres of land provide an exquisite venue and backdrop for weddings and celebrations.
Bag a Property
The average house price for a three-bedroom detached is typically around £299,000, whilst two bedroom terraced properties are available from £107,000 and there are some flats on sale from £111,000. There is a good selection of property across the town, including a fair number of rental listings.
There are a number of excellent nursery, primary, C of E and catholic schools in the town and the reputable Serlby Park Academy, making it an excellent place for families to reside.
At under an hour from larger towns and cities, it is also a great commuter base and this is reflected in the property prices.
Cafe & Cocktails
And for foodies there is a wonderful range of places to eat from delicious breakfast and brunch, morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
If coffee and cakes is your thing, or even just coffee if you are being good ( I wasn’t. Ha.), then the Magenta tea room has some lovely sweet treats whilst I cannot recommend Cafe Express enough for coffee - it’s located on the front of the Crown Hotel and is a really smart location for a seamless experience. Great coffee!
No. 9 bar and dining has a fantastic drinks list and superb food. Ziniz restaurant and wine bar is another favourite with the locals and there’s no shortage of cocktails here. It’s a sophisticated venue that makes you feel quite special. 31 Market Place Cocktail Bar and Bistro is also very popular.
The Turnpike Freehouse is another top notch venue for socialising with a broad drinks list and great customer service. Caviars Restaurant and Wine Bar is a great choice for discerning wine lovers. And no visit to Bawtry would be complete without a drink in the Swan or the Crown Hotel.
Bawtry seems to be blessed with a fabulous array of retail delights. There is everything from butchers, bakers and whilst no candle stick makers, there are plenty of gift and interior shops that do sell candles and candle sticks!
Whilst wandering around, I discovered quite a few interesting outlets and quirky goods with a distinct lean towards vintage and there is certainly a penchant for antiques in the town.
For beauty and pampering, pay a visit to House of Lindsey, Face Facts, Medispa, Chappelles hairdressing and Soul hairdressing, amongst others.
Womacks Interior Design and Furniture is an absolute delight and treasure trove - prepare to spend quite some time in there! Orbis jewellery, Etc… and Pixy Daisy are all great little finds for gift hunters, also check out the Sorrento boutique.
Designer clothing boutiques offer a delightful range offering some of the most desirable brands for ladies and gents, including Cielo women’s wear, Revolver casual wear and be sure to treat your fella in the famous Robinsons of Bawtry.
I enjoyed strolling around the Courtyard shopping centre which has a lovely selection of independent stores. In fact, Bawtry has encouraged independent traders so it is very diverse and unusual.
Regular readers will know that I am always on the look out for a decent roast, even in the summer(!); it’s a staple really, isn’t it. There are a couple of excellent choices in the town, perfect after a leisurely town walk. They are popular though so please check if you need to book.
If you are looking for a hearty meal and a big plate, then head to the Ship Inn which will not disappoint, or try the famous Crown Hotel’s lovely fare. It gets booked quickly for a reason!
If you are looking for a sophisticated venue and top notch food then Bawtry’s Bar and Brasserie is your one-stop. Great portions, delicious taste, and a lovely restaurant atmosphere.
There are some really great dining options in Bawtry, not just for Sunday roast, including Emilios, El Toro, Pangea, China Rose, the Robata Grill at the Crown Hotel and many more.
Past in the Present
The town’s name derives from the Old English ‘Baltry’ which is believed to mean ‘tree rounded like a ball’ or ‘Balda’s tree’. Its roots can be traced back at least to Roman times, when it lay across the route from Lincoln to York. Findings have shown there were several Roman military camps in the area, and the legions are thought to have crossed the River Idle close to where the stone bridge on Gainsborough Road now stands.
Bawtry first rose to prominence as an inland port in the 12th century, thanks to the Idle, a tributary of the river Trent, and it was granted its charter in 1213. In medieval times, roads were so bad that rivers were the preferred form of transport, giving the town an excellent advantage with its prime location. By the 14th century, Bawtry was a well-established river port.
By the late 18th century, traffic bound for the Trent and Humber was re-routed on to the newly-opened Chesterfield Canal, and the roads improved to such an extent that Bawtry transferred its attention to becoming a major stopping ‘stage’ for horse drawn coaches. Evidence of its posting houses are still apparent today.
Bawtry is very much a town of today but it doesn’t shun its history. Archaeologists have unearthed a dozen skeletons off Tickhill Road. The remains date from the 14th century when a hospital run by monks was located there. St Nicholas Church dates even further back. It was founded around 1200, although it only became Bawtry’s Parish Church in Victorian times.
Another notable fact is that this is unquestionably Pilgrim Fathers country – just up the road is Scrooby, home to the pilgrims’ leader William Bradford – and their minister, Richard Clifton, preached at St Nicholas. The link is commemorated in local names including the Bawtry Mayflower Primary School.
Katey Dent is the Sales Manager at the prestigious award-wining Crown Hotel, and has a wealth of knowledge on working in Bawtry and its thriving business community.
Best thing about living and working in Bawtry?
I have worked in Bawtry for around 15 years. Its just the best place and I’ve met some amazing characters.
Working at the Crown and Bawtry Hall, it’s brilliant to have an array of independent boutique shops, restaurants and bars that we can promote to our corporate and leisure guests coming to stay, and they can walk around the town from the hotel with no need for taxis.
There is a strong sense of collaboration amongst the business owners and traders here which also makes it really special.
It’s a great place for girlie drinks, lunch and dinner – Bawtry has it all.
We have the Robata Grill Restaurant at the Crown, and the steaks are incredible. Our new Terrace is also brilliant – it’s doggy friendly and has heaters and canopies so it’s good even in the winter and you can watch the world go by!
The China Rose is always fabulous and as a group of girls we love the music tribute nights – Chinese food, Live music and DJ – what more could you need on a night out!
Ziniz is great to sit in the window with a cocktail or glass of wine!
The options for going out are fantastic, we really are blessed here!
Describe Bawtry's USP
Many I have already mentioned, but the people make Bawtry! The shop, bar and restaurant owners are a great bunch and we all talk to each other, and have beers together. As a town we want to make it work – everyone cares and wants to make it amazing.
We have the Bawtry Retail Association which is the gel for the town. Run by Emma and Ross who both do an amazing job – the BRA promotes the town and they also run the social media to keep bringing visitors in to enjoy our wares.