2016 marks the 350th anniversary of Sir Isaac Newton's Year of Wonders, and Woolsthorpe Manor, just over seven miles away from Grantham centre, is where the magic first occurred back in 1666. Woolsthorpe is the birthplace and family of the much-celebrated physicist and mathematician, as well as home to the exact spot where Newton developed many of his theories. A modest house furnished in a 17th century style, the manor offers an educational and historic day of fun for all the family. Stroll around the orchard and spot the famous apple tree that first inspired Newton's theory of gravitation, or explore a world of wonders in the Science Centre.
Newton was born in 1642 and became one of the worlds most influential scientists of all time, also taking up the diverse roles of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, President of the Royal Society, and Master of the Royal Mint. Each room in the quaint farmhouse aims to reflect his amazing work, and help budding scientists young and old to understand and explore his theories.
The Science Centre in particular allows visitors to play with light and physical forces, gaining a deeper appreciation for the work Newton undertook in the process. Volunteers are available to guide young children to discover more about prisms and gravity, answering questions along the way. In the meantime, regular pop-up workshops, interactive family events and even stargazing nights take place at the manor throughout the year, making it perfect for little ones with a burning passion for discovery.
Newton's scientific interest started early, when he was constantly asking his teachers questions that they could not answer. Inspired by the apple tree that could be seen from his bedroom window, Isaac wondered why the fruit fell straight to the ground as opposed to elsewhere. There must be a power drawing it directly to the earth, he thought. You can see the ancestor of the exact apple tree in the orchard as you wander around the beautiful garden adjacent to the farmhouse. It's a great photo opportunity and a spot that has been visited by Newton fans for over three centuries.
If you have a young Newton enthusiast or know a physics buff, there are plenty of quirky gifts and souvenirs to take home. Choose from brain-boggling puzzles, locally hand-turned wooden apples and, of course, the mesmerising Newton's cradle. There's also a selection of treats for the sweet tooth, from traditional jam to chocolate-smothered marzipan, and local favourite Grantham Gingerbread.
When you're feeling especially peckish, pop into the small yet charming Newton's Barn Coffee Shop. Serving a range of herbal teas, filter coffee and scrumptious hot chocolate, it's the perfect spot for a pick-me-up. Fancy something a little more filling? Try the freshly made sandwiches, tummy-warming soup and indulgent pastries.
Woolsthorpe Manor is open all year round but please visit their website for specific opening times. Adult tickets start from £8.80, and child tickets cost £4.40. There's also a family option, which starts from £22.00. Admission includes access to the house and gardens.