Helpston, the birthplace of poet John Clare
John Clare is often considered to be one of the most important 19th-century poets. He was born in the village of Helpston in 1793 and lived next door to The Bluebell Inn until 1832. For more contact The John Clare Society here
John Clare’s Cottage
Clare's childhood home was one of a pair of cottages next to the pub. The other cottage was occupied by a retired farmer and when he died the cottages were turned into four tenements. Clare's family lived in two rooms, 1up and 1 down. The cottage is open to the public and hosts a variety of events. Find out more here. http://www.clarecottage.org/
John Clare knew this as “Bachelors Hall”, home of the Billings brothers, James and John. They shared an interest in books and together they spent many evenings singing, drinking and telling ghost stories.
Exeter Arms Public House
This was once the village courthouse. Bullock fairs were also once hosted in the yard. After John Clare’s death, his body was brought back from Northampton and stored here overnight before his burial. This is now a private residence.
Established in 1986 this gallery and framing studio displays a mix of paintings, maps and prints (old and new) many of local interest and with a link to John Clare and the countryside.
Open: Wednesday – Saturday 1200-1700 or by appointment.
Enquiries: 01733 252555
St. Botolph’s Church
The beautiful church in the heart of Helpston and the final resting place of John Clare. "Flower cushions" are placed around his grave every year during the John Clare festival organised by The John Clare Society.
Swaddywell Pit Nature Reserve
A nature lover’s dream. In Roman times, this nature reserve was a lime-stone quarry. There’s open water, reed beds, scrub and grassland, providing food and shelter for a variety of birds, insects and other wildlife. During spring and summer, the reserve comes alive with dragonflies, newts, pyramidal flowers and bee orchids. Swaddywell is one of six local nature reserves managed by The Langdyke Trust
There are numerous walks visitor to Helpston may take. At the Bluebell, we often organise group walks followed by refreshments. Keep an eye on our events page and be sure to sign up to our newsletter here to keep up to date.