The essential guide to.... Boston
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of the great joys of following a football team is the chance to travel
to new places, see new people, experience new stadiums, drink new ales,
eat good food and watch good football. Well, that’s the theory.
The reality is frequently somewhat different. The reality is
really about enduring a nine hour traffic jam on a filthy bus driven by
a blind alcoholic, surrounded by people who might well have emerged from
the nearest funny farm climbing over the seats and making a mess in the
And that's just getting to the game. By far the worst part is actually
arriving at your destination. We've all suffered that horrible sickness
in the pits of our stomachs as the coach enters an area of such terrifying
urban deprivation that you start praying aloud to any god that happens
to be listening to take you away, or at least send some kind of sign that
the rubble is merely a satellite ghetto of the cultured metropolis awaiting
for you at the end of your trip. But then suddenly the brakes screech
and the driver is barking at you to 'get the living fuck off the motherfucking
bus' – aaaand relax! You’ve arrived.
But it doesn't have to be this way, which is why impsTALK has taken time
out of its very, very busy schedule of watching ESPN Classic to give you
all the advice and guidance you need to make sure that
your trip to Boston, Lincolnshire, is both slightly less horrifying than
it might be - AND non-fatal to boot. Don't say we're not setting our sights
high with this.
On 19 January 2006, NASA launched a space probe called New Horizons.
Ahead of it lay a 4.7 billion mile, nine and a half year trek to Pluto.
On the same day, Mike Dobson, a plumber living in Boston, attempted
to make the one and half mile round trip to ASDA to purchase a cucumber
and a pint of semi-skimmed milk. Who do you think will reach their
(Hint: it’s not Mike).
probe has already sailed past Mars. It's already zipped through Jupiter's
back yard. But Mike, at this precise moment, is still sat in a traffic
jam down Sleaford Road wondering what’s causing the hold up. Little
does he realise that the cause is actually, er, Boston’s
often joke that they can drive from Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield, Bangkok,
Lima, Perth - or any other local city - and find that their journey time
is doubled merely by attempting to circumnavigate Liquorpond Street. But
it’s actually true. Visiting fans are frequently caught out on their
trips to Boston when they fail to allow three hours for the last 500 metres
down John Adams Way, the dual carriageway that neatly bisects the town
But that's the least of your worries, because merely getting to Boston
can be a tortuous task in itself. Lincolnshire's roads have been explicitly
designed to kill as many people as possible through an innovate combination
of temptingly flat, straight stretches of asphalt, a dearth of dual carriageways,
slow moving lines of agricultural and holiday traffic and an above average
number of fat exhaust-tastic boy racers. And that’s before you even
factor in the deep drains that run parallel to most major trunk roads.
So even if you do manage to swerve to avoid the carnage of an unfolding
pileup in front of you, all that’s likely to happen is that your
car will sail through the air only to slam into water, flip over, sink
and condemn you to a slow, painful death struggling to escape your vehicle
in a hopeless tangle of seatbelt. Still, on a brighter note....er.....
well, there isn't really one.
Most people will, at some stage, approach Boston on the A52,
which is the road connecting Boston with Grantham and, further along,
Nottingham. The A52 is a lethal road, clogged by caravans, combine harvesters,
mentalists on motorbikes, nutters in tractors and Skegness-bound coach
trips. Designed to simply prevent you getting to where you want to go,
the road is almost entirely single carriageway in Lincolnshire, meaning
it's inevitable you will at some point be stuck behind a lorry or some
other slow moving vehicle. On impsTALK's most recent trip, for example,
we found ourselves behind a mobile crane, two caravans, a water tanker
(a water tanker? I mean, come on) and - and this is the best
bit - a HOUSE on a lorry. Not a mobile caravan. A big wooden house.
If you survive the A52 and don't suffer an aneurysm through sheer frustration,
you will eventually reach the outskirts of Boston. Or best advice is to
simply ditch your car at this point and hike the remainder of the journey
on foot. It’ll be quicker, cheaper and you won’t have your
Parking at the ground is permit only, so don't try it.
But you won't find parking terribly difficult. Check out our fantastical
Live - parking guide thingy instead. It's cranky.
you decide to skip the delights of the A52, you may opt to take a
more leisurely route to Boston: train. Good luck.
Ah. The romance of rail. Where else in the world can you be mugged
by a teenage gang of feral sociopaths, stabbed in the head by a mentalist
because you may or may not have looked at his missus, bum-violated
in the toilets by an escaped sex offender and be forced, practically
at gunpoint, to part with £875.42p for the privilege? Nowhere!
Well, apart from Hull, but we can pretend, as most people do, that
Hull doesn't exist. And in parts of London you really are forced cough
up at gunpoint, especially if you're wearing a coat and are surrounded
by CO19 officers. But we digress. Transport in Britain is a nightmare.
Frankly, it was probably easier to do Workington away in the Bronze
Unless you're travelling to Boston from Skegness, and if you need
our help with that one you really need to seek immediate execution,
a train journey to Boston will almost certainly mean getting first
to Nottingham and changing there to catch the Nottingham-Skegness
is perhaps one of the more desperate rail journeys in the world. Operated
by East Midlands Trains, the service runs along a section of track
plagued so badly by metal fatigue that an attempt to run an actual
train along it (i.e not one of the green square things) resulted in
the rails simply falling to pieces.
lack of investment in basic infrastructure - and we're guessing
rails are pretty important to trains - tells you everything you
need to know about this particular service. Essentially, if a green
square thing were to fly off a section of cracked rail and submerge
itself in a drain, there's not going to be the same kind post-Hatfield
wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Will this collection of shitpuppets be any better than the
last collection of shitpuppets?
a beauty! A green thing sits at Grantham station. If the wind is
blowing the right way, these bad boys can sometimes exceed 31mph
the time of writing, the trains depart from platform two at Nottingham
station. Platform two is located as far from the main building as it is
possible to go, and it's only when you arrive to catch the train that
you realise why. Put in simple terms, the
passengers are the kind of people who think a holiday in Skegness is an
acceptable way to spend their leisure time. And they don't own cars. The
sort of people, in other words, who want to go to Skegness and - get this!
- who do not own a caravan. You may have thought
this was impossible, but there, on platform two, it is an everyday fact
If there are any seats on the train, and in summer you may struggle, make
sure you avoid sitting next to the customary Nottingham family comprising
eight moronic kids, an obese mother telling each child in turn to 'saddahn
ya little fucker or I'll crush yer fuckin' skull' and a comatose
grandmother, high on morphine and awaiting the blissful sweet release
of death. If you DO sit next to the family, and there is one on every
single service, you too will soon be praying for immediate death to take
you to a better, and presumably much quieter place. Unless you have a
one-way ticket to Hell, in which case you'll end up dumped by Satan himself
outside the Isaac Newton Shopping Centre in, yep, Grantham.
Nine hours later, depending on a number of variables, you may or may not
arrive in Boston. Head immediately to The Eagle pub and drink yourself
silly. You deserve it.
Useful links: East
Midlands Trains - timetable
you’re not hit by a volley of bricks, broken bottles and used
condoms the moment you step off the bus or out of your car, well done:
you’re not in Hereford. You're in Boston!
Let's be honest. Boston gets a bad press. But then where in the Midlands
doesn't these days? If it's not people shooting each other in Nottingham,
it's twelve-toed, boss-eyed freaks touching their sisters in Grantham,
fucking chickens in, well, Grantham, or eating babies in, er, well
yes, that'll be Grantham again.
And if you believe what you read in the papers, people who live in
the isolated market town of Boston, Lincolnshire are frightening monsters:
twelve fingered, earth-trembling, 400-stone gravy-sweating shaven-headed
BNP-voting fascists who are lucky have lived beyond the age of three
hours and who make their living by boiling hapless Polish migrant
workers in large vats and selling them on as bars of soap to supermarkets
in Mexico. And they do all of this while moaning about a bypass, or
down? Life not going to plan? Wife and kids fecked off? Penniless?
Visit the Stump!
It is, of course, utter nonsense. They sell the soap in China. And the bit
about Grantham is mostly true. But look, we're not going to pretend Boston
is an exciting place to visit. It isn't particularly vibrant. The shopping
is awful. The night life is dogshit, and frequently bloody. But there are
worse places to work and live. Salton City, perhaps. And Grantham.
is a town full of suprises. Many of them unpleasant, true, but scratch
beneath the surface and you'll discover a vibrant, diverse community
rich in sauce- sorry, history.
Boston is small, but if you find yourself in town with
time to kill before kick-off, there are ways to occupy your time
that don't involve picking fights with locals or trying abduct children
from Central Park (we're watching you, Barrow).
You could visit the Saturday Market, a big church, a tower with
wings, a non-existent seaside or a local RAF base. You could visit
the Guildhall Museum - if it ever reopens. You might wish to take
in some culture at Blackfriars Theatre.
Or you could go and trespass on the port and watch drunk Swedish
captains stagger back onto their grain ships with Latvian prostitutes.
Indeed, there's so much to do you'll have to remember not to miss
Built in 702BC or something daft like that, the Stump resembles some kind
of medieval skyscraper that towers over not just the town of Boston but
the surrounding twenty miles.
it is no longer possible to climb to the very top of the tower, the balcony
half way up is of sufficient height to attract the kind of suicidal depressive
who can’t be bothered to drive the ten miles to Tattershall Castle
for the more picturesque ‘head-first death plunge into the two-foot
deep moat’ finale. If the unfortunate jumper happens to land on
the grass bank of the Witham, they tend to leave a human-shaped dent that
becomes a ghoulish attraction for local school kids. And impsTALK.
If, however, you'd just rather hold off the death dive until you've at
least witnessed Boston v Burscough, you can climb up to the balcony for
a couple of quid to enjoy the view. They say on a clear day you can see
Denmark. Although they might have said Lincoln.
A casual glance at a map, and the layers of seagull excrement caking
roofs in the town, might suggest that Boston is located relatively
close to the sea. The presence of a port, tide times in the paper
and the unmistakable whiff of saltwater in the air all lend weight
to this popular misconception.
A short drive to that bit on the map where green defers to blue, however,
reveals nothing like the shimmering emerald expanse of water, dotted
by rolling waves, windsurfers and swimmers you might expect to find.
There isn’t even a promenade of Mafia-owned amusement arcades.
No, what you’ll actually unearth is a vast, post-apocalyptic
landscape of thick mud, creeks, sandbanks and rusting ship carcasses
– all being strafed to crap by supersonic RAF jets.
You'll be immediately struck by the desolation. The silence is stunning.
It is almost as if you have arrived at the end of the world. And in many
ways, you have.
The sea itself will be a barely visible glint far away on the distant
horizon. Should you attempt to try and walk to it, one of two things
will happen. You will either get caught out by the tide and drown,
or you will stumble into a huge pit of quicksand and bombed by the
RAF as you flash your torch for help.
Still, on a brighter note
there are, apparently, ample opportunities to watch animals with
wings flying about. Some of them are presumably 'rare' and 'endangered',
if that’s the kind of thing that gets you going.
Spend any length of time in Boston and you’ll be struck by
the number of RAF jets buzzing overhead. It’s a plane spotter’s
paradise, and should you so wish there are ample opportunities to spy on
the latest military aviation technology at RAF Coningsby. Which isn’t
far from Tattershall castle if you then fancy topping yourself. And when
we say ‘latest’ we really do mean it.
A few years
ago, for example, Boston was shaken by what sounded like a huge explosion.
The blast roared around the town, rattling window panes, causing townsfolk
to flinch and family pets to mess the carpet. The cause was a mystery.
There were no reports of a fire. No planned blasting. And Tony Crane was
twinkle toed Owls academy player. Wasn’t him. There was only one
logical explanation. It must have been a sonic boom caused by an RAF jet.
what sonic boom?” an RAF spokesman said when questioned. “No
idea what you’re talking about.”
you sure it wasn’t anything to do with the plane that looked suspiciously
like a top secret Eurofighter flying about?” Bostonians asked, this
being the time the jet was shrouded in secrecy.
replied the RAF. “Probably just a weather balloon. A cloud, even.”
Not that the locals cared much. Bear in mind that this is the county where
a random old bloke thought a Tornado flying over his house ‘sounded
funny’, so he called RAF Waddington to tell them the plane was kaput.
When the RAF engineers stopped laughing at him, he convinced them to at
least look at the jet. When they examined the engine, the RAF
discovered a fault with a turbine blade so serious that the jet was in
imminent danger of dropping from the sky with the vertical grace of a
Paul Ellender clearance. Bonkers.
to stuff your poxy little mouth hole
In Boston, your choice of eatery is likely to be determined
by which local establishment has not been condemned by shocked Health
and Safety officials rather than by any scale of quality, and the
list of cafes, restaurants and snack bars that fail to keep their
rats in check is growing daily.
The traditional pre-match food in Boston is, unsurprisingly, fish
and chips, and if that's what you're looking for there are really
only two destinations.
in the town centre, was once voted 'Chippie of the Year' by Yorkshire
TV, and they celebrated by hanging a banner outside their building
for the next decade. If you can stomach the queuing, it's the best
Otherwise, head for Eagles.
It's across the road from York Street and although the quality has
varied over the years it generally remains a very good vendor of
battered fishy corpses.
Eagles: chips and fish
great thing about Boston is that all the town centre pubs are within walking
distance of the ground, meaning you have a large selection of potential
venues to choose from. Obviously, some are better than others.
to drown your poxy little drinky hole
Handily placed just two minutes from the railway station, and highly recommended
by impsTALK, a good place to start would be The
Eagle. It's part of the Tynemill
chain, so a decent selection of well kept real ales is assured.
Tavern (Custom House Lane, Boston, PE21 6HH) is across John
Adams Way, a five minute walk from the ground and keeps a decent pint
and Horses (86 Main Ridge, Boston, PE21 6SY) is an even shorter
walk from the ground, about 54 seconds, although its proximity to York
Street ensures it gets a little crowded on matchdays. You might like that.
you could just pop into the Sportsbar. Ignoring the large
projection screen for a moment, you might be forgiven for thinking you'd
walked onto the set of Life On Mars. It is certainly stuck in a timewarp
and is in desperate need of refurbishment, or perhaps even demolition.
The bar is generally welcoming to away fans, given that it is home to
the hard-core United fans, most of whom are well into their second century
and have long since given up feeling any kind of antipathy to visiting
supporters. As with most places, the Sportsbar is now an infinitely better
place to have a pint with the introduction of the smoking ban, although
a major negative is the lack of Batemans, or any real ale, behind the
interactivisation Windows Live map thingy of pubs and stuff
the vicinity... Skegness
your ideal night out is lying unconscious, face-down in a pool of
rancid Barcadi Breezer-saturated vomit in the middle of a preposterously
dreadful nightclub playing Bonkers Vol 1 thru 52 at 3.30am, surrounded
by violent bigots fighting 300-pound bouncers, you will be delighted
to learn that Skegness is a mere 45 minutes up the road.
is a popular destination for Bostonians who feel the curious need
to marry their liver-melting alcohol consumption with a revolting
combination of tacky, run-down mudflat resort and parochial Lincolnshire
Put simply, no-one should ever go to Skegness. Not even the train
from Boston wants to go there, the track forging stubbornly north
until steering eastwards, sharply and reluctantly, at the last possible
Look at it! I mean, just look at it!
is perhaps best summed up by its pier, a pitiful structure mortally wounded
in a storm years ago and yet never repaired. It barely reaches the beach,
let alone the sea, poking half-heartedly from land with an almost apologetic
shrugging-of-the-shoulders; a shameless statement of hopeless underachievement.