Lincolnshire... an Amazing Weekend Gateway!  
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We’d been looking forward to coming back to Lincoln since our first trip a few weeks ago, when we spent our whole day exploring Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral! It was a great day but having missed out on the International Bomber Command Centre, The Collection Museum of Art and Archaeology, and of course the nearby Lincolnshire Wolds, we knew we had to return to see if it would make the perfect weekend getaway that we thought it would! And now after doing both parts 1 and 2 of the blog, we are certain that Lincolnshire is indeed an amazing weekend gateway! 

With our usual long itinerary of sights to see and things to do, we knew we needed a good breakfast to set us up for the day, and with it being a beautiful sunny Spring morning, where better to start than at Brayford Waterfront… 

Lincoln’s Brayford Waterfront 

In contrast to the independent and local cafés of Steep Hill where we enjoyed breakfast last time, Brayford Waterfront is where most of the chain restaurants and hotels are. But while we usually tend to avoid these preferring to try out the local food and support the local businesses, the stunning waterfront location makes up for it! 

The waterfront is England’s oldest inland harbour having been used as a port by the Romans, but there isn’t much left of its past having been completely regenerated into a modern and attractive location for the many entertainment venues dotted along the promenade. 

Having read good reviews about the Ultimate Breakfast Waffle on the drive down, we go to The Brayford Wharf (although we’re a bit confused at first as the sign outside simply says “Harvester”), and complete our breakfast order adding Eggs Mediterranean along with a pot of tea and a coffee. 

Even though it’s an early morning in March, it’s really warm sat outside basking in the sun, and we feel like we could be sat at a marina on the French Riviera! And the food is good too… the Ultimate Breakfast Waffle is basically a full English breakfast complete with sausages, bacon and fried eggs sandwiched between two waffles, while the Eggs Mediterranean definitely feels like the healthier option of poached eggs on a toasted muffin with guacamole, salsa and feta cheese. We share the two dishes having half each… that counts as a balanced diet, right?! 

We feel like we need to walk off the breakfast, so we take a short but interesting wander along the waterfront heading into the city, and our day of sightseeing coincidently starts where our last day finished… at High Bridge and the 15th century Tudor building standing atop.

Lincoln Guildhall & Stonebow 

The city seems fun and livelier than it was when we were here a few weeks ago, and it feels like there’s a real buzz as everyone is out enjoying the morning sun. We’re heading towards The Collection Museum, but despite our busy itinerary, we’re not in a hurry as we walk up the high street window shopping and enjoying the chilled and happy feeling that’s in the air. 

We pause at the Guildhall and Stonebow to take a few photos as it was getting dark by the time we reached here last time, and as we do a guy outside catches our eye and motions for us to go over, and asks if we want to join the tour inside. We haven’t got time to wait around until the start, but it’s free entry to go inside for a look around so we climb the stairs and go up, not really sure of what to expect. 

The building is used for council meetings and events so Paul is half expecting a stuffy office, but instead we’re met with the grand sight of a huge chamber which resembles something more like the Houses of Parliament crossed with a medieval banquet hall!  

The ceiling is a huge wooden beamed cavern, while the room is almost filled by a massive table with fixed seating all around it, with a grand throne type chair at the head of the table. The table looks a bit oversized and odd to be honest, but it makes sense when we read the information sign… it was deliberately made this big to stop the councillors fighting during meetings, being described as “two short swords and a bit” wide… as the councillors in those days would each carry a short sword! Maybe that’s something they should consider bringing back for the Houses of Parliament to keep our current leaders and their cronies honest… 

Behind the Main Chamber is a smaller chamber, which the guide in the room tells us is actually available to hire for private events… it would certainly make a cool setting for a birthday or other celebration! Along the corridor is a room filled with photos of all the Mayors of Lincoln through history, and downstairs is the silver room, where a lot of the decorative items are on display… one that caught our eye particularly was a centre table piece which to our amusement we learnt from the guide that it was something that has caught Princess Diana’s eyes too, but was politely refused to be handed over for personal use by the Lincoln council! 

The Collection Museum 

As always, we’re way behind schedule already, and by the time we reach The Collection Museum we only have about 15-minutes to have a look around and get back to the car before our parking ticket expires (and it’s a 10-minute walk back) 

So we make it a flying visit… starting in the archaeology museum and covering over 300,000 years of history from the Stone Ages to the Romans, and from the Vikings to the English Civil War, all in 15-minutes!  

Before we leave, we just have time to see Gaia, the artwork of planet Earth by Luke Jerram. And it’s quite appropriate… on our last visit to Lincoln we saw a huge artwork of the Moon… this time we’re seeing the Earth! And this is just as cool… detailed NASA satellite imagery has been projected onto an Earth 2.1 million times smaller than our actual planet. It’s quite awe-inspiring… we all know what the Earth looks like from photos and from maps, but seeing it up close in scale like this, it makes you realise just how massive continents like Africa are in comparison to Europe (which you can hardly see high up in the Northern Hemisphere), and how warped our perception is from looking at flat maps! 

Despite our parking ticket having expired a few minutes ago, Sneha still finds time for some shopping in the gift shop, and buys some chilli mead… resulting in us both being asked for ID! Given how long it’s been since either of us have been asked for ID we’re quite pleased with this, and the lady serving us looks quite confused when she looks at Paul’s ID and tries to work out his age, we guess she wasn’t expecting a DOB in the 1980’s!! We both just love Lincoln… it made us feel younger! 😬 

Gaia is on display at The Collection until Sunday 29th May’22, with other tour dates shown on the website. 

After some more window shopping on the high street (Paul isn’t quite sure Sneha realises that she’ll be paying the parking fine if we have a ticket by the time we get back to the car), our time in the city is over, and we make the short 5-minute drive out to the International Bomber Command Centre. 

International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) 

The International Bomber Command Centre is a memorial and museum, paying respect to the Bomber Command, who during WWII were served or supported by over 1 million people from 62 countries across the world. 

We browse the gift shop while we wait for the start of our guided tour, and as ever, Sneha can’t resist buying something and goes for a rather interesting looking gin flavoured chocolate?! Paul is tempted by a recipe book which could come in quite useful in the near future given current world events, but is slightly put off by the publisher’s name being a little too close to the cause of the aforementioned world events (Pitkin… Putin… 😬) 

Our guide for the tour is an ex-serviceman called Roger, and he’s great… he tells us all about the Bomber Command, the crazy risks the recruits took in signing up (2 out of 3 people would likely not make it home), and the story of how the Command Centre memorial was built. We move on to hear about the areas of the garden dedicated to the different countries who supported the command, and then see the Ribbon of Rememberance… a series of engraved remembrance stones to commemorate lost loved ones. Roger points out a few stones in particular and tells us the story behind the crew of one training flight which went wrong, taking the lives of all 5 onboard, aged just 19 to 27.  

The tour ends at the Memorial Spire and the Walls of Names… the spire is the same size as the wing span of a Lancaster bomber and frames the amazing views of Lincoln and Lincoln Cathedral in the distance perfectly, in recognition of the Cathedral being a focal point for the crew… often being the last thing they saw as they flew out and the first thing they saw when returning, if they returned. And the Walls of Names are a record of all the people who died either serving or supporting the Bomber Command, and in a nice touch there are no ranks or titles, everyone is equal, regardless of whether they were a Commander or a tea lady.  

After looking through and paying respect to the names (and Paul finding his own), we admire the views for a while, before we head back inside and go into the exhibition, which has cool interactive displays telling the stories of those who served in Bomber Command. It’s a really good way to learn more about what the serviceman and support crew went through. 

On the way out there are quotes from veterans on the walls, and reading them is quite poignant… it’s easy to confine historical wars and events to the history books, forgetting that they actually happened. But with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in full force, the quotes seem more relevant than ever! 

The Lincolnshire Wolds AONB 

Woodhall Spa 

Leaving Lincoln behind we start our journey to the Lincolnshire Wolds, with our first stop coming just on the edge at Woodhall Spa

As we drive into town it looks like a lot of other people have had the same idea as us, but we strike lucky and get a parking place on the main street, which is lined by a beautiful Edwardian shopping arcade. 

Sneha is in her element again window shopping in the quirky independent shops… the smallest shoe shop in Britain, we look at the jewellery in the many jewellery shops, and neither of us can resist going into The Bakery & Delicatessen to sample something from the deli counter and selection of cakes. We pick up a few items, but an honest review would be they didn’t taste as good as they looked! Maybe we just picked badly, so if you come across something that is a must try… let us and our readers know in the comment section! 

We only have a quick stop here with the exploring of the Wolds still to come, but we’d recommend it as it’s a pretty little town with some quirky places to check out. Another place to see is the Cottage Museum which is unfortunately still closed for the winter, so if any of you follow our advice and visit then please let us know how that is! 😊 

Cadwell Park 

Our next planned stop is in Horncastle… as with most of the towns around the edge of the Wolds, its well known for its weekly markets, so we’re looking forward to getting some local plum bread and poacher cheese (apparently eating them together means you’re a “yellowbelly”). But unfortunately, by the time we reach there the stalls are already packing up.  

So instead, we continue on and head to one of the more unique and unexpected places to find in the middle of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty… Cadwell Park, a motor racing circuit! 

We were told earlier that there was time trial racing happening here today with free entry for spectators, so after an enjoyable drive on the country roads, we pull into the circuit and up to entrance gate. The guy passes us our entry tickets and says we can go anywhere around the track… “hold on, we can go around the track??” Paul asks! The guy laughs and says if you think your car is fast enough then you actually could! That is one of the unique things about Cadwell Park and its affiliated circuits… they open up the track to the public and you can race your own car or motorbike around, a must for any driving enthusiast!  

After deciding not to try and enter the race, we find a parking spot and walk down to the track instead… and if Sneha was in her element shopping earlier, Paul is now in his looking at all of the cars! There are some amazing cars on show including a collection a Ferrari’s, complete with a Rosso red Ferrari 360 Spider… Paul’s dream car from his teenage years! 

We stand and watch the cars racing off from the line and taking the first chicane for a while… the roar of the engines and squeal of the tyres echo around and makes us wonder what going to an F1 race must be like… maybe something for a future blog somewhere in the World! 

Having seen enough of the racing, we’ve now ticked off everything that we had on our itinerary, so it’s time to drive further into the Wolds and just roam around for a while… 

Lincolnshire Wolds Red Hill Nature Reserve 

The first place we come across is Red Hill Nature Reserve which is only a few minutes away from Cadwell Park. There’s a couple of small parking areas by the side of the road so we get out and explore for a while, following the signposted footpaths first to the top of a viewpoint, and then down into the woods. 

The views are great… it’s still a little hazy, but we can see for miles into the distance, looking over the surrounding farmland and countryside. But despite the nice weather today, we’re probably still a little early in the year to see the nature reserve at its best, as none of the trees or wild flowers are in bloom so it’s is a little bare, and we don’t spot any animals or insects anywhere. 

It’s also quite windy and chilly in the exposed countryside, so we head back to the car and continue our road trip, following the small singe track roads through the farmland past delipidated sheds and pretty houses and spotting pheasants in the fields, heading in the direction of our next and final stop for the day. 

The King’s Head at Tealby 

Our choice for tea (dinner if you’re not from Northern England) is the Kings Head at Tealby. We’d seen this country pub online before we came and also had it recommended to us for its locally sourced good food and cosy atmosphere… it’s the oldest thatched pub in Lincolnshire, dating back to c.1367. 

We pull into the car park as the sun is setting and the pub looks super pretty, just as we imagined, and we’re really looking forward to our visit. The large beer garden is entirely in shade by now though so it’s definitely an evening to sit inside. 

But unfortunately, this is where our visit starts to go downhill… we usually don’t like to be critical when visiting places as you never know what may have led to the circumstances, but we have to say the rest of our evening is a disappointment. 

The first disappointment comes when we can’t get a table in the restaurant as all of the tables are booked (all are empty but will be taken in 15 minutes time)… ok, that’s totally our fault for not booking ahead. And unfortunately the bar area is full as well, so we prop up the bar and decide to get a drink while we figure out what to do. Paul orders a local Tealby Tipple beer (it’s pretty good), but there’s no local gin available for Sneha to try, so she has to settle for a London gin instead. After a few minutes a table of diners leave so we go and grab the table, but after asking a couple of times if the dirty table can be cleared, Paul ends up having to clear it himself! Ordering the food then takes an age… and to be honest, when it turns up we’re not particularly impressed… more average pub grub than the delicious home cooked local food we were hoping for (Paul went for Lincolnshire Lamb’s liver after the steak wasn’t available, and Sneha had Lincolnshire sausage and mash). We’d say if you’re passing and want to stop somewhere for a drink in the beer garden then it’s worth it for the cool pub, but we wouldn’t suggest going out of your way to eat there. 

Troven Moments 

Breakfast on the Brayford Waterfront was great, and starting our sightseeing at the historic Guildhall was a nice surprise. The Collection Museum was quite small but interesting, Gaia was awe-inspiring, and the stunning International Bomber Command Centre was a definite highlight of the day… so many interesting and poignant stories, brought all the closer to home given the recent atrocities happening in Ukraine. 

And then to the Lincolnshire Wolds… the pretty town of Woodhall Spa is a must visit, Cadwell Park is an unusual and fun stop in the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the countryside is beautiful, if not quite as dramatic as the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District National Parks which we usually frequent.

And then to the Lincolnshire Wolds… the pretty town of Woodhall Spa is a must visit, Cadwell Park is an unusual and fun stop in the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the countryside is beautiful, if not quite as dramatic as the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District National Parks which we usually frequent. 

It’s been a slightly disappointing day in terms of food… neither the pub or bakery impressed us, but the rest of Lincolnshire did! 

After having spent a day in Lincoln a couple of weeks ago visiting the historic Cathedral quarter, we thought it could make the perfect weekend getaway when combined with some of the other sights of the city and the nearby Lincolnshire Wolds. And after having come back to experience what they have to offer as well… we can definitely recommend Lincoln and Lincolnshire as a perfect weekend getaway!  

We have also heard that the Lincolnshire Wolds have some amazing walks and the coast is not too far away either… so something for us to come back for in the summer, and which will make Lincolnshire a good place to consider if you are planning for more than a weekend holiday… 

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