Why lovely Lincolnshire should be your next staycation destination
Think of Lincolnshire and its hilltop cathedral city and three Rs come to mind: retro, rural and remote.
But thanks to new investment, the cathedral city of Lincoln and its surrounding county are revamping for the 21st century.
With new attractions and a futuristic art festival you can certainly no longer call it retro, and thanks to a new train link, it’s not remote either.
So what are you waiting for?
Striding into the future
Just last year, LNER launched the first direct train route from London, making the just-under-two-hour journey an appealing option for a day trip (one-way tickets from £14).
The retro tag might have to be dropped too, thanks to heavy investment in Lincoln’s regeneration.
Its Cornhill Quarter has had a £70 million revamp, the historic centre now buzzing with al fresco terraces, rooftop bars, independent shops and even a barista school.
Meanwhile, the cathedral has had a £16 million redevelopment (entrance £9).
Now it boasts a state-of-the-art visitor centre — with an exhibition and discovery centre set to open in the autumn — while the newly landscaped Dean’s Green has been opened to the public for the first time in 40 years.
And don’t forget Lincoln Castle, where one of only four original copies of Magna Carta can be seen in the castle vault alongside an immersive presentation on its history on a 210-degree wraparound-screen cinema (entrance from £13.05).
Al fresco Art
Taking place outdoors, the biennial four-day Frequency digital art festival returns in October with immersive events, performances and installations in public spaces.
Kids will also love the cheeky Imp Trail (until September 8), with 30 sculptures designed by artists scattered around the city to honour the city’s famous symbol, which is based on a grotesque you can still see inside the cathedral.
Going for a budget break?
Lincoln’s Historic Guildhall, featured on Channel 4’s Britain’s Most Historic Cities, has free guided tours.
A blast from the past
If you do like it old-school, however, there’s still plenty of slower-paced action to be had in Lincoln and its surrounds.
And you don’t have to brave the ultra-trad, ‘kiss-me-quick’ seaside resorts that dot the coast, including Skegness and Mablethorpe: the Wolds beckon with a timelessly undulating landscape that led them to be classified as one of England’s 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (don’t miss a peek at the grey seals at Donna Nook National Nature Reserve).
The Fens offer windmills, RSPB reserves, and boat-trip and fishing opportunities galore, while historic market towns abound.
Blow the Covid cobwebs away this summer far from the tourist hotspots on the new South Lincolnshire Cycle Route, a collection of daily looped rides taking in historic homes in picture-perfect grounds via country lanes, parklands, riverside routes and canal towpaths.
En route, explore Belton House, Belvoir Castle, Burghley House and Woolsthorpe Manor — birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton and the place to which he fled the Great Plague (and had an incredibly productive year thanks to a certain apple tree in the grounds…)
Bainland Country Park, on the southern edge of the Wolds, 15 miles from Lincoln, offers new treehouses, cute-as-a-button shepherd’s huts (just the ticket for romantic getaways), glamping tents, lakeside lodges with fire pits and hot tubs, and sleek villas with private outdoor heated pools, sleeping up to 24 — ideal for big family reunions.
Also new this year are three wild swimming lakes and a reforesting, replanting and rewilding project, adding 1,500 trees to the 45-acre parkland.
From £499 for three nights in a shepherd’s hut, sleeping two.
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