One of the many great things about the historic city of Lincoln – is that within minutes of the city you find yourself surrounded by the rolling hills and plains of Lincolnshire. There are many ways to explore the great outdoors in one of England’s finest counties – on foot, by bike, on boat or on horseback. And there are endless stunning cottages, cosy bed and breakfasts and small hotels to retreat to at the end of your adventurous day.
Here are three unique outdoor experiences in Lincolnshire, all finishing with a little luxury;
The Spires & Steeples Arts & Heritage Trail
This way marked 26 mile route follows the spires and steeples of some of Lincolnshire’s churches and landmarks. Starting in the city of Lincoln – at the most prominent spire of them all, Lincoln Cathedral – the off-road path takes you though some of the most picturesque villages and countryside. You’ll pass stone cottages, welcoming pubs and Inns and historic sites – and of course many churches.
This area south of Lincoln is rich in aviation heritage and you’ll pass by sites such as the RAF Digby Operations Room. The end of the route is the National Centre for Craft & Design in the market town of Sleaford. Nearby you’ll find St Denys Church(pictured), Cogglesford Mill and plenty of places to eat and drink.
Around half way along the trail, in the village of Martin, Manor House Stables is the perfect place for a little luxury at the end of your walk. The18th Century restored stable block contains two self catering properties. Beautifully appointed, the accommodation is warm and romantic with wood burning stoves, spa baths and a luxury hamper of local produce to refuel you after your long day.
The Water Rail Way
Ideal for cycling and walking, the Water Rail Way connects Lincoln with Boston – a 33 mile route peppered with artwork reflecting local history and landscapes. Mostly following the River Witham, Lincoln Cathedral and the famous St Botolph’s Church (known as Boston Stump) mark either end of the trail. The fairly flat route features vast open fenland landscapes with extensive views and expansive skies.
Close to the historic market town of Boston, Elms Farm Cottages offer a luxury retreat for walkers and cyclists. The 4 and 5 star luxury self catering cottages are on a working family farm. The rustic cottage interiors are furnished with oak floors and leather sofas with wood burning stoves – and of course a hamper of Lincolnshire produce to tuck into.
The Stephen Langton Trail
A new walking route for 2015, the off-road 16 mile Stephen Langton Trail marks Lincoln’s connections with Magna Carta. The trail starts at the birthplace of Stephen Langton – the Archbishop of Canterbury who played a key role in the thinking behind Magna Carta – in the village of Langton by Wragby. The route brings walkers into the centre of Lincoln to Lincoln Cathedral where Langton was a young Cleric and Lincoln Castle, which now houses 1215 Magna Carta in a new subterranean vault built for the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the document.
Overlooking Lincoln Castle, the aptly named Castle Hotel provides sumptuous accommodation and an award winning restaurant, Reform. With 18 luxurious bedrooms and a stunning 5 star apartment, the hotel is a perfect haven in the city. Within easy walking distance of the Castle, Cathedral and the boutiques of the cobbled Cathedral Quarter, this is the ideal place to base yourself for a short break that combines Lincolnshire’s great outdoors with a city break.
So don’t just think of Lincoln as a city break – you can soon be out enjoying Lincolnshire’s tranquil landscapes, great local produce and exploring one of England’s finest counties.
Emma Tatlow is Manager of Visit Lincoln.