Castles, Abbeys, Houses & Halls

  • Just out of Woodhall Spa is Kirkstead Abbey and St Leonard’s Church. The Abbey, founded in 1139 by the lord of Tattershall, was originally colonised by an Abbot and twelve monks from Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. The abbey remained in existence until 1537, when it was dissolved and the last Abbot and three of his monks were executed by King Henry VIII following their implication (probably unjustly) in the Lincolnshire Rising. All that remains today is a dramatic crag of masonry – a fragment of the south transept wall of the abbey church and the earthworks of the vast complex of buildings that once surrounded it. The church of St Leonard’s Without (thus named as it was outside the gates of the abbey) stands in a field by the side of the ruins of the Abbey. Built between 1230 and 1240 it is an excellent example of the Early English style. After many centuries use as a church, it closed in 1877, when a Presbyterian congregation was evicted, and from 1883 the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings fought to save it from total decay. Eventually during 1913 and 1914 it was restored by the architect Weir.
  • Lincoln Castle

A place where kings and convicts have walked,
A symbol of power and punishment through the ages
And home to an original 1215 Magna Carta

To celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the signing of the Magna Cara a huge redevelopment of the castle has taken place (opened 1st April 2015). Learn about the role King John played in the new charter and watch history unfold on the widescreen. Not only does the Manga Carta have its own vault where you can view the document which changed the course of history, but you can now walk the complete circuit of the castle walls.  Explore the towers and dungeons and discover a violent past of battles, sieges and public hangings.  There is also the Victorian Prison, brought to life with new areas opened to the public. All of this should be high up on your list of things to do!  Allow at least day to visit the Castle and Cathedral and sample some of uphill Lincoln’s fantastic fayre. A good value joint ticket (Castle & Cathedral) is available.

  • Gainsborough Old Hall is one of the most impressive and best preserved, timber framed medieval manor houses in the UK built by the noble Burgh family around 1460. Described as a “hidden gem in Lincolnshire” the Hall remains a “textbook of medieval architecture”. It boasts;
  • an impressive Great Hall
  • original medieval kitchen
  • East and West ranges containing a myriad of rooms and a ghost corridor
  • an original brick built tower
  • Famous visitors to the Old Hall include Richard III, Henry VIII, John Wesley and the Pilgrim Fathers.

Definitely worth a visit from you too!

  • Tattershall Castle was built by Henry IV’s Treasurer, Ralph Cromwell in the 15th It is thought that the castle’s three state rooms were once splendidly fitted out and were heated by immense gothic fireplaces and had tapestries, so making it an early domestic country mansion masquerading as a fortress. After a long period of neglect it was put up for sale in 1910. At the time its greatest treasures – the huge medieval fireplaces – were still intact, but when an American bought it they were ripped out and packaged up for shipping. Lord Curzon stepped in at the eleventh hour, bought the castle, determined to get the fireplaces back. After a nationwide hunt they were found in London and returned. He then restored the castle and left it to the National Trust in 1925. The experience of Tattershall pushed Lord Curzon to press for heritage protection laws in Britain.
  • Old Bolingbroke Castle – King Henry IV was born here in 1366 but the castle is also famous for the role it played during the English Civil War. The fields around the sleepy hamlet of Winceby were the scene of a bloody battle in October 1643 at the peak of the English Civil War when Parliamentarian troops were laying siege to the Royalist stronghold of Bolingbroke Castle. A Royalist force set off from Lincoln to relieve the besieged garrison but en-route to Bolingbroke they were intercepted by a force of Parliamentarian cavalry close to Winceby. In a battle that lasted little more than half an hour, Oliver Cromwell first lured the Royalists from the defensive position before leading a charge directly into the enemy ranks. Yet another famous name, that of Sir Thomas Fairfax, then joined the conflict to complete the Parliamentarian victory.
  • Grimsthorpe CastleCastle, Park and Gardens – so much to see and do! There has been a building on the site of the castle since the reign of King John (1199-1216). The original defensive tower still forms part of the castle. It’s really more of a historic house rather than a castle, and is still lived in by the descendants of the family who first came here during the reign of Henry VIII.
  • Boston Guildhall and the Pilgrim Fathers – Built in the 1390’s this building is a testament to the wealth and influence of the Guild of St Mary at a time when Boston’s power as a centre of trade was second only to London! This wonderfully preserved building, with a wealth of original features, has survived the centuries and is to be enjoyed as one of Boston’s finest visitor attractions. The Guildhall is worth visiting for its beauty, but many are not aware that it played an important part in the very famous trial and imprisonment of the Pilgrim Fathers who sought to make their first escape overseas from the Lincolnshire coast, close to Boston in 1607. However, they were betrayed by the captain of the boat and the entire party of around 20 men, women and children were rounded up at a point near the Witham, now marked by the Pilgrim Fathers memorial near Fishtoft, arrested and locked up in the Guildhall.
  • Medieval Bishop’s Palace, Lincoln. Standing almost in the shadow of Lincoln cathedral, with sweeping views over the ancient city and the countryside beyond, the medieval Bishops’ Palace was once among the most important buildings in the country. The administrative centre of the largest diocese in medieval England, stretching from the Humber to the Thames, its architecture reflected enormous power and wealth. Almost 850 years old, it was built shortly after William I’s major building programme started following the Conquest. According to historians, the programme helped turn the “thriving town” of Lincoln into an “important military and ecclesiastical centre”. The Palace was badly damaged during the English Civil War between 1642 and 1648, after it was set on fire and sacked. The palace also boasts one of the most northerly working vineyards in Europe!
  • Newark Castle (just over the border in Nottinghamshire!). In 1216 King John died here on his way back from Swineshead allegedly in the south-west tower of the Castle, but it is more likely to have been the Gatehouse. The castle was a Royalist stronghold but Charles I surrendered to the Scots here in 1646 during the English civil war.
  • Ayscoughfee Hall Ayscoughfee Hall Museum is set in a Grade I Listed Medieval Hall dating back to around 1451. This fascinating building includes exhibitions, displays and educational opportunities for all to enjoy.
  • Temple Bruer was once one of the wealthiest Templar preceptories in England. The surviving 12th century tower originally formed part of the Templar church. It is one of the few Templar sites still to have standing remains and its importance is recognised by the fact that it is a Scheduled monument and a Grade I listed building. A bit difficult to find, but head in the general direction of Lincoln Heath between the A15 and Welbourn and look for the signs to Temple Bruer. The site is on a private farm, but the farmer has kindly given his permission for the public to access the tower as long as they respect the working farm they have to cross to get to it. There is a car park next to the tower for visitors. Heritage events are staged here periodically, organised by Heritage Lincolnshire.
  • Tupholme Abbey – Built in the mid 1100’s it is now a ruin with a two-storey high surviving wall, but still great to see and a lovely place to have a picnic! Located between Lincoln and Wragby, between the villages of Bardney and Bucknall just to the south of the B1190. It seems hard to imagine that this was the site of a huge pop festival in 1972 starring Rod Steward and the Beach Boys!! Now looked after by Lincolnshire Heritage Trust.
  • Woolsthorpe Manor, near Colsterworth – 17th century farmhouse where Isaac Newton was born. He grew up to become a true Science ‘Great’ and changed the way we see the world with his work on light, gravity and maths.  Make sure you see the famous apple tree!!
  • Somerton Castle. The ruins of Somerton Castle stand 2 miles from Boothby Graffoe, south of Lincoln. The remains of two towers still stand, surrounded by a moat and one of the towers has been incorporated into an Elizabethan farmhouse. The castle has been classified as a Grade I listed building but none of it is open to the public. Somerton Castle’s finest hour came in 1360, when King John of France, then a captive of Edward III, stayed here. King John was taken prisoner at the Battle of Poitiers, and was kept captive for 6 months. He was allowed a full retinue, and kept in comfort, so it was not a difficult confinement. An outer earthwork surrounding the castle may have been built for extra security during John’s time at Somerton.
  • Doddington Hall is an Elizabethan mansion complete with walled courtyards and a gabled gatehouse. It is located in the village of Doddington, to the west of Lincoln, and the Hall and Gardens are open to the public. It is especially lovely to visit in December to look at the stunning Christmas decorations. Doddington Hall was built between 1593 and 1600 by Robert Smythson. It is a Grade I Listed building. The Hall’s contents, including textiles, ceramics, porcelain, furniture and pictures, reflect 400 years of unbroken family occupation. It is surrounded by 6 acres of walled and wild gardens with flowering from early spring until autumn. In 1762, Sir John Hussey Delaval covered every inch of the Holly Room – even the back of the doors – with tapestries showing country scenes. The tapestries were made in Flanders in the early 17th century and are now considered rare. Make sure you visit the Farm Shop and Restaurant too.
  • Belton House is a Grade I listed country house in Belton near Grantham. The mansion is surrounded by formal gardens and a series of avenues leading to follies within a larger wooded park. The Perfect English Country House
  • Gunby Hall – “A homely country house dated 1700 set in Victorian walled gardens at the foot of the Lincolnshire Wolds.” Really worth a visit!  Could combine it with a trip to Skegness!

What people say about us

  • After months planning a wedding, this has been the perfect relaxing honeymoon we were after.  The entire week has been wonderful...

    S & P March 2015
  • The Hayloft is simply beautiful, so peaceful & cosy.  We spent the days visiting Woodhall Spa and walking and the nights drinking wine by the log burner playing board games, not to mention soaking in that AMAZING bath!!!

    G & T February 2015
  • The Bothy was such a lovely place to 'chill' and relax!  Thank you for making our stay a home from home, with all little extra touches added in!  The first night dinner was super and the crumble was amazing!!

    S & I February 2015
  • Wow - what an amazing time we have had.  Stumbled across this gem on tripadvisor and you deserve all of the praise you get & more!

    S & C February 2015
  • Wow, what a place!  Stephen and I needed a hideaway for a few nights, which would be like a home from home, and we found it with you.  What taste you have Sherry, it was like living in 'Country Living Magazine'!

    S & C January 2015
  • We have made the Hayloft our annual treat to escape and chill.  This is our 4th visit now and each time we love it more.

    T, S, J & A December 2015
  • Practically Perfect in Every Way...  Thank you.

    C & C November 2014
  • From a bottle of wine to bath robes - we really could not have wanted for anything else!  The highlight might have been the bath - it was amazing!!!!  The Bothy really and truly exceeded our expectations and we could not have imagined how delightful a stay it could be!

    L & E November 2015
  • The Bothy is quiet, cosy and quirky.

    T & C October 2015
  • Our third here at the Bothy (and 3 times in the Hayloft!); a wonderful few days of autumn sunshine. Walks on the Fens, the Wolds and along the beach. The garden here is a perfect sun trap, warm enough to enjoy breakfast each morning. I love the warmth and distinctive smell here - it will keep bringing us back to the perfect place for recovery.  Thank you, as always... PS The flowers were beautiful!

    C & B September 2015