Castles and Houses of Lincolnshire
The county of Lincolnshire is littered with historic halls, mansions and castles. From our comfortable base on the outskirts of the cathedral city of Lincoln we tour the county and sample the delights of one fine property after another.
Our first port of call is Belton Hall, often cited as the perfect example of an English country house estate with a fine collection of porcelain and silver. Rising from the flat Lincolnshire fens is Tattershall House, built to be a statement of power and wealth and one of the finest examples of medieval brickwork, while at the foot of the wolds lies Gunby Hall, a homely country house with a fine garden. Doddington Hall also boasts notable gardens as well as a fascinating collection of furniture and other items accumulated over 400 years. Following our visit here, we spend the afternoon in Lincoln itself, visiting both the castle and the cathedral, both oozing with history. We round off in style with a visit to the impressive Grimsthorpe Castle, where we enjoy a private tour of the castle followed by time to explore the intricate gardens, thought to date back to at least 1500.
Depart by coach from our pick-up points in London and Peterborough (connecting rail travel to/from Peterborough can be arranged on request). Our first visit is to Belton Hall, often cited as the perfect example of an English country house estate. Although built on a modest scale, it has a fine collection of porcelain and silver, a world-renowned library and architectural finesse that reflects the continued wealth and cultured tastes of its former owners, the Brownlow family.
We then continue to Lincoln and our comfortable accommodation at the 4-star Best Western Plus Bentley Hotel & Spa, which has full leisure facilities including an indoor swimming pool and a state of the art spa that includes jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
After breakfast this morning we head for Tattershall Castle, a magnificent 15th century red brick castle, built to be a statement of power and wealth. Rising proudly from the flat Lincolnshire fens, Tattershall Castle, with its huge Gothic fireplaces and church-like windows, was built by Lord Ralph Cromwell, Treasurer of England, and was designed to show off his wealth, position and power. The Great Tower is one of the earliest and finest surviving examples of English medieval brickwork and was saved from exportation to America by Lord Curzon of Kedleston in 1911. Take the winding staircase, wander through vast echoing chambers and walk out onto the battlements revealing the beauty of the surrounding countryside.
In the afternoon we visit Gunby Hall, a homely country house from 1700, set in Victorian walled gardens at the foot of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Modest-sized rooms full of charm and character make it easy to imagine one’s self living here. With links to Tennyson, Darwin and Vaughan-Williams there is much to discover as we explore the three floors of the hall, packed full of interesting collection pieces amassed over generations from 1700 until 1967.
We will also have time to enjoy Gunby’s fine garden, with features including an ancient cedar of Lebanon, a cutting border, a rose garden, a yellow border and a herb garden.
Today, following breakfast, we begin with a visit to Doddington Hall, which was begun in 1595 by Robert Smythson, one of England’s foremost architects of the day and is a fine example of a late Elizabethan mansion. Completed in 1600, it has never been sold or cleared out since and remains a much-loved family home, alive with history and interest. Over 400 years of unbroken family occupation has resulted in fascinating collections of furniture, weaponry, paintings, ceramics, textiles, household objects, porcelain and a wealth of amusing stories all to be found in and around Doddington Hall.
The romantic gardens remain faithful to the original Elizabethan layout, with mellow walls providing the framework. The West Garden provides botanical surprises in wide borders including glorious Bearded Irises in May and June while in the Wild Garden we find a glorious selection of native plants. There is also a fine kitchen garden which was restored to its former glory in 2007.
In the afternoon we return to Lincoln where we will visit the castle and the cathedral. Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, Lincoln Castle has stood for hundreds of years as a symbol of power and seat of justice. Since 2010 its hidden history has been revealed in a £22m restoration and today we can scale the heights of the Medieval Wall Walk, follow in the footsteps of prisoners in the Victorian Prison and immerse ourselves in the Magna Carta story – Lincoln Castle is home to one of just four remaining copies of the iconic charter produced in 1215.
Nearby is Lincoln Cathedral, arguably the finest Gothic building in Europe. Building commenced in 1088 and continued in several phases throughout the medieval period. It was reputedly the tallest building in the world for over 200 years and features spectacular vaults, rose windows and a unique stone carving known as the ‘Lincoln Imp’.
Following breakfast we check out of the hotel and round off in style with a visit to the impressive Grimsthorpe Castle and Gardens. Here we are welcomed with morning coffee and biscuits before enjoying a private tour of the castle. An unexpected marriage of architectural styles, the quirkiness of the Tudor south façade is contrasted by the Baroque splendor of the principal north front, the final masterpiece of Sir John Vanbrugh, architect of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard. Inside, our tour takes us from one sumptuously decorated room to another, from Vanburgh’s Hall to the State Dining Room, the King James Room, the Tapestry Drawing Room, the Gothic Bedroom and many more. Following our tour we are free to explore the gardens, which are thought to have been in existence since at least 1500. Intricate parterres marked with box hedges lie close to the Castle, and a dramatic herbaceous border frames views across the lake.
After an opportunity here for lunch (not included) we continue to our original departure points, beginning with Peterborough Railway Station for those with rail connections and arriving back in London in the evening.
- Brightwater Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with water (wine with dinners)
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
- Hotels - Accommodation in hand-picked hotels.