ESCAPE LONDON – Head to Washingborough Hall near Lincoln for peace, relaxation and luxury
It’s been a while since I have had the opportunity to enjoy one of Britain’s luxury hotels and so I jumped at the chance of a night at the renowned Washingborough Hall, a country house hotel just two miles east of the cathedral city of Lincoln. So, the week after the festivities of the New Year, I set off, ready to enjoy a weekend of relaxation and sight-seeing – a well-needed break from the excesses of the weeks before!
Lincoln is a historic city, approximately 150 miles (3 hours) from London, that is well known for its Cathedral, museums and castle. It is also the home of the famous Magna Carta. In addition to its history, Lincoln has picturesque gardens, fabulous galleries and a wealth of shops, including Bailgate, one of the most historic parts of Lincoln’s cathedral quarter, where independent boutiques, specialist shops and places to eat line the quirky cobbled streets.
I was booked to stay the night at Washingborough Hall, a privately owned, Georgian Manor house hotel, located in the small village of Washingborough, a few miles from Lincoln city centre. The website promised an elegant hotel, with boutique bedrooms and an award winning restaurant. If it lived up to its promises, I was in for an idilic, relaxing weekend of luxury.
Having set off early, I arrived at Washingbourough village around lunchtime. A short detour around the village, thanks to my sat nav, and I pulled up in front of the hotel. First impressions were not disappointing; a charming Georgian Manor house, with a backdrop of Blue sky and pretty gardens.
On entering, I was immediately struck by the cosy, country feel to the place. The hall-way was welcoming, with blazing log fires and inviting looking chairs to while away the hours. I was greeted warmly at the reception by friendly, welcoming staff, eager to show off the hotel.
As I had arrived so early, the room was not quite ready, which was understandable. I was offered the opportunity to relax with a drink in the adjacent bar, however, I decided to use the time and do a spot of sight-seeing in Lincoln. The staff could not have been more helpful in offering me a taxi to town and providing numbers and information on how to get back. This seemed a much more sensible idea than driving and attempting to park on a Saturday!
I spent the next few hours exploring the boutiques of Bailgate and taking a “Roof tour” of the cathedral: a tour that take you into the roof space of the cathedral and shows you hidden gems and the building’s inner workings. Late afternoon, I decide to head back to the hotel and those cosy chairs and welcoming log fires. My plan was to relax with a glass of wine and sample the food, so favourably commented upon by previous diners!
Back at the hotel, I was again warmly greeted and personally shown to my room; one of 13 boutique bedrooms within the hotel. As the door opened, I had my first glimpse of the luxury that lay beyond.
The website described “delightfully dapper rooms, full of creature comforts alongside touches of indulgence” and that was absolutely what awaited me. In front of me was a light, spacious room, tastefully decorated and containing a huge, sumptuous double bed. A tempting chaise lounge lay at the foot of the bed, and in the corner, a large elegant bathroom all done out in stone, with fluffy towels and all the creature comforts a girl could want. An old-fashioned bath stood invitingly in the corner, tempting you in with the complimentary L’Occitane products.
And if that wasn’t enough, a box of delicious looking fudge, made from local ingredients, sat on the bed, just wanting to be sampled – I did and it was delicious. So now a dilemma: do I relax in the room, or head down to the sitting room and relax before dinner with a glass of wine. I decided on the latter, and headed down to the sitting room bar. II spent the next hour relaxing in a cosy room off the sitting room/bar with an excellent, and very reasonably priced glass of wine. The room was beautifully designed, in keeping with the Georgian period and was filled with cosy chairs, bookcases full of books to read and log fires. If it wasn’t for the fact I was hungry, I could have relaxed in there all evening.
I was then escorted to the dining room, by friendly staff and presented with the menu. I had been looking forward to this all day, as the reviews of the food from previous diners were excellent. The dining room was simply decorated, however had an air of comfort and class. There was a nice ambience, with light background music that was not overpowering. The menu was interesting and promised seasonal fare using prime Lincolnshire ingredients. Following a difficult choice, I opted for cheese souflee, beef and chocolate torte and I was definitely not disappointed. Sometimes an establishment can be let down by its food, but not in this case: the cheese souflee was light, delicate and tasty and the beef was cooked to perfection. I can certainly understand why the restaurant has been awarded a double AA rosette-award, as it has been a long time since I have offered compliments to the chef!
It was with an extremely full stomach that I headed up the stairs to my bedroom. I was already very relaxed, but still decided on a long bath before climbing into that fabulous bed for a spot of late night TV. After an excellent night’s sleep I awoke and headed downstairs for an equally delicious breakfast, again from local produce, that fuelled me for the day ahead.
Washingborough Hall is definitely the full package and lives up to it’s website’s claims. A lot of thought and care has obviously gone into the decorating , renovating, food and comfort. The character of the Georgian house has been maintained, however, there are still the modern comforts. The staff are pleasant and welcoming, the rooms exquisite, the food locally sourced and cooked to a high standard and all for a good price. What more can you want, than to relax in that peaceful , luxury environment, whilst enjoying local produce and warmth. I would 100% recommend this as a lovely place to stay!
‘City Sights and Country Nights’
This two-night stay at Washingborough Hall, near Lincoln, invites guests to enjoy the best of the historic city’s sights and then retreating each evening to a stylish and peaceful country house retreat.
Washingborough Hall is an intimate and pretty, Georgian country house hotel, just three miles from Lincoln. This fine house, once a Rectory, enjoys a charming village setting, as well as easy access to the beautiful city of Lincoln.
‘City Sights and Country Nights’ is a two-night stay and includes:
– Two night’s accommodation in a Superior Executive Bedroom or Four Poster bedroom
– Cream Tea upon arrival
-Moutard Champagne aperitif each evening
-A la carte dinner each evening in the hotel’s acclaimed 2AA restaurant
– Full English breakfast each morning, prepared with local farm goodies
– Complimentary joint tickets to Lincoln Cathedral and the Castle
– One-way private car transfer into Lincoln – a personal touch to enable easy access to the city and the sights on offer.
Lincoln Castle, home to the Magna Carta vault and much more (opened last year following a £22m renovation project making it a world-class heritage site), whilst the Cathedral is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe. This summer (28 May –4 Sept) the Castle will host WAVE, a ceramic poppy installation created by artist, Paul Cummins and designer, Tom Piper to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the First World War and which was first displayed at the Tower of London in 2014.
Other sights to explore include The Collection Museum and Usher Art Gallery; The famous Steep Hill and Bailgate area with lovely boutique-style shops and eateries; The Brayford Marina and a whole host of unique shopping opportunities, markets, events and festivals which add charm to this vibrant city, not least the famous Christmas markets.
Meanwhile the hotel provides a welcome retreat, only a short drive away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Privately-owned and managed by Edward and Lucy Herring, both masters in the art of hospitality, guests soon feel at home.
Dining is a treat here and influenced by Lucy’s cordon bleu skills, Head Chef Dan Wallis delights guests with his creative and beautifully presented seasonal dishes.
The relaxed, intimate ambience of Washingborough Hall appeals to a variety of guests; foodies, romantics, city tourists, families, nature lovers, heritage buffs and cyclists, all of whom appreciate the qualities of the hotel and its location. Well-behaved dogs are welcome in selected bedrooms.
The county of Lincolnshire offers places of interest including nature reserves, heritage sites, historic houses, gardens and of course, the aviation history. The Fens, Vales, Wolds are fascinating places to explore, each with their unique landscapes, landmarks and chocolate-box villages and beyond lies the natural beauty of the coastline.
In 2015, the hotel was entered into the Trip Advisor ‘Hall of Fame’, indicating “Excellence” ratings for the past 5 consecutive years, and marking this hotel as one of the most consistently highly recommended.
‘City Sights and Country Nights’ is available from 1 April 2016 – 31 October 2016, for £116 per person per night, and is offered subject to availability, excluding festive holidays. (See online for full details of offer)
Penny, Heart London Magazine