Our reviewer travelled to the idyllic Washingborough Hall, just three miles from the vibrant county capital of Lincoln
Product: Washingborough Hall Hotel, Church Hill, Washingborough, Lincoln LN4 1BE Phone: 01522 790340 Price: £135.00 Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
What is on offer:
Tucked away in the pretty village of Washingborough is a superb Georgian gem of a building, owned and managed by Lucy and Edward Herring. Hospitality is warm and friendly at this 13-bedroom boutique hotel, which prides itself on delivering quality service. The 2 AA Rosette restaurant, under award-winning chef, Dan Wallis, is a showcase for Lincolnshire's finest produce and offers diners a creative, modern, British menu.
What our reviewer said:
Heading north along the busy A1 on a beautiful, warm and sunny Friday afternoon could only guarantee one result - slow-moving traffic which eventually ground to a halt just before the Colsterworth turn. A quick look at the map and we found an alternative cross-country route, skirting around Grantham and heading across beautiful, undulating, Lincolnshire countryside.
The county is often described as flat but this is lazy shorthand to describe a county that varies in character from the Fens in the south to the Lincolnshire Wolds in the north east. And Lincoln's magnificent medieval cathedral towers above the county as a standout landmark set high on the Lincoln Edge.
More than 300 years old, Washingborough Hall is a former rectory which has now become a very welcoming boutique hotel, with individually-designed bedrooms, set in three acres of mature gardens and manicured lawns. Situated next to St John's Church, the hotel's manila-coloured stonework appeared down a gently-curving gravel driveway off a quiet village road. A couple of white doves flew down from their dovecote to inspect the new arrivals as we climbed the steps and entered the reception hallway.
Our generously-proportioned room was up two flights of shallow stairs and overlooked the front gardens. Complimentary L'Occitane toiletries were supplied in the huge bathroom with its roll-top bath and double shower.
Afternoon tea is a good test of any hotel's food standards and the cream tea on offer at Washingborough was quality fare. Fresh, home-baked scones were still warm as we ladled on the cream and jam. They were melt-in-the mouth and delicious. Understandably, Washingborough Hall is very popular with the 'afternoon tea afficiandos' but it is wise to ring in advance to avoid disappointment.
Washingborough is about three miles south east of Lincoln, but while being so close to all the amenities on offer from a big city, the village is a perfect getaway from the hectic pace of town life. It is the ideal location compromise. While being close enough to the city to enjoy a dose of retail therapy or an injection of culture, it is a welcome relief knowing you can escape the crowds and retreat to a haven of peace and calm.
There is great emphasis on the quality of ingredients served at the hotel, with owner Lucy Herring having trained at the Tante Marie Culinary Academy to gain a classical cordon bleu qualification.
Our evening meal lived up to its creative billing with the intriguing Portobello Mushroom Porridge being a first on any menu I've studied. Our waiter gave us a fuller description of the dish and it exceeded expectations as a tasty and creative starter. Dinner was first-class with the quality of ingredients, especially the lamb and beef, shining through.
A new extension to the hotel has just been completed - making it the first major adaptation to the property for 150 years. The new space is a purpose-built banqueting suite which can cater for wedding parties or the afternoon-tea brigade.
With Lincoln having so much for the visitor, the hotel is offering a summer getaway package which includes private car transfers into the city for guests. It means you can be dropped off in the Cathedral Quarters of the city before exploring the area at the top of Steep Hill with all its glorious tea rooms and individual shops. Be warned, Steep Hill really does live up to its name, but the shops on offer all the way down are really worth a visit… lots of ideas for gifts the next time I visit. At the bottom of the hill we found a taxi office and booked a cab back to Washingborough. It was all so simple and relaxing.
On April 1, 2015, Lincoln Castle unveiled its four-year restoration programme. The extensive work has cost £22m and coincides with the celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. For the first time, visitors can complete a wall-walk circuit of the castle with an audio guide. The views of the city and surrounding countryside are spectacular. An underground vault has been created, along with cinema space, to house the Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest - the only place in the world where these two important documents, representing the cornerstone of British democracy, can be viewed together.
Lincoln has always been on the tourist map but the revamped castle is proving a draw for young and old alike.
If you want to enjoy the sights but then withdraw to comfort and tranquility, while being offered just the right balance of service and friendliness from a team where nothing is too much trouble, then Washingborough Hall Country House Hotel is the ideal destination for a short break or longer stay.
* Washingborough Hall is offering a luxury dinner, bed and breakfast, two-night stay … including free entry to Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral. Other extras include afternoon cream tea, private car transfer to the city for a day of sightseeing and a glass of Champagne each evening as you relax back at your country house retreat. Throughout summer until September 30, 2015 the cost is £445 per couple. All subject to availability.
* The hotel welcomes well-behaved dogs.
* Prices per night, bed and breakfast from £135 or dinner, bed and breakfast from £195 for a double/twin
* Single rates available