DESPITE the snowy conditions, a warm welcome was extended to us in Lincoln for a weekend packed with history, nostalgia and friendliness.

I returned to the city where I went to university and could not believe how it had changed in the 17 years since I graduated.

Yes, it still has its staple breathtaking tourist attractions of its castle and cathedral, but this has extended with thriving social scene and new venues celebrating its rich past.

But the foundations of our superb stay were laid by our two nights at Washingborough Hall Hotel, owned and managed by Edward and Lucy Herring.

This stunning country house hotel and restaurant, located just two miles outside Lincoln city centre, served as an oasis of calm near the ever-expanding city life.

The Grade II listed, Georgian Manor House hotel itself was beautifully presented, with classic prints celebrating the landmarks of Lincoln, that we were to visit, a traditional map of Lincolnshire and a roaring fireplace in the reception.

The hotel staff were as warm as the fire and could not do enough for us. They were friendly, attentive and interested in us.

Its quality shone through in our room too. The Churchill Suite was classically furnished and comfortable, with more than enough space for two and spacious, elegant bathroom.

If the service was superb, the food at Washingborough Hall was in a different league. In particular, our three-course meal was stunning. Beautifully presented dishes, which included a succulent steak and a beautiful cod, Washingborough can certainly hang its reputation on its food.

What of Lincoln itself?

The majesty and history of its castle and cathedral towering over the rest of the city below are two of Lincoln’s top attractions and are deserving of a visit.

The castle, at the top of Steep Hill, is not only home to the story of the Magna Carta, but also a Victorian Prison.

The Washingborough Hall warm welcome extended to the castle. The guides here, dotted about the prison, could not have been more friendly, knowledgeable or attentive.

The most enthusiastic was Dene, who seemed to be a walking encyclopedia of the history of the castle. He could answer any of our questions on its history.

Meanwhile, the castle is now the only place in the world where an original 1215 Magna Carta and 1217 Charter of the Forest can be viewed side-by-side.

These are presented in the David PJ Ross Morgan Magna Carta Vault -the highlight of the castle’s £22 million restoration. These prized documents are shown alongside a Great Charter Wall and Barons’ Shields and a 210-degree wraparound screen which tells the story of King John and the barons when they met at Runnymede on June 12, 1215, to agree a charter of liberties that would change the course of history and still stand today.

History buffs are also catered for following a five-minute walk across the courtyard to Lincoln Cathedral.

This stunning building includes the Lincoln Imp and a Roman Mosaic.

I defy anyone not to have a lump in their throat as soon as they feast their eyes on the cathedral’s height, majesty and history. The colourful and detailed stained-glass windows are also breathtaking.

We also got to delve into the history of Lincolnshire the following day, at the International Bomber Command Centre.

The site features a 102-foot tall, 73-ton memorial spire and its surrounding wall of names of the war victims. This too is a necessary and humbling place to visit.

The centre, which officially opens on April 12 after opening to the public in January, also tells the story of Bomber Command and the Second World War. A ten-minute-long film, displayed on a big screen, also splits up the conflict into months, with bombings and their locations, chronicled.

Bradford also features in the centre. A quote from one of its famous sons, author and broadcaster, JB Priestley, sums up the war’s destruction; “There is something fundamentally obscene and revolting about the whole business.”

For me, Lincoln is the perfect place for a trip away, whatever the weather. Delve into its past, the city’s history and majesty, but make sure you stay at Washingborough Hall.


Washingborough Hall, Church Hill, Washingborough, Lincoln, LN4 1BE

Phone: 01522 790340