Lincolnshire has something for everyone, from scenic coastline complete with family-oriented seaside resorts to placid countryside and peaceful villages, historic churches great and small, stately homes and gardens, open hills, and marshes where seabirds gather.
The city of Lincoln is a delight. Though the twin attractions of cathedral and castle justifiably draw most of the attention, the rest isn't too shabby either! The arch of the High Bridge supports medieval half-timbered buildings as it crosses the River Witham, while two surviving Norman domestic buildings offer a glimpse of life at the lower end of the social ladder in early medieval times.
Lincoln Cathedral is a magnificent example of medieval church architecture. The west front, in particular, is remarkable in its use of sculptural detail and the richness of its design. The angel choir is a masterpiece of the Decorated style. In the south-east porch is the "Judgement Portal", with its marvellous relief carvings of Christ presiding over the Last Day, and in the choir is the "crazy vault" of intertwining ribs crisscrossing the bay. Everywhere you look are incredible carvings in wood and stone.
Not to be outdone by the cathedral is Lincoln Castle, which was begun by William the Conqueror in 1068. One of only two castles in England to be built upon twin mottes, the fortress is surrounded by massive walls added in the 12th century.
The castle's prize is its original copy of the Magna Carta, on display in the chantry. The castle was used as a prison in the 18th and 19th centuries, which accounts for the unusual chapel pews, shaped like coffins to provide a reminder to prisoners of their fate, and high enough to prevent inmates from seeing each other.
The palatial mansion of Burghley House was built by William Cecil, chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, and stands in a 300-acre deer park landscaped by Capability Brown. Within the house is one of the most extensive private collections of fine art in England, set off by superb period rooms.
Red-brick Tattershall Castle was one of the first major buildings in the country to use that material. Ralph, Lord Cromwell, built the tower house in the French style after returning from Agincourt. Nearby, the collegiate church of Tattershall is an excellent example of Perpendicular Gothic architecture, with superb decorative carvings and window tracery.
Belton House, near Grantham, is another country house treasure, built in the late 17th century and remodelled by James Wyatt a century later. The house is surrounded by lovely formal gardens and parkland. If you want more country houses, why not visit Grimsthorpe Castle, dating back to the 13th century and home to one family since 1516.
In Boston, the truncated tower of St. Botolph's church, known locally as "Boston Stump" soars above the town from which the city of Boston in the USA was founded.
The Benedictine abbey at Crowland contains wonderful remnants of monastic buildings, particularly the west front, with five tiers of statues. The town itself boasts a remarkable triangular bridge.
The historic town of Epworth will forever be linked with the Wesley family. Charles and John Wesley, the founders of Methodism, were born and grew up in Epworth, and today the restored 1709 Old Rectory that was their home is a fascinating museum tracing the history of this extraordinary family and their lives.
The Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve provides an important habitat for native and migratory birds, and is a popular gathering point for nature lovers and bird watchers alike. The Viking Way long-distance path provides enjoyable walking while the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is an area of rolling upland split by valleys harbouring peaceful small villages that amply repay the time spent exploring them.
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