The Lincolnshire Wolds – Travel Review
By Roger Crow
“Come to Lincolnshire. It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty,” offers a nice PR person one day. It’s a 90-minute drive from us, and there’s a cottage to stay at. Sounds like a good way to spend a weekend. Except on this Saturday, the skies are slate-grey and it rains all the way there. My mood is as dark as the sky.
We could spend the weekend indoors at home, but even on this chilly autumnal weekend, it’s good to leave our comfort zone and try something new. I don’t expect much from the accommodation, but thankfully it’s fantastic.
Rose’s Rest self-catering cottage at The Greetham Retreat in Horncastle is a wonderfully cosy, beautifully finished residence, which even a hailstorm can’t dampen my enthusiasm for. We have a look round the other cottages, and they’re all elegant, with a wealth of mod cons. Ours boasts dishwasher, oven, microwave, cosy living area, bedroom and shower/washroom. And naturally there’s also TVs and WiFi.
“Feel at home”
We’re sold from the off, and the fact owners Rob and Jeanette make us feel at home immediately is a bonus. A welcome bottle of wine is a lovely touch, while the tea-making facilities, complete with bottle of milk in the fridge, is spot on.
The main communal area has laundry facilities, DVDs to watch and books to get lost in, so no shortage of distractions if the weather is bad. And if caravans are more your thing, there’s space for those too.
Rachel and I have a bite to eat and a cuppa, then head off for a look round Woodhall Spa. It’s described as “a beautiful inland resort with an Edwardian character, set amidst magnificent pine woods”. It has two top class golf courses, but I’m more interested in a unique cinema, and the region’s connection with 617 Squadron (the Dambusters).
As we live in Howden, where the genius that was Barnes Wallis developed the bouncing bomb, there’s a sense of continuity seeing the Dambusters memorial. It’s very moving, and though many shops are about to close up for the day, the skies brighten a little. This is all preamble for the main event of the evening: Kinema in the Woods.
Earlier in the week, we’d booked to see Bohemian Rhapsody at 8pm, and just as well because by Saturday it’s sold out. However, as there’s a few hours to go, we arrive at the adjoining car park and go for dinner at neighbouring The Tea House in the Woods. It’s heaving at 5pm, but we manage to get a seat, and thanks to its efficient team, before long we’re enjoying a dinner that doesn’t break the bank. The engaging staff operate like a Swiss watch, the food is terrific and by 6pm we’re sipping cappuccinos in the lounge.
As I’d been looking forward to the film for years and Kinema in the Woods for weeks, I’m like a kid on Christmas morning. And the venue does not disappoint. Since 1922, the family-run venue has been entertaining locals and travellers. As a cineaste who lives for such attractions, I can’t believe I’ve not been before.
I’m glad we turn up early because there’s plenty of time for photo ops. Screen One is as fabulous as I’d hoped. I’ve never been to any cinema with coat pegs along the walls, or one that’s so wonderfully nostalgic. There’s a promise of an organist, but as the film starts, no sign.
Thankfully Bohemian Rhapsody is every bit as good as I’d wished for, and during the unexpected intermission, said organist pops up and provides one of the most entertaining intervals you’ll ever see.
The ticket is around £7.50 (with booking fee), while the merchandise and snacks are equally affordable. None of those inflated prices you get in most multiplexes. It’s the most rewarding experience I’ve had at any cinema.
Alas, due to roadworks, our journey back to Rose’s Rest proves problematic, but after assorted diversions we get back to base and enjoy a fine night in our wonderful temporary accommodation. The place is spotless with every eventuality catered for. Aside from coffee. Smart move as I’m very particular about my java, so take your favourite.
“Winding country lanes”
After a great night’s sleep, I make the most of the shower, we have a light breakfast and check out. The acid test for any hotel or hostelry is would I return as a paying customer? In a heartbeat.
Given the weather yesterday, there wasn’t much chance to soak up the area of natural beauty, but a short drive away is charming cafe The Old Schoolhouse Coffee Bar. It’s a cosy area where locals enjoy caffeine in a variety of forms, and the Sunday papers. We wolf down full English breakfasts, which again are very affordable. They serve great cappuccinos too.
There’s just time for a trip to a slightly off-grid model car museum, On Your Marques, which involves threading our way through winding country lanes. It’s an impromptu visit, but as I have a love of TV and film models, like 007 cars and Captain Scarlet vehicles, it’s right up my street. It’s a mere £4 for adults and well worth it. Though it doesn’t look like much from the outside, the interior is a treasure trove of model cars, vehicles and spaceships. And kids (of all ages) should love the Scalextric set-up which is cheap to play on. There’s also a cafe area too if you just prefer a cuppa.
Thankfully by the time we leave, the sun is shining and blue skies accompany our visit to Anderby Creek just up the road. It’s home to the UK’s first and only official ‘cloud spotting’ area at the Cloud Bar. And no, that’s not the sort that serves booze. There’s a purpose-built coastal marine observatory less than 10 miles away, but we’ll save that for a return visit.
We could nip to Skegness down the road, but nice to visit somewhere a bit different. After pottering around for a bit and soaking up the sea air, it’s time to head home.
There’s plenty of other things to see and do in the region, and as I left pieces of my heart at Kinema in the Woods, its neighbouring cafe, and Rose’s Rest, there’s no doubt we’ll be back one day, hopefully when the weather’s better and we have more time.
An unforgettable 24 hours, though one thing’s for certain: Next time we’ll stop longer.
The Greetham Retreat is a luxury self-catering accommodation located in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Set in more than four acres of private grounds, the accommodation offers stunning views across the Lincolnshire Wolds’ open countryside. It’s central location in Lincolnshire makes it the perfect place to stay for exploring the county, visiting attractions and simply enjoying activities from city to coast. The Greetham Retreat provides an idyllic escape all year round and the multi award-winning self-catering cottages offer a real home from home experience; with modern features such as oak floors, leather sofas, fully equipped kitchens, flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi.
The Greetham Retreat offers self-catering holidays with arrivals on any day of the week all year round, with a minimum stay of either 2 or 3 nights.
2019 prices are as follows:
Laura’s Loft (1 bedroom, sleeps 2, No pets) from £135 for 2 nights
Rose’s Rest (1 bedroom, sleeps 2, 1 small pet welcome) from £140 for 2 nights
Wendy’s Wing (1 bedroom, sleeps 2, 2 pets welcome) From £224 for 3 nights
Maggie’s Mews (2 bedroom, sleep 4, 2 pets welcome), From £288 for 3 nights
Katie’s Corner (3 bedroom, sleeps 6, 3 pets welcome), From £350 for 3 nights