This Lincolnshire Wolds excursion was a paid press trip with East Lindsey District Council.
I’m very fortunate that I get to travel and visit places with my blog and it’s never something I take for granted. Back in May, I received a lovely email asking if I fancied taking a trip to the Lincolnshire Wolds for a couple of nights to explore the surrounding areas.
When you think of the Lincolnshire Wolds, you expect barren countryside, remote pubs and very little things to do. Although this is partially true (I should know, my parents run a pub The Wheel Inn which sits in a quiet little village, Welton le Marsh and it’s the type of place you go off grid) – the entire Lincolnshire Wolds area does make you want to switch your phone off and escape everyday life. When I was told that I would be visiting Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa with my blog (which was also home to the Dambusters and arguably the finest hotel in Lincolnshire) alongside many other experiences, I was stoked for this getaway.
Before arrival, I was sent an impressive itinerary which was carefully curated and planned down to the finer details. In previous conversation with the incredible PR company (here’s looking at you Andy), they agreed to make my itinerary as busy or as relaxed as I wished. Personally, I wanted lazy days, diving into local pubs and restaurants for dinner, relaxed trips to see market towns and countryside rides out into the open fields. I couldn’t be more grateful as this is exactly what I got.
Arrival at The Petwood Hotel
Check in begins at 2PM so there’s absolutely no rush for arrival time. The Petwood Hotel resides in a stunning little village with a plethora of quirky shops, including a bakery, a mixture of coffee shops, independent clothing boutiques, the world’s smallest shoe shop and much more. Petwood Hotel describes itself as having a ‘timelessly elegant setting and unique heritage’ at the heart of this “Bomber County”. Many famous people have stayed here over the years, in addition to serving as a military hospital for injured soldiers during the Great War. Renowned as the home of the legendary 617 “Dambusters” Squadron in WW2 (that Petwood Hotel is best known for) – there is so much to look at on the walls in terms of art, literature, books and maps that makes the hotel so historical. The history of Petwood is utterly insane. The building itself is extremely spacious with a maze of different rooms, bars and a restaurant to explore. The car park was heaving on arrival so we knew straight away this was a great place to be.
One of the most memorable parts of the stay was wondering around the acres of garden they have at the back at the hotel. People were sitting outside eating afternoon tea, drinking beer, playing with their kids, strolling the grounds and generally having a relaxing time in the sun. There was a wedding taking place on the Saturday we arrived, so naturally the place was busy but this wasn’t an issue for us at all. Hidden within the grounds is also a ‘bouncing bomb’ shell which if launched directly at targets, it detonated underwater hence why the place is dedicated towards showcasing the Dambuster’s mission.
The Squadron Bar hosts a range of memorabilia showcasing the bravery of the Squadron and the huge risks they took in enemy territory. If you’re interested in war tributes, this hotel is incredible for delving into the depth of important history tributes.
Petwood Hotel Double Room
Inside the hotel you will find a selection of 53 bedrooms, mostly classic with a sprinkling of modern features. Ours was a double room (£145 per night) which had a luxurious garden view, showcasing the outstretched lawn perfect for a morning wonder. Single rooms, four posters and suites are available depending on reason for stay. Costs include breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi, toiletries, TV, tea and coffee making facilities and unlimited use of the car park. Our king size bed was cosy and we had no trouble falling asleep that night. Although the room was pretty basic, it had everything we needed for a comfortable weekend stay. The best bit was by far the shower as it had a rainfall effect. Absolutely wonderful to wake up to that in the morning!
The itinerary started on Saturday at 3PM when it encouraged us to visit the small market town of Horncastle, a short 20 minute drive from the hotel. It’s here that they have an abundance of antique shops. Sadly on arrival, everywhere was closed. If you’ve visited Lincolnshire before, you will know that many places shut early on weekends which I find a little bit odd. We parked in a local supermarket and wondered the cobbled streets for a while, peering up at the buildings in which some still had their original company names. The thatched houses make for some delightful photography, it is just a shame no where was open when we arrived. We did see that most of the pubs were open still so we dived into one for a little refreshment. I drive through Horncastle en route to see my parents, so one day I’ll go back and visit a bit earlier in the day.
Dining at Petwood Hotel
We were kindly booked in for a complimentary meal at the hotel restaurant for 7:30PM, so we headed back from Horncastle to have a snooze before dinner. All of the food is locally sourced and I’m gutted we never got around to trying the afternoon tea as it looks rather lovely. The hotel menu itself has plenty of meat and vegetable options, the restaurant is cosy but dated as it looks as though they don’t want to change the original aesthetic too much. I can imagine menus change seasonally and our starter selection ranged from soups to salads, pies to tarts which all sounded great, but before we had our starters, we spotted a customer and his wife behind us telling a member of staff he wasn’t satisfied with their meal. I always like to watch around and see how other diners are doing when reviewing food, because that’s how you get a real sense of what is about to come.
We skipped starters and I ordered the Duck Breast with croquettes, caramelised peach, blanched almonds and duck fat potato spheres. Josh ordered the Pork Fillet Wellington. No doubt they were both beautifully presented, not too much pretentiousness and rather highlighting the quality of the meat. The duck was cooked a bit more than pink for me (for pregnancy reasons) and both meals came with boiled vegetables. Although we weren’t blown away by the food (I think I liked mine more than Josh did his) I feel there needed to be more sauce as I had to ask for more. The veg was a little basic and expected more than just a rustic looking, boiled side dish. The overall mains were reasonable, but again I expected more meat and quality for the £21 price tag.
The best bit of the meal was by far the puddings. It was freshly cooked, still hot and the Plum Tart (£6.10) melted inside the cocoon of pastry, topped with vanilla ice cream. Josh ordered the cheese board that comes with a good selection of unpasteurised Lincolnshire cheeses with crackers, celery and grape chutney. Overall I can say the food was good, but not mind blowing. I’m aware that people come to the hotel just to try the food and don’t actually stop here, so depending on your budget and food preferences, it might be wise to check out other customer reviews before dining here.
Seal Sanctuary & Wildlife Centre
The morning after, we had more itinerary plans including a visit to the Seal Sanctuary and Wildlife centre before stopping off at Salty’s for some of the best fish and chips around. The centre homes a mixture of rescued animals from birds to meerkats, and it was lovely to see so many animals being cared for. The majority seemed happy to be here. Times vary depending on the season and a standard adult pass is £9.50. Children can go in for £6.50 and under 3s are free. Seal feeding times are scattered throughout the day but we didn’t stick around for this as we were very hungry come noon. There is a £2 charge for all-day parking in the adjacent car park but we managed to park for free around the corner.
Salty’s Fish & Chips – Mablethorpe
Salty’s Fish & Chips comes highly recommend as being the best chip shop in Mablethorpe, a short 5 minute drive from the wildlife centre. All food is cooked to order so you can taste the freshness of the haddock and chips on first bite. Two haddock and chips with drinks came to a reasonable £16. What we loved most is the tenderly light and crisp batter, not slathered over the fish like concrete so you can still taste the goodness. Staff were pleasant too and didn’t mind talking through the most popular bits of the menu. You can tell they serve hundreds of fish and chips each day by the speed they were taking orders. The outside seating area was completely rammed with visitors trying to scoff golden battered treats, and you can’t blame them as the food was marvellous. A 5 minutes walk away is the beach seafront so we stopped off there afterwards to do some people watching.
Let’s be honest – is it really a holiday without playing some arcade games? En route back to the car we stopped off at one of those tacky 2p amusement arcades to splash a bit of coinage. For your information I spent a whole £2 as that’s all I had in change. I didn’t win anything, as expected, but it was great fun being a kid again.
Breakfast at The Petwood Hotel
By the time morning rolls around, I’m usually aching for a tea or coffee. Breakfast times vary during weekdays and weekends and Petwood Hotel provides both hot and cold options, with plenty of apple and orange juices, cereals and pastries to feed hundreds of guests. There is no buffet here so if you’re in favour of something hot, they’ll bring it out fresh like they did with our full English breakfast and smoked salmon dishes. They don’t slack on the toast serving and service is speedy. On the first morning I was tempted by the salmon and eggs, the next I opted for porridge to keep me fuelled for the drive home. We saw a lot of wedding guests come down for hydration on Sunday morning so service was frantic but efficient.
The surrounding area of Woodhall Spa is a place that a lot of my friends and family either grew up near, got married in or have family there. It was surprising to see how many people on my social media have visited before, it’s clearly not as remote as I first thought. After swanning up and down the main high street, we popped into a bakery for cakes and coffee. It’s a gorgeous place and would happily revisit, if only to visit the popular Kinema theatre!
A Brief Stop At Tallershall Castle
Monday was a bank holiday so before driving back to Birmingam, our final pit stop was at Tattershall Castle – a National Trust 15th century red brick building. We’ve driven past it so many times en route to Lincolnshire but never actually stopped here so this was a treat. The grounds are rather small but there is lots to see and do, for all ages of the family. Two adult tickets cost £15. There are always plenty of live workshops going on, live action theatre events and interactive shows to watch. The castle was once the seat of elegance and power for centuries during medieval times and has an important legacy. The experience itself was lovely and you can walk up to the top castle – a great place to explore with the little ones if you don’t mind trudging up the winding staircase.
I would like to say a huge thank you to the wonderful team at Distract who organised the entire trip for us in collaboration with East Lindsey District Council, covering the Lincolnshire Wolds and the stunning, idyllic Lincolnshire coastline. We had a beautiful weekend away and can’t thank everyone enough for encouraging us to see and explore more of the area. Lincolnshire really is more than just Butlins, overpriced tourism attractions and trips to the beach; it’s more about history, culture and unique heritage that more people should take advantage of. If you’re a bit of a foodie like me, you’re never too far from somewhere to eat or drink. Lincolnshire is full of pubs, restaurants, vineyards, bars and cosy cafés. The delights produced in the Lincolnshire Wolds are bound to leave a lasting impression. I hope one day we return to Petwood Hotel and Woodhall Spa, if not only for yet another relaxing break away with a small addition to our family.
Watch the Youtube promo teaser here.
Please note: this was a paid press trip to Lincolnshire Wolds. All opinions are still my own.
Petwood Hotel Address: Stixwould Road, Woodhall Spa LN10 6QG
Affiliate link* – If you book a visit to The Petwood Hotel via my blog post, I will earn a small commission on it.