The last couple of years have been varied holidays and I’ve managed to keep lovely diaries of what we got up to (see 2019 and 2020) as well as during our break in Whitby in May 2021. This summer though, I didn’t try to do that. I didn’t want to be blogging in the evenings instead of spending quality time with my parents and in laws. Instead, I posted on Instagram each day and decided to share the highlights of our holiday in each location now.
I’ve already chattered about the best bits of Scotland 2021.
So here’s the best of our Lincolnshire holiday 2021.
Well I just love the fens. I love driving for miles and being able to see where you’re heading – as you approach Boston in South Lincolnshire you can see the Stump (St Botolph’s church) from miles and miles away – even from across the Wash in Hunstanton. From the top of the Stump you can see Lincoln Cathedral which is, I don’t know, maybe 30 miles away. The skies are enormous. The fields stretch on forever, you’ll never feel hemmed in in the fens.
And , oh the sunsets! On a summer’s evening, it’s as though the whole sky is on fire. Not just some little niche between some hills, the whole horizon stretching out in the West.
The other key attribute of the fens is their flatness. This is really rather excellent when you decide that running every day for the last 20 days isn’t enough and you throw a half marathon in just for good measure – much less painful when it’s nice and flat!
Lincoln Castle and City
We went to Lincoln Castle for the day and combined it with a mooch about the city, spotting imps, torturing the boys by making them walk up Steep Hill, and then trying to lock them in Lincoln Prison.
Sadly, Lincoln Castle isn’t owned by the National Trust so we couldn’t make use of our membership for free entry. However, it was really easy to book a time slot and when we got there it was really quite quiet. We visited the old prison cells and learned what life had been like, saw the Magna Carta (whose significance was entirely lost on the children), and climbed up to the castle wall to walk all the way round the perimeter.
The Cathedral opposite was looking glorious in the sunshine and we spent some time admiring its cheeky imps and gargoyles.
Finally, we indulged in the most expensive fudge known to man… unfortunately, it wasn’t that nice either.
You can’t really visit East Lincolnshire without a trip to the sea side. The county has various resorts to offer – Skegness was the haunt of my youth, and I remember my grandparents taking us somewhere pebbly further north. On this year’s visit, we took to boys first to the beach at the North Sea Observatory where we flew kites and almost got blown away. The wind farms out to sea were a sight to behold – massive and looking almost like a far off forest in the haze.
Then we headed North in search of lunch (of which more later) and then onto Mablethorpe for some proper beaching. The parking was, frankly, horrendous. It was awful! It took ages to find a spot and then it was pure luck. I think another time we need to choose somewhere less busy.
Once settled, we found jellyfish and crabs. I paddled in the North Sea, surprisingly non-freezing, and the boys positively wave jumped – while himself sought refuge on a picnic blanket up the beach, he hates sand.
After an icecream, we stopped into the splash park where the boys had a fab time before heading home.
I’ve been visiting Belton House since I was a little girl as my grandma lives quite close by. We went during last summer’s jaunt too. Last year, there were restrictions in the playground and it was a super hot day. This year, it was a lot more free for the kids to run around and jump on things, climb trees, build dens and so on.
Having wandered through the play area, we went in search of ice cream and discovered that there was a little serving hatch hidden away in the courtyard – much less busy than the cafe. Refueled we walked through the formal gardens, spotting beautiful flowers and the moondial. There were traditional games set up on the lawns and we managed not to get lost in the maze – large boy is an expert maze navigator (according to him).
Belton has something for everyone – you can go for long walks in the deer park, tumble about the playground, explore the gardens, find a cooling or warming refreshment, absorb the history of the house, and admire the wonderful plants and orangery. Plus it’s National Trust, so a free pass for us!
Rand Farm Park
We had a fabulous afternoon at Rand Farm Park, so much fun for us all. There’s a huge variety of traditional play equipment to explore, as well as crazy golf, footy golf, and a massive bouncy marshmallow thingy.
The boys particularly loved the go karts, going super fast! They’d left their brave pants at home so didn’t try the sky rider zip wire, which was just as well as the wind was blowing kids backwards and they closed it not long into the session. But they had great fun on the trampolines, toboggans, climbing rope pyramid, and trying to out balance me on a spinning seesaw.
Even my parents got on the swinging bench ride thingy – my dad claimed not to have been on one since he was 5 years old. Mum almost beat us all at crazy golf, but himself and I got hole in ones on the last hole and she took two goes. Large boy hit small boy smack bang in the middle of his chest with a golf club.
We finished off with the gorgeous animals, the goat seemed disappointed at our empty hands and overly interested in my hand bag though.
The George and Dragon in Hagworthingham
When it’s your 40th birthday you deserve a treat, especially if you ran 22km that morning (did I mention that yet? yes? oh, sorry). Himself and I had tried to pick somewhere online from afar and just couldn’t guess where would have good food. However, my parents remembered a pub that they used to visit in the before times and so we booked a dinner on the day of my 40th at the George and Dragon.
Hagworthingham is lovely little village, quiet and fairly remote. The pub is welcoming, with a spacious car park and apparently they do glamping too. We were welcomed and shown to a nice quiet, but large, table and we were well looked after all evening. We shared some starters and I had a nice G&T. Then I had a massive piece of steak while the boys enjoyed scampi as did my dad, my mum had fish and himself got stuck into a mixed platter. Then puddings all round. Delicious, what more could we ask for?
The Fat Seagull in Sandlands
We drove past this place while hunting for lunch on our way to Mablethorpe. It was getting busier as we went North so we came back and managed to nab a table just as someone else left. The Fat Seagull is part delicatessen, part gallery and part cafe/bar. You can spend pennies on a takeaway coffee, or many pounds on some beautiful local artwork. We all had fish – of course – and chips and it was amazing. Just really yummy and fresh and so so good.
Los Burritos in Boston
Now, I didn’t realise until we came out that Los Burritos is the same building as held the infamous Axe and Cleaver pub in the late 90s and early noughties. I think I forget partly because I used to walk there from a friend’s house and we’d consume home-mixed vodka redbull on the way, so we were already a little hazy on arrival. However, the awesome “cocktails” they mixed I have not forgotten – the “meths” combining vodka, blue bols, grenadine and lemonade was a particular favourite.
Now I’m old the “proper” cocktails on offer at Los Burritos are much more my sort of thing. The decor and menu are rather more suited to my age as well, and certainly to bringing the boys along too. My parents were much less sure – how they’d reached their late 60s without ever having tasted mexican food is beyond me. They were baffled. The boys were horrified and determined to educate their grandparents. Himself and I had cocktails.
The food was rather variable unfortunately. The starters were Spanish tapas and excellent, my mum’s and my burritos were good too. However, the fajitas weren’t quite right and didn’t give my dad much insight into what to expect another time. Large boy absolutely devoured his nachos with all the toppings, so at least he was thrilled. The cocktails were excellent and I could easily have enjoyed three or four more.
What were your favourite moments or activities of summer 2021?