Now the warmer weather is finally here, and with the ‘stay at home’ rule finally lifting, it’s only natural that we want to start getting out and about.
Lincolnshire has a wealth of historical properties, parks and woodland to explore, many of which are free to explore to those with memberships, to provide plenty of culture and exploration for all the family.
So we've provided a guide to Lincolnshire's heritage sites and parklands. Some are fully open to the public, while others are either partially open or closed, due to reopen this summer.
To adhere to government restrictions, visitors will be required to wear a face covering in indoor areas and to keep to social distancing guidelines. Hand sanitizer is widely available.
1. Belton House, Grantham (National Trust) - Belton House does truly have everyone for all the family, from it’s expansive outdoor playground and exciting indoor cafe/play area, miniature train ride for younger children to its stunning manor house and gardens, vast grounds to walk in and countless wildlife to spot, including its famed deer herd which can be spotted all year round. Current restrictions: The gardens, outdoor play area (some equipment remains closed), toilets, parkland and toilets are open 10am-5pm, but the indoor play area and the House itself is currently closed. All cafes are takeaway only. For more information, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/belton-house
2. Gainsborough Old Hall (English Heritage) - This little-known gem is among the biggest and best-preserved medieval manor houses in England. It was built in the latter part of the 15th century with Elizabethan additions, and has an impressive kitchen with an enormous fireplace, a noble great hall, and an imposing lodgings tower. There is a café on site as well as a fun interactive multimedia guide to provide plenty of insight into the building’s history during your visit. Current restrictions: The site is currently closed until summer 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions. For more information, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/gainsborough-old-hall/
3. Tattershall Castle Archaeology Walk (National Trust) - Tattershall Castle itself is currently closed until at least summer 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions, but the Archaeology walk takes place beyond the boundaries and is still operable. Explore the former home and surroundings of the Treasurer to King Henry VI and discover the hidden history of a 'landscape of lordship' told through its archaeology. The centre of Tattershall village became a Conservation Area in August 1976 to preserve the special architectural and historical interest of its buildings and spaces, including the Holy Trinity Collegiate Church, Tiltyard and Market Place. For more information, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tattershall-castle/trails/tattershall-castle-archaeology-walk
4. Gunby Hall Estate, Spilsby (National Trust) - This stunning country house dates back to 1700 and is set in Victorian walled gardens. Gunby also has popular walking trails, including the ice house pond where you can look out for the remains of the former Gunby village, or you can venture further afield to spot the remains on Bratoft Manor. Current restrictions: The Gardens, tearoom (for takeaway only), toilets and baby changing facilities are all open but the Hall, retail shop and second-hand bookshop are currently closed. For more information, visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gunby-estate-hall-and-gardens/
5. Sandilands, near Sutton-on-Sea (National Trust) - Sandilands is the National Trust’s first section of coastal land in the Midlands on the Lincolnshire coast. Sandilands, a former golf course, is becoming a new nature reserve which will both protect wildlife and create an all-year-round nature experience, forming part of the Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park and consisting of 3,500 hectares. For more information, visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sandilands
6. Bolingbroke Castle, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby (English Heritage) - Take a step back in time and see the remains of the 13th century hexagonal-shaped Bolingbroke Castle, the birthplace in 1367 of the future King Henry IV. The castle was taken by Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentarians in 1643, and was dismantled and gradually deteriorated until in 1815 when the last remaining structure fell. The site was then excavated by archaeologists in the 1960s and 1970s. Current restrictions: Entry is free and the site is open during daytime hours. Be aware that there is water in the moat surrounding the castle site. For more information, visit https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/bolingbroke-castle/
7. Woolsthorpe Manor, Colsterworth, near Grantham (National Trust) - known as Sir Isaac Newton’s birthplace, Woolsthorpe Manor is a veritable time capsule set in the 1600s to show how a young Newton would have lived and grown up. Current restrictions: Woolsthorpe Manor is currently closed until at least summer 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions. For more information, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/woolsthorpe-manor
8. Sibsey Trader Windmill, Sibsey (English Heritage) - Built in 1877, this six-storey mill is undergoing major conservation to restore its cap, fantail and six sails, and to bring it back into working order. Visitors can learn how the mill operates and take in the panoramic views from the third floor external gallery when it is open. Current restrictions: Sibsey Trader Windmill was damaged during gales 2018, and its sail, fantail and cap have been removed for repair. Although the mill is not currently working or open to visitors at the moment, the mill shop is open at weekends. For more information, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/sibsey-trader-windmill/
9. Grantham House (National Trust) - This handsome town house has many architectural features from various eras throughout the centuries and a riverside walled garden. Current restrictions: The house and gardens are closed to visitors until further notice. To keep up to date with Grantham House's reopening, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/grantham-house
10. Lincoln Medieval Bishop Castle, Lincoln (English Heritage) - With stunning views across the city, the medieval bishops’ palace was once among the most important buildings in the country. Visitors can explore the site's undercrofted East Hall, chapel range and entrance tower built by Bishop William Alnwick, as well as enjoying the site's unique contemporary Heritage Garden and vineyard, which was re-established in 2012 with the landscaping of the contemporary garden. Current restrictions: Due to essential conservation work Lincoln Medieval Bishops Palace has limited access. To find out more, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/lincoln-medieval-bishops-palace/