This good-looking Georgian rectory, on Lincoln's outskirts, sits prettily in lawned gardens and offers a choice of traditional and contemporary rooms. Family-owned (the Herrings live next door), the atmosphere is unstuffy while the food has a loyal, local following.
- Helen Pickles, Destination Expert
The hotel is located 10 minutes to the east of Lincoln, in Washingborough village (church, couple of pubs, two takeaways). It's close to the city's attractions yet out of its busy-ness. Straightforward to reach (three miles from the A15), it's peacefully set back from the road in lawned gardens. On the other hand, it's not in the countryside – no bucolic views – or in a pretty village setting. The hotel offers free chauffeur transfers to Lincoln each morning, though taxis or buses are needed for the return.
Style & character
Approached by a curving, gravel drive and overlooking a lawn and gazebo, the buttery grey stone building, with angular bays and stone steps to the entrance, makes a very pretty, pocket-Georgian mansion – once the rectory for the next-door church. Inside, it mixes a comfortably traditional style – William Morris wallpapers, patterned carpets, velvet and leather sofas in the hall and bar – with a lighter contemporary elegance – bold tartan carpets, pale-washed panelled walls and vases of fresh flowers in the two dining rooms. It's slightly odd, but creates a homely atmosphere rather than an impersonal, over-designed look.
Service & facilities
The bar, with its clutter of ornaments and mis-matched chairs and tables, doubles as a lounge while, in warmer weather, there's a small terraced area overlooking the pretty and secluded front garden. A free, morning chauffeur service to Lincoln is available daily or you can follow the traffic-free cycle route (the hotel has good bike storage). Dogs are allowed in certain rooms; £10 a night. But the real plus (and the reason for the high score) is the staff; smiling, friendly and genuinely welcoming. All – whether reception, waiting-staff or housekeeping – go out of their way to ensure guests enjoy their stay.
- Room service
Like the public areas, the 20 bedrooms are a mix of traditional and contemporary. The former, all in the main house, are bold with bright patterned feature wallpapers, extravagant satin curtains and a mix of antique and reproduction-Georgian furniture. The sleeker rooms, with pale-washed furniture and soft grey walls jazzed up with a feature wall, colourful blinds or boldly upholstered chair, are scattered between the main house and the cottagey house to the rear. Main house rooms have the views, the cottage rooms feel more private. All have smart bathrooms with wood-effect floors and modern showers; several with rolltop baths.
Food & drink
This is confident, smart cooking that belies the hotel's three-star rating with a loyal following for its Sunday lunch and afternoon tea. For evenings, there's a choice between a fancier à la carte menu – beetroot-cured salmon starter, perhaps, followed by pan-fried beef with shallot and thyme marmalade (mains around £20) – and a gutsier bistro menu (average £14) which might include smoked haddock and rosti potatoes with soft poached egg. The wine list is surprisingly short; bottles are priced from £21. By comparison, breakfast is modest with a simple cold buffet and averagely cooked hot dishes, including omelettes and bacon butties. Service, at all times, is friendly and well-judged. Homemade fudge or shortcake is served with teas and coffees throughout the day; a nice touch.
Value for money
Double rooms from £135, year-round. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.
Access for guests with disabilities?
The hotel is not geared towards families but some rooms can take an extra bed for £25, to include breakfast. Cots cost £10.