Old-fashioned charm meets indulgent home comforts in this countryside bolthole nestled in the Wolds
If you’re after a proper escape to the country, you can do worse than bundling in the car and heading off to one of England’s genuinely undiscovered gems: the Lincolnshire Wolds. Home to peaceful beaches and quiet, leafy walks, quaint eateries and charming market towns, the Wolds offers the perfect tonic when you just need get away from it all.
And The Elm Tree Luxury Bed and Breakfast is the ideal hideaway for your countryside retreat.
Owners Jonathan and Chris Wilkinson-White bought this historic property as a condemned ruin in 2015 and have since turned falling down walls and overgrown gardens into a beautiful four-bedroom bed and breakfast that looks worthy of any great 19th century country house.
Antique furniture and a classic design, complete with four-posted beds and real fireplaces, give a nod to the building’s own past aristocratic connections, while the sumptuous furnishings were exactly what you’d expect of any five-star accommodation worth its salt. While completely refurbished now inside, I was fascinated to hear that Chris and Jonathan are still working towards restoring this building’s former glory, most recently planning to recreate the old bathing pool that they know was once a key feature of the garden.
Today, all of Elm Tree’s rooms are named after countryside animals, and we were delighted to spend two nights in the company of Percy Pheasant in the premier suite which boasted beautiful views of the landscaped garden, and an enchanting bathroom with a free-standing rolltop bath and walk in shower.
Like all great boltholes, our room had just the right touch of home – handmade biscuits in our room accompanied by lots of tea did just the trick for me – complimented by little finesses of luxury, like plush towels and bedding. And for all the sprawling spaciousness of the rooms, it still had that friendly intimate feel a boutique bed and breakfast with a smaller number of rooms can offer.
After all, this place may not be Downton Abbey in its size, but in its values and way of doing things, it was worthy of even Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess herself. From the bone china cups and saucers in our rooms to the couldn’t-do-enough for us service Jonathan showed us every time we saw him, we truly felt spoilt to be transported back in time with such old-fashioned manners and wonderful little touches.
The Elm Tree is ideal for if you fancy nothing more than a morning listening to birdsong followed by a potter round the garden. But for the time when you’ve lounged in your bubble bath for long enough and spend just enough time in your little bolthole, Jonathan was brilliant at signposting places to explore, from the wonderful country park Snipe Dales just down the road to the lovely little market down of Horncastle less than 25 minutes away.
With a sustaining breakfast of delicious home-cooked pancakes and bacon in our bellies, we even felt up to venturing off to the coast – Amderby Creek beach was a particular favourite – and the National Trust’s Gunby Hall.
For a spoil-yourself experience in friendly company with all the joy of an untapped jewel of the English countryside around you, The Elm Tree, Lincolnshire certainly ticked all of our boxes and we now can’t wait to go back.
My visit to the Wolds was actually my first ever to Lincolnshire and having discovered the beauty of the area I now want to go back and take a look at the rest of the county and in particular Lincoln Cathedral, an ecclesiastical building that has interested me for many years.
But back to the Wolds which has been an Area of Outstanding Beauty for over 40 years. And if you thought Lincolnshire was entirely flat, be prepared for a big surprise. It has hidden valleys, sleepy and pretty stone villages and charming market towns. Perfect for leisurely and not so leisurely strolls and walks and for wandering the byways of the towns filled with antique shops and independent stores – plus lovely coffee shops and pubs. Out on the coast, close to Skegness which is an entirely different experience, is Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve, an internationally recognised wildlife haven for seabirds. Take your binoculars and enjoy friends of the feathered variety at all times of the year.
Now back to the great outdoors, there are many walks of varying length including a 147-mile long distance footpath The Viking Way! But on the more leisurely side we did the Spa Trail, three miles of flat surfaced path and bridleway along the mid section of the Old Horncastle to Woodhall railway line with sculptures made from wood, stone and metal scattered along the route. Enchanting. And once in Woodhall we stayed a while and wished we’d had more time. It’s noted for its mineral springs and cinema ‘in the woods’ – a cinema that takes you back in time with its design and also offering regular entertainment on an original Compton Kinestra 3 Manual / 9 Rank organ.
Perhaps more importantly for many of a certain age is its link with aviation and Second World War association with the RAF 617 Squadron – which carried out the Dam Busters Raid. There’s a moving memorial to the squadron and all those lost from it during the war.
Lincolnshire was known as Bomber County during the war as it had more operational airfields than anywhere else in the country and its aviation heritage goes back to aircraft production in the First World War. The county is also home to the world’s fist military academy at RAF Cranwell. That rich heritage is still very much alive today with a host of museums ad living memorials, as in Woodhall Spa. The Red Arrows, one of the world’s greatest air display teams, is also based in the county.
We visited the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby where I have to say a tear or two were shed at the sound of a bomber firing up and in the chapel.
This is one of the most interesting and thoughtful museums of its type I’ve visited. Run by volunteers, the centre allows visitors to relive life on a World War Two bomber airfield. Based on an original wartime airfield, you can experience the sounds, sights and atmosphere of an airfield as it would have been in operation in those dark days. In the control tower look into darkened rooms filled with models and machinery from the day and a soundtrack talking pilots in after raids and taking off for sorties. Also very emotional. There is so much to experience but if you visit, time it with days when the centre’s magnificent Lancaster Bomber fires up those Rolls-Royce Merlin engines and does taxi runs around the airfield. An experience never to be forgotten. You could spend a whole day here and it is also dog friendly!
Elm Tree Virtual Tour
Brand new for 2018, we have collaborated with Google in creating a virtual tour of the Elm Tree.
This exciting new development allows you to browse around the property as if you were actually here.
To take the tour simply click here and use the directional arrows to start your journey.
A five star guest house near Spilsby has shown it has a taste for success after winning a Lincolnshire Taste of Excellence award. Chris and Jonathan Wilkinson-White, pictured, only opened their bijou B&B 18 months ago and say they can’t believe they have scooped the award so soon. The Elm Tree in Main Road, Hundleby, is a renovated country house close the the Lincolnshire Wolds offering four themed suites with a focus on luxury – large relaxing beds, 400 thread count white cotton sheets, luxurious cotton robes and Neal’s Yard Remedy toiletries.
All of the meals are cooked fresh using locally sourced produce and customers can’t get enough of their speciality afternoon teas. Chris said: “We’ve only been open 18 months and couldn’t believe we have already won a Lincolnshire Taste of Excellence award. “To have the public vote for us means everything. We had a ‘mystery shopper’ too but have no idea who it was. “We always give everyone 100 percent, though – we believe that’s our recipe for success.”
As scary as it sounds Christmas is round the corner….
Gift vouchers are available for our afternoon tea priced at £30 for tw0, £39 for prosecco afternoon tea and room vouchers also available starting at £90 – the perfect Christmas gift ideas!
Are you ready for Easter? Soon crept up on us and before you know it we will be thinking about that large gentleman in a red suit …
So whilst many of you will enjoy an extended Easter break why not spend it in Luxury in Lincolnshire’s only ROSE (recognition of service excellence) rated bed and breakfasts!
Explore, discover and engage in our beautiful county – you won’t be disappointed!
We can now announce that out of 23,000 visit England accommodation providers we have been listed in the top 100 for recognition of service of excellence! We are over the moon and proudly displaying
The Elm Tree has recently been featuring in many national publications in the last few months including being in The Times as one of the top 50 places to stay for an Autumn break. As a continued effort for people to understand the effort we have put in to become one of only two 5 Star Luxury Bed and Breakfasts in the whole of Lincolnshire, we teamed up with East Lindsey District Council to make a short video on our increasingly popular Afternoon Tea.
You can view the 2 minute long video below and after that you can book your high tea too by clicking here!
After two rounds of inspections we are delighted to have been awarded the highest possible award of five star gold with breakfast award! With a whopping score of 93%
Thanks to everyone who has helped us along the way!