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.