It is just an hour down the road, but no events or people had ever led me to entering Lincoln’s historic borders. But thank goodness I did.
Luckily, it was also the hottest weather April had ever seen when we set off, and we couldn’t wait to explore everything in store.
Nestled in the village of Washingborough, Washingborough Hall is a small stately home straight from the pages of a Jane Austen novel, but a mere five-minute drive from the centre of Lincoln.
We arrived at 11am, so too early for our room to be ready, but we were given access to one of the other bedrooms in order to freshen up before our day of exploring.
After a reapplication of make-up and a change into a more suitable, flowy summer dress, we left our bags at reception and went on the five-minute drive to our next stop – Bar Unico.
Parking was available in the NCP car park just two seconds away, so we took full advantage as we knew our day would leave us with little time to wander freely around.
Bar Unico is a Mediterranean-style café in St Benedict’s Square, just off Lincoln’s main high street, and it was great to see all but one table full.
We took a look at the menu of homemade pizzas and salads, as well as sandwiches and ice creams, and made the decision to order the Burrata specials – with an Americano and a Bierra Moretti.
The Burrata mozzarella was stunning and melt in the mouth, and the encasing prosciutto was of equal excellent quality. With the sun beating down, the delicious ingredients straight from Italy and surrounded by historic buildings, we could have easily been in a Spanish old town.
After our tasty pitstop, we jumped back in the car and made another short, five-minute journey up to Lincoln Castle, where again parking was extremely efficient.
We wandered the Victorian prison cells hiding in the castle, saw the Magna Carta and even managed to fit in a coffee and cake in the café – it was the best coffee cake we had ever eaten.
At about 5pm, we made our way back to Washingborough Hall to get ready for dinner, and we were in for a treat.
Our room was finally ready – The Ingleby Room – and we could have moved in straight away. Huge curved windows allowed you to soak in the surrounding scenery, and a bathroom about half the size of our giant bedroom meant we had space for a walk-in shower and a standalone bath tub.
We made ourselves at home before making our way down to the bar for our dinner reservation at 7.30pm.
With a rhubarb gin in hand, I ordered the twice-baked Lincolnshire poacher soufflé to start, the grilled bream for main and the most divine hot banana soufflé with salted caramel ice cream.
I’m not ashamed to have doubled up on the souffles – they were stunning.
The boyfriend also seemed to enjoy my food, as he kept trying to sneak in a mouthful or two throughout.
After a beautiful night’s sleep in our gorgeous room, we were up and ready for a homemade breakfast of eggs benedict, to set ourselves up for the day.
We headed to the newly opened Bomber Command Centre, a memorial to the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the RAF during the Second World War, and stopped for a spot of lunch at The Cheese Society in St Martins Lane, where I had the most incredible halloumi ever.
It was soft and melt-in-the-mouth, atop chilli-filled avocado on sourdough, and my lunch partner indulged in Lincolnshire sausages drenched in homemade rarebit.
The lunch was sublime, as was a visit to the cheese counter afterwards, and we walked away with faces like cats that had really got the cream.
With other cheese-themed dishes on the menu, I couldn’t recommend this deli high enough.
Our next stop was the nearby Lincolnshire cathedral, with a walk up that almost ripped my unused calf muscles.
Once up there, however, the walk is well worth it, and we made our way around the inexplicably beautiful building that was originally built by William the Conquerer.
It was breathtaking.
We loved our second day out, but couldn’t wait to kick off our shoes in the hotel room and get ready for another scrumptious meal.
This time we were in a smaller, more intimate dining room, and for some reason the second meal truly outshone the lovely food we had eaten the night before.
We gazed out onto the lawns while tasting salt and pepper squid, creamed spinach soup, chimichurri rib-eye steak and soy-marinated pork fillet, and indulged in another incredible hot banana soufflé for dessert – as well as a bowl of mango sorbet.
By the second morning, we were like lord and lady of the castle, floating around this fabulous hotel as if we owned the place.
After a beautiful breakfast including free range, local eggs, delicious black pudding and Lincolnshire sausages, we had to say our sad goodbyes to our incredible room and the super-friendly staff.
We will definitely be back to Washingborough Hall soon, for a taste of high class-living in the heart of historic Lincoln.