Top places to stay in Lincolnshire

Days out, Activity, Destinations

Posted by Courtney Kelly on 19th January 2024

Aerial photo on a blue-sky day of the city of Lincoln with Lincoln Cathedral at the centre

If you’re after outstanding natural beauty and coastal towns with attractions and serenity in equal measure in the East of England, then there’s one county that’ll bring you Lincoln-sheer delight. Ahem … Lincolnshire, it’s Lincolnshire.

The second largest county in England by area, Lincolnshire is full of famous foods, incredible architecture, surprising historical contributions and enough sand to last the kids a lifetime.

Read about our top ten places to stay in Lincolnshire by scrolling through our guide or get searching for your perfect cottage right away by tapping the button below.

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Image of part of Gainsborough Old Hall on a cloudy day

Gainsborough – best place to stay for lovers of history

You might suppose that any town or city could deliver its own anthology of historical tales, and you’d be right. But those with an interest in Anglo-Saxon history, as well as some more modern narratives in England’s development, would do well to stop a while in Gainsborough.

The town gets its name from the 6th-century Gaini tribe who were the first to settle here. From there, it went on to become the regional capital of the Saxon kingdom of Mercia, which is quite the accolade. But wait, there’s more. When Sweyn Forkbeard, the king of Denmark, conquered England in 1013 and became the first Viking king on these shores, Gainsborough became the capital of both England and Denmark. This was, unfortunately, short-lived, as Forkbeard was murdered five weeks later.


  • Gainsborough Old Hall – not only was this English Heritage spot once the site of Gainsborough Castle where King Forkbeard once lived, but it also played host to both Richard III and Henry VIII
  • Trinity Arts Centre – this eclectic picture house based in a Grade II-listed church offers a programme of theatre, cinema, live bands and comedy
  • Richmond Park – great for if you have the kids in tow, with play equipment, a MUGA and plenty of woodlands to explore

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Mablethorpe Beach with the waves lapping at sunrise

Mablethorpe – best place to stay for a quiet coastal getaway

We’ll be mentioning why you should stop off at Skegness a little later, but if you’re coveting a slightly quieter trip to the coast, then Mablethorpe has to be one of the best places to stay in Lincolnshire. The Blue Flag beach comprises 2 miles of beautifully soft sand, perfect for long walks, book reading and spectacular sandcastle building on World Ocean Day. Stay at the north end for beach days at the peaceful end of the spectrum.

But that’s not to say that Mablethorpe is sleepy; there’s still plenty to get your blood pumping if you need a shot of adrenaline. Kite buggying, jet skiing and amusement park rides are but a taste of what’s on offer if you’re in need of entertainment. Plus there are street performers lining the promenade including musicians and magicians. Perhaps Mablethorpe isn’t so quiet after all …


  • Mablethorpe Seal Sanctuary and Wildlife Centre – it’s not just wide-eyed seals here; get up close and personal with primates, reptiles, birds of prey, meerkats and more
  • Lincolnshire AquaPark – slides, inflatable climbing walls and blast bag catapults ... what more could you ask for?
  • Mablethorpe Beach – offering serene spaces as well as nosier, more raucous entertainment, this stretch of sand offers the best of both worlds

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A rollercoaster at Fantasy Island on a beautifully clear day

Ingoldmells – best place to stay for lovers of rides and shopping

Ingoldmells gets its name from a Norse word meaning ‘the sand dunes of Ingulf’, who was likely one of the first settlers to this East of England coastal hotspot. At one point in its early history, the village was seen to have greater importance than its now-thriving neighbour, Skegness, with stories of Henry IV holding his courts here. However, perhaps due to the village resting at sea level and the water gradually consuming parts of the settlement, its status and prominence waned.

Today, you should visit to catch a glimpse of Fantasy Island, a theme park open from March to November that offers much more than your standard funfair. Operating since 1993, Fantasy Island provides even the bravest thrill-seekers with a choice of over 30 rides and rollercoasters, including water-based rides, hair-raising jaunts and smaller joyrides for little explorers. Added to this extraordinary excitement, there’s the not-insignificant bonus of Europe's largest 7-day market. With over 320 stores bringing you everything from food and drink to art, clothes and body piercing, you’ll do well to visit each and every one.


  • Fantasy Island – so much more than a theme park, with rides, live entertainment and a huge market
  • Hardy’s Animal Farm – whatever the weather, this is a great day out with animals to meet, and play to be had indoors or outdoors
  • Ingoldmells South Beach – this sandy beach allows dogs on parts of the sand all year round and is popular with swimmers

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Shafts of sunlight break through the clouds at a mesmerising Lincolnshire Wolds scene. A path has been mown through some crops leading to a solitary tree

Lincolnshire Wolds – best place to stay for lovers of the outdoors

The landscape of the Lincolnshire Wolds is amongst the most beautiful in the East Midlands. After relentless campaigning, this was recognised in 1973 when most of the Wolds were designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This prestigious accolade acknowledges that areas like this, along with our resplendent national parks, form some of the most remarkable countryside in the UK.

Whether you’re into walking, cycling or horse riding or you just want to stroll around pleasant towns and villages with your loved one or family, the Lincolnshire Wolds will allow you to explore in a number of different ways. There’s plenty of woodland and grassland to discover, and the many abandoned chalk pits provide the perfect setting for rare flora and fauna to thrive.


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Six cooked Lincolnshire sausages in a pile

Louth – best place to stay for foodies

When thinking about what you might like to eat on a holiday in Lincolnshire, a few things spring to mind, perhaps most notably Lincolnshire sausages. These pork bangers are infused with sage, parsley and thyme and are a household name in the UK and beyond. Some of the foods you might be less familiar with, such as Haslet which comes from the Old French word hastilles meaning entrails – trust us, it is better than it sounds. But if you needed to pick one place to go to experience the best cuisine Lincolnshire has to offer, that place would be Louth.

TV chefs The Hairy Bikers once declared Louth as a ‘food mecca’ and it’s easy to see why. There are weekly markets that are a hive of activity, selling speciality cheeses and classics such as Lincolnshire plum loaf and the aforementioned sausages. If you can’t get to the markets, fear not as there are ample independent food shops to satiate your hunger including bakers, butchers, fishmongers and a cheese shop.


  • Louth Market – visit the general markets every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with a food market on the second Friday of each month and a farmers’ market on the fourth Wednesday of each month
  • Woolliss and Son Butchers – get high-quality, local meat from this family butcher and cook your own fry-up in your self-catering cottage
  • Spout Yard Park Louth – grab some picnic bits and head to this suntrap park with outdoor tables and a children’s play area

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Two pieces of Lincolnshire Poacher cheese on a small chopping board with a cheese knife

Alford – best place to stay for cheese lovers

Now, you may be wondering why we only lightly touched upon cheese in the last section. That’s because it gets a section all of its own and that section focuses on Alford. This quaint little market town on the edge of the Wolds has streets lined with adoringly beautiful, thatched cottages and a market to rival Louth. However, it’s the cheese offering that has locals staying and visitors returning time and time again.

At Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese, they strive to make the best possible cheese that they can, using their 230 Holstein Fresian cows. It should be highlighted that dairy farming is not prevalent on the east coast of England and so to make such a successful smooth creamy cheese (similar to a French Comte) is a remarkable feat. It was so successful upon its inception in the early 1990s that local customers were restricted to a quarter of a pound each. Today, it’s sold all over the UK and even in multiple cheese shops across the USA.


  • Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese – visit the shop to buy some Poacher, some Lincolnshire Red and some traditional Lincolnshire plum bread to go with it
  • Alford Manor House – this Grade II-listed building has a Georgian and Victorian design and houses over 300 years’ worth of Alford's historic artefacts
  • Woodthorpe Garden Centre – just north of the town, you’ll find this fabulous garden centre where you can pick up a gift, have a tasty meal or let the kids go wild in the large outdoor maze and play area

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A view of the beach and funfair at Skegness from the pier

Skegness – best place to stay for a traditional seaside resort

Out of all the coastal places to stay in the East of England, Skegness is amongst the most well known. Along with Scarborough and a smattering of other shoreline spots, Skegness was one of the country’s first seaside resorts and, today, it’s more popular than ever. There’s so much to do in the town and on the beach itself; it’s a vibrant, award-winning, family-friendly place that’s so quintessentially British that you’ll wonder why you ever looked abroad for your family holiday.

Spend days on Skegness’ 143-year-old pier with the kids, visit the aquarium if the heavens open, and if you’re visiting with a group of friends, there are plenty of nightclubs, bars and restaurants to keep you happy long into the night. One such place of note is the Embassy Theatre which puts on live shows including comedy, music and even snooker matches between the sport's greatest legends. Undoubtedly, the beach is a big attraction, and these Blue Flag sands are clean and safe for all-day fun.


  • Butlin's – the first of its kind in the UK, Butlin's was built here in 1936 and still offers fantastic fairground rides, indoor games and amazing swimming pools
  • Skegness water sports – try paddleboarding, kayaking, Ringo rides or take on the full wake park
  • Embassy Theatre – visit the East Coast’s premier live entertainment venue for tribute acts, well-known stand-ups and musicals

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Moody clouds circle above Lincoln's terracotta houses and the majestic cathedral

Lincoln – best place to stay for a variety of reasons

There’s just so much going for Lincoln that we couldn’t even pin down a title for this section. For example, did you know that the Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest man-made structure in the world for thousands of years before Lincoln Cathedral came along, and it held the title of the world’s tallest building for two centuries? Or that one of the four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta resides within Lincoln Castle?

During the Roman occupation, Lincoln (then known as Lindum Colonia) was one of the largest settlements in the country. In fact, the only Roman archway (Newport Arch) that is still used by traffic calls Lincoln its home. The city’s importance continued to grow and by the 13th century, it was the third-largest city in the UK. Since then, it has fallen by the wayside in terms of population, but still played ever such an important role in our recent history, with the first-ever tank, Little Willie, invented here and one out of every 14 WW1 aircraft built here too. Other interesting facts of past and future include that Lincoln was home to the first German-style Christmas market in the UK, and that the city will be the home to the world’s first robotic farm.


  • Lincoln Cathedral – home to one of the last two libraries designed by celebrated architect Christopher Wren, the cathedral also houses Eleanor of Castile’s vital organs
  • Asylum Steampunk Festival – visit the quirky festival that was the first of its kind in the world. Mixing Victorian fashion with sci-fi elements, it is also the largest steampunk festival in the world
  • Lincoln Castle – a magnificently preserved castle, this fort is nearly 1,000 years old and was built by William the Conqueror

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A collection of interesting antiques on a wooden floor in front of a grey wall

Horncastle – best place to stay for antiques and artisan shops

If you’ve had your fill of the city and you’re on your way east to the coast, consider stopping off at Horncastle along the way. Known as the gateway to the Lincolnshire Wolds, Horncastle is enveloped by alluring countryside and, like the Wolds, has outstanding natural beauty. But it’s the antiques and artisan shops that the town is best known for, so if you love shopping for a bargain, you’ll love Horncastle.

The town has its own antiques trail where you can follow a map and navigate your way to your next vintage gem. Whether you’re a collector or you just like browsing unique items, you’ll find a friendly face behind the counters of the many shops just waiting to offer you advice. There are markets twice a week for your more regular purchases and plenty of cute tearooms for when you need to refuel.


  • Horncastle Antiques Centre – one of the largest antiques shops in the town, HAC has a number of dealers all under one roof and across three floors
  • Laurence Shaw Antiques – once described as the jewel in Horncastle’s antique shops crown, LSA maintains a well-stocked shop and is renowned for being friendly and fair
  • Wolds Wildlife Park – if antiques don’t stimulate you, make a beeline for this wildlife park and visit the lions, leopards, brown bears, capybaras and ring-tailed lemurs

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The funfair, pier and beach at Cleethorpes on a blue-sky day

Cleethorpes – best place to stay for a family-friendly holiday

We’ve already mentioned a few seaside towns but, in our opinion, you can’t have too much beach. That’s certainly what the children will tell you and if you’re bringing the whole gang along on your Lincolnshire getaway, you could do much worse than a holiday in family-friendly Cleethorpes.

The central promenade that runs alongside the beach is a traditional affair with a variety of attractions on offer including amusements, crazy golf and bowling. There’s also Ross Castle to visit, a fortification that may appear to be ancient but was in fact built in 1885 by the railway company as a tourist attraction. Nevertheless, this Grade II-listed building offers marvellous views of the promenade and beach. Speak of which, the beach is a wonderful stretch of sand that is bisected by a lovely pier. Paddle in the gentle waters before grabbing a bite to eat on the 150-year-old pier.


  • Ebb & Flo Living – discover a variety of water sports lessons or hire a paddleboard and set out towards the North Sea sunset
  • Cleethorpes Light Coast Railway – kids will love this attraction, one of Britain’s oldest seaside miniature railways
  • Papa’s Fish and Chips – featuring on the BBC’s Britain’s Best Fish and Chips, this award-winning restaurant and takeaway can be found on the pier so you can enjoy your meal by the water

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Map of the best places to stay in Lincolnshire

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By now, we’re sure that this sample of great places to stay in Lincolnshire will have whet your appetite for staying in the East of England. But just in case you need to search through all of our dog-friendly, family-friendly and romantic cottages in Lincolnshire, just click the button below.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.