If you prefer countryside to be as remote and unspoiled as possible you’ll love Lincolnshire.
In the south the landscapes are flat, with wide open skies and polder farms growing flowers and vegetables.
The flatness is interrupted in the west by the Vales and in the centre by the Lincolnshire Wolds, rolling chalk and sandstone hills with the prettiest agricultural landscapes.
A lot of visitors come to the county for the coast, with its string of nostalgic seaside resorts.
But don’t neglect the towns, which have incredible churches and medieval halls and contain the birthplaces of world-changing historical personalities like Sir Isaac Newton.
Lets explore the best places to visit in Lincolnshire:
An astounding cathedral city, Lincoln nestles in a gap in the Lincoln Edge, a long escarpment in western Lincolnshire.
The old city adapts to this steep topography, and most of the historical monuments are in the higher part, known as Uphill.
There’s masses of beautiful architecture on these winding streets, where Lincoln’s clergy and military elite once lived.
Lincoln Cathedral is an English gothic treasure, completed in the early-14th century and with supreme panoramas from its roof.
Lincoln Castle is one of England’s best-preserved Norman fortresses, and is rare in that it has two earthwork mottes.
There’s a gallery at the castle presenting one of only four surviving copies of the fabled Magna Carta, dating to 1215.
Almost implausibly beautiful, the centre of Stamford is composed entirely of buildings from the 1600s and 1700s.
And most of these are made with local limestone, which gives the town a solemn quality that has attracted Hollywood productions in the last decade.
You’ll want to explore every last nook, but one of most photo-worthy scenes is the view of St Mary’s Bridge crossing the Welland.
St Martin’s Church is sensational, and you also need to see the almshouse Browne’s Hospital, which was founded in 1485. But whatever you do, you’d be remiss to leave Stamford without seeing the glorious Burghley House.
This 16th-century palace was the seat of Lord Burghley, a high-flying member of Elizabeth I’s court.
In the low-lying Fens region to the south of the county, where farmland was reclaimed from marshes in the 17th century, Boston’s most emblematic monument made is all the more impressive for the flatness of the surroundings.
St Botolph’s Church, popularly known as “The Stump” for its tall and truncated tower, is from the late-14th century and could claim to be one of England’s most beautiful and unique churches.
Boston was a crucial trading post in the middle ages, when it was an unofficial member of the Hanseatic League.
The gothic 14th-century Guildhall is a testament to this importance and now houses a museum that will clue you in on Boston’s medieval wealth.
This town gave England two of its most renowned figures.
First there’s Margaret Thatcher, and you can read up on her early years in the town at Grantham Museum.
Less likely to divide opinion is Sir Isaac Newton, born at Woolsthorpe Manor, moments south of Grantham, in 1642. He returned to Woolsthorpe in his 20s to perform experiments and is said to have observed that apple falling from the tree at this farmstead.
If you have a taste for country houses in landscaped grounds, Belton House and Harlaxton Manor are two majestic estates around Grantham and are suitably glorious.
While just south is Ellys Manor House, a grand early-16th-century mansion built for wool merchant in the Flemish style with a crow-stepped gable.
The well-to-do town of Horncastle was granted its market charter in the 1200s and trading continues on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Two regional delicacies to keep in mind are plumbread, a sort of fruit loaf, and poacher cheese, which is matured for a year or more.
And to be a real “yellowbelly” you’re supposed to eat them together! Pottering around Horncastle’s smart streets is fun as there’s a profusion of antiques shops in town, more than in any other place in the county.
Horncastle is also the last major settlement southwest of the Lincolnshire Wolds, so could be a tasteful place to stay while you take in the beautiful scenery in this hilly region.
An good old-fashioned day at the seaside awaits you in Skegness, which had its heyday in the early-20th century after taking off towards the end of the 1800s.
This is when it got its pier, which through bad weather and accidents has suffered damage down the years but is in good condition today at almost 120 metres in length.
The beaches are long, wide and sandy, and a trait of the climate in eastern England is that there’s a smaller chance of rain than at northwester resorts like Blackpool.
Family attractions abound, like the Natureland Sea Sanctuary, a marine zoo with a conservational job, rescuing orphaned baby seal pups and releasing them back to the wild once they’re grown.
It wouldn’t be accurate to describe Grimsby as “pretty”, but you can definitely say it’s an interesting place, with a history that needs to be told.
In the mid-1900s Grimsby had the largest fishing fleet of any port in the world.
But although fishing is still a big employer, the town is now post-industrial.
So any trip to Grimsby should involve the Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre, an immersive museum that puts you on board the Ross Tiger, a trawler from the 1950s, to see for yourself the rough conditions that trawlermen had to cope with.
On the River Trent, which empties in the Humber more than 50 miles to the north, Gainsborough remains the most inland port in England.
In industrial times its access to the North Sea made it a base for manufacturing, and during a stroll around the centre you won’t help but notice Marshall’s Yard, where the long-defunct Marshall, Sons & Co would produce agricultural machinery, and which is now a shopping precinct.
For history of a more courtly kind, Gainsborough Old Hall is among the most complete medieval manors in England, completed in 1460. Kings would stop and dine here on their way up to York, and amid its warren of passageways is possibly England’s best-preserved medieval kitchen and a marvellous Great Hall that evokes renaissance feasts.
With the Wolds to the west and the coast not far to the east, the first landmark you’ll spot as you approach Louth is the spire of St James’ Church.
And this monument is the ideal starting point for a wander around the handsome town.
You’re looking at the tallest medieval steeple of any parish church in the country, towering to almost 90 metres and completed in 1515. Unlike many towns in England, Louth has kept its traditional shopping amenities like butchers, bakeries and greengrocers.
Louth is also billed as the “Capital of the Wolds”, and you hardly have to leave the town to get a taste of the characteristic rolling scenery: Hubbard’s Hills is an idyllic chalk valley donated to the people of Louth in the early-20th century.
Rated as one of Lincolnshire’s most liveable towns, Sleaford is a historic town around yet another of the county’s sublime churches.
The outdoor market in front of the church still trades on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, and of you happen to be around for the first Saturday of the month there’s a special farmers’ market bring the best of the local produce from the fertile Fenlands.
And as for that church, St Denys’ was finished around the 1300s with a decorated gothic design and is feted for the dainty traceries on its windows.
The Slea River has been crucial to Sleaford’s growth: In the 1700s it was made navigable to barges, and the wharfs you can still see in the town are a symptom of that development.
11. Market Rasen
Grazing the western reaches of the Wolds Area of Natural Beauty, Market Rasen is a quintessential English market town.
The centre has few modern buildings; instead there are dignified red brick townhouses from the 18th and 19th century.
If horseracing is your thing there are meetings year-round at Market Rasen Racecourse, at Market Rasen Golf Club has been open for more than a century and has very affordable green fees.
The bucolic splendour of the Wolds is on the doorstep, as is the village of Tealby, often voted as the most beautiful in Lincolnshire.
Have a pint or pub lunch at the King’s Head here, which is the oldest thatched pub in the county, established in 1367.
One of England’s beloved “bucket and spade” seaside destinations, Cleethorpes comes into its own on warm summer days.
At the start of the 19th century this was just a fishing village with a population of 200 or so, but the railways brought visitors from Yorkshire’s industrial towns keen for some fresh air, and by 1873 the elegant wrought iron pier had opened.
This structure still has a swish restaurant at its end and was named “Pier of the Year” in 2016. Cleethorpes’ allure hasn’t changed since the 1870s either; there are more than four miles of sandy beaches and lots to keep kids happy, from crazy golf to the Cleethorpes Light Railway.
Right in the south of Lincolnshire, in the district of South Holland Spalding is England’s centre for flower cultivation and every spring the Spalding Flower Festival is dedicated to the local bulb industry.
The most spectacular property in Spalding has to be Ayscoughfee Hall, a 15th century house that looks just as it did when it was built and is conserved as a museum in delightful formal gardens.
In summer the most relaxing way to get there is on the Spalding Water Taxi: This shuttles along the River Welland and theCoronation Channel between the town centre and the Springfields Shopping Outlet.
In the northernmost hills of the Lincolnshire Wolds, Caistor is a quaint market town that prides itself on the welcome it gives to walkers.
In the warmer months a lot of people pass through on the Viking Way, a 147-mile footpath that weaves through the county from the Humber Bridge down to Rutland beyond Lincolnshire’s southern boundary.
And you couldn’t pick a more charming place to stay, as Caistor’s centre has lots of beautiful Georgian and Victorian homes all belonging to a conservation area around the lovely market square.
Small but sweet, the town of Alford is a stone’s throw from the Wolds but also minutes from resorts like Mablethorpe on the coast.
Alford is a rural town that has also cultivated an artistic side, as you’ll find out on Bank Holiday weekends in May and August when craft markets set up here.
Alford Manor House is a melange of styles, but has interior fittings going back to the 1611. Inside you get a real cross-section of life in this part of Lincolnshire, in galleries full of farming tools and memorabilia for the village.
Alford also has a working five-sailed windmill, which continues to grind organic grain for its tea room.