Make the most of the boundless skies and fascinating features of the Lincolnshire coast. The bewitching sea marshes of Donna Nook are an altogether other worldly area to visit or you can drink in the North Sea vistas and majestic offshore wind farms from the comfort of the coffee shop viewing couches at the North Sea Observatory. The diversity of the area couldn’t be displayed better by the occasionally raucous traditional seaside attractions of Skegness with it’s pier and pleasure beach or the beautiful National Trust stately home and tea room at Gunby Hall.
Whichever makes you smile most, our route is sure to create a blissfully relaxing cruise from top to bottom of one of Britain’s most welcoming, but perhaps least discovered cycling counties.
Terrain: Coastal roads & country lanes
Starting point: Hull
Finish point: Boston
Difficulty Rating: **
Normanby Hall Country Park is an idyllic estate set in the heart of North Lincolnshire. Open to the public every day of the year, the park offers the perfect backdrop to your day out. As well as the Hall and Farming Museum, enjoy the historical woodland and award-winning gardens.
Elsham Hall Gardens and Country Park offers beautiful lakeside gardens, a contemporary walled garden, and a variety of animals and birds. Regular events are held throughout the season including circus and magic acts, car shows, art exhibitions and open air theatre. Refreshments, snacks and afternoon teas are a specialty and served in the Tea Room
Thornton Abbey's enormous and ornate fortified gatehouse is the largest and amongst the finest in England. This North Lincolnshire tourist attraction is the ideal way to spend a day. Thornton Abbey's impressive architecture reflects the abbey's history as one of Britain's richest Augustinian abbeys.
Donna Nook covers more than 10km (6.25 miles) of coastline between Grainthorpe Haven in the north and Saltfleet in the south where it borders the Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe National Nature Reserve. Every November and December, grey seals come to the Donna Nook coastline to give birth to their pups near the sand dunes; a wildlife spectacle which attracts visitors from across the UK.
The purpose-built marine observatory at Chapel Point, Chapel St Leonards, offers views of the dunes and sea and the animals that call them home. The North Sea Observatory offers all year round facilities for visitors. The building includes information and exhibitions on the local areas rich natural history, an art space, a café and public toilets, and serves as an impressive gateway to the Coastal Country Park. Few people know about, or have witnessed the passage of the thousands of birds from all around the world (Greenland, Iceland, Arctic, Siberia, North and South America etc) that migrate along the Lincolnshire coastline in spring, autumn and early winter. The Observatory is something unique as there are no purpose designed marine observatories anywhere else in the United Kingdom.
The largest Bomber Command museum in the country. Relive A World War Two Bomber Airfield Here At East Kirkby. Experience The Sights And Sounds, Smells and Atmosphere of a bomber airfield. The only place in the country to see a Lancaster Bomber on an original wartime airfield, and ride in it! (pre book only). Including, original Control Tower, welcoming NAAFI and an emotionally evocative Memorial Chapel containing the 848 names of personnel who gave their lives from this airfield.
Built in the 1390’s this building is a testament to the wealth and influence of the Guild of St Mary at a time when Boston’s power as a centre of trade was second only to London. This wonderfully preserved building, with a wealth of original features, has survived the centuries and is to be enjoyed as one of Boston’s finest visitor attractions.
St Botolph’s Church in Boston is more famously known as the Boston Stump. This lovely church with its stained glass windows and air of tranquility is a delightful place to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life. Not only is St Botolph’s the widest church in England, it also has one of the tallest church towers in the land, at over 272ft /83 meters high.
The Wash is the square-mouthed bay and estuary at the north-west corner of East Anglia on the East coast of England, where Norfolk meets Lincolnshire. It is among the largest estuaries in the United Kingdom. The Wash is fed by the rivers Witham, Welland, Nene and Great Ouse. The Wash is the UK’s most important estuary for wildlife. The coastline has some of the best saltmarsh and mudflats in the country supporting thousands of wildfowl and waders on their migration.
A beautiful conversion of a former Methodist chapel; delicious cakes, afternoon tea, snacks and lunches are served in the cafe and on our sunny terrace. Upstairs you will discover local history displays, exhibitions in our gallery and a well stocked public library.
Just 7 miles from Skegness is Gunby Estate, Hall and Gardens, home to the Massingberd family from 1700 until 1967. The Hall has three floors to explore while outside the gardens are full of colour throughout the seasons. Paths across the park and estate offer gentle strolls as well as longer walks, where you can tread the footsteps of Gunby’s former guests including Lord Alfred Tennyson and Ralph Vaughan-Williams. The tea-room offers cakes, sweet treats, savoury snacks and hot and cold drinks.
You’ll leave the city of Hull by crossing the magnificent Humber Bridge across the River Humber and arrive in North Lincolnshire. From the lovely small waterside town of Barton Upon Humber you will join the quiet Lincolnshire country lanes as you head towards local landmark Normanby Hall and Country Park. Take time to enjoy the Hall, farming museum, historical woodland and award-winning gardens before you head onwards to the village of Elsham, home to the beautiful Elsham Hall Gardens and Country Park. From here you’ll journey through open countryside to the site of now ruined Thornton Abbey to see the remaining enormous and ornate fortified gatehouse, one of the largest and amongst the finest in England.
Riding through the stunning 27,000 acre Brocklesby Estate through traditional agricultural and ancient woodland landscapes, you’ll soon join Lincolnshire’s area of outstanding natural beauty as you approach the Lincolnshire Wolds. From the bustling and charming small town of Caistor head up in to the undulating and rolling Wolds and enjoy some spectacular vistas over the county and out towards the coast. You’ll head through ancient medieval villages and hamlets as you make your way out towards the North Sea and the dramatic coast line here. Take time to visit the Donna Nook National Nature Reserve, where ever winter thousands of grey seals arrive to give birth to pups.
From the dunes of Doona Nook and Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe National Nature Reserve you’ll head south now along the quiet coastal country lanes of Lincolnshire, taking in villages such as Saltfleetby All Saints and Theddlethorpe before heading inland slightly and enjoying the flat fen roads interlaced between the quiet coastal communities. Once back on the coastal lanes you’ll enjoy far reaching coastal views over the sand dunes and beyond before heading towards the charming, quiet seaside hamlet of Anderby Creek, with its beautiful stretch of unspoilt sandy beach and the North Sea Observatory on the outskirts of Chapel St Leonards – the UK's first ever purpose-built marine observatory.
Enjoy the dynamic stretch of unspoilt coastline running southwards from the edge of Skegness to the mouth of the Wash at Gibraltar Point, and maybe take a couple of cycle free hours to visit Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve - known for its impressive views and sheer scale of diversity of wildlife.
From here head inland for the day as you pick up the impressive flat and far-reaching fen lanes taking you to the picturesque market town of Spilsby once more on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Take time to visit one of the many local bakeries and cafes in this area, brimming with tasty local treats such as Lincolnshire Plum Bread and chine, a parsley stuffed ham delicacy.
From Spilsby you’ll meander along country lanes, through sleepy rural villages to the village of East Kirkby, home to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre. This family run museum is the only place in the country to see a Lancaster Bomber aircraft on an original wartime airfield, and well worth a stop off point and visit.
From East Kirkby you will travel south amidst the rural undisturbed landscapes of the fen lanes, sided by dykes and deep hedges enjoying the quiet working waterways and in stark contrast to the rolling Wolds of earlier, before you reach the port town of Boston. Boston was once a centre of trade, and second only to London in the United Kingdom. Much of the rich history of the town is still evident today. The tower of “The Stump” (St. Botolph’s Church) can be seen from miles around and is a must visit. Nearby, Boston Guildhall is a magnificent medieval building built in the 1390’s and is now a fascinating visitor attraction.