Bainland Country Park, Lincolnshire

This countryside retreat is putting one of the UK’s most under-the-radar regions on the map


The fields stretch out as far as the eye can see. Some are resplendent with the brilliant sunshine yellow of rapeseed, trimmed with vividly green hedgerows. Others have undulating heads of wheat, which seem to wave at you from afar. Driving around the twisting lanes, wild meadows suddenly come into view, dotted with blood-red poppies, and you soon understand why the Lincolnshire Wolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Lincolnshire may have inspired much of Alfred Tennyson’s poetry, and also the work of English landscape painter Peter de Wint, but it is still largely overlooked in terms of tourism.

Overshadowed by Norfolk, its cooler neighbour, this timeless landscape of ‘silent woody places’ remains untouched since Tennyson described it. Less manicured than the Farrow & Ball-painted villages of Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea, Lincolnshire is wilder — but that’s its attraction.

Capturing this essence — yet giving you a warm welcome at the same time — is Bainland Country Park, a unique 45-acre estate found on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Accommodation is varied, from cosy retreats to large safari tents, Scandi log cabins to luxury homes, all based around a series of lakes. While there are some lovely options for couples — such as the newly opened The Nest, Bainland’s first treehouse lodge, hidden amid a canopy of lakeside trees — Bainland is ideally suited for families.

For boasting rights, book one of the two luxury villas. The English Country Villa and the English Garden Villa opened last year after a £2.4 million investment and sleep 24 guests each. The interiors, as their names suggest, have been inspired by the great outdoors, with lavish schemes by designer Karen Robson.

From the decadent floral wallpapers in the bedrooms to the inside-out style of architecture, each house gives a nod to the beauty found on the doorstep.

Meanwhile, Le Creuset cookware, quirky artwork and fine towels and linens add to the luxury feel. A stay here truly feels more like a boutique hotel than in a self-catering home-from-home.

Best of all, fun holiday vibes come easy with an outdoor heated pool, which can be covered if it rains, a large firepit, two hot tubs, a pool table and retro arcade machine.

When it comes to staying with extended family, space is always key, but with a clever ‘U’ shaped design, the villas are well thought out. They have a courtyard at the centre and six bedrooms located on each wing, so it means that everyone can have their own space.

In the kitchen, two dishwashers and two American fridges cater for healthy appetites, while the central open-plan living area boasts a seven-metre table, carved out of an Indonesian tree, and a bespoke sofa big enough to seat the largest family.

Bainland itself stretches across 45 acres and owner Simon Craddock is passionate about rewilding and reforesting much of the land. Working with Chelsea Flower Show gold-medallist landscape designer Jody Lidmark, they are currently planting over 1,500 trees, in addition to shrubs and wildflowers.

The focus has been to use species that are mostly local, readily available, and of sustained benefit to wildlife, such as common hawthorn, comfrey and wild marjoram, to name a few.

As well as a playground, tennis courts and bike trails, Bainland also has a mini Land Rover track for little ones — who will also make a beeline for the field of rescue alpacas and goats.

Adults will almost certainly be equally delighted with the crêpe and prosecco van, a Starbucks café and new bistro The Copper Goose, which offers all-day dining and home deliveries.

As well as the new four bedroom lodge — The Orchard — which has a private garden and rich interiors inspired by an autumnal orchard, three over-water lodge retreats will be next to open.

With yoga platforms, sunken hot tubs and a Hamptons vibe, it’s Lincolnshire like you never knew existed.


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