Lincolnshire - Not just winding roads & windmills...
4 night caravan break at Golden Sands, Mablethorpe

Humber Bridge
Cast your mind back to last Easter. It was a gloriously sunny weekend & we had planned to stay at Primrose Valley but it was a very loose arrangement & it all fell through at the last minute and never happened. This year I took no chances & booked direct with Haven, taking advantage of the 40% off sale & booked a family break in Lincolnshire, somewhere I've not been to since I was a child.
It was a grey & rainy day as we set off on the long journey to Lincolnshire. Not quite the glorious weather I'd hoped for this Easter but hey-ho this is England, we expect rain, sunshine is just a bonus prize!
I've never been over the Humber Bridge, in fact I find big bridges a tad on the scary side, so it was quite nerve-racking crossing from Yorkshire to Lincolnshire, but the view was amazing & we crossed over quicker than I expected. It was certainly an experience!

Mablethorpe, twinned with the Island of Sodor?
After a long rainy journey, down winding roads and  through alien unfamiliar landscape we finally arrived at Golden Sands Resort and I confess to being less than delighted. Checking in was a 'cattle market' of an ordeal with everybody ushered into the main bar waiting to collect keys. On the bright-side our caravan was really nice, very clean, however I wasn't too keen on the site in general and I felt the caravans were very close together, so much so there was no space to park my car next to our caravan. Taking advantage of a break in the rain we dashed outside in search of the beach, which turned out to be just over the road. It was a huge sweeping expanse of razor-shell & starfish littered golden sands leading on for miles and would certainly be ideal for lazing on & building sandcastles in the summer sunshine months.
The next day was very sunny & suddenly everything seemed so much better! We set off into Mablethorpe and have to say I really liked it! I get the impression that Mablethorpe was very popular in the 1950s and possibly didn't feel the need to change anything since then! This isn't a bad thing, just my personal observation. There's the most amazing little steam train in the pretty park and with the funky beach huts & blue sky above the place looks straight from the pages of a childrens story! The park also has a large boating lake complete with swan boats and the path from there leads up to the beach huts and onto the promenade. Theres a few quirky modern art installations along the prom which are used in something called 'Bathing Beauties Beach Hut festival' which takes place in September & looks like something I might enjoy. The funfair was sadly closed on our visit however we did take a trip on the fantastic 'Sand Train'! It was such fun! It actually went into the sea!!! In reality it runs a really useful service connecting all the caravan sites along the beach to Mablethorpe resort and has been running since 1952. I saw no less than 2 pirate themed crazy golfs, *faints*, my favourite and a fantastic 1950s American style diner which was sadly closed on the morning we actually wanted to go in for breakfast, not to worry we had a lovely coffee in Gerardos instead...

Sunny Cleethorpes
Next destination of the day was Cleethorpes & I was immediately impressed with size of the place! Its a very long and spread out resort with caravan sites at one side, Pleasure Island funfair in the middle & stretches right along the Humber Estuary to the pier at the other end. We didn't spend enough time here, on purpose really, because I really liked Cleethorpes & I would like to holiday here soon. We did see Spurn Lighthouse in the distance & the Humber Forts and Mr Plough explained to me how they were built in the war to protect the area from German invasion. We took the land train down to the pier and we enjoyed some fish & chips from Brenda’s Chippy. The sandy beach looked lovely & there were plenty of families building sandcastles & enjoying donkey rides although there are parts of Cleethorpes that are mud flats rather than sand. Once upon a time there was a charge to walk along the promenade, pier and gardens nowadays its free for everybody to enjoy the sculpture trail & the folly of Ross Castle. I'd definitely recommend a visit to Cleethorpes and I'm looking forward to a return visit with much more to report!

Alford Windmill
Lincolnshire is a very flat county. I come from rural County Durham. Its all green hills & valleys & livestock here so the contrast was instantly noticeable to me. What Lincolnshire lacks in hills it makes up for in bends! Why are the roads so winding?!!  It seems so unnecessary! However the more time we spent on the road the more I came to enjoy the scenery & the quirky dykes. I adored the unique signposts a lot of the villages had, I've seen similar in Norfolk (we don't have them at home) and I kept stopping the car & leaping out to take photos of them. And how many windmills!!! How fantastic! It was lovely to see all the mill conversions but I was really excited to climb to the top of a proper working windmill.
Alford Windmill was built in 1837. It's over 30metres tall, has 5 sails, 6 floors and is a fully functioning flour mill ( I bought a bag to bake some special cupcakes! ).
We climbed up wooden 'ladders' right to the top of the windmill, each room smaller than the last, so it may not be suitable for the feint of heart! On your visit do have a delicious cake from the tearoom and on a sunny day its nice to sit out in the garden & enjoy your coffee while the windmill creaks & turns in front of you...aaahhh lovely! Its an absolutely beautiful windmill and I'd like to thank the man who let us go into the mill on a day I've since discovered it wasn't suppose to be open to the public. Thank you kind sir, very much appreciated!

Tattershall Castle
National Trust owned Tattershall castle was next on our  holiday 'must see' list.
The imposing moated tower of Tattershall castle is a beautiful sight indeed.
Originally built in 13th century, it became home to Ralph Cromwell in the 15th century & was greatly altered. Cromwell’s symbol of a bulging coin purse can be seen on some of the fireplaces inside, apparently his motto was 'Have I not the right!'. Draw you're own conclusions about that one! 
Inside the castle there are 6 floors to explore, starting in the cellar and ending on the roof. The rooms are mainly empty however there are some wonderfully ornate fireplaces in each room & a display of relevant artifacts. There's amazing views to be had from the roof, in fact you can see as far as Lincoln Cathedral, which impressed me! However it's a little bit noisy as an RAF base & the Battle of Britain visitor centre are near by and there's lots of aeroplane activity! Its amazing to think that the castle stood as a ruin for about 400years and was only rescued & restored relativity recently in the 20th Century. There is graffiti around the building, we saw some dating back to 17something-or-other, however this no problem and only adds the general appeal of this charming castle. There's also a pretty church on the site and a lovely old building they use as the gift shop.
Nearby are the ruined remains of  13th century Bolingbroke Castle, birth place of Henry IV. The castle has been a ruin for over 350years, it was totally destroyed during the Civil War in the 1640s, however you can still see that it was an impressive hexagonal shape and was surrounded by a moat. It's a very peaceful place, nice for a picnic & definitely worth a visit if you're already in the area.

Beautiful Butterfly
One of the main reasons of our holiday choice was to visit Skegness, a childhood favourite resort for Mr Plough, while my only childhood memory is of the 'naughty' goat' & seals at Natureland! Skegness seemed a very nice place. Again its risky visiting new places out of summer season, you don't see them at their best. Also the weather was rather mixed on our visit, sunny one moment then an incredibly huge black cloud descended and afterwards it was sunny again but rather windy. There was a lovely beach, which we managed to sit on for a while. Although I wasn't too sure about the 'large tap' apparently pouring gallons of water into the sea just off the end of the stumpy pier. I told Little Madam that it was 'filling up the sea' however I did wonder if it was spewing out sewerage? Please enlighten me if you do know its real purpose. Little Madam did have fun in a huge 'hamster style' plastic ball on water...she loved it so £3 well spent!
We looked all over for the outdoor paddling pool that both myself & Mr Plough remember & think we may have met in once in the 70s, however we came to the conclusion that Jolly Fisherman statue may have replaced it. We did enjoy our visit to Natureland although I kept a wide berth from the 'naughty' goats this time! The seals were cute & adorable and the sanctuary does great work looking after injured & abandoned baby seals. You can help them via their website by donation or becoming a friend. There's also details of admission charge special offers on there and you can find coupons on some of the advertising leaflets too. There’s also many other animals to see here,  including a brilliant reptile house complete with crocodiles (my faves) however it took a lot to convince Little Madam they were actually real as they stand so still! The best thing about Natureland for me was the Butterfly house, it was lovely walking among the butterflies, which is strange for a woman who is terrified of moths!. I think a return trip to Skegness will be definitely be on the agenda as we didn't have time to see the whole place.

one of the pretty Village Signposts
A return trip to Lincolnshire is currently in the planning stages, with Cleethorpes, Skegness & Lincoln city on the list of destinations.
As a tourist I found it very difficult to get information on where to visit & what there actually was to see and do in the area I was staying in before I actually arrived. That’s definitely something that could be improved on. As a motorist I found it unnerving driving on the 'Red Route'. While I understand the importance of making motorists aware of the dangerous roads, we found it made no difference to the idiots who overtook us on bends and we did consider having t-shirts printed with 'I survived the Red Route' emblazoned on them! And finally as a regular static caravan holidaymaker I found it slightly bizarre that we were told it wasn't Havens company policy to provide a toaster in our caravan..hmmm strange, I've had one in every other Haven caravan I've ever stayed in...clearly these people have never made full English with toast for 4 people on a morning!

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