Every now and then we love to take a complete break and head into the Lincolnshire countryside for a weekend getaway. Our latest wellness weekend took us to the sleepy village of Firsby, where we stayed at a cottage called The Stables, set within a camping and caravanning site called The Old Wheelwrights Retreat. If you’re looking for a couple’s escape within a close drive of the coast and the Lincolnshire Wolds, this might be the place! Here’s our review of The Stables so you can decide whether it’s for you.
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Why we chose The Stables for our weekend getaway
We decided at quite short notice that we wanted to have a weekend retreat in the Lincolnshire countryside, and so it was difficult to find somewhere that suited what we were looking for. A good morning was spent poring over accommodation and review sites with a coffee in hand.
Even when we book far in advance, it’s rarely easy to find somewhere that is dog-friendly and has an enclosed garden space for Regan without breaking the bank.
Most of the options that came up on booking sites were glamping pods and holiday parks. We don’t mind that; for example, we’ve enjoyed staying at Appletree Holiday Park near Boston before. But for this trip, we wanted more of a home-away-from-home feel.
After hours of browsing and bookmarking, we found a self-catered one-bedroom cottage called The Stables. It is situated at The Old Wheelwright’s Retreat, an adults-only camping grounds in a location about as rural as you can imagine in Lincolnshire. The idea of staying in a converted old stables sounded like fun!
We wanted somewhere we could escape from civilisation as we know it for a while. The nearby village, Firsby, is little more than a little row of houses, not even a shop or pub in sight. Perfect! (Well, apart from the no pub bit.)
You can book The Stables on booking.com, which is where we found and booked it for our getaway.
Arriving at The Stables: our first impressions
Our weekend away at The Stables was in late June, and we were blessed with a scorching weather forecast. Pure sunshine in the daytime with temperatures hitting the late 20s, and slight cloud cover in the evenings, which is always great for sunsets when combined with Lincolnshire’s big skies.
The Stables is about an hour’s drive from our home in Lincoln. It’s at the foot of the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and about 10 miles from Skegness on the coast.
We pulled through the large wooden gates into The Old Wheelwright’s Retreat and rolled up to the parking spot for The Stables. Conveniently, it has a driveway right next to the cottage. The first thing we noticed was how quiet the whole place was!
Despite the fact it was a Friday evening on the cusp of a sunny June weekend – when campsites tend to be filling up – there was only one caravan on the grounds, so we almost had the whole place to ourselves. We’re not sure why that was or if this is usually the case, but it did mean it was blissfully tranquil throughout our stay.
A warm welcome from the owners
We were greeted upon arrival by Sarah, who owns The Stables with her partner Andy, and they live in a property on the same site. Sarah was absolutely lovely and made us feel right at home straight away, giving us useful information about the property and the surrounding area as she handed us the keys.
This warm welcome was further enhanced when we entered the cottage to find some lovely welcome freebies: fresh farm eggs, milk, a bottle of alcohol-free wine, and even some dog treats, towels and poo bags for Regan. What a nice touch.
The rooms and facilities
Every inch of the cottage was immaculately clean when we checked in. That’s always a good start! The cottage interior consists of three spacious rooms: a kitchen, a living room, and a bedroom with en-suite shower room.
There is also ample outdoor space for relaxing, with a seating area in the courtyard by the main entrance, and a garden concealed at the rear with big folding glass doors leading out to it from the living room. From the garden you have a view across the entire campsite grounds. It’s a lovely spot to relax with a glass of wine in the evening, or, as we did each day, do some arrow-words over a morning coffee.
The Stables is so called because it is genuinely a cottage in a converted old stables. The decorations have been done beautifully; it has a rustic yet slightly minimalistic modern feel. The walls are a creamy throughout, so it feels very bright, with a select few pieces of elegant artwork hanging on the walls.
We loved the comfiness of the bed so much that we took note of the mattress brand and bought ourselves one when we got home. We had been in the market for a new one, and this was the nudge we needed! The en suite shower room was sizeable with high-quality fittings that were well spaced out.
In the living room we immediately noticed the telescope, a really cool and unexpected feature of the cottage. This made it possible to take a close look at the county’s famous big night skies.
There is very little light pollution in rural Lincolnshire, so if you get a clear night with a new moon, the starscapes can be incredible. If this sounds up your street, it might be worth using Moon Giant to check the moon phases and plan the timing of your trip around that.
Walking around The Old Wheelwright’s Retreat
Stepping outside The Stables brings you onto the green lawns of The Old Wheelwright’s Retreat. The two-acre grounds are lined with tall hedgerows and scattered throughout with sculpted flowerbeds, all pristinely kept.
A large blue-green pond surrounded with reeds is spread across the far side of the grounds, with a bridge arching over to an island in its centre. On one side, a wooden shelter with a bench overlooks the pond, making a perfect spot for an afternoon picnic.
Regan loved having little daily walks around the grounds and a good sniff around all the borders.
Things to do nearby
Despite the remote setting of The Stables, there’s still plenty to do in the area, or at least within a short drive. Here are some ideas to try.
Spend a day at the beach
Skegness is the nearest beach to The Stables, less than 20 minutes’ drive away. If you’re not familiar with Skegness, it’s one of Lincolnshire’s most popular beach resort towns.
On sunny summer days it gets very busy in “Skeg”, so we opted to head a bit further up the coast to a quieter spot, Chapel Six Marshes. This stretch of beach is about mid-way between Anderby Creek and Chapel St Leonard’s, on our favourite part of the Lincolnshire coast.
Either side of Anderby Creek, the beach welcomes dogs all year round, and the sand stretches for miles here in each direction. Whether you want a picnic, family games, some sunbathing, or – like us – joyful playtime in the sea with the dog, there is almost endless space for it.
After a bouncy dog walk, we dropped into the dog-friendly café at Anderby Creek for a pint and some crisps before the half-hour drive back to The Stables. A perfect afternoon.
Check out our guide to the best beaches in Lincolnshire for more spots along the coastline you can try.
Visit Gunby Hall Estate and Gardens
We didn’t get around to visiting ourselves this time, but the 300-year-old Gunby Hall Estate and Gardens is less than a ten-minute drive from The Stables.
This early 18th century country house run by the National Trust is set among a whopping 1,500 acres of extravagant gardens and pleasant countryside walking trails. There’s also a tea room, gallery and second-hand book shop at the hall.
To visit you need to book a specific time slot in advance.
Go walking in the Lincolnshire Wolds
The Stables is situated right on the southern threshold of the Lincolnshire Wolds, and so there are some lovely countryside walks within close reach.
For example, this 8.5 loop walk encompassing the historic town of Alford passes through Willoughby, which is less than 15 minutes’ drive from The Stables.
Slightly further afield, you can try this circular walk through Belchford, Fulletby, Salmonby and Tetford, which we love to round off with lunch at the Blue Bell Inn.
Explore the old market town of Spilsby
The closest town to The Stables is Spilsby, one of Lincolnshire’s typically characterful historic market towns. We only drove through on our trip, but it looks a really charming place!
Unusually, the market day at Spilsby is on Mondays. This would make for a nice morning visit if you’re staying during the week. At the weekends, you could just explore the old stony streets, quirky shops and welcoming pubs.
Stop for tea and scones at Walled Garden Baumber
Walled Garden Baumber is a beautiful double-walled gardens that has been brought to life on the site of an abandoned old estate. The complex inside the walls includes a lake, tea rooms, plant shop, and sculpted gardens that are endowed with flora from all around the world and tended with incredible care.
The gardens are half an hour’s drive from The Stables, but their location also happens to be directly on the route back to Lincoln. We took the chance to stop off on Sunday to break up our return drive (note it isn’t open on Saturdays).
When the sun is shining, Walled Garden Baumber is a lovely spot to enjoy some tea and scones in the shade of the trees, and maybe pick up a plant from the shop to take home.
The Stables review summary
You’ve probably figured by now that we loved our stay at The Stables! Here’s a quick round-up of our experience at the cottage and The Old Wheelwright’s Retreat:
- Set in a repurposed stable building within a countryside campsite grounds
- Perfect for a couple’s weekend getaway
- Welcomes one well behaved dog
- Quiet and peaceful, even at peak summer times
- Plenty to see and do nearby if you want to explore the Lincolnshire coast and countryside
You can book The Stables securely on booking.com.
Do you have any of your own recommendations for a couple’s getaway in Lincolnshire? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.