In its day Lincoln was one of the most important cities in England. Its castle holds a copy of the Magna Carta and was built by William the Conqueror in 1068; its cathedral dates to 1090 and remains one of the finest in Europe. All of which makes it a great city to visit, and if you want to beat a peaceful retreat into the country at the end of the day, this is the place to stay. It sits two miles east of town in a small village on the river Witham – footpaths by the water lead back into town. As for this Georgian rectory, you’ll find smart lawns to the front, then a big welcome within – Edward and Lucy go out of their way to make your stay special. There’s a wood-burner in the hall, a breakfast room with garden views, a sitting-room bar for afternoon tea, then a light-filled orangery restaurant. Stylish bedrooms offer unstinting comforts. Rooms at the front are bigger and have the view, all have good beds, bold wallpapers, excellent bathrooms, a sofa if there’s room. As for the food, there’s posh fish and chips in the bar or sea bass with spring greens in the orangery.