In its day Lincoln was one of the most important cities in England. Its castle holds one of the four original copies 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.