Lincoln is a place we have grown very fond of, since the first time we traveled there, some 8 years ago.
We planned to go to Lincoln for Christmas last year, when Bluto (our nickname for my husband's brother), came down to ours last year.
The hotel and train tickets were all booked way before, so all was ready for us, for when we arrived.
One tip: if you need a cot in your hotel room, depending on where you stay or hotel, make sure you ring them ahead of time to let them know that you will need a cot, as they won't always provide this to you unless you ask them, and they are subject to availability.
It was worth waiting as it was a great week and a wonderful Christmas. We planned what we would do each day, before we got there. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express rather than the Holiday Inn down the Brayford Waterfront where we usually stay.
I always book my accommodation via Bookings.com.
The hotel looked really nice, done up well and the room was a good size, with a travel cot added with no extra cost.,
Tip: You may need to pad out the travel cot, so the first night our son was uncomfortable, so we padded it out with towels, the sheet provided and our bed overlay to make it more comfortable and he did sleep a lot better.
However in terms of facilities they didn't really cater much for those with young children or babies. It appeared more like a business hotel.
It would not be my first choice of accommodation when planning our next visit to Lincoln.
I do think the Holiday Inn at the Brayford Waterfront is much better.
At first it appeared that not many had booked to stay at the Holiday Inn Express, where we was this time, but there appeared to be more, as we got to the end of our holiday. It appears to be very popular with the young aswell as the elderly, as it is very accessible for those that have little mobility, and is very close to the town centre about 5 minutes away.
There are many shops opposite the hotel and a Morrison's next door too.
They put the youngsters who were staying obviously to have a night out, near to families, which they weren't loud when the came in at around 3am one morning, but they could have been. I do think when booking people in a hotel you do have to consider those with small children and elderly who wish for peace and quiet at night.
The breakfast was basic, and not a lot of cooked breakfast on option. We had trouble trying to warm up our sons food we bought for his dinner. Thankful that we could use his Uncle Bluto's microwave as we did spend many of our days down there, in his little cottage.
Note: If you are taking the 10 or 12 month plus ready made meals which can be microwaved or put in boiling hot water, as we couldn't use the hotel hob, it didn't seem to work putting the tub or pouch in hot water and took ages. It is best with these to heat in the microwave. Always check the time when doing so, and stir well as when microwaving food, can cause hot spots.
Also the tea and coffee in the room wasn't that good, not much the coffee but the tea bags. I like the fact they used Fairtrade teabags, but they were not nice and used different ones in their breakfast area downstairs, so could give better teabags for the guests in their rooms too.
It is a long way to travel from Surrey, and we did have to get 3 trains there and back.
Got a lift to Sutton then from there got a train to St Pancras, then from Kings cross to Newark Northgate and then a little train to take us to Lincoln Central. I would recommend to book ahead of time, as soon as the early prices go up, and it was less expensive to go first class from Kings Cross to Newark Northgate rather than standard, and then getting the train which there are no reserve seating from Newark Northgate to Lincoln.
Warning: These little trains that travel between Newark Northgate, Peterborough and Lincoln, do get very packed especially travelling on a Saturday, and it was going from Newark Northgate to Lincoln on the Monday 21st December 2015. They don't travel every hour so always pre-plan and check the times before you travel.
Coming back if you come back on a bank holiday, I would suggest to select flexi ticket, which we booked via Trainline.com as it was less expensive to come back with a flexi ticket, changing a Peterborough from Lincoln, to then get a train to carry on to Kings cross. We also get 1/3 off the train fare with our Two Together railcard.
Tip: If you do travel a lot by train I would recommend getting a railcard as it does save you so much money.
On the way back though the train at 9:10am from Lincoln to Peterborough, where we had to change to get the train back to Kings Cross on Monday 28th December 2015, was less busy, but got busier as we stopped at other stations on the way to Peterborough.
The train from Peterborough to Kings Cross seemed to take the longest. Usually we would catch the fast train but this one was a slow train, via Huntingdon. This got busier as we stopped at the other stations on the way to Kings Cross too and we couldn't reserve any seats on this train either when I pre-booked, but what I didn't realise was that we could have sat in the first class section on this train, as this was available with no extra cost, because the Monday was classed as a bank holiday.
Christmas day was brilliant, Henry got a new truck, a cuddly toy with some kinder chocolates and a spiderman puffa coat. We bought Bluto and his Fiance a new lamp from BHS, to go with their new decor, as they had decorated their home, and wanted it ready for when we came down for Christmas.
It was so nice with the fire going in their new fireplace, we did make sure Henry our son was supervised and didn't go near it at any time.
We made up a game, we just started to play. Seeing who could throw Henry's ball into the back of his new truck, which we all enjoyed, Henry found it hysterical. Christmas day isn't the same without playing a game of some sort, whether it be a board game, cards or in this case throwing the ball into a kids truck.
Then we visited my future Sister-In-Laws mum on Boxing day, as she had been dying to meet Henry as she had heard so much about him and loves Children. He had another set of presents a little car and a ball, which he instantly played with.
Tip: The foam ball he got and the little man that came with his toy car, he kept putting in his mouth, and taking bits in his mouth from the ball, so we have taken these away for the time being, until he is old enough and no longer doing this. At this age of 2 years they bite on things, and their mains senses is their mouth hence why he tends to bite or put things in his mouth. We are having to be careful and selective with which toys he can play with. Never feel bad for taking these toys away as you are not confiscating these items, but putting them away until they are old enough, so do be weary of the toys bought for them. Always inspect them before they play with them in case there is anything they can put in their mouth, and potentially swallow, which then can lead to choking.
Before he began to bite bits from the ball though, he wanted us to lift him whilst he dropped the ball on the floor for some else to catch it, and started to have a tantrum if we didn't do so. However it was later on we saw him biting bits from the ball, which I had to quickly remove from his mouth, and the same with the little man in his toy car. However least he has some other toys already for him to play with, for when he is a bit older.
It was such a wonderful trip away and look forward to the next time we visit Lincoln.
I would totally recommend it.
Many thanks for reading,