Two exhausted business ladies desperately in need of a breather, we booked Seaside Lodge for a short break, left our families behind and set off from Yorkshire on a sunny Thursday morning to the Lincolnshire coast, an area completely new to us.
Taking the old trade route through the beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds to pick up food supplies in Louth, we rolled over the hills in a little sports car packed to the hilt with all-weather kit, expecting sea frets and greyness in Anderby Creek but looking forward to some well earned peace whatever the weather. Hockney’s Yorkshire Wolds are not quite as lovely as the Lincolnshire ones we thought driving through the tiny farming hamlets and villages spreading out to the East Coast. We are both Yorkshire women so it hurt to admit that.
Louth is in a Georgian time-warp, you’d expect to see a film crew for a Jane Austen production in the town as you drive in. It is as well preserved as Bath with lots of beautiful listed buildings and has a landmark parish church in St James, with the tallest parish church spire in England. (Read the gory plaque outside about the Lincolnshire uprising.) There is a fantastic array of individual shops that the town has fought hard to retain, we only saw one unobtrusive supermarket.
The food shops alone are worth taking a trip to the town for, as well as top brands in country clothing and a range of superb antique shops. We marvelled at the old market hall and the fact that the town still holds three markets a week, with a monthly farmers market on the fourth Wednesday of the month. We had tasty authentic Tapas for lunch at Bar Castillejar. Then went to find The Cheese Shop which has an interesting array of local, national and European cheeses, well kept, with all the accompaniments you could wish for and very knowledgeable staff. Try the Skegness Blue, it’s as good as any of its French counterparts.
Next door to The Cheese Shop is Meridian Meats, one of the many first class butchers in the town who make their own traditional pork products. We bought the best pork pie we’ve ever tasted, smoked short-back bacon, best Lincolnshire sausages and a haslet - jesting with the butcher how haslet is pronounced - in Yorkshire it's haslet as in has been, in Louth it is very definitely hazelet! We enjoyed our butcher banter, then picked up a sourdough and cakes from one of the many bakehouses, some tonic to go with our Sacred Gin and having had our Georgian fix, set off for Anderby Creek - half an hour away.
Arriving at Anderby Creek the light gets clearer and the blue skies open up over the coastline, it has the same opal colour that you see on the Normandy coast, soft blues and orange tinges at the edge of masses of pure white puffs of cloud - no grey here, it doesn’t exist. No frets either.
Tucked away on the edge of a lovely freshwater lake (yet only 100m from the beach), sits Seaside Lodge, beautifully renovated by Joanna Applegate and Jon Mawson, who visited Anderby Creek as children and never forgot it. Designed in 1958 by Vic Hallam, the Anderby Chalet is one of several similar chalets in Anderby Creek, but in renovating it, Joanna and Jon have stayed true to the original exterior design whilst bringing everything inside up to date for ultimate comfort and modern technology. Inside, Seaside Lodge has a lovely, soft chalk coloured beachy style that is welcoming and comfortable but could still grace the pages of an interior design magazine. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large open plan seating area with well-stocked bookshelves, kitchen diner (with all you need) and lounge area with a fab cream log burner where you can sit and relax, looking out through the French windows onto the lake. It’s 5 star with wellies. As soon as you arrive you feel warm and relaxed - the heating is wifi-controlled, so will be on if the weather demands.
Outside by the lake, there is a large seating area, and a table and chairs to eat and drink al fresco if you wish. We watched a young cormorant glide down to the lake naughtily disturbing the ducks and moorhens - and that was the only sound. It was oh so quiet and just what was needed. We were completely thrilled with it all.
After a tipple, we headed for the beach 2 minutes’ walk away. Passing a cafe and the cloud bar; which was crazy looking but trying it out - we saw why it was built there. Spectacular clouds are a feature of this coastline, and it’s also an ornithologist’s dream with hides dotted amongst the sand dunes.
The beach is a revelation, amazing sand, shells, a soft clean tide and as far as the eye can see, nothing but vast empty space and pure air. It could double for the Hamptons.
We bumped into a couple taking a stroll, and that was it for humans. After a paddle we headed back to the comfort of the lodge and a delicious platter of meats, cheeses and nibbles provided by Jo and the Fat Seagull (in nearby Sutton on Sea) who produce their own charcuterie. Plus foodie treats that we bought in Louth. All a divine feast, not to mention copious gins.
The next morning, after a deep sleep (the beds at Seaside Lodge are really comfortable) and we were up to greet the man from Coast & Country Bike Hire, who delivers bikes to the lodge if guests fancy getting out and about on 2 wheels. We cycled the coastal path, taking in huge stretches of empty beaches and hundreds of vintage beach huts, then cycled to Farmer Brown’s for a home made ice-cream. It was starting to feel very Enid Blyton, which is a nice feeling when your world is generally 90 miles per hour and you need to recharge your batteries.
Back to the lodge and a car trip with the lid off (it was the end of September and we got sunburnt) to Wainfleet, where we ate top fish and chips on a bench near the chippy. Tootling through local villages on the way back, we stopped and bought a fresh local crab from Ian Royle, the fish merchant near Chapel St Leonards, to have with buttered toast for tea. We felt like two very spoiled and very fat ladies!
That evening, we’d booked a massage with My Personal Sanctuary, in the comfort of the lodge. The masseur gave us each a deep tissue massage for an hour each using Neals Yard products. Needless to say, we were off to sleep again that evening feeling very cared for.
Next day, we set off for home, driving much slower and considerably more relaxed than when we arrived at Seaside Lodge! It’s such a little gem and so well hidden in an area that hasn’t changed much in fifty years in terms of pace or building development. Joanna and Jon should found the ‘Slow Living Revolution’ and take us all down a couple of gears.
We would challenge anyone needing to slow down not to love the benefits and comfy luxury of a stay at Seaside Lodge and are already looking forward to our next trip.
Written by Susanne Bell