Wildlife, aviation and Olympic endeavours on the east coast

Countyfile, Lincolnshire

Of all the counties to consider for a holiday at home, I doubt my mind would immediately turn to Lincolnshire (visitlincolnshire.com). Yet, why not? That's the question that tourist chiefs in this often overlooked landscape of fens and wolds, which spreads from the Wash to the Humber, propose to answer during the first English Tourism Week (enjoyengland.com), starting this Saturday. Lincolnshire will be offering free admission to attractions across the county on 10 and 11 March.

The venues included are satisfyingly varied in their appeal. For example, Lincoln's Norman castle (01522 511068; lincolnshire.gov.uk) will stage historical re-enactments. Rushmoor Country Park (01507 327184; rushmoorpark.co.uk), near Louth, will offer free family fun with its menagerie of pigs, ducks, owls, ponies and more. And Goltho Gardens (01673 857768; golthogardens.com), near Market Rasen, will welcome visitors to its nut walk, prairie border and wildflower meadow.

Lincolnshire's efforts to attract holidaymakers won't stop next Sunday. The Olympic Flame passes through the county on 27 and 28 June. Among events themed on the Games, visitors will be able to enjoy a special exhibition at the Burghley estate (01780 752451; burghley.co.uk; admission £12.50) in Stamford. This is the former home of the gold-medal-winning athlete David, Lord Burghley, who inspired the character of Andrew Lindsay in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. The exhibition runs through the year from 17 March.

There's also an initiative to tap into the county's rich aviation history. Lincolnshire is the home of the Red Arrows and was where 617 Squadron, aka The Dambusters, was based. A new Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire Passport scheme will begin on 1 April, running until 31 October, to encourage visits to 10 key sites. Download the passport from visitlincolnshire.com/aviation. Collect stamps at all 10 venues to get a badge and enter a prize draw.

Meanwhile, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust (01754 898057; lincstrust.org.uk) has started a monthly Shoresearch initiative, where members of the public can join in beachcombing events. Spring dates include 10 March at Seacroft, 14 April at Chapel Point, 12 May at Gibraltar Point and 9 June at Wolla Bank. Participation is free but you must book a place.

If you're looking for somewhere to stay while you're in the area, try the new DoubleTree by Hilton (01522 565180; doubletree.hilton.co.uk; double rooms from £117 per night with breakfast). The hotel opened in December on Brayford Wharf North in Lincoln, a short walk from the city's medieval heart.

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