How would you like to stay overnight in a prison? It may not sound too appealing, but we did just that, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Of course, our prison was not your usual jail. True, it contained handcuffs and leg irons, but it also boasted a kitchen, two bedrooms, a living room and a garden which was just perfect for playing catch.
As you may have guessed, the “prison” or house of correction is no longer a place for criminals. Instead it’s part of the Landmark Trust’s amazing properties. These really are astonishing, ranging from railway stations to castles and taking in lighthouses (we have one of these on our wishlist) libraries. The Trust, which was set up in 1965, exists to “ensure that buildings of the past survive”. It rescues historic buildings, providing very special places of “landmarks” for people to stay in.
The buildings are full of history, and great for couples, groups of friends or families, as you can self-cater, and also have the flexibility of more than one bedroom (unlike a hotel!). But let me tell you more about ours, which was so wonderful that Jess thought it was the best place we’d ever stayed!
The House of Correction is in the tiny village of Folkingham in Lincolnshire, just off a main road. You approach it up a little drive, and have to unlock the gates first. This made us feel very special.
It is built on the site of a big medieval castle, and the moat still exists. The House of Correction occupies the site of the castle and was once a small prison for minor offenders and the idle (no jokes please). It was initially built in 1611, but replaced in 1808 and enlarged in 1825 when it was given its magnificent entrance. It was then closed in 1878.
What’s fantastic about the building is that it’s so unusual! Only the grand entrance survives and when you walk in, you look in front of you and see the way out! It must be the thinnest house we’ve ever been in. But it’s also great for a family.
Once you go in, there is a well stocked kitchen to the right (and nearby, in Bourne, there is a helpful Tesco), and then upstairs there is a bathroom and main bedroom (with double bed). If you go left as you come in, you go into the living room (no TV, and yet we coped) and then the kids’ room. If you have small kids, it probably isn’t suitable as they aren’t near you or the bathroom and their room is up some steep stairs, but it was perfect for us. The living room also boasts an open fire.
It was also incredibly peaceful. We played catch and threw a ball around outside, plus read our books and played board games inside (and cooked). We walked into the village (which had an interesting little church plus a couple of shops) and marvelled at how peaceful it all was. We also loved seeing the rabbits running around outside at dusk. Honestly, it was magical.
There is ample parking, and we drove to Burghley House one day (it was about 40 minutes away). We stayed two nights, but generally the visits are either Monday to Thursday (four nights) or Friday to Sunday (three nights). We would have loved to have made it longer.
All in all this was a really special (I know, I’ve used that word before) place to visit. We live in a big dirty, busy city and this was a little bit of unusual, quiet, beautiful, unique, country heaven. It was a pleasure to be an inmate!
Read about our visit to Burghley House in Lincolnshire and watch Jess’s video above.
Disclosure: The Landmark Trust kindly let us stay at the House of Correction on a complimentary basis, but all our views are our own. Four nights cost from £297 (more details here)
Read more about the amazing properties owned by the Landmark Trust.