When we recently stayed at Oscar Lodge, Birchdale Farm in Lincolnshire we had a couple of hours to spare before picking the kids up from PGL. We packed up the lodge, checked out and hit the road looking for somewhere to explore within driving distance to Caythorpe. We found a nearby town, Newark-on-Trent and stopped to look around the canal, castle and civil war trail:
On arrival in Newark, despite having breakfast before we left the lodge the girls were hungry once more. Dave tried to encourage them to hang on until lunch time but they weren’t happy so I suggested we pop into a cafe for a snack so we could then enjoy our time together happily. We spotted a Morrisons so bought the girls a hot chocolate and a biscuit. Caitlyn was also finding it very cold in her shorts (we were still in holiday mood at this point!) so we picked up some leggings to keep her legs warm too.
Down by the River Trent
Once, the girls’ smiles had thankfully returned we began to explore the market town. The origins of Newark are thought to be Roman. During the reign of Edward the Confessor, Newark belonged to Lady Godiva and her husband, Leofric, Earl of Mercia. It was in Coventry, an hour away from Newark, that Godiva rode naked on a white horse in protest to her husband’s heavy taxes on his tenants. During the Civil War, Newark was besieged upon three times.
We headed to the riverside to watch the canal boats in the River Trent. The girls enjoyed watching the fish and dragonflies. We were also delighted when people in the passing boats waved back to us.
The Trent Bridge.
The Castle Barge, Newark’s Famous Floating Pub looks well worth a visit. If I hadn’t had to drive and if we’d been child free, Dave and I could have happily enjoyed a few pints there while admiring the scenic view. The menu looked great too.
However, with restless kids we needed to continue our adventure.
We spotted a castle so of course headed that way. Newark Castle and Gardens are free to enter to explore the grounds and tours can be booked for a reasonable price.
On our way to the castle we spotted Nottingham Shire WI Headquarters in a very pleasant looking building, Trent Bridge House.
Newark Castle and Gardens
We discovered that Newark Castle has stood on the bank of the River Trent for 900 years. The walls were partly destroyed in 1646 at the end of the Civil War but the castle still stands strong as a reminder of Newark’s turbulent history.
Within the castle grounds there is a bronze 3D tactile map of Newark, which was presented by Newark Rotary Club.
The kids enjoyed looking at this and spotting the places we’d visited and were planning to visit.
Newark Civil War Trail
If we’d had a whole day to spend in Newark we would have also visited the National Civil War Centre but as we only had a few hours we just visited a number of key places on the Newark Civil War Trail. There is an app to download or you can pick up a paper copy of the map at the museum.
Newark Castle and Gardens
Newark Castle was originally a timber castle built by the powerful Bishop of Lincoln in the 12th century. It was rebuilt in stone at the end of the century and then dismantled in the 17th century at the end of the English Civil War. The castle was restored in the 19th century first by Anthony Salvin and then by the Corporation of Newark.
King John died after a feast at Newark castle on the night of 18 October 1216 from dysentery.
There’s an amazing view of surrounding Newark from the castle.
There is a “King John: The Road to Newark Castle” free exhibition.
Another point of interest that we spotted within the gardens was a blue plaque to commemorate the legacy of Newark philanthropist Sir William Gilstrap. His acts of philanthropy included building a hospital and gifting a library to the people of Newark.
As well as being of interest to tourists the gardens make a lovely spot to meet with friends or sit for an our door work lunch.
We saw the tulip tree that was planted in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.
It’s certainly grown! Our time exploring the castle had come to an end. We needed to have lunch and then pick the kids up from PGL so off we went looking for a tempting food place.
Pizza at Zizzis
Just across the road was a Zizzi and you know how much I love their vegan menu so it was fate!
Oh delicious vegan margherita pizza!
After my main I was full but as vegan desserts are never guaranteed when there is one I want to make the most of it! So I once again ordered the Sticky Chocolate and Praline Torte- delicious!
The girls enjoyed their food too and filling in their menu colouring in booklets. It’s lovely being out for the day with two adults and two kids so we can each give the girls one to one full attention.
It had been a fun morning in Newark and we drove to PGL to get the kids. However things did not go as planned. We had arrived a day early! Months ago when we booked this for the kids I thought there was an extra night (compared to previous years) and told the kids, But in recent letters the pick up time stated a Sunday so I assumed this was correct. However it was meant to say Monday. They had rang all the parents but we had somehow missed this news with our holiday. We didn’t want to take the kids home early as they were settled (and very surprised to see us arrive a day in advance!). So we sent the kids back to camp and tried to decide what to do. We had a hotel booked in Stratford-upon-Avon but we didn’t want to drive a couple of hours there and have to return again the following day to get the kids. So we was back to google and booking.com to find somewhere affordable to stay for the night. If only we’d known it was for three nights we could have enjoyed an extra night at the lodge but this was now unavailable. We cancelled our hotel but it was too late to get a refund. On the bright side it’s better to arrive a day early than a day late, right?! Thankfully we found somewhere to stay and we’ll tell you all about it next time!
Have you visited Newark? Where would you recommend?