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Royal connections in Gainsborough

Standing on the banks of the River Trent, this medieval market town and inland port in Lincolnshire has a distinguished past. In 1541, Henry VIII visited on his way to York, accompanied by his fifth wife Catherine Howard.

The town is also associated with the author George Eliot, who was inspired to write The Mill on the Floss after staying in a shipbuilder's house on Bridge Street, where you can see a blue plaque in her honour.

Ghostly goings-on at Gainsborough Old Hall

Over 500 years old, this timber-framed medieval manor house is one of the biggest and best preserved in the country. See where kings dined under the ornate wooden ceiling of the great hall, and admire the kitchen's enormous fireplace. Keep an eye out for the hall's resident ghost the Grey Lady, who is said to wander the corridor of the East Range.

From the top of the tower, take in the wonderful view of the Trent Valley almost as far as the Humber.

Unique shops in Lincoln

There's more to Lincoln than its cathedral and castle. It has some great little independent boutiques, where you can find unique items and gifts with a difference. Don't miss the shops that line the cobbles of Bailgate and Steep Hill (it's called that for a reason). Discover specialist food shops, antiques, jewellery and clothes, from Lindum Books to Carousel Chocolates.

Looking for a cheap hotel Near Gainsborough? Both Travelodge Retford Markham Moor Hotel and Travelodge Blyth A1(M) Hotel are around 12 miles from the town.