Roots of the Mayflower – Including Evensong in Lincoln Cathedral

Travel through the countryside of this corner of “unknown England” enjoying a personally guided visit to some of the main sites associated with the 1620 Pilgrims in one easy trip. Then travel to Lincoln with its medieval quarter, home to its ancient castle and cathedral, one of Europe’s finest.

Where? The Pilgrims’ homelands of Gainsborough and North Nottinghamshire (including Lincoln)

Tour provider Brackenbury's Britain


  • Address: 1 College Road, Mapperley, Nottingham NG3 6FD
  • Telephone: 0774 7034893 (M)
  • Email:
  • Travel Trade Contact: Richard Brackenbury



Experience the churches of Scrooby, Austerfield and Babworth used by Williams Brewster and Bradford and enjoy a guided tour of Gainsborough Old Hall, virtually unchanged since medieval times and former home of William and Rose Hickman.

In Lincoln visit the Castle and Cathedral where, if time allows, take part in Evensong sung by the Cathedral’s world-famous choir.


The picturesque church of All Saints and known as the “Church in the Wood” 400 years later. The parish living was held by Richard Clyfton, minister and spiritual leader to the early Separatists in the time of their repression. A footpath to the north of the church is still marked as the “Pilgrims’ Way.”


A village seen by many as the true Pilgrims’ home as the birthplace of William Brewster, leader of the Mayflower pilgrims. View the medieval church of St Wilfrid and see some 16th century benches, (one known as “Brewster’s Pew.”) See the site of his home (note visits not possible)


First, a brief visit to Gainsborough Steps adjacent to the River Trent from where it is thought the Separatists first started their journey to Holland.

Then visit Gainsborough Old Hall, a glorious original half-timbered medieval hall and former home of the colourful family of William and Rose Hickman who allowed the Separatists a place of worship. Guided tour followed by a sumptuous afternoon tea.


Travel to Lincoln for a short walk through “Uphill Lincoln” before visiting Lincoln Castle and its vault containing an original version of “Magna Carta.”

Leaving the Castle’s turreted gatehouse, walk across a cobbled square to the magnificent gothic Cathedral. Thought by many experts to be the finest in England, the cathedral has a fantastic hill-top setting. If time allows, there are few better ways to experience its sense of history by staying for the service of Evensong by the Cathedral Choir in the aptly named “Angel Choir.”

Tour highlights

  • A busy full day tour taking in parts of counties of Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, home of the leaders of the Mayflower Pilgrims, truly the “Pilgrim Roots” before visiting Lincoln, one of England’s historic and architectural jewels.
  • As well as visiting the main sites below, this trip also allows the visitor to gain a sense of that remoteness from the political and commercial centre of England which allowed the early Separatists to develop their faith in this area.

Admission tickets for Cathedral and Castle (currently £18 per head to visit both) and are payable on the day

Gainsborough Old Hall

Gainsborough Old Hall

About Brackenbury’s Britain

Launched in 2014, Brackenbury’s Britain specialises in cultural and walking tours, led by Richard Brackenbury, lifetime Nottinghamshire resident with an extensive knowledge of this region of England. He is a law graduate of Cambridge University (and although 400 years later than William Brewster, from a neighbouring college!)

As chair of Nottinghamshire Historic Churches Trust, Richard has a real enthusiasm for the area’s ancient churches as well as its wider history and culture which he delights in sharing with his guests in a light-hearted and entertaining way.

Itinerary duration

Up to 8 hours

Recommended group size

  • 2-8 people (minibus transport provided)
  • 2-3 travelling in own self-drive car

Price per person

  • £780 net for up to 8 people (£97.50 pp net of commission)

  • £175.00 (travelling with guide in own self- drive)

£18 payable on the day for Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral

Pick up location, distance from train station

Retford is on the main east coast line station and is just 2 miles from Babworth and 12 miles from Gainsborough.

Refreshments and meals

Afternoon cream tea included

Special equipment needed

Sensible walking shoes and waterproof coat

Availability Frequency and Advance Booking

Year round.  Min. of 14 days advance booking but always call!

Accessibility considerations and facilities

Fully accessible though cobbles and steps are crossed

Fitness Level (low, moderate or high)

Low to moderate

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