The Long Walk
House & Gardens

Truly Unique

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Beautiful grounds and unique Lincolnshire history

Full of character and historic charm, Petwood is not just one of the best hotels in Lincolnshire, but a wonderful place to visit at any time of year and a real home from home. Hand-carved staircases and Tudor style timbers typify its old-world charm, while guests can discover the story of the house itself and the amazing Dam Busters through our selection of memorabilia and original features.


With a wealth of delightful features and quiet corners to discover, our gardens are a joy to explore at any time of year. Perfect for a stroll, afternoon tea or even one of our special outdoor events, previous guests have included everyone from sporting legends to King George VI.

Enjoy delightful features and quiet corners

Stunning Landscaped Gardens

Planned and executed according to Lady Grace Weigall’s lavish tastes by famous landscape designer Harold Peto, the gardens at the Petwood are open to the public all year. Each season has its beauty, but they are especially impressive in spring and summer when the colours are at their most intense. 

Lady Grace Weigall

In the beginning: Waters and wealth

The story of the hotel and Woodhall Spa itself begins with a happy accident in 1811. Developer John Parkinson had intended to create a coal mine, but the work was scuppered by underground springs. However, Parkinson’s loss was the village’s gain a little over twenty years later as Lord of the Manor Thomas Hotchkin realised the value of the mineral rich spring water below and invested in spa baths and accommodation. Visitors flocked to the healing waters and the pretty village at the foot of the Lincolnshire Wolds welcomed train loads of new guests.

Also drawn to Woodhall Spa was wealthy heiress Baroness Grace van Eckhardstein. 

Petwood Hotel Squadron Bar

War Days & Dambusters

The hotel building served as a military hospital for injured soldiers during the Great War complete with wards and an operating theatre, but it is as the home of the legendary 617 “Dambusters” Squadron in WW2 that the Petwood is best known. Occupied from 1942, it was originally home to officers of both 97 and 619 squadrons, but when 619 squadron moved to RAF Coningsby and 617 squadron moved to RAF Woodhall Spa the officers of 617 made the Petwood their home.

Composed of Canadian, New Zealand and Australian as well as British Royal Air Force personnel, 617 Squadron were a top-secret squadron entrusted with the specific task of crippling three key German Dams.

Barnes Wallis

From royalty to rabble rousers: Famous guests at Petwood

Many famous people have stayed at the Petwood over the years. King George VI not only visited but played tennis in the grounds. Other dignitaries and aristocrats make up a long list, from Stanley Bruce, Prime Minister of Australia, to Lady Mountbatten. Perhaps no guest made a more spectacular entrance than the Marquis of Douglas and Clydesdale, famous for flying over Everest, who landed his aircraft in the grounds.

Explorers, sporting greats and stars of the stage and screen also attended regularly. Actress and party girl Ruby Miller, known to sometimes quaff champagne from one of her slippers, was joined by greats such as Gracie Fields and Australian Soprano Dame Nellie Melba. Later guests include Harry Secombe, Edward Woodward and Christopher Plummer. Not that it was all frivolity, because as well as raising cocktail glasses, famous socialites also helped raise money for good causes including the local hospital.