Lincoln is an often overlooked city, being less famous than the likes of York, Oxford or Bath if you’re looking for a multi-centre UK trip. However, it really is beautiful and worth visiting if you’re in England. I personally think it’s perfect if you only have a weekend – 1 night and 2 days is the exact amount of time you need to make the most of the city.
I visited on a day where the weather was awful and I was dodging rain and thunder in between the light breaking through the clouds intermittently – so my photos are moody, but in their way I hope showcase the city is worth visiting even in bad weather! If you do decide to visit the city, here are 10 things to do there during your stay.
1. Lincoln castle wall walk
Lincoln castle was originally built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror. If you’re a castle geek, it has 2 mottes (one of only 2 castles in England to do so), but for the majority of us that aren’t history geeks, it’s main draw is the wall walk. The castle walls remain in tact and are beautiful to walk around. I visited on a cold, crisp autumnal morning and had the walls to myself. The views out across to Lincoln cathedral are absolutely beautiful.
2. The cathedral
Lincoln cathedral was also built in the 11th century, with construction starting in 1072. One of the things about living in England that lockdown has really made me appreciate is the amount of history on my doorstep which so many other countries don’t have. The fact we have buildings from 1,000 years ago still in tact and in every day use really is mind boggling.
The cathedral remains the dominant feature of the skyline in Lincoln, as it has done for 1,000 years. The cathedral is absolutely huge, and stunningly ornate inside. My Granny actually lived in Lincoln when she was a little girl, and used to run up to the cathedral roof to play – that is definitely not allowed anymore but it was lovely to walk around knowing she had been in the cathedral so many years ago.
3. Victorian Prison
Like many other castles, the Victorians turned it in to a prison for a period in the 1800s. The prison at Lincoln castle is well preserved – it housed men, women and children as young as only 8! You can walk around it and learn the stories of many inmates there. A particular highlight is the chapel, which is odd to say the least!
4. Steep Hill
Lincoln castle and cathedral are on a hill. Steep Hill is as suggested – a steep hill up from the waterfront to the castle square. And it really is steep. On the hill are lots of gorgeous shops, cobbled streets and pretty views. There are a number of tea shops on the way up, so I recommend having afternoon tea and watching the world go by (puffing and panting) on the hill.
5. Bishop’s Palace
Next to Lincoln cathedral, the medieval bishops’ palace was once among the most important buildings in the country. The administrative centre of the largest diocese in medieval England, stretching from the Humber to the Thames, its architecture reflected enormous power and wealth.
6. Bayford waterfront and High Bridge
Bayford waterfront is England’s oldest inland harbour – nowadays it’s a good spot for dinner and drinks with lots of restaurants. Also near by is the historical High Bridge, which is the oldest bridge in England which still has buildings on it.
7. International Bomber Command Centre
Another really interesting thing to do in Lincoln is to take a short 5 minute drive out of the city centre and visit the International bomber command centre. This centre is a museum and memorial relating the historical legacy of and on Bomber Command during the Second World War. The museum is a tribute to the 1 million+ men and women who served or supported Bomber Command, and tells their story.
8. The Collection
The Collection is a museum in the centre of Lincoln which tells the story of the history of Lincolnshire and England, from the very first human species all the way to the present day – via the stone age, ice age, Roman empire, Anglo Saxons, William the Conqueror, Medieval and modern times. It’s definitely worth a visit. Did you know there would once have been elephants in Lincoln?!
9. Lincoln Arboretum
The Arboretum is a nice park area a 10 minute walk from the cathedral. Visiting in autumn was perfect as it was a great time to see the trees in all their autumnal colours. There’s also a nice lion statue in the middle of the park.
10. The Magna Carta
The Magna Carta is one of the most famous documents in the world. It was originally issued in 1215 by King John of England. It established, for the first time, the principle that everybody (including the King) was subject to the law. It remains the cornerstone of the British constitution.
Around 250 Magna Cartas were issued to each of the cities in the country – signed between King John and the local barons. However, only 3 remain in existence today. These are held in London, Salisbury and Lincoln. To be able to see part of the Magna Carta in a vault at Lincoln castle is quite an incredible experience – for something that was written over 800 years ago to still be there to see is amazing!
This copy does get loaned out for exhibitions – in fact it even gets its own seat on airplanes when it travels (so check it’s there before visiting).
Thank you for reading! Have you ever been to Lincoln? If you’ve been or are planning a trip soon then I hope this post can be helpful. Stay safe and happy travelling!