This city guide to Lincoln was published by the Great British Mag content team on 5 December, 2019.
With a rich Roman history that dates back to 300BC, Lincoln offers cobbled medieval streets entangled with Tudor houses, boutiques, independent eateries and delicious delis, plus a sparkling water front, Lincoln manages to celebrate its past, whilst propelling itself defiantly into the future.
Prepare to clear your calendar, as Lincoln puts on festivals for every day of the week. Ranging from mouth-watering food festivals, eclectic antique displays and dragon boat races to country fairs with tractors travelling through the centre of town. Each one gives you an insight into life in this East Midland city.
Did you know?
- That Lincoln started life as a fortress over 2,000 years ago? The Roman’s were attracted to the topography of the area and built a fortress on the hill. Some of the ruins can still be seen today.
- The first tank was built in Lincoln during World War I. They named it Little Willie.
- In 1157, Lincoln became a Royal Charter by King Henry II. He loved it so much; he even built a residence in the medieval city.
- Just outside of Lincoln, you’ll find a town called Grantham where two very famous people were born. The first, Sir Isaac Newton who first explained the law of gravity and Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s first female Prime Minister.
What to do?
First on your Lincoln bucket list should be a trip to Lincoln Castle. Dating back to 1068 and built by William the Conqueror, the castle is home to one of only four Magna Carta documents. The Magna Carta was created in 1215 and largely cemented how our society is run today, as within the document it set out the rights and privileges of everyone. It stated that everyone should uphold the law, including the King. You’ll find the documents well guarded in the underground vaults. After, head to the Heritage Skills Centre, hidden in the castle walls, for craft sessions such as stained glass works, stone carving and silversmithing.
Next, visit Lincoln Cathedral. The honey-coloured, limestone Cathedral dominates the skyline and is a masterpiece of Anglo-Norman architecture. It is also home to one of the most beautifully decorated rooms in Great Britain. Hidden above the cloisters in Lincoln Cathedral is the Medieval and Wren Library, where you’ll find a vast 15th century collection of books, grand oak desks and elaborate roof frescoes. After marvelling at the intricate detail in the library, climb the 338-steps to gain a 360-degree of the area. It costs £5 and is open from April-November.
Take to the skies and explore the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Museum, located just outside of Lincoln and a great insight into Lincoln’s wartime history. Here you can enjoy a guided tour of the RAF’s historic home and be shown around the hanger craft, with aircrafts such as Spitfire, Hurricanes and Chipmunks (all different types of famous aeroplanes) on display. The RAF (Royal Air Force) can also be seen twirling, rolling and looping through the air every year at the Trooping the Colour ceremony, which celebrates Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday.
Plenty of cycle paths can be found weaving through the city centre, along the Brayford Waterfront, which is also England’s oldest inland harbour, and into the surrounding countryside. Although it’s probably best to explore Steep Hill on foot… Hirebikes are available to hire 24-hours a day, simply download the free Hirebike app to find out where to pick them up. It’s the Boris bike of the Midlands.
What to eat and drink?
Possibly the most famous food product in all of Lincoln are Lincolnshire sausage. So famous that they’ve won countless of National Awards. Unlike other British sausages that tend to have a peppery taste, these sausages are dominated by sage, which gives them a distinctive (and delicious) herby flavour. You can buy your own from the butchers, such as A W Curtis & Sons, or try them at the Greenhouse alongside a Full English Breakfast.
Lincolnshire Plum Bread is another local staple. The cake-like loaf is filled with dried fruit that has often been soaked in tea and spiced with cinnamon and allspice. Some of the best Plum Bread is served alongside a cup of tea at Bunty’s Tea Room, a perfect afternoon snack whilst you explore the rest of what the medieval Steep Hill has to offer.
Who doesn’t love a cafe dedicated to cheese? At The Cheese Society Café you’ll find an unrivalled selection of artisan cheeses. Order the double-baked cheese soufflé or the Lincolnshire bruschetta. A twist on the classic using local Poacher cheese, Boston sausages and caramelised onions atop ciabatta bread. If you fancy bringing some prized cheese and chutneys home with you, then The Cheese Society deli is just around the corner.
Brown’s Pie Shop has become a Lincolnshire institution. Situated just a short walk from the cathedral on Steep Hill, the 17th-century building serves steaming hot pies under a bed of short crust or hot and creamy mash. Choose between traditional fillings such as beef and Irish Stout gravy or be a bit more adventurous and try the pork belly with mustard mash version.
Where to shop?
With its quaint black-timber framed buildings, cobbled streets and cute independent shops, shopaholics will want to spend hours browsing in the Cathedral Quarter. Bailgate, in particular, contains lots of small-batch producers such as Redhill Farm Shop and Follie – a cute gift store filled with treats and trinkets.
The Waterside Shopping Centre is where you’ll find all your favourite high street stores such as Topshop, New Look and H&M.
There’s also a range of market days that pitch up in and around the city. The Gainsborough Farmers’ and Craft Market is one of the finest and takes place every second Saturday. Key traders to look out for include Special Edition Chocolate, Pickles Preserve and With Love from Lincolnshire – where you can pick up Lincoln blue cheese. For those who like to rummage, it’s worth visiting Lincoln Antiques Market. Set against a backdrop of Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral, rummage for treasures and quirky accessories.
Photos courtesy of Visit Lincoln.