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A Visitor's Guide to Lincoln, England's Historic Cathedral City

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The cathedral city of Lincoln, in England’s East Midlands, is steeped in history and home to some of England’s finest medieval monuments, notably the cathedral and castle. In the city’s “uphill” and “downhill” halves, you’ll find a stimulating mix of historic and modern attractions. With its nearby nature reserves, many cultural events, and bustling, lively waterfront, Lincoln offers visitors the perfect city break.

Historic heart of Lincoln

 

Lincoln’s Upper Town encompasses the medieval core of the city, with 12th-century buildings that hark back to the city's prosperity in the Middle Ages. Whatever your walking pace, don’t miss climbing famous Steep Hill, which dates to Roman times and today connects the castle to the city centre. You’ll get a sense of the city’s past as you ascend the cobbled slope of this ancient street, and you can stop at quirky shops and tea rooms along the way. Jew’s House, at the bottom of Steep Hill, also dates from the 12th century. Once a merchant's home, it's now a restaurant.

 

  • Steep Hill, Steep Hill, Lincoln LN2 1LU; Website: Steep Hill
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  • Jew's House, 15 The Strait, Lincoln LN2 1JD; Website: Jew's House

Medieval castle, cathedral, and Magna Carta

 

Lincoln's historic monuments rank among England’s finest. At the Norman castle, you can sense the city's distant past as you walk a circuit of its medieval walls, while enjoying sweeping views of the city and surrounding countryside. Inside, you can see Magna Carta, England’s famous 12th-century charter - only 4 copies now exist in the world. Lincoln Cathedral is considered one of Europe's finest Gothic buildings, praised by John Ruskin as “the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles.” Once thought to be the largest man-made structure in the world, today it still soars high above the city.

 

  • Lincoln Cathedral, Minster Yard, Lincoln LN2 1PZ; Tel: +44 1522 561600; Website: Lincoln Cathedral
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  • Lincoln Castle, Castle Hill, Lincoln LN1 3AA; Tel: +44 1522 541173; Website: Lincoln Castle

 

Green spaces and country parks

 

Around Lincoln you’ll find lots of country parks and scenic walks. Just 5 minutes from the city centre, the Arboretum offers a welcome retreat from the busy streets. Here, you can take a peaceful stroll through gardens with fountains, fish ponds, ducks, and a bandstand. There is also a children’s play area. Whisby Nature Park is a great place for all the family to take walks and enjoy wildlife. Its lakes and islands are home to many types of birds, including great crested grebes and kingfishers. Listen out for the song of nightingales in April and May.

 

  • Arboretum, Monks Road, Lincoln LN2 5JF; Tel: +44 1522 881188; Website: Arboretum
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  • Whisby Nature Park, Moor Lane, Thorpe on the Hill, Lincoln LN6 9BW; Tel: + 44 1522 688868; Website: Whisby Nature Park

 

Museums and galleries

 

Tucked away above Lincoln Cathedral's cloisters are the atmospheric rooms of the Medieval Library and Wren Library, which house rare books and manuscripts. The Collection venue brings together the archaeology museum and Usher Gallery, with a collection of fine and decorative arts including works by L.S. Lowry, Jacob Epstein, and Grayson Perry. To learn about the region from 1750 to the present, visit the Museum of Lincolnshire Life and wander exhibits that flesh out the community’s social, economic, and cultural life in times gone by. Behind the museum is Ellis Mills, a working windmill from the 18th century.

 

  • Usher Gallery, Danes Terrace, Lincoln LN2 1LP; Tel: +44 1522 550990; Website: Usher Gallery
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  • Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Burton Rd, Lincoln LN1 3LY; Tel: +44 1522 782040; Website: Museum of Lincolnshire Life

 

Lincoln’s waterways and waterfront

 

Hop aboard the Brayford Belle for a trip on the river, where you'll learn about the role of waterways in Lincoln’s history. Brayford Pool is the spot of Lincoln’s first known settlement in the 1st century AD. Today, the waterfront is a bustling, vibrant area by day and night. You’ll find many dining and drinking venues here, including floating restaurants, as well as luxury accommodation overlooking the marina. Walk or cycle the trail along Fossdyke Navigation, which dates back to Roman times, to see Lincoln’s rural surroundings and imagine busy canal traffic through the centuries.