Must-see things in Lincoln

Discover the city bursting with rich history, a vibrant culture and admirable architecture and creativity that is Lincoln. Whether you’re looking for museums, art, countryside, shopping or something for a family day out, historic Lincoln has it all.

Walls of Lincoln Castle, one of the most impressive Norman castles in the United Kingdom.

Lincoln Castle

It’s the home of one of the only four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta, as well as the 1217 Charter of the Forest. Lincoln is the only place in the world where you can see the two documents together – how could you miss the unique opportunity to see such a vital piece of global history?

On a site occupied since Roman times, Lincoln Castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068 and has dominated the cities skyline for almost one thousand years. You can see visually stunning views across the city for miles if you experience the Medieval Wall Walk, not to mention a view of the Cathedral that you won’t forget.

It’s not only the Magna Carta that draws in visitors though. Inside the castle walls is a Victorian prison, which gives a real insight into part of the more shocking history of Lincoln from the medieval period. With interactive elements and videos about the historic people that spent their lives in the cells, it’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about the justice system of Victorian England. Find more information here.

The main nave of the Lincoln Cathedral (The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln). This gothic church was the highest building of medieval Europe and is now the seat of the bishop of Lincoln.

Lincoln Cathedral

You can visit Lincoln Cathedral to worship, light a candle, have a time of quiet, admire the gorgeous architecture or even meet friends who live in the city for lunch, a day trip to the city would not be complete without a visit here.

The building was commissioned by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, and became the head of the largest district in England. It’s one of Europe’s finest gothic buildings… and you can actually go up it! Book on a Floor Tour or a Roof Tour for an experience you don’t want to miss.

Floor Tours usually last around an hour to allow enough time to cover all aspects of the building. Roof Tours last around 90 minutes and gives you incredible views of the inside of one of the Cathedral roofs, as well as getting up close and personal to the impressive stained glass windows. Floor tours are included in entry price and roof tours cost £4 per person. Find more information here.

You can experience Lincoln’s history to the fullest by buying a joint ticket and explore both Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle – you can save 20%.

Panoramic view of the west side of Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln City taken from the top of Lincoln Castle on a sunny afternoon. The Judges Lodgings and Castle square can be seen in the foreground along with the bustling market.

The Bailgate

In keeping with the city’s historic theme, the Bailgate is another branch of Lincoln’s historic Cathedral Quarter. Its cobbled streets are home to independent specialist boutiques, shops, pubs and places to eat.

If you venture further away from the Cathedral Quarter and down the Bailgate, you’ll reach Newport Arch – one of the surviving jewels of Roman Britain. It is the oldest arch in the UK still actively used by traffic. To find out more about the independent boutiques and shops in the Bailgate on the Shop Lincoln website.

Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK. May 01, 2016. People walking up towards the Cathedral from the city with one taking a rest up the historic cobbled Steep Hill in Spring.

Steep Hill

Trust us, it’s called that for a reason. There’s actually a bench midway up the hill in case you need it! It was voted Britain’s Great Street in 2012 by the Academy of Urbanism though, so it’s definitely worth a look.

This stretch is more steep cobbled streets lined with independent shops, exquisite tearooms and restaurants that connect uphill and downhill Lincoln. It’s also home to Jews House, Jews Court and Norman House, which have a whole other area of history to explore in themselves. It leads on from The Strait, which is also filled with unique shops and eateries.

Steep Hill isn’t suitable for those with accessibility requirements, but there’s a Steep Hill Shuttle, which is the quickest and easiest way of getting up and down the hill, and you can find more information here.

Ellis Mill

Built in 1798, Ellis Mill is now the sole surviving mill of the nine that once stood on the Lincoln hilltop. It is the last working mill in the city. The mill is still in full working order and provides flour!

Bransby Horses

It’s a rescue centre that is home to more than 350 horses, ponies and donkeys – and you can meet them all. There’s a beautiful 600-acre site that has endless walkways for visitors to explore, along with a café, gift shop, play park and picnic area.

It’s 20 minutes by road from Lincoln, so you’d have to get a taxi to get there, but it’s a fun, educational experience for all.

The Collection

Celebrating art and archaeology, The Collection brings together an award-winning archaeology museum and the region’s premier art gallery, the Usher Gallery, in the heart of the city. It has interactive exhibitions, events, talks and guided talks that you can enjoy.

iGuides are £1 to hire, which bring history to life with video, audio and images as you explore all the exhibitions. Take a look at Lincolnshire’s earliest inhabitants in the museum and take in the amazing art collections that are just across the road from the Collection.

The start of Steep Hill looking down from the Castle square at Lincoln in Lincolnshire.

Cafés and coffee shops

Bunty’s Tearoom, Rising Café – From the Rubble, Stokes High Bridge Café, The Angel Coffee House, Bell’s Tea and Coffee House, Coffee Aroma, Madame Waffle… the list could go on. There are plenty of gorgeous coffee shops and tearooms that are full of character and each one has its own unique personality.

There are also places for dietary needs too. Café Shanti is a popular café in the centre of Lincoln, and it’s strictly vegetarian and vegan. It serves breakfast, starters, light bites, main meals, desserts and drinks.

The Brayford Waterfront

Here’s some more history for you – Lincoln’s Brayford Waterfront is England’s oldest inland Harbour, offering a great selection of eating, drinking and entertainment venues. Across from the university campus, it’s a great place for a relaxing stroll as it overlooks the water.

The vibrant waterfront offers some great views if you’re eating inside the popular chain restaurants, and Wagamama, a Japanese restaurant, is actually located on top of the water in the Brayford itself.

Lincoln Arboretum

You’re spoilt with views inside this park of Grade II historical importance, including beautiful gardens, lakes, fountains, bridges, a Victorian bandstand and a children’s play area. The Arboretum was originally designed in the 1870s by Edward Milner, one of the most celebrated Victorian gardeners of his time.

It is situated in Lincoln’s Cultural Quarter and is just off Monks Road, close by Lincoln College. In 2003, restoration work was carried out to bring it back to its original beauty, costing £3 million.