Lincoln is an East Midlands town known for its impressive cathedral, Norman castle and winding medieval streets. The city has a lengthy history dating back to Viking occupation, rule by William the Conqueror and prominence in the middle ages, all of which have left their distinct marks on the city's appearance. A reasonable distance from London, about 3 hours, the ambitious visitor can easily see the sights of this small city in a day or stay for a weekend.
As quoted on the cathedral's website, John Ruskin once said, 'I have always held and proposed against all comers to maintain that the Cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles'. This statement sums up the main reasons for visiting the cathedral: the striking beauty, intricate masonry and formidable architecture that has withstood centuries of change.
The cathedral is open every day of the year. In the winter, doors open at 7.15am for morning prayer at 7.30 and close at 6.00pm. Evensong occurs every day at 5.30pm, except for Sunday Evensong, which is at 3.45pm.
Entry to the nave, morning chapel and gift shop is free of charge; however, there is a small fee for entrance to the entire cathedral and tours of the grounds, towers and roof. Prices, as of 2011-2012, are as follows:
Adults: £6 Concessions: £4.75 Children: £1
Tours are included with the entry fee and occur at the following times:
Floor Tours: 11.00am and 2.00pm, Monday to Saturday
Roof Tours: 1.30pm, Monday to Friday and 11.00am, 1.30pm on Saturdays.
Tower Tours: 1.30 pm only on Saturdays
Lincoln's 16th Century High Bridge. Photo by Erin Connelly
Directly facing Lincoln Cathedral, is the towering Lincoln Castle, which serves as a physical reminder of the medieval power struggle between church authority and government rule.
Lincoln Castle is open at the following times and closes only for the Lincoln Christmas Market (28th Nov - 6th Dec) and over Christmas (24th - 26th Dec) and New Year's (31st Dec and 1st Jan).
10.00am-4.00pm daily from October to March
10.00am-5.00pm daily during April and September
10.00am-6.00pm daily from May to August
Opening at 10.45am on Wednesdays.
There is a small fee for castle entry and guided tours are included with the price of admission.
Family Ticket: £16.00
Under 5s: Free
Brown's Pie Shop
A few steps away from the cathedral and castle, located in an atmospheric medieval building along Steep Hill, is the award-winning Brown's Pie Shop. If there is time for nothing else on a visit to Lincoln, this is the place to go. Offering a range of menu items, the restaurant specialises in traditional English pies, including beef and ale, rabbit and elderflower and a vegetarian option that may tempt the most dedicated carnivores. In addition, each meal comes with a heaping bowl of seasonal vegetables.
The restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday, 12 to 2.30pm and 5pm until late. It is open on Sunday from 12 to 8pm. The pie shop is extremely popular and reservations, bookable either online or via 01522 527330, are recommended to avoid disappointment.
Steep Hill is the name of a winding road lined with eclectic modern and medieval buildings containing a wide range of shops and restaurants. At the top of the hill is the cathedral and castle. The road lives up to its name: climbing to the top can be physically exerting in nice weather and downright treacherous in the winter. In the middle of Steep Hill is the Imperial Teas of Lincoln shop, which is set in an old Norman House with a cafe situated in its medieval undercroft. The friendly owners and impressive collection of teas and coffees imported from all over the world are worth the climb up the hill.
It is easiest to drive to Lincoln, which should take under 3 hours. There are plenty of affordable car parks around the city. The post code for sat navs is LN2 1LU. There is also an East Midlands train service to Lincoln that departs from London, St Pancras Station. More information about journey planning is available at the East Midlands Trains website.