A city of Roman ruins and medieval half-timbered houses crammed along cobbled snickets, Lincoln bulges with history. But it is no museum. Jump off an East Coast train and you’re in the beating heart of a creative hub with a healthy indie shopping scene.

Our top attraction

Don’t miss Gothic Lincoln Cathedral, with its spire soaring higher than the Egyptian pyramids. Its shadowy cloisters, flying buttresses and pointed arches were the pride of its creator, William the Conqueror, fresh from victory at Hastings. Today the locals are equally keen on what Ruskin described as ‘Britain’s most precious piece of architecture’. Take a guided tour to unlock the mysteries of this enigmatic masterpiece.

Best for nightlife

Head for Brayford Waterfront where lofty wharf-style bars and cavernous pubs spill out on to the edge of Brayford Pool on a summer’s night. Sip a chilled beer and watch the boats bobbing in the moonlit quay as illuminated Lincoln Castle looms in the distance.

Best for dining

Lincoln’s cultural quarter around Broadgate is a buzzing area where listed buildings sit cheek by jowl with stylish modern architecture. There’s a dizzying choice of restaurants where you can stop for sushi, fill up on falafels or tuck into a traditional British roast dinner.

Best for shopping

Wind your way through the historic heart of Lincoln to the Cathedral Quarter, home to about 200 arts and crafts boutiques clustered down narrow passageways. Stop for plum bread and Lincoln blue cheese in hilly Bailgate after a good rummage round the labyrinths of an antiques emporium.