Lincoln: cathedrals and cobbled streets

With its majestic gothic cathedral, medieval architecture and charming cobbled streets, it’s easy to see why Lincoln is a popular destination for a city break or family day out. 

Here are some of the best things to see and do in Lincoln, including the best places to grab some grub, where to head for some retail therapy and some secret spots you might not know existed.

Things to see and do in Lincoln

A visit to Lincoln isn’t complete without a tour of the cathedral, which dominates the historic city’s skyline. At one time it was the world’s tallest building, and has featured in many films, most notably The Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks. Cathedral tours run Monday to Saturday, and you can go up to the roof to get a closer look at the wonderful stained glass windows. 

The Museum of Lincolnshire Life – which offers free entry – celebrates the people and culture of the region from 1750 to the present day. Over the autumn the museum is hosting a series of exhibitions chronicling World War One, as seen through the eyes of Lincolnshire’s residents, to mark its centenary.

If you’re staying in Lincoln overnight and want something fun to do in the evening, why not brave the award-winning Ghost Walk and experience the city’s darker side? The spooky tours run every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7pm.

Shopping in Lincoln

If the weather’s not great you can take advantage of the city’s two big shopping centres – Waterside and St Marks. Take your time browsing the stores and have a bite to eat under cover.

Lincoln’s High Street is home to more than 300 shops and restaurants, including many of the major retailers such as House of Fraser and M&S.

For something a little different head to the Cathedral Quarter, where you’ll find a wealth of independent retailers. On the cobbled streets of Bailgate you’ll be in your element as you scour the numerous gift shops, food stores and boutiques for something special. On the climb up Steep Hill (it’s named that for a good reason) you can take a breather at some of the delightful shops, including Bonbonbouche and Imperial Teas.

Food and drink in Lincoln

Lincoln has an abundance of cafes, restaurants and bars to suit all tastes and budgets.

The Cheese Society Café, which can be found just off The Strait leading to the Cathedral Quarter, is a great place to stop off for brunch or lunch. Local delicacies such as plum bread and Lincolnshire Poacher cheese are featured on the menu. On a cold day, a comforting plate of rarebit or sausage bruschetta goes down a treat.

Despite its rustic surroundings, the Old Bakery Restaurant offers sophisticated dining using locally sourced ingredients. Savour pan-roasted Lincolnshire rack of lamb or fresh fish of the day, and choose from a range of delicious homemade desserts. If you can afford to splash out, the six-course Italian tasting menu is to be recommended.

If it’s good hearty pub grub that you’re after, look no further than the Horse & Groom, a traditional English pub situated close to Brayford Waterfront. Its menu includes posh fish and chips, chicken and smoked ham hock pie and sweet and sticky back ribs.

Hidden Lincoln

Hidden above Lincoln Cathedral’s cloisters are the Medieval and Wren Libraries. The Medieval Library is home to a collection of 15th century manuscripts, while the Wren Library, designed by none other than Sir Christopher Wren, includes a first edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost. The libraries are only open at certain times, so before you go it’s a good idea to check the website

In the cellar below the Lincoln Hotel is the vibrant Bar ’67. It has an extensive wine list and a selection of cured meats, cheeses and olives for those looking to share a light snack. The atmosphere is great and musical entertainment is provided by a different band each week.

The Little Red Gallery is another real gem, hosting contemporary artwork by independent artists and up-and-coming talent.

Enjoy your trip to Lincoln.