Lincoln overview

Mad for museums? Crazy for cafés? Or silly for sport? Whatever you’re into, take a look at our handy guide to things to do in Lincoln. You’ll find plenty of options for all the family.

Here are the best things to see and do in Lincoln, the great places to grab some grub, the perfect places to pitch up for a pint and where to head for some retail therapy.

Things to see and do in Lincoln

Lincoln’s Gothic Cathedral offers everything from rooftop tours to the poet Lord Tennyson. This awe-inspiring building was once the tallest in the world. Climb its ornate towers and look out over Lincoln’s. Breathe in the history inside the Cathedral’s roof, before coming back down the winding staircase. On a fine day head over to the East Green and explore poet Alfred Lord Tennyson’s links to Lincoln.

Nearby, you’ll find LincolnCastle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, the castle also includes a Georgian prison within its walls. A stroll along the castle walls is a great way to spend an hour on a summer afternoon.

Doddington Hall and Gardens is a great place to visit during the summer holidays. This late Elizabethan mansion dates back to 1595 and was built by revered architect of the age, Robert Smythson.

But to get the best of a summer visit you must step out into the adjacent gardens. From the exacting, geometric lines of the East Front garden to the sprawling kaleidoscope of colourful snowdrops, daffodils and lilies of the WildGarden. There are worse ways to wile away a lazy Sunday afternoon. The gardens will be dotted with sculpture from renowned artists throughout September for the Sculpture in the Garden exhibition

Lincoln and the Magna Carta

The Magna Carta – ‘great charter’ in Latin - is a series of documents from the 13th century that guaranteed basic freedoms and property rights to free men and limited the king’s authority. It celebrates its 800th anniversary in 2015. Only four copies of the Magna Carta remain, and one of them is owned by Lincoln Cathedral and housed in the city’s castle. However you’ll have to wait ‘til 2015 to see it, when a new exhibition celebrating 800 years of the Magna Carta opens at the castle.

Shopping in Lincoln

Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter is a melting pot of independent retailers, well-known names and backstreet boutiques.

On the ancient cobbles of Bailgate you’re bound to find something special. Gifts for foodies, bookworms, antiques enthusiasts and lovers of bespoke jewelry are all on offer in this area - loved by locals for its kooky ‘little village’ atmosphere. At Follie you’ll find handmade wash bags and charming little trinkets  for friends who prefer shabby chic to high street. Health-food types will delight at the treats to be found within Yellowbellys - from nuts and grains of every type to dairy-free cheese and chocolate cake. Bailgate is also a great place for a stroll on a summer’s afternoon. The area dates back to Roman times - make sure to check out Newport Arch, the only Roman gateway in the UK to still be used by traffic.

Food and drink in Lincoln

Lincoln has food and drink to suit all tastes and budgets. For a light summer lunch that’s big on taste and small on budget head to La Bottega Delitalia.
Here you’ll find fuss-free Italian grub. Order a Panini stuffed with mozzarella and Italian meats or a traditional anti-pasti scattered with olives, mozzarella and tomatoes and eat outside in the patio area.

Out for dinner? The Bronze Pig is well worth a look. The Anglo-Italian restaurant is ranked second-best in Lincoln on tourism review site TripAdvisor. Breast of chicken in paprika-cured ham with mussel sauce, and beetroot and caramelized onion tart in wholemeal pastry are among the things making us hungry.

The kind of hot day that demands you eat outdoors? At Ole Ole Tapas Bar and Restaurant you can enjoy Spanish finger food beneath open skies on the terrace. Share little plates of homemade meatballs, fried brie and roasted red peppers stuffed with mince while musicians pluck out Spanish guitar. Northern Spain transported to Lincoln.

Hidden Lincoln

Here are three spots in Lincoln you might not have heard of…

The Dog & Bone on John Street is an out-of-the-way little pub widely regarded as one of Lincoln’s best-kept secrets. Enjoy a few drinks in the beer garden and say hello to landlord and landlady Chris and Sarah (and their dog Blade).

Bishop’s Palace is an English Heritage site, but it is dwarfed by its bigger sister, the cathedral. The palace’s heritage building and beautiful garden are open to the public every day until the end of October.

The Little Red Gallery is a real gem, hosting contemporary artworks by independent artists and up-and-coming talents.

Lincoln Labyrinth Festival (6 August – 27 August) Arts, design, music, dance and history will be on show at Lincoln Cathedral for the duration of the Labyrinth Festival.

Fete on the Strait (23 August) Check out the stalls, arts and crafts, local produce and activities including face painting for kids. 

Enjoy your trip to Lincoln.