Things to do in Lincoln
Lincoln is an historic Cathedral city steeped in History that goes back to the iron age. The art gallery and museum explorer’s paradise, there is so much to do in and around the city that you may need to book an extra few nights. Modern attractions also draw those that love nature, with plenty of shopping opportunities and family days out. Regardless of what you might consider to be fun, there is certainly going to be something for you to do in Lincoln.
Located in the east Midlands, Lincoln is a hub that connects Lincolnshire and the Wolds to the rest of the Midlands and provides routes to the North and the South of England. Lincoln has always featured as an important city and its history reflects this.
Steeped in History
There is an assumption that all the exciting history happened in the bigger cities, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. When looking for something of historic significance there are several places to visit in Lincoln that will keep you soaking up the past for hours on end.
1. Lincoln Castle and the Magna Carta
The Magna Carta, perhaps one of the most important historic documents ever produced in the UK, has only four copies remaining. One of the remaining four can be found at the Castle in Lincoln. What’s more rather than just visiting the castle, you can actually view the document, although of course you won’t be able to touch it. Over 800 years old and dated back to 1215, it is easy to get lost in the magnitude of the timelines between us and this fabulous piece of history.
One would wonder why this particular copy of the magna Carta is so special. There is only place in the world that you can see the magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest that dates back to 1217 together in the same place. Historians from far and wide visit the castle often for this one reason.
Medieval walks, Victorian prisons and more
The castle has several other very good reasons to visit such as the castle grounds which are free to enter on non event days and make the perfect and peaceful location for a family picnic or to rest for a short while. The medieval walks and the Victorian prison add to the drawcards. The overall experience is enhanced by technological integration with touchscreens that provide a plethora of information.
2. The Cathedral and the Bishops Palace
Lincoln cathedral, once the tallest building in the world is a breath taking experience even for the most agnostic of its visitors. Commissioned by William the Conqueror and consecrated in 1092 this building has been significant from its inception. Built for the largest diocese in England, the detail to be seen will keep even the children fascinated. With interesting carvings and curious motifs there is no room for boredom here.
The Bishops Palace was clearly constructed for purpose and the Bishop of the largest diocese has the residence to go with the title. The English civil war razed the palace to ruins, although there are some parts that survived and are a delight to explore. There is now a B&B that occupies the subsequent residence that was built to replace the original palace on the site of the ruins. Like the Castle, the Bishops palace boasts some of the most beautiful gardens that you will see in the East Midlands.
Family days out
Arguably one of the most family friendly locations in the Midlands, Lincoln has plenty to keep the family happy when out and about as a group. Visiting Lincoln has never been more fun. Even better, is that there are so many free things to do. While there is so much history for the adults to take in there is plenty for families and children too.
3. The battle of Lincoln trail.
For children, knights in armour and sword swinging battles often only take place on the PlayStation. The battle of Lincoln Trail will enthral the children too, because essentially the battle was to protect the reign of the then child king Henry III. Had that battle been lost, our world may have looked very different today as England would have then been ruled by the French king.
The Plantagenets ruled for another 250 years moulding what is our history today. Child kings, lady constables and fearless regents all make up the story of the Battle of Lincoln. If it wasn’t so historically relevant it could have been a fairy tale, because it did have a happy ending. Victory for the child king.
4. RAF Cranwell
Lincolnshire has a long connection to the Royal Air Force, right from its inception 1918, When the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service amalgamated to become the RAF. The Royal Air Force College at Cranwell is one of the most important places in living history as it became the first Military Air Academy in the world.
With lots of exhibits spanning time from the early days of flying to more recent history boys and girls alike will love the exhibits. With interactive exhibits, there is nothing more fun than being able to touch and explore. With flight simulators and other exhibits, the children will be kept occupied, providing parents with some relief from irritable small fry.
5. The National Centre for Craft and Design
A short trip just outside Lincoln in the quiet town of Sleaford is the national Centre for Craft and Design. Home to the design factory and with five different gallery and exhibition spaces, this trip is worth every minute. Holding approximately twenty different exhibitions everywhere, this centre which houses the countries professional development centre for craft and design professionals is a beacon in the world of creativity.
Offering workshops and a children’s craft trail, with a craft shop on site, you’ll be going home with all sorts of new craft ideas to do at home. There are also guided tours available, providing plenty of history and industry related information.
6. The Forge at Welbourn
We all remember our parents completely forbidding us to play with fire as young children. Well bringing them to Wellbourn Forge will not necessarily teach them that, but it will enable them to see how heat has an amazing capacity to craft beautiful things. Still working as the ironmongers did 150 years ago, this quick visit just outside Lincoln is a day out worth considering. You will have to check the opening times as the forge is not open every day.
Outstanding Natural Beauty
If you think that you have seen the beauty of Lincolnshire in the gardens of the Bishops Palace and the Castle, think again. This largely rural county has some of most beautiful sights that nature has to behold. Lincoln is the gateway to the Lincolnshire Wolds. Natural beauty crafted by both man and God can be seen in and around Lincoln
7. Doddington Hall
Doddington Hall is an Elizabethan mansion house that is still owned privately. The mansion house which was completed in 1600 has never been sold or cleared out. Just imagine the centuries of family history between those walls. Not many families can say they haven’t moved to a new house for 400 years! A fascinating family home filled with heirlooms including paintings, ceramics, weaponry and a rich tapestry of family stories, this is a must visit for the whole family. Other people’s lives always seem more interesting than our own. This house however illustrates the life of a family living in the 21st century with a legacy that predates electricity, cars or most modern conveniences.
The gardens at Doddington are the cherry on the top of an amazing heritage experience. The gardens remain true to the Elizabethan origins having been lovingly restored within the Garden walls. Both carefully manicured and Wild gardens will make for an exciting day trip.
8. Whisby Nature Park
Whisby Nature park is just a few miles outside of Lincoln and is well known for its ponds and lakes. It was one a gravel pit, but is now managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife trust and encourages the proliferation of birds and other wildlife. If you’re wanting to tire the children out, there are over six miles of pathways catering to different abilities. It is debatable who’ll be tired out first, but don’t forget this is an exceptionally accessible place and they even have mobility scooters for hire.
Not to be missed is the Natural World Centre which houses the Boardwalk Café. From the deck at this Café you can enjoy the peace and quiet overlooking the lakes. The café is accompanied by a gift shop filled with environmentally and recycled items. Best of all there are continuous themed exhibitions, which change regularly that demand a return visit next, you’re in Lincoln and the surrounding area.
Little Darters adventure area should help you balance the scales in terms of who is going to tire who out with climbing towers, water play and fossils to discover. The only trouble you may find, is the children may not want to leave.
As soon as one mentions visiting a place and the arts in the same sentence, for so many people museums and art galleries come to mind. Of course, we all associate the arts with Music and dance too, as well as the Theatre and in Lincoln there is no shortage of opportunity to enjoy the Arts in all its forms.
9. The Performing Arts Centre
Regardless of your taste in the Arts you’re sure to find something here that you will enjoy. Whether it’s ballet, jazz, a children’s show or an entertainer performance you’re looking for, the Performing Arts Centre will have something lined up for you.
With Seasonal events that will keep the whole family enthralled to Opera for the adults and entertainment for children in the form of musicians, magicians and more.
10. Lincoln Cathedral
You thought that Cathedrals were only churches? Right? Wrong. Throughout the year the Cathedral hosts live performances, films, children’s shows, Choral festivals, Jazz and a variety of other musical events. When visiting the Cathedral to take in its historic significance and beauty, you may also want to check out the current and forthcoming events. You may be pleasantly surprised and discover that you are not going to get much sleep as Lincoln is a very busy city, both day and night.
11. The Engine shed
Premier Live entertainment venue, is as modern as the city is old. International band performances, Student night club events and comedy gig in this renovated railway shed keep the nightlife memories alive. If you’re a night owl, then this venue will be on your list of places to visit. Even mores o if you’ve been visiting all the peaceful spots and want to liven things up a little bit.
12. The Little Red gallery
No visit is complete with a visit to an Art Gallery. For those that want to experience something different, the Little Red gallery is an independently owned gallery nestled between the Cathedral and the Castle. You will find Art housed here from the likes of Washington Green, Demontfort Fine Art and other established art houses, as well as some up and coming Artists. Looking for a gift are starting your own collection? This is the place to start.
There are so many things to see and do in Lincoln that if you’re coming for a weekend break you will need to make it a seasonal habit if you’re ever going to see everything. Should you decide to spend a week here, then you’ll discover that you can fit a lot more in and yet there still won’t be enough time to cram it all in. A two week stay when visiting friends and family will mean that you can cover most areas of interest, but of course you’ll still never fit it all in. For those that fall in love with Lincoln, you have a lifetime of returning visits to ensure that you don’t miss anything.