Visit Lincoln – A Quick City Guide

what to do in lincoln

Visit Lincoln, UK – A Mini Travel Guide

As a small Medieval city, Lincoln England has been an establishment since pre-Roman times. Its strategic position upon the River Witham made it a natural place to build a fortress and this rich history makes a visit to Lincoln quite fascinating.

For many who visit Lincoln, the castle and the cathedral are the main attractions, and they are definitely worth a peek, but the rest of the town has a few more little gems too. Cute and really old architecture along with some great museums and fab places to eat and shop all contribute to Lincoln, England being a fine place to visit.

Add to all of that the fact that it was Lincolnshire folk who set up the separatist movement which then lead to the Pilgrim Fathers settling in New England (hence local names like Boston and Gainsborough in Massachusetts) and you have a really historically significant part of the country. Here are our highlights – things to do in Lincoln if you’re here for a day trip…

Things To Do In Lincoln


Built by William the Conqueror to keep Lincoln safe from marauders, Lincoln Castle is still intact today. The walls are impressive and can be walked for a price – the reward being great views of the town below. If you’re short on time and funds, thankfully its free to enter the lawned area inside the walls. The ivy-clad building ahead of you is the Crown Court – always a great place for a spot of people watching : Lincoln’s thugs and delinquents dressed in cheap suits wishing to impress the judge. Priceless.


lincoln cathedral

A sucker for a high ceiling and a few gargoyles, Lincoln’s Medieval Cathedral definitely turned my head. It was the tallest building in the world for 238 years, knocking the Great Pyramid of Giza off the top spot. It’d be hard to not be impressed by this thousand-year-old Gothic structure, unless of course you’re Mr Giza. With its beautiful vaulted ceilings, rose windows and being the 4th largest church in the country we think the cathedral is a winning Lincoln attraction in our books.


The Collection is a Lottery-funded museum dedicated to showcasing the traces of Lincoln life from the last half a million years and it’s pretty interesting. Watch out for the interactive robot who sneaks up on you when you least expect it – he might have friendly advice on where to find the loo’s but he’ll scare the life out of you if you’re not prepared! Next door the cute little Usher Gallery has a few famous Lowry’s and Turner’s worth oggling too. We think this place is a must when you visit Lincoln.


Not for the short of calfed! Steep Hill must’ve been a flaming nightmare in Medieval times, a literal water slide after a wet day. Nowadays there are plenty of cute little boutique shops and tea rooms for excuses to escape the 14% gradient out in the street. There are also two of the oldest existing townhouses in England too – the Jew’s House and Norman House are built in the traditional Norman style and have existed since the mid-twelfth century. Steep Hill has to be one of the most picturesque high streets in the Uk.

one of the best places to see in lincoln is Steep Hill


Known to locals as Stokes High Bridge Cafe, this Tudor style section of the High Street is carried over the River Witham by the oldest surviving bridge with buildings on it in the UK. If you’re walking along the High Street you may even miss the fact that you’re above the river and actually on a bridge, so it’s definitely worth taking the steps down the side of Stokes Cafe to see its ingenuity from the other side. The bridge was built about 1160 AD and the buildings from the 16th century. It gained the nickname The Murder Hole in medieval times because it was said that this was the spot where bodies thrown into the Witham would wash ashore!


This Green Flag awarded park is everything a park should be. Lake’s, fountain’s, statues and a bandstand. The Arboretum would be the perfect place to take a lunchtime picnic if you were in Lincoln for the day. 

Great Places To Eat In Lincoln

Lincoln’s High Street has a mass of cafe’s, bar’s and restaurant’s and in particular the penchant for afternoon tea. It also has an admirable amount of fine-dining options – great if you’re making a short break in Lincoln. Here are just a few of our favourite places to eat and drink in Lincoln, UK…

GO GELATO. Go load up your ice cream cone with everything rainbow at Lincoln’s best ice cream parlour on The Strait. Never let it be said that ‘less is more’ in relation to the cold creamy sweet stuff!

THE JEW’S HOUSE RESTAURANT. Fine dining in Lincoln. As mentioned above, The Jew’s House is a very old historic home turned restaurant with one of the best reputations in town. The chef served his time at nearby Michelin starred Winteringham Fields and brings the same standard of food to the relaxed living-room feel of the Jew’s House. For £25.95 you receive a three-course lunch of taste sensations and leave content and in awe of the level of skill – definitely the nicest place to eat in Lincoln.

best place to eat in Lincoln - the Jew's House

THE CARDINAL’S HAT. Built as an Inn in the 1500s The Cardinal’s Hat on The Strait is a beautiful old Tudor pub. It’s known for its healthy amount of craft ales and puts up a mean cheese/meat board – plenty enough to share. It’s a great place for a cosy nook or cranny with one or two seats with window views and is definitely one of the best pubs in Lincoln. 

STOKES HIGH BRIDGE CAFE. Stokes are brewing coffee all over town in Lincoln but their flagship store on High Bridge is every foreign tourist’s dream. A crooked Tudor building with wonky floors and leaded windows supplies the backdrop for a tasty flat white. Serving good old British classics like a cheese scone or toasted tea cake, and even a bit of entertainment from street performers if you’re lucky. 

high bridge cafe Lincoln

Shopping In Lincoln

Still looking for things to do in Lincoln? – Don’t leave shopping off the list! Lincoln has a cheerful amount of boutique and independent shops and makes a lovely change from your average High Street. Pretty little storefronts line Steep Hill and The Strait, luring you inside for a peek and maybe a purchase. It’s a great place to find local produce, interesting gifts and unique small businesses. Here are a few of our favourite shops in Lincoln…

THE CHEESE SOCIETY. Located in the Cathedral Quarter this award-winning cheese shop is the perfect place to pick up some unusual produce. They even do a cheese subscription and a monthly selection and if you want, you can dine from their entirely cheese-based menu.

CAHOOTS. Located on Steep Hill, Cahoots is your one-stop shop for designer boutique womens and menswear.

THE ARTISAN MAKER. Housey goods made by hand with beautiful natural materials. The Artisan Maker mostly supports local artisan craftsmen and has put together a lovely collection of useful functional goods that you just want to pick up, stroke and admire the handiwork.

REDHILL FARM SHOP. If their Pork Pies are good enough for Wimbledon, they’re good enough for us. The end.

OBJECT AND LINE. My favourite shop in Lincoln, Object And Line does contemporary gifts for the discerning householder. Object and Line have sourced the best of European designers from Scandi-style home furnishings to beautiful stationery and well-thought-out children’s toys. If you’re looking for a gift for any occasion, look no further.

GOODIES OF LINCOLN. A traditional sweet shop with some of the greatest confectionery from the last 80 years! The selection from bygone years means this gorgeous little sweet shop is a hit with old and young alike.

great shopping in Lincoln

Places Of Interest In Lincolnshire

With such a colourful and long history, the borough of Lincolnshire has plenty of places to visit. Only 45 minutes to the coast and under an hours drive to several other historical cities, it’d make the perfect bolthole for a few days exploring if you were thinking of a UK mini-break. Here are a few of our suggestions…

  • Nearby Horncastle and the adjoining AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is a great day out if you love a good rummage around antique shops. 
  • For some amazing coastal towns and villages, bypass nearby Skegness and choose the Norfolk coastal route instead.
  • The Seal Sanctuary and Wildlife Centre at Mablethorpe will keep the kids entertained with more than just the slippery little grey mammals. Reptiles, Meerkats, Birds and Primates all in one place for the most lively of day trips!
  • Two of Englands most impressive stately homes are only a short drive away in neighbouring Grantham and Stamford – Belton House (ran by the National Trust) and the majestic Burghley HouseImagine yourself a Downton Abbey resident for the day and travel back in time to the stately era.

Our Favourite Hotels In Lincoln, England

Nearby Washingborough Hall is a grand country house with all the trimmings. Four-poster beds, glamorous reception rooms, beautiful grounds and attentive staff make this a total luxury stay and is the perfect location for visiting Lincoln. Their award-winning restaurant is the cherry on the top and is worth booking a night’s stay just so you can enjoy their amazing 3-course menu.

best hotel in lincoln - washingborough hall

So there you have it – our mini-guide of things to do in Lincoln, England. If you have any favourite spots in this historical city, do let us know!

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Things to do in Lincoln - A city Guide to on eof England's prettiest cities #Lincol #England

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Heff says:

    Lincoln is set on the river Witham, not the Trent. And I’ve never heard of the area near High Bridge being called the Murder Hole, and hard to see how any bodies could wash up on the shore there with its steep sides. To locals, it’s known as the Glory Hole. One thing is true though, Lincoln is well worth a visit.

    1. Alex says:

      Yes, Trent was a slip of the tongue (thanks) – corrected. However, I remember from our tour that the Glory Hole was called the Murder Hole back in medieval times, perhaps not today though – Lincoln’s criminals are possibly more interested in stealing cars than murdering one’s neighbour!? It was pointed out to us that the waterways were slightly different back then, so maybe the sides weren’t as steep? Thank you for your comment, and thank you for your correction.

  2. Jane Taylor says:

    Love Lincoln – except during the Christmas Market because it’s ridiculously busy and traffic jams make you fed up before you get a sniff of mulled wine! I need to go back there and heck out the bits I missed! Especially the restaurants you mentioned.

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