Looking for things to do in Lincoln? The Bumper Crew has it covered! We’d been talking about visiting Lincoln for ages. Months or even years, actually! Loads of people have recommended it, so we finally booked a weekend away to visit. And we’re happy we did! Nestled in the heart of Lincolnshire, the city of Lincoln is steeped in history and culture. It’s home to a magnificent cathedral, an ancient castle, trendy independent cafes, bars and restaurants and an epic hill, all of which make Lincoln a perfect destination if you’re looking for a bit of heritage and a chilled-out weekend away.
Interestingly, Lincoln is a bit of a tale of two cities, divided by the train line which runs right through the city. Cross the line, and it’s like stepping into another place. But most of the interesting things to do in Lincoln are up or around Steep Hill, but there’s also a busy high street if you like a bit of shopping.
Lincoln is for you whether you’re a history buff, foodie, love a beer, or appreciate an attractive location. Thankfully, Lincoln is a small city, so you can pack a lot into a short visit. But a trip to Lincoln would only be complete with a visit to the first few things on our list. So, read on to discover the best things to do in Lincoln!
Things to Do in Lincoln
1 | Walk Steep Hill
Steep Hill is one of Lincoln’s most iconic places and undoubtedly the most famous street in the city, and it’s not hard to see why. Steep Hill is more than it says on the tin. It’s a steep hill, plus a lot more. It’s over 250 metres of cobbled streets, interesting architecture, wonky gas lamps, and independent retail and cafes, all of which contribute to the hill’s character and Lincoln’s charm.
The street is known for its steep gradient, which can be a challenge if you’re not used to walking up hills (or down hills in stilettos, as we witnessed! Ha!), but it’s well worth the effort to walk up and down it. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or just looking for a scenic stroll, Steep Hill is a must-do if you’re visiting Lincoln.
2 | Admire Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral is an awe-inspiring Gothic masterpiece that dominates the city’s skyline and provides the backdrop for some of the most epic photographs of Lincoln, as you’ll see from Lincoln Castle walls. Lincoln Cathedral is one of the world’s finest examples of Gothic architecture. According to the internet, it only took 20 years to build, which is impressive given its size! Although parts were added after the initial build. When you’re inside, you can take a guided tour of the cathedral and even get a roof tour for an extra fee. When you enter Lincoln Cathedral, you’ll be struck by the vast space, which is a little unusual compared to most other churches and cathedrals we’ve visited.
Between 1311 and 1549, Lincoln Cathedral was the tallest building in the world! In fact, it remained the world’s tallest building until a spire collapsed! Access to Lincoln Cathedral is paid, and a free tour is included in the ticket price. If the tour wasn’t included, we think it would be a little expensive to enter for what it is. But then again, keeping places like this in good order takes a lot of money!
💷 Paid entry
3 | Explore Lincoln Castle
Just a stone’s throw from Lincoln Cathedral sits Lincoln Castle. It’s an imposing fortress that dates back to the 11th century when it was built by William the Conqueror. Lincoln Castle is an impressive fortress that has played a significant role in the city’s history for over 1,000 years and has been used as a prison, law court, and military stronghold. It even has an intact wall you can walk the entire circumference of.
There are two entry fees – one for the wall only and one to visit the Victorian prison, walk the walls and see one of the copies of the Magna Carta in the special vault. It’s worth noting that the Magna Carta is not always on show. If you don’t know what the Magna Carta is or its significance, it was issued in 1215 and was the first document to spell out the principle that the king and his government were not above the law. This was a big deal because it aimed to prevent the king from abusing his power and set limits on his authority by establishing law as a power in itself.
The Victorian Prison is small but interesting and reminds us of the one in Shrewsbury, although it’s not as good as Shrewsbury’s. But the highlight of Lincoln Castle is the wall. You can walk the circumference of the site on the wall, which offers panoramic views of Lincoln and the most epic view of Lincoln Cathedral.
💷 Paid entry
4 | Visit the Museum of Lincolnshire Life
The Museum of Lincolnshire Life doesn’t look much when you walk in but bear with it. It’s more interesting than it initially appears and reminded us a bit of Blists Hill in Shropshire. It doesn’t have the same life as Blists Hill inside, but it does have a few interesting displays that have been carefully and imaginatively curated. The Museum of Lincolnshire Life tells the story of Lincolnshire’s people and their way of life back in the day.
Housed in a former military barracks, the museum features an impressive collection of artefacts, exhibits, and interactive displays, bringing Lincolnshire’s history to life, where you can explore these exhibits, including historic vehicles, agricultural machinery, and even the reconstruction of a traditional Victorian street. You’ll even find a famous tank inside called Daphne, a tank from World War I that was damaged in action. And if you didn’t know, Lincoln was the birthplace of the tank
5 | Visit The Collection
The Collection is an award-winning museum located in the heart of Lincoln’s cultural quarter. The Collection is formed by an art gallery and archaeological museum, which aren’t in the same building, so we’ll discuss the archaeological museum first.
Housed in a fantastic, modern building is a small but interesting museum that contains a load of artefacts from Lincoln’s rich and varied history, from Roman archaeology to geology to natural history. The’s also a little gift shop and cafe to get your caffeine fix!
6 | Visit Usher Gallery
The second part of The Collection is the Usher Gallery, which is in a fancy building just over the road. Again, the Usher Gallery is small but boasts a world-class fine art collection, including works by famous artists such as JMW Turner and LS Lowry.
You can explore the gallery’s impressive galleries, which feature an array of art and sculpture from the 18th century to the present. The Usher Gallery also hosts a range of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing works by local, national, and international artists, and it’s free to enter!
7 | Stroll Around Lincoln Arboretum
Lincoln Arboretum is a small but beautiful park just a short walk from the city centre. The park covers over 22 acres and is home to various trees, plants, and wildlife, including plenty of ducks and squirrels! There are some nice paths to walk, including a winding one which takes you to the fountain. The gem in Lincoln Arboretum, though, is the bandstand. It’s an intricate piece of work and striking in colour.
8 | Go Antique Shopping
If you love a bit of vintage, you’ll find plenty of it in Lincoln. The cobbled streets and historic buildings provide the perfect backdrop for the unique and quirky vintage and antique shops, which offer everything from vintage clothing and accessories to antique furniture and collectables.
You’ll even find charity shops that are among the best we’ve ever seen, with cool Singer sewing machines, vintage cameras, clothes and other cool furniture on offer. One of the best antique shops we discovered was Lincoln Antiques & Collectables, at the bottom of Steep Hill. It’s a treasure trove of stuff!
9 | Find Ellis Mill
When we drove into Lincoln, the second thing we noticed, after the massive cathedral, was a black windmill. It turns out it’s Ellis Mill, which is a short walk from the city centre and when you walk down Mill Road to find it, you’ll wonder where it is. You won’t see the mill until you’re right next to it! Sadly, it’s not open all year or even very frequently, so check for any open days before you visit.
10 | Have a Beer at The Straight & Narrow
This is definitely one of the things to do in Lincoln for adults! If beer is your thing, there’s one place in Lincoln you need to visit. It’s the award-winning The Straight and Narrow pub towards the bottom of Steep Hill. It serves a broad range of beer, with loads of strong Belgian beers on offer. It also has a unique concept inside – a telephone exchange.
During the good old days of social distancing, The Straight and Narrow installed a telephone exchange. You can call the bar to make an order, call your mates at other tables, or have a bit of fun and call a random table. Try it; no doubt you’ll have fun!
Where to Stay in Lincoln
The Lincoln Hotel
The Lincoln Hotel is in an unparalleled location in the heart of uphill Lincoln, with the city’s best views of the cathedral. We stayed in a cathedral-view room, complete with its own balcony. The views of the cathedral were incredible, as you can see below. Not only is The Lincoln Hotel brilliantly located, but the staff are also friendly, the food is also great, and the hotel is as peaceful as the area it’s located in.
And for you fitness fanatics, you’ll find a small gym at the hotel, too. You might even grab a steal of a deal, like we did – breakfast, a bottle of wine, three course dinner and early check-in, all for the same price as the room!
Things to do in Lincoln Map
Is Lincoln worth visiting?
Yes, 100%! Lincoln is definitely worth visiting. It’s a small but mighty city, with plenty of things to do to keep you occupied for a weekend. It also has a remarkable cathedral, castle, and a rather steep hill full of quirky, independent shops.
What is the best time to visit Lincoln, England?
The best time to visit Lincoln is in the summer, from June to August, when the weather is mild, and the city is at its liveliest. But Lincoln is worth visiting at any time of year.
Is Lincoln Cathedral free to visit?
No. There’s an entry fee into the cathdal, but included the price is a tour if you Gift Aid your ticket.
Things to do in Lincoln
- Walk Steep Hill
- Admire Lincoln Cathedral
- Explore Lincoln Castle
- Visit the Museum of Lincolnshire Life
- Visit The Collection
- Visit Usher Gallery
- Stroll Around Lincoln Arboretum
- Go Antique Shopping
- Find Ellis Mill
- Have a Beer at The Straight & Narrow
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