Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK
Created | Updated Mar 5, 2006
The city of Lincoln is the principal city and administrative centre of Lincolnshire, a large and sparsely-populated county in north east England. It dates back to (at least) Roman Britain, and is one of the 'cathedral cities' whose primary industries are tourism and second-hand books.
There are four basic tourist 'must dos' in Lincoln.
The Bridge Cafe - A timber-frame building (approx 400 years old) which straddles the canal at the foot of Lincoln hill, serving a fine selection of coffees, tea and scones and small meals. It does tend to be quite busy, and is closed on Sunday, but should you get a seat it will be well worth it.
Steep Hill -The main shopping street in Lincoln, leading from the station at the base of the hill up to the cathedral and castle at the top. It is pedestrianised and cobbled and very picturesque. It is also very steep indeed, nearly one in three at its steepest, so you will need to be in rude health just to window shop here. Still, since every fifth building is a pub or tearoom, it is possible to make a day of it.
The Cathedral - The cathedral dominates the city of Lincoln, both literally and metaphorically. It is absolutely huge and quite ancient, having been started in 1079. Entrance is free, but a licence to photograph costs £1, and donations are expected to help towards the maintenance costs which total £500,000 a year. There are the usual services which you can sit in on, and a choir at around 6.00pm on Sundays. There is also a guided tour which takes an hour - but be warned: it includes walking up to the top of the bell tower, which is a long way up.
The Castle - The castle is just across from the cathedral and is also quite ancient. At the time of writing, the entrance fee is £2.50 for an adult which includes being able to view the Lincoln copy of the actual Magna Carta. The walls can be climbed at various points by metal stairs, but the real way to 'do' the castle is to climb to the very top of the observation tower and then go around the entire perimeter at the top of the walls - not for those scared of heights! The central part of the castle was once a capital prison, and there are many gravestones in the southern tower which are testament to the hangman's grisly art.
For whisky lovers, Lincoln is also the home of The Whisky Shop, a little shop at the top of the hill1. It is an absolute Mecca for anyone with even a passing taste for whisky. They have thousands of different bottles of the stuff, from a reasonable £20 to the spectacular £4000 50-year-old single malts, and the staff of two will happily spend hours finding the right one for you.