By Jack Walker
Be honest with yourself, you haven’t heard of Lincoln, have you? Most people haven’t, so when they visit, they are pleasantly surprised by what the city has to offer. An impressive Gothic cathedral sits atop the Lincoln skyline, and in its shadow are the remnants of Lincoln Castle, built in 1068 – mostly just castle wall and Lincoln Crown Court nowadays. But dig a little deeper and the charms of a rural city are there for all to see.
The cathedral, for one thing, used to be the tallest building in the world. Admittedly it held that record in the 1400s, but still. The stained-glass windows are a marvel, and the local challenge is to find the stone imp hidden inside the cathedral’s stonework. The Lincoln Imp, folklore says, terrorised the East Midlands with devilish tricks and mischief. He has since become Lincoln’s local symbol – the local football team is affectionately nicknamed the Imps.
Visiting during the Christmas holidays? It is no word of a lie to say that the Lincoln Christmas Market rivals any Christmas market in the country. Set in the grounds of the castle, it boasts 250 stalls and thousands of visitors. The cobbled streets, the Cathedral looming above and the Tudor-style housing all create a truly unique festive atmosphere.
If the arts are more your thing, Lincoln has one of the finest art galleries in the Midlands. The Collection, which is an amalgamation of the Usher Gallery and the City and County Museum, boasts paintings by Turner, Lowry and Henry Moore (yes Leeds readers, THAT Henry Moore). You can also explore the archaeological past of Lincoln, with remnants found dating back as far the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages.
If you’re willing to venture a little bit further out of the city, Whisby Nature Reserve is just a fifteen-minute drive away. This reserve is home to an abundance of wildlife and several walking trails.
A history buff? RAF Scampton is home to the Red Arrows, and nearby is a new museum dedicated to Bomber Command, the RAF bombing force during World War II. The International Bomber Command Centre boasts artefacts, a digital archive, and the Spire and Walls of Names.
Lincoln may not be the first name on your list of must-see places in the UK. But give this small city a chance and you’ll discover a world of history, art, nature and charm. The city is easy to navigate and small enough that you could cover most of the activities listed here in a weekend. You won’t regret the visit.