In April of this year, the historic Lincoln Castle reopened after a massive £22 million restoration, and so last week, my dad and I took ourselves on a road trip to the city to do a little exploring.
Lincoln is just a short hour’s drive away from my home of North East Lincolnshire, and you pass through beautiful countryside along your way. When we arrived, we parked at Lincoln Train Station which cost just £4 for the whole day – the first bargain of our trip. We walked through the high street until we came to the mountain that is Steep Hill.
Steep Hill is often listed on things to do when visiting the city, and, according to Visit Lincoln, was once voted Britain’s Best Street! The cobbled hill has boutiques, antique shops, speciality shops and tea rooms within some of the city’s oldest buildings, and it is much steeper to climb than you think! But it feels so good when you have made it.
Sitting right at the top is the historic quarter, with Lincoln Castle and Cathedral sitting opposite each other. Our first stop was the Castle.
The tickets were our next bargain of the day; for £16 per adult ticket, you receive all inclusive access to the castle’s Medieval Wall Walk, Victorian Prison and Magna Carta Vault, as well as entrance to Lincoln Cathedral AND a free return visit to both attractions within six months. Firstly, we ventured into the Victorian Prison.
The prison is now open to visitors after extensive refurbishment, and you can see the small, cramped cells, the open walkways and the only original prison chapel using the separate system remaining. Children can dress up in prison and staff clothing, and you can explore its history through interactive touch screen tables; technology is something the Castle has really embraced for the restoration, and it is great to see!
Before you head out of the prison building, you can visit the brand new Magna Carta Vault.
This year celebrates the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, and the new state-of-the-art charter vault which houses an original Magna Carta from 1215, and a 1217 Charter of the Forest, has been made possible thanks to the multi-million pound restoration. While you’re here, watch King John’s stories in the wrap-around, ultra widescreen cinema – very impressive.
Finally, you can now walk the whole circumference of the castle with the Medieval Wall Walk, another result of the restoration. It is easy to see why William the Conqueror chose this spot to build a castle, just look at those views! You can see for miles!
Isn’t the Lincolnshire Countryside beautiful? The most impressive views are from the Observatory Tower, but on this walk, you will also cross Cobb Hall, the place of public hangings, and Lucy Tower, which was used as a burial site. Last year, I was lucky enough to have a preview of the historic restorations whilst working with East Coast Pictures on the Lincoln Kitchen, and you can see behind the scenes here, but if you want to read more about the history of the Castle, which dates back to 1068, take a look at the Lincoln Castle website.
Our next stop was the awe-inspiring Lincoln Cathedral; I had forgotten just how big and beautiful this place is!
I don’t have any photos from inside the Cathedral (no phones allowed), but I am very happy to say I found the infamous Lincoln Imp hidden within the carvings of the ‘Angel Choir’. The details of the carvings, glass windows and organ are all incredible.
After our visit, we made our way back down Steep Hill and took a short walk along Brayford Waterfront. Here is where you’ll find a selection of restaurants, cafes and hotels, including Nando’s, Starbucks and DoubleTree by Hilton. It is a lovely place to relax just around the corner from the hustle and bustle of the high streets.
It really was a great day out; we didn’t even have time to explore the shops and cafes! But at least that gives us an excuse to go back (not forgetting our free return tickets!)
Here are more details about some of the attraction if you are planning your visit: