September 16, 2014 10.40 am This story is over 115 months old

20 things to do in Lincoln before you die

Lincoln favourites: Looking for Lincoln attractions iconic or secret? Here’s our top 20.

Whether you’re just visiting or live in the historic City of Lincoln, this is our essential collection of attractions to complete the Lincoln experience.

Here’s our list of 20 must-do moments on the Lincoln prospectus to start you off on your journey of discovery:

Conquer Lincoln Cathedral

Scale the looming Lincoln Cathedral for outstanding views of the city.

Scale the looming Lincoln Cathedral for outstanding views of the city.

From every angle, the gothic Lincoln Cathedral dominates the city skyline. For 300 years it was the tallest building in the world, and today the iconic attraction gets thousands of visitors ever year.

Step into the grand nave free of charge and spend some quite time in the Morning Chapel, or discover the building’s history, architecture, hidden secrets and stories with a fascinating guided tour.

Floor, roof and tower tours are all available to the public, with tower adventures offering 360 degree views of the city and beyond.

The imp at Lincoln Cathedral

The imp at Lincoln Cathedral

Don’t forget to look out for the famous Lincoln Imp, who was sent by the devil to stir up trouble, but was turned to stone by the cathedral angels (or so the legend says).

Clue: Head for the Angel Choir.

Visit the Lincoln Cathedral website for more information and tour prices.

Walk or cycle the Water Rail Way

Tackle the route between Lincoln and Boston.

Tackle the route between Lincoln and Boston.

The Water Rail Way follows the River Witham from Lincoln to Boston. The 33-mile (54km) tarmac route is ideal for walking and cycling, and is mostly traffic free.

Beginning in the centre of Lincoln in the shadow of the cathedral, the trail leads to the market town of Boston with the famous St Botolph’s Church, known as ‘The Stump’.

Why not take a Lincoln Hirebike for a spin and enjoy vast open fenlands and commissioned artwork along the way, inspired by Lincolnshire’s Lord Alfred Tennyson.

Download the free route map here.

Climb Steep Hill

The city’s most famous incline is a must for anyone wishing to earn their Lincoln badge.

Steep Hill was named ‘Britain’s Best Street’ in 2012 and, other than presenting a satisfying physical challenge, it is famed for its great selection of retro and vintage shops, tea rooms and eateries.

At the bottom of the hill, The Strait offers a range of independent fashion boutiques, while at the top you’ll find a cluster of celebrated historic attractions, restaurants and shops.

Experience The Lincolnshire Show

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The Lincolnshire Show, based at the Lincolnshire Showground at the edge of Lincoln, is one of the biggest annual events on the city and county calendar, held in June evert year.

The show’s roots are agriculture and trade, and over the years it has evolved into a one-stop event for families, schools and businesses to celebrate shopping, food, attractions and all things Lincolnshire.

In 2014, the main attractions included RAF Falcons, motorbike stunt-athletes Broke FMX, horseback gymnastics, police dogs, and not forgetting the Sheep Show in the Countryside arena.

You can see our galleries from Day 1 and Day 2 of the 2014 Lincolnshire Show.

See the Red Arrows

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Based at RAF Scampton near Lincoln, the world famous RAF Aerobatic Display Team, Red Arrows, can be spotted tearing across the sky.

In addition to appearances at the popular Waddington Air Show, and inspiring millions in 2014 with their 50th display season, the team are often seen practising display sequences over the city skies.

The team is made up of 120 people including pilots, engineers and support staff, and has flown more than 4,500 displays.

Spot a heron at Hartsholme Country Park

Photo: Harold Tokins

Photo: Harold Tokins

The Hartsholme Country Park and Swanholme Lakes Local Nature Reserve comprises of Victorian landscape gardens, a large reservoir, woodlands and grasslands.

Explorers can learn about the unique variety of wildlife at the park by finding the Visitor’s Centre on site. Events hosted at the park include insect days and craft workshops.

‘Handsome Herons’ are favourite residents at Hartsholme Country Park. Watch as the winged family court, fight, breed and rear their young from the special viewpoints around the park.

Brave the Lincoln Ghost Walk


Spooky fog at Lincoln Cathedral

Haunting stories of Lincoln’s past are best told whilst reliving them! The Original Lincoln Ghostwalk takes guests on special tours of historic uphill Lincoln and gives them an insight into its most spooky events.

The ghost walk guides leave the Lincoln Tourist Information Centre on Castle Hill every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7pm.

Booking is not required. The tours cost £4 for adults and £2 for children.

Join the Steampunk sensation

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Europe’s biggest Steampunk festival ‘The Asylum’ sets up camp in uphill Lincoln annually. The cross-genre event sees hundreds of people from all over the world take to iconic Lincoln venues for a series of quirky events.

Stalls selling victorian, mechanical, and industrial-style accessories appear on Castle Hill and attendees reach for their most show stopping pseudo-Victorian gear.

The annual event is organised by the Victorian Steampunk Society. See our 2014 gallery here.

Rediscover Lincoln Castle

Over 700 people enjoyed the Castle Wall guided tours.

Over 700 people enjoyed the Castle Wall guided tours.

2015 will be an extremely important year for Lincoln Castle. In a £22 million Lincoln Castle Revealed project, the site will be given a new life – making it a world-class heritage visitor attraction.

The project includes a new vault which will house Lincoln’s original copy of the Magna Carta, as well as the restoration of the castle walls, new interactive learning technology, cinema installation and many more exciting additions.

Until the grand castle reopening, you can see the work in progress and also visit the award-winning Heritage Skills Centre on site.

Meet a Daisy Made cow

Lots of family fun to be had at Daisy Made.

Lots of family fun to be had at Daisy Made.

A visit to Daisy Made, on Lincoln Road near Lincoln, bears many fruits. No local ice cream comes fresher than here. You can even meet the resident cows at the Daisy Made petting farm.

You can enjoy your cone from a bench on a lovely summer day, or venture into the cafe, where the staff also serve hot drinks and savoury bites.

Should you feel competitive after your creamy sugar rush, you can even grab a golf club and challenge your friends to a milking-themed crazy golf.

Taste the Lincolnshire sausage


The Lincoln Sausage Festival at Lincoln Castle.

The Lincolnshire Sausage is famed for its distinct sage flavouring and chunky texture. Traditional sausage dishes are found in many local Lincoln restaurants and in most butchers and supermarkets.

Sausage enthusiasts also have the opportunity to celebrate them at the annual Lincoln Sausage Festival. The festival draws around 11,000 people and has been known to have sold 25,000 sausages at a single event.

One group even set up the Lincolnshire Sausage Association in 2006 in order to petition to protect the geographical indication for the Lincolnshire Sausage.

Visit the Museum of Lincolnshire Life

Get a glimpse into the traditional county life at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life in Lincoln.

Get a glimpse into the traditional county life at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life in Lincoln.

Enjoy free entry to the largest community museum in Lincolnshire and discover the county’s rich history. The Museum of Lincolnshire Life celebrates the county’s culture and people from 1850 to today.

Exhibitions include an insight into an exciting Wold War One tank, the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, and agricultural and industrial life.

The best way to learn about life in Lincolnshire is to book onto a staff-led tour. Maybe you’ll be able to find a member of your family in the museum’s collection of historic photographs?

Take the Tour Lincoln open-top bus

The Tour Lincoln open-top bus.

The Tour Lincoln open-top bus.

Lincoln’s open top tour bus is a great way to discover the top attractions of the city.

The sightseeing bus is first come first served and departs every hour from the Cathedral. Ticket holders can hop on and off from 12 stops including Lincoln Cathedral, the University of Lincoln, Brayford Waterfront and High Street.

You can find out more information and buy tickets from the Lincoln Visitor Information Centre on Castle Hill.

Shop at the Lincoln Christmas Market

The Lincoln Christmas Market has evolved from its original 11 stalls to become a cultural event attracting around 250 stalls and over 200,000 people every year.

The market, which brings in visitors from all over the world, is set against the medieval backdrop around Lincoln Castle and includes traditional food, crafts and entertainment for all the family.

For more information, visit the website.

Meet a Roman at The Collection

Photo: Tony Barker

Photo: Tony Barker

The Collection brings together an award-winning archaeology museum and the region’s premier art gallery, the Usher Gallery.

The archaeology gallery at The Collection brings visitors up close with the lives of people as long ago as the Stone Ages.

Build your own Roman mosaic, conjure a Medieval beast! There are lots of events hosted at the museum. Just check the calendar for more details.

Hop aboard the Brayford Belle

The Brayford Belle sets sail from the Brayford Pool in Lincoln for five waterway tours per day.

The Brayford Belle sets sail from the Brayford Pool in Lincoln for five waterway tours per day.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the countryside from the open waters of the River Witham.

Lincoln’s Brayford Belle pleasure boat takes visitors on hour-long guided canal trips with entertaining commentary about Lincoln’s past and present.

The boat departs from Brayford Pool at 11am, 12.15pm, 1.30pm, 2.45pm and 3.45pm daily. You can even enjoy a hot or cold beverage while on board!

Have afternoon tea in the Bailgate

Bailgate, Lincoln

Bailgate, Lincoln

The colourful and historic Bailgate in Lincoln is full of independent boutiques, shops and places to eat. The cobbled streets branch from the city’s iconic cathedral and castle and offer plenty of shopping and dining opportunities.

Bailgate is the ideal stopping point for a cream tea, mug of steaming coffee or even an ice-cream after a day exploring the city sights.

Find a dinosaur egg at Doddington Hall

Doddington Hall, near Lincoln

Doddington Hall, near Lincoln

Venture into the Wild Garden at Doddington Hall and look between the Sweet Cestnuts and the Croquet Lawn and you’ll see the Temple of the Winds.

The temple and nature trail plus a turf maze was built by Antony Jarvis in the 1980s, and if you look hard you might spot a dinosaur egg!

The hall and estate include a shop, cafe, restaurant, interiors store and wedding and events business. There’s always something new to see at the site. Visit the website for more details.

Venture down to Posterngate

Visitors can take tours of the site only four days of the year. Photo: Emily Norton

Visitors can take tours of the site only four days of the year. Photo: Emily Norton

For three times of the year only, the remains of the Roman South Wall to the city are revealed by a special tour guide.

Posterngate is in a secret location beneath the RBS Bank in Lincoln city centre bank and is believed to have been used as access to the River Witham.

Please see The Collection’s event listings for details of any upcoming openings.

Find your favourite Lincoln viewpoint

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

It might be from the heights of Lincoln Cathedral, from the castle walls or from a seat at your favourite restaurant; Lincoln offers some spectacular views and scenes dear to the hearts of visitors and residents alike.

Do you have a photograph from your favourite Lincoln viewpoint? Why not share them with us by sending them to [email protected]?