The historic city of Lincoln, which lies between Nottingham to the south-west and Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the north-east, is sometimes overlooked as a touring destination.

That’s a shame, because there is much to enjoy in this fascinating place, which in the 13th century was the third-largest city in England. Its importance as a political and cultural centre in the Middle Ages is reflected by its hugely impressive cathedral, which was the world’s tallest structure in 1311 – a record that the city held for more than two centuries.

Today’s visitors will find many of Lincoln’s most popular attractions offering a historical bent, but it’s far from stuck in the past – this thriving university city has reinvented itself with Brayford Waterfront, bustling with bars, restaurants and live entertainment.

Away from the city itself, you can also enjoy the great outdoors, with fine nature parks, reserves and the wonderful Wolds.

Where to stay in Lincoln

Barlings Country Park is a peaceful park, set in 22 acres with trees, picnic areas, fishing lakes and dog walks, has two shower blocks, and easy access to Lincoln by bus.

Alternatively, Shortferry Caravan Park is a family site that is convenient for Lincoln. The park’s touring area has 60 pitches with hook-up, and a dedicated toilet and shower block.

You can also take a look at our guide to the best caravan parks in Lincolnshire if you’re after more ideas for where to stay.

What to do in Lincoln on Day 1

9am – Time to veg out!

Kick off your day in style at Pimento, a vegetarian café that has been dishing up delicious breakfasts in its 18th-century building for more than 30 years. It’s on Steep Hill – Lincoln’s famously steep cobbled street, which dates back to Roman times – and popular specialities include the Veggie Full English and Tofu on Toast.

10am – High heaven

It’s a quick walk from Pimento to Lincoln Cathedral, the pride of the city, dating back to the 11th century and built in the spectacular Early Gothic style. Among many highlights are the two great rose windows (known as the Bishop’s Eye and the Dean’s Eye), the glorious Willis organ, constructed in 1898, and the Shrine of St Hugh, who rebuilt the cathedral after an earthquake in the 12th century. An £11 charge (under-17s free) applies between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral was the world’s tallest structure for 200 years

12.30pm – Off to the pub

Once you leave the confines of the cathedral, you’ll find yourself within easy staggering distance of one of the city’s favourite pubs.

The Strugglers Inn dates to 1841 and prides itself on its great range of beers and cask ales. The pub offers a choice of bar snacks, but for something more substantial, try the nearby Olé Olé Tapas, which has an excellent menu of traditional Spanish dishes, such as pollo al ajillo and lentejas con chorizo y jamón.

2pm – Shopping spree

Time to explore the indie shops along Steep Hill, where you’ll find everything from vintage clothing to natty antiques and a choice of delicious eateries.

Steep Hill
Browse the shops on Steep Hill

3.30pm – Lincoln Museum

With a focus on local history and archaeology, Lincoln Museum is also home to the Usher Gallery, hosting work by Turner, Lowry and Grayson Perry. Entry is free.

7.30pm – Fine dining

In its 12th-century building on Steep Hill, The Jews House Restaurant is arguably the finest place to eat in Lincoln. Treat yourself to an à la carte menu of classics such as seared lemon sole, roast wood pigeon breast or roast guineafowl.

What to do on Day 2

9am – All Greek to me!

Set yourselves up for the day by enjoying a breakfast of delicious pastries, such as spanakopita, at this authentic Greek café.

10am – Norman conquest

Built for William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Lincoln Castle was the scene of battles in the 13th century and the Civil War. Find out more by taking a Medieval Wall Walk, then visit the Victorian prison and see a copy of the iconic Magna Carta. Day tickets cost £16 for adults.

Lincoln Castle
Lincoln Castle was built for William the Conqueror

1pm – Bridge the gap

High Bridge, spanning the River Witham, is the only medieval bridge in England with houses still standing on it. These include Stokes café, in a building dating back to 1540. Choose from an excellent menu of light lunch dishes, such as omelettes and toasties.

2.45pm – Water world

Now it’s time to see the city from a different viewpoint, with a 50-minute guided canal trip. The upper deck is open, while the lower deck is covered and heated. Embark from Brayford Wharf; adult tickets cost £9 (child £4).

6pm – On the waterfront

There’s no better way to finish your trip to Lincoln than by exploring Brayford Waterfront, where you can see the university on one side and enjoy the plethora of entertainment on the other. The bars, restaurants and cinemas are a magnet for young and old alike.

Lead image: Getty

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