Lincoln: Magna Carta, charming shops and Gothic cathedrals

Lincoln’s got more going on than sausages. Clamber up Steep Hill, breathe in the historic, Hollywood-starring cathedral, or fall in love with the quirky shops. Be inspired with Virgin’s pick of the shops, sights and grub.

Here’s our guide to some of the best places for sightseeing, eating, drinking and shopping in Lincoln… 

Things to see and do in Lincoln

History lovers. Deep within the walls of Lincoln Castle lies one of only 4 remaining copies of Magna Carta – one of the most famous documents in the world.

Find out why it’s so important at the multi-million-pound Lincoln Castle Magna Carta Experience where cool interactive exhibits bring the ancient document into the digital age.

What is Magna Carta? Issued in 1215 by King John, it laid down the rule that everyone – including royalty – was subject to the law.

Amazing architecture. Do buildings come more jaw-droppingly amazing than Lincoln Cathedral. Its soaring gothic spires have featured in Hollywood movies, and many moons ago, philanthropist John Ruskin called it ‘the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles’

Save some cash for an ugly model gargoyle from the cathedral shop with cheap trains to Lincoln.

Fill a wet afternoon. An Iron Age spear and Bronze Age bling (a gold necklace) should keep the kids and grown-ups happy for at least half an hour. The Collection art and archaeology museum is great fun. There’s the remnants of an Iron Age boat that was made from a single tree trunk! They knew a thing or two about woodwork

Feeling hungry? Where to eat

Intimate dinner: Top grub and classy surroundings collide at Tito’s Grill and Restaurant. This local favourite is known for serving up juicy steaks cooked just how you like them, as well as the freshest of the fresh seafood. Get stuck into a tuna steak with a healthy dollop of sweet chilli sauce on the side. Or go for the lip-smacking fillet steak and prepare to be bowled over.

Light lunch: Go big on bunting and baking nostalgia with a shabby-chic afternoon tea.The cakes, butties and brews on offer at Bunty’s Tea Room are well worth the yomp up Steep Hill. Colourful bunting, vintage china and big band music all help to set the scene. Pass the clotted cream.

International: Crispy prawn toast, piles of steaming noodles and sticky, spicy meat. Chinese food is mostly amazing. Even more so at The Phoenix, which locals have loved for decades. Why? Try the beef satay – which is delivered sizzling to your table. All kinds of yum

Street food: You have to go a fair way to find a farmers’ market scene that outshines Lincoln’s. The High Street collective meet at the foot of Steep Hill (phew) on the second Wednesday of each month; the City Square event the first Friday, and Castle Hill the third Saturday – so you’re rarely without a fix.

Feeling hungry? Book train tickets to Lincoln.

Retail therapy - where to shop

High-street heaven

The place for all your high street favourites (as you’d expect from the name) is High Street. Splurge or simply window shop at House of Fraser, M&S, Dorothy Perkins and Fat Face among many others…

Vintage shops, one-off boutiques and homewares

Heaps of quirky independent shops can be found on this rather steep and famous hill, imaginatively called Steep Hill. Slowly climb its cobbles and be rewarded with vintage boutiques, bookshops, and foodie emporiums – it’s a bit like something from a film by Richard Curtis.

Label lovers - designer shopping

Agatha: Feel amazing in some top-notch designer clobber. From Paul Smith to Ralph Lauren and Barbour to UGG, Agatha on Steep Hill is the place for ladies who like to look sharp. Once voted Britain’s best boutique by Vogue. Treat yourself with cheap train tickets to Lincoln.

Hidden Lincoln

Brayford Belle boat trips: Cruise down the river for a serious chillax. A ride down the River Witham is a great way to get some fresh air into your lungs. Trips last around an hour – so there’s not enough time to get bored. 

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