Lincoln Fair

One of the UK’s most overlooked city breaks, Lincoln steps back into the spotlight this year


From Elizabethan spymasters to Australian icons, cycling breaks to medieval history, there’s more than enough to fill a weekend break in Lincolnshire.

And with several exhibitions marking anniversaries this year, along with a new visitor centre at Lincoln cathedral, it’s a perfect time to explore the county along with the unmissable best of the rest in Lincoln.

Step back in history

One of northern Europe’s finest surviving medieval cathedrals is transforming its visitor experience. Along with the new visitor centre at Lincoln cathedral this summer, there will be a bigger café and interpretation centre, and some of the cathedral’s treasures on display including 15th century silver.

Spot the Lincoln Imp too, carved into the ceiling, along with the sign referencing the cathedral’s role in the medieval blood libel, calling for an end to religious and racial hatred.

Across the square stands Lincoln Castle, which underwent its own multimillion-pound restoration a few years ago. Home to one of only four copies of the Magna Carta, you can walk the walls, discover the Victorian prison at the castle’s heart, and enjoy a special family event called Castle of Magic, Myths and Legends from April to August.

Take a walk

One of the most important English Jewish communities during the Middle Ages, Lincoln is still home to three of the country’s only five surviving medieval Jewish houses. There’s a free trail to explore the city’s Jewish heritage, or JTrails also runs guided tours.

You’ll find several more special themed trails for 2020 too. Learn more about the Mayflower Pilgrims who came from Lincolnshire, as part of this year’s Mayflower 400 celebrations, with trails, events and exhibitions to mark their 1620 Atlantic crossing.

Or spot the 30 colourful Lincoln Imp sculptures around the city centre between July 4 and September 6, while families can also enjoy the Roman trail exploring ancient Lindum Colonia, along with a stop at The Collection Art & Archaeology Museum.

Head to the water

If you’re staying in Lincoln itself, head down to the waterfront for a cruise along the canals — the Brayford Belle runs 50-minute cruises to the surrounding countryside as you listen to commentary about Lincoln’s history.

Or venture to the Lincolnshire coast and discover its wilder shores, rather than the county’s better-known seaside resorts. A new café and beachfront viewing platform are opening at Huttoft in June after a £500,000 project, to raise the profile of this unspoiled stretch of coast and its wildlife.

Discover Lincolnshire’s famous sons

The county celebrates two anniversaries this year, to remember some of its famous sons. At Burghley, a series of year-round events and exhibitions will mark what would have been the 500th birthday of William Cecil, Elizabeth I’s spymaster: enjoy Shakespeare in the gardens or see Elizabethan treasures with links to the Queen herself on display.

Elsewhere in the county, new walking and cycling trails will help showcase some of the hidden history linking Lincolnshire and Australia, on the 200th anniversary of the death of naturalist and explorer Joseph Banks who famously joined Captain Cook’s first voyage to the continent.

Another Lincolnshire explorer, Captain Matthew Flinders, is also being reinterred this year in the village church at Donington where he was born. The first person to circumnavigate Australia, the continent has more than 100 geographical features named after him.


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