Fortunately I chose a lovely sunny day to visit Lincoln with the particular purpose of seeing the newly refurbished Lincoln Caste.
Arriving by train there is no way you can avoid the climb up to the Castle. The well beaten path is through part of the town, via Stokes Coffee house and then up Steep Hill. Apparently there is a “Walk and Ride” bus but I’ve never been able to find it, and it’s certainly not well publicised at that station. But no matter, it was a lovey morning and the walk is always fascinating.
This time I chose not to go straight up the hill but took a detour via the Cheese Society café* and made my winding way from there. The Cheese Society is awesome, a must stop for a cheese lover (But no Peakland White that I could see!)
The Castle was very busy with lots of people enjoying the sunshine and new facilities. You can purchase a duel ticket for the Castle and cathedral, but I’d find visiting both in one day a challenge as there is so much to see.
In the Castle grounds the Prison was fascinating in the usual gruesome way. The historical interpretation is very visual and effective though. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but its history offers a fascinating insight into local social history. I found the prison particularly poignant as even at prayer the prisoners were kept separate as part of the prison regulations.
My favourite part of the Magna Carta vault was not the document, but the interesting film that runs in the film theatre. Very entertaining and informative and not too dumbed down. As an aside all around town there are Barons to find, each one representing a Magna Carta Baron, but also they are depicted with a local Lincolnshire theme. It is of course the 800th year of the Magna Carta celebrations and if you love the idea of trailing the Barons here’s the brilliant website
The spectacular part of the visit has to be the walk around the castle walls (if you don’t suffer from vertigo!) as the views of the cathedral, the town, and the countryside are spectacular. If you take the audio tour up onto the walls with you then you are in for a very long third of a mile walk. But if you have the time it is fascinating to hear the history of Lincoln through the ages. It was a bonus to see the west side of the town for once. (One of the features of all the walls being open now)The windmill in the distance and a lot of interesting local back yards (can only hope the locals don’t mind lots people peering down at them!)
The Lucy Tower had an unexpected eerie feeling as there are quite a few graves of executed prisoners within those walls. I hadn’t expected that, why I am not sure as they had to be buried somewhere.
I didn’t feel brave enough to climb to the Observation Tower as it was a little too busy for me and I will wait for another opportunity to enjoy the view in less haste (Another nice touch with the admission ticket is that you can return within six months for another visit. Handy for locals or holidaymakers who run out of time looking around)
Once back outside the caste walls it was very busy in the shops and tearooms around the area. I would have loved to have lingered a while longer but I was really out of time. On the way back down the hill I avoided Steep Hill again and wandered down a different way seeing part of the city that I hadn’t before.
*I couldn’t visit the cheese society and not buy a cheese. Gould’s extra mature cheddar if you are interested. Nice and creamy, probably not the most daring selection I could have tried, but I liked it!