Planning a day out in Lincoln and not sure where to begin with your itinerary? We’ve put together some ideas to help you get started. Days out in Lincoln are our favourite kind of days, but there’s so much choice that it’s hard to decide what to include in just a few hours. So, in this article, we’ve pieced together five suggested Lincoln itineraries for classic sightseeing, art lovers, history lovers, families with kids, or groups of friends seeking fun activities.
For each itinerary below, we’ve included some recommendations on places to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as ideas for evening activities if you want to make a longer day of it.
You don’t have to follow an exact itinerary for your day out in Lincoln. You might want to mix different activities from the five different day itineraries to create one that suits you perfectly. So, shall we get started?
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5 itineraries for days out in Lincoln: quick details
In a hurry? This table gives a quick glance view of our suggested itineraries for a day out in Lincoln. For the full details, keep reading on below.
|Classic||Breakfast at The Terrace / Duke William Hotel|
Lincoln Castle: Victorian Prison, Magna Carta, Medieval Wall Walk
Lunch at Bells Tea Shop
Steep Hill and Brayford Waterfront
Dinner at The Royal William IV
Evening pints at real ale pubs
|Art lovers||Breakfast at Cosy Club|
Downhill galleries and street art
Cuppa at Coffee Aroma
Takeout lunch from Cafe Shanti at the Arboretum
The Collection and Usher Gallery
Uphill galleries and art shops
Dinner at Crust
Evening show at the New Theatre Royal
|History lovers||Breakfast at Homestead, Bracebridge Heath|
International Bomber Command Centre
Historic Lincoln views from South Common
Lunch at Stokes High Bridge Café
Self-guided history landmarks walking tour
Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle
Dinner at Magna Carta pub
Lincoln Ghost Walk
|Families with kids||Hartsholme Country Park morning adventure with café breakfast|
Daisy Made Farm and ice cream
Pizza lunch at Dough Loco
Museum of Lincolnshire Life children's trail
Find the imp at Lincoln Cathedral
Dinner at Wig & Mitre or Olé Olé
|Fun with friends||Bottomless brunch at The Botanist|
Escape Room at Tension Twisted Realities
Games and fries at Carousel
Urban crazy golf
Pizzas, cocktail and movie at Everyman Cinema
Lincoln bar crawl
Day out in Lincoln: the classic itinerary
Is it your first time in Lincoln? Then maybe you simply want to see the famous landmarks and try some typical local food. We’ve been living here for years and we still don’t get tired of seeing Lincoln Cathedral and the old castle walls on top of the hill!
This classic itinerary combines the top sights to see around the city into a manageable day’s sightseeing.
Breakfast with a view at The Terrace
Update: The Terrace has been replaced in 2023 by CASK Kitchen, run by independent local coffee makers Seven Districts. We’re booked in to try their breakfasts soon, and will update this article as soon as we’ve paid a visit!
How about beginning your day out in Lincoln with a cooked breakfast on a rooftop terrace, with glorious views of the castle and cathedral? That’s exactly what you can do at The Terrace. Situated in uphill Lincoln, it’s the perfect start before some classic sightseeing.
Formerly known as The Citadel, this city centre restaurant has fast become one of our favourites. It’s not just the views – they also serve one of the best breakfasts in Lincoln! And if you order the full English, it’ll come with Lincolnshire sausages.
The Terrace opens at 10am Wednesday to Saturday – for this itinerary it’s best to arrive early.
Morning: exploring Lincoln Castle
Lincoln is home to one of the best-preserved 11th century castles in England. The entire perimeter of the walls are still in tact, along with many of the towers, and the grounds are free to enter and explore.
There’s a lot to see within the castle walls, too. Inside the grounds is an old Victorian Prison, which has been preserved in its working state and is now open to the public as a museum. You can also see one of only four surviving copies of the Magna Carta! And our favourite thing is to take the Medieval Wall Walk around the top of the castle to see views of Lincoln from above.
Read our guide to visiting Lincoln Castle for all the information you need. For this itinerary, we recommend buying the castle day ticket for £15, which includes the prison, Magna Carta and wall walk.
Lunch at Bells Tea Shop
When visiting Lincoln for a day, you should try out one of the local tea rooms. It’s incredible how many are packed into such a small city! Our article on Lincoln tea rooms compiles some of our favourites.
Bell’s Tea Shop is conveniently located a few paces away from the castle gate, so it’s the perfect place for lunch in this itinerary. Set in a beautiful Grade II listed cottage with a black-and-white shopfront, it’s one of the most recognisable buildings around Castle Square. Try the special loose leaf tea – it’s delicious!
Afternoon: inside Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral is the city’s centrepiece. A classic itinerary would not be complete without it, and early afternoon is the ideal time for walking off lunch around its magnificent interior.
Allow an hour or two to explore inside the cathedral thoroughly. If you arrive in time for 1pm you could take the daily roof tour for an extra £7.50, or there’s an extra 3pm tour on Saturdays. On other days there are alternative tours, such as medieval graffiti and symbolism. See our complete guide to visiting Lincoln Cathedral for more details.
A walk down iconic Steep Hill
Lincoln Steep Hill is a much-loved road crammed with independent shops and cafés, connecting the upper and lower parts of the city. Take some time to explore the quirky outlets as you descend the hill for the next part of this itinerary. Our Lincoln Steep Hill shopping guide will help you know what to look out for.
When you get to the bottom of Steep Hill, take one of the roads to the right and you will find your way to England’s oldest inland harbour – the Brayford Waterfront.
Dinner on the Brayford waterfront
If you time it right, depending on the time of year, you can arrive at the Brayford waterfront just in time for sunset. It’s a lovely scene to enjoy in the fading daylight, and you might want to take a walk along the harbour and back before settling in for some dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants.
The Royal William IV is great little pub-restaurant on the corner of the Brayford. It’s part of a small chain that also includes the nearby Horse & Groom, the uphill Duke William Hotel, and the Ferry Boat in Washingborough.
Up for a real one-off treat to end your day out in Lincoln in style? Then instead, book ahead for dinner at Jews House at the bottom of Steep Hill. This is one of Lincoln’s very few fine dining restaurants, set in a 12th-century building that is one of England’s five surviving medieval Jewish houses.
Evening pints at Lincoln’s real ale pubs
Real ale pubs in Lincoln are a big thing. The city is full of welcoming taverns and inns of all sizes where you can find a impressive selections of home and guest ales.
A couple of pints in classic pubs is a fitting way to round off this classic day out in Lincoln. First you can head to the Cardinal’s Hat at the top of the High Street in an old Tudor building. Then, head back uphill and finish off at the Struggler’s Inn, with a cosy hidden beer garden right underneath the castle walls.
Day out in Lincoln itinerary for art lovers
Creativity is in Lincoln’s DNA. A glance through our article on art galleries in Lincoln will give you an idea of the many ways you can discover the art scene around the city.
In this one-day Lincoln itinerary for art lovers, we combine some of our favourite galleries with a few other activities that are sure to feed the creative soul.
Breakfast at Cosy Club
Cosy Club, a highlight of the revamped Cornhill Quarter, is an inspiring place to start a day out in Lincoln. The interior of an old trading building has been given a new breath of life as a 1930s-style restaurant, underneath the huge beamed roof of the one-time market hall.
Vintage poster adverts and paintings are guaranteed to catch your eye around the room. Take a wander around before you sit down to eat! The menu is varied and the food very tasty – try the shakshuka or huevos rancheros.
Morning: downhill galleries
A few paces across the square outside Cosy Club stands Trent Galleries Lincoln. It’s a small gallery, but well worth dropping in to see the collection of urban art. On Saturdays you can also have a glass of prosecco while you browse!
Next, take a gentle stroll up to Gallery at St Martins, a cosy space where you can see works by upcoming local artists. If you take a short detour on the way, you can make a stop at the Brayford tunnel underpass beneath Wigford Way, just next to the Brayford waterfront. An entire wall of the underpass is covered with a mural that pays homage to Lincoln’s maritime history. Find out more about murals around the city in our guide to street art in Lincoln.
Coffee stop at Happy Culture Cafe
It probably won’t be time for lunch yet, but when you leave Gallery at St Martins it’s a good opportunity to stop at Happy Culture Cafe for a coffee, and maybe a homemade vegan cake. This plant-based café is a bright and colourful place to slow down for a little while.
Arboretum picnic with takeout from Cafe Shanti
Very sorry… we know it’s a cliché that vegans are art lovers and vice versa. The reason we’re recommending two vegan cafés in this itinerary is that they fit so neatly with the route (and they’re both great!). After the stop at Happy Culture Cafe, head to Cafe Shanti, just 3 minutes’ walk away.
Cafe Shanti was Lincoln’s first fully vegan café, with a blend of Nepalese and British styles. It has now re-opened under new owners who have done lots of work to the decor and menu.
Swing by Cafe Shanti and pick up some delicious picnic treats, and take your haul to the Arboretum. Originally built in the 19th century, this was Lincoln’s first public park, and is located about a 10–15 minute walk out of the centre.
A restoration project some 20 years ago revived its 22-acre space with beautiful cultivated gardens and flowers, staying true to the original design by a Victorian gardener, and there’s also a hedge maze and bandstand. This should be a reinvigorating midday break before you continue with the afternoon’s itinerary.
Afternoon: browse the Usher Gallery and Collection Museum
The Usher is Lincoln’s oldest and most famous gallery. The collections on display here have been amassed over many decades, and among them you can see works by the likes of LS Lowry and JMW Turner, as well as local artists.
Adjacent to the Usher Gallery is the Collection, an archaeology museum that tells stories of Lincoln’s history from the stone age to medieval times. The two buildings are run jointly and together comprise Lincolnshire’s county museum and gallery.
Uphill galleries and art shops
The Usher and Collection are the perfect springboard to head onwards uphill, via Steep Hill. Many of the shops along Steep Hill have collections of quirky art and craft; for example, Lapid Art specialises in handcrafted fossils and crystals. Also drop into Harding House, a volunteer-run gallery in a medieval building.
Once you make it to the top of the hill, explore the Cathedral Quarter galleries at your own pace. Try Spencer Coleman Fine Art, the Little Red Gallery and Harding House Gallery.
Dinner at Crust
Crust restaurant in Lincoln is like a relic of a fading era. They simply don’t do restaurants like this any more! It’s run entirely from top to bottom by a veteran chef, Victor Vella, who’s been in the business for more than 60 years.
Hidden in plain sight in a first-floor room above the High Street, the interior of Crust is a treasure trove of colour and memorabilia collected over decades. It’s one of Lincoln’s oldest restaurants, having been serving since 1981! Victor doesn’t do walk-ins, so you’ll need to book in advance by calling 01522 540322. Want to know more? Read our full story about Crust, a rare treasure from a fading era.
Want to eat somewhere a bit more modern? Try Cognito, a fusion of sushi restaurant and cocktail bar. It’s got a retractable roof, so it turns into an open-air terrace in good weather, and you can catch a view of the cathedral.
Evening show at the New Theatre Royal
The New Theatre Royal, Lincoln’s oldest theatre, has been running since the 19th century, and recently has been restored to its former glory. The crimson-and-white auditorium is a gorgeous setting to catch a show, and there’s almost always something on. Check out the theatre listings and round off your cultural exploration of Lincoln in style.
Day out in Lincoln itinerary for history lovers
Lincoln was built by the Romans and became one of England’s biggest cities in medieval times, so it’s no surprise there are footprints of history everywhere you look. This itinerary pieces together a day out in Lincoln for history lovers, exploring the city’s hidden secrets and icons of the past.
Breakfast at Homestead, Bracebridge Heath
This itinerary starts a little outside of the city with a short drive to the Roman village of Bracebridge Heath. Homestead is a pub-restaurant set in a beautiful Grade II listed mansion. A fitting place to begin a history-themed day of exploration, and thankfully it opens at 9:30am on weekends!
Homestead does a range of tasty breakfasts for very reasonable prices. How does beef rib hash or baked berry oats sound for something a little out of the ordinary for brekkie? And when you’re finished, it’s just a two-minute drive to our next stop…
Morning: International Bomber Command Centre
Lincoln has an important military history. It was here that the tank was invented, and more than 3,500 World War I aircraft were built. This legacy is told in a series of exhibitions and memorial spaces at the International Bomber Command Centre.
The centre isn’t very hard to find. That’s because it is home to the UK’s tallest war memorial! You can see the huge spire-shaped monument at the top of Canwick Hill for many miles around.
This is where we begin the day’s exploring in this Lincoln itinerary for history lovers. You can book a ticket in advance (note there is an extra £3 car park fee).
Views of historic Lincoln from the South Common
Before making your way from the International Bomber Command Centre into the city centre to continue the day’s activities, it’s worth taking a short walk around the corner onto the South Common for some of the most breathtaking views of Lincoln.
You can reach the South Common by walking out onto Canwick Hill, down the hill a little, and then following the footpath on the left. From the top of the hill you can see right across to Lincoln Cathedral towering above the city, as well as sweeping views out to the countryside.
Now, it’s time to head into the city centre. If you drive up Lincoln High Street, you might want to stop briefly to see St Mary’s Guildhall. This is a real hidden gem; an 850-year-old hall that was once a royal palace for King Henry II.
Lunch at Stokes High Bridge Café
One of our favourite lunch spots in Lincoln also happens to be one of its oldest and most significant buildings. In our collection of facts about Lincoln you will read that the city is home to the oldest bridge in the UK with occupied buildings on it.
The main building on the bridge? This is Stokes High Bridge Café, a real local favourite among the coffee shops in Lincoln. You can’t miss the black-and-white beamed building as you walk up Lincoln High Street.
Stokes has been making coffee in Lincoln since the 19th century, and now supplies businesses across the county. And High Bridge Café is the place where you can enjoy a meal and cuppa in the most classic setting.
Afternoon: self-guided tour of Lincoln historic landmarks
Many of Lincoln’s most interesting historical buildings, monuments and artefacts can be explored on foot. So, in this itinerary we recommend taking the afternoon at your own pace and seeing what you can find, perhaps with the odd stop at a tea room or coffee shop.
Keep walking up from Stokes High Bridge Café and you will soon reach the limestone archway of the Guildhall and Stonebow. This is the site of the old Roman south city gate.
The building standing here now was constructed in 1520 and has hosted City Council meetings for more than five centuries. Hidden away inside the building are some incredible artefacts, including the sword of King Richard II. You can occasionally take free tours inside – see the Lincoln Guildhall Facebook page for details of any upcoming tours.
Now it’s time to head uphill and discover the footprints of Roman Lincoln. Our article on Roman ruins in Lincoln details the various remains you can find around the city.
See the Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle
A history-themed day out in Lincoln would not be complete without glimpsing the original copy of the Magna Carta that is housed in a vault underneath Lincoln Castle.
Magna Carta is one of the most important legal documents ever to be produced, signed in 1215. The copy at Lincoln is one of only four surviving originals. Inside the vault, you can also see a fun short film depicting the document’s story.
To access the vault you need to buy a day ticket to Lincoln Castle. Check the website beforehand as the Magna Carta is occasionally taken off display. The ticket also gives access to the Victorian Prison and Medieval Wall Walk, which are well worth doing if you can fit them in before closing time at 4pm.
Dinner at the Magna Carta pub
You’ve seen the Magna Carta… so it’s only fitting to enjoy an evening meal at the Magna Carta pub, which is a stone’s throw from the castle gates. It’s a homely, warming place that serves traditional pub grub. Just what you need after a long day’s sightseeing.
Evening: the Lincoln Ghost Walk
If you stay around Castle Square for a while, you’ll be in the right place to take the award-winning Lincoln Ghost Walk that runs on Wednesdays to Saturdays at 7pm.
This is a fun and different way to learn insights into Lincoln’s history, interspersed among some spooky ghost stories. It only costs £6 and will round off the day’s sightseeing in memorable style.
Day out in Lincoln with kids
There is enough entertainment in Lincoln to keep families with kids happy for many days on end. This itinerary brings together some of the most fun things to do in Lincoln with kids into a single day.
Morning adventure at Hartsholme Country Park
We are blessed with many green parks in Lincoln, and Hartsholme Country Park is probably the prettiest of them all. It is a 200-acre labyrinth of woodland trails and open green spaces set around a tranquil reservoir.
Look out for an array of wildlife, guaranteed to delight the kids, and all sorts of colourful flowers if your visit is in spring. There is also a children’s play area right near the car park.
Want to begin the day with some breakfast? Hartsholme Country Park Café serves hot food, teas and coffees. Grab a tasty bacon sandwich and then walk it off around the park.
Daisy Made Farm and ice cream
Having started the day at Hartsholme Country Park, you’re on the right side of Lincoln to stop by at Daisy Made Farm, which is definitely one of the most fun places to visit with kids in the area.
When the weather is hot, we like to head to Daisy Made for a drive-thru farm-made ice cream. It’s the best ice cream in Lincoln by far! But if you’re visiting with kids, make sure you stop here for a while as there’s more than just the ice cream to keep them entertained.
The kids’ activities at Daisy Made Farm include ‘Crazy Daisy’ golf, farm animals to meet and feed, and a play area. If your visit extends into lunchtime, you could stay for a light bite at the farm café. Or, head onto our next destination…
Pizza lunch at Dough Loco
Pizza restaurants have really become a thing in Lincoln. Several have sprung up all over the city in recent times, each competing to serve the most delicious, creative toppings. Choosing one for lunch is hard, but it’s a nice problem to have!
We’ve been blown away by the pizzas at Dough Loco, which is also conveniently located in uphill Lincoln to begin the afternoon section of this itinerary.
Even better, they have a children’s menu. And there are often great offers on at weekends, such as a free kid’s pizza with any main pizza.
Afternoon: Museum of Lincolnshire Life
The best museums for kids are always the ones that make learning fun. That’s definitely what you’ll find at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, where you can discover centuries of the county’s history in a range of interactive displays.
For kids, the museum has a ‘Historic Hunters’ playground to discharge some of that energy from lunch, and a special children’s trail, which they’ll get a badge for completing. Entry to the museum is free.
Find the legendary imp in Lincoln Cathedral
The legend of the mischievous imp is synonymous with Lincoln, but not everybody knows the story behind it. The imp in question can actually be found hiding on wall inside the city’s most spectacular building, Lincoln Cathedral.
Exploring the interior of the cathedral is guaranteed to fill your kids with awe, but the hunt for the imp injects a little bit of fun. Can they spot him? When you reach the imp’s location there is a coin-operated machine where you can pay 20p to light him up on the wall.
Children under 5 can enter the cathedral for free, and it’s £4.80 for ages 5 to 16. Adult tickets are £9.
Dinner at Wig & Mitre or Olé Olé
Your evening meal choice for a day out with kids in Lincoln might depend on the age of your little ones. For younger kids, the Wig & Mitre is one of the few restaurants in uphill Lincoln with a children’s menu. They also have free activity sheets for kids – just ask for one when you arrive.
The Wig & Mitre has been run by the same family since 1976, making it one of the city’s longest-serving restaurants. Perched at the top of Steep Hill, you can expect tasty traditional English pub food.
If your kids are a bit older, then Olé Olé Tapas Bar will be an entertaining place to end the day. The waiting staff here can be relied upon to bring the fun. Listen out for cries of olé!
Every time we’ve eaten here, the tapas has been top-notch. There isn’t a kids’ menu, but there are plenty of smaller dishes that are suitable for children’s appetites.
Day out in Lincoln: fun with friends
A decade ago, it was hard to find activities in Lincoln for a day out with friends. That has completely changed now. Over the past few years, we’ve seen so many fun and quirky places open around the city: escape rooms, brunch spots, axe throwing, two novelty indoor crazy golf courses, a trampolining centre, an ‘experience’ cinema, and that’s just to name a few.
This itinerary brings together some of our favourite activities for a fun day out in Lincoln with your besties at the weekend.
Bottomless brunch at The Botanist
Lincoln’s Cornhill Quarter has been completely transformed since it had a £70million refurbishment in 2018. The Botanist is one of a string of new bars and eateries that has opened, and it’s an absolute beaut for brunch.
Lisa went for a girly brunch when her best friends came to visit. They were very well looked after and I was very jealous of the photos! The food spreads are amazing. Brunch costs £15.95, and it’s another £15.95 to make it bottomless.
And you get to enjoy it around botanical-themed decor that makes it feel like your own secret indoor garden. Brunch at the Botanist is served from 10am on Saturdays and Sundays.
Solve an escape room at Tension Twisted Realities
Escape Rooms are all the rage these days, aren’t they? We’ve got quite a few in Lincoln now. Tension Twisted Realities is one that we love and is always keeping it fresh with new games and ideas.
There are six different escape room games at Tension Twisted Realities, and each of them has a local theme. We tried the Magna Carta one and it was loads of fun.
Allow about an hour in your itinerary for the escape room, and make sure you book your slot ahead of time.
Games and fries at Carousel
After brunch at the Botanist you probably won’t need much for lunch. To keep the fun going, but also allowing for some chill time and drinks, head to Carousel on the High Street.
Carousel is a bar-meets-arcade that has a ton of fun games integrated into its huge space. You can grab some cocktails, bar snacks and chill for a while, or make your way upstairs to play basketball, air hockey, table football, Daytona racing, and a whole bunch of other games.
Afternoon: urban crazy golf
Onto the next injection of fun in the day. Take a taxi (or 25-minute walk) out to Vulcan Park Units 1 and 2, a disused warehouse in the Great Northern Terrace Industrial Estate that has been transformed into a hub of activities.
It’s now the home of Urban Putters, which we had a lot of fun trying out. There are more activities here, too. You’ll find escape rooms (although we really love Tension Twisted Realities, hence including that earlier in the day) and axe throwing at Axed (which you’re not allowed to do when inebriated, so it’s doesn’t work after a bottomless brunch!).
If you’re in a big group, you contact the team to arrange a package deal of activities for an alternative way to plan the day.
Urban Putters has been expanded into an 18-hole course, with all sorts of intriguing gadgets and random obstacles along the way. You’ll need to navigate a sawn-in-half mini, a festival portaloo and a game of space invaders to name a few.
When the fun is done here, it’s time to head back to the Cornhill Quarter to begin the evening’s escapades.
Pizza, cocktails and a movie at Everyman Cinema
One of the best things we’ve done since moving back to Lincoln is buying memberships at Everyman Cinema. This place has really taken the big screen experience to a new level.
At Everyman you watch a movie from the comfort of a plush sofa, with food and drinks served directly to you. That includes cocktails and beers! The pizzas are delicious, but not the biggest – if you’re in need of a proper fill, order a burger instead. Or two pizzas of course…
If you arrive early, you can have some pre-drinks on a scenic outdoor terrace overlooking the Cornhill Quarter.
Evening: Lincoln bar crawl
All that’s left to do now is enjoy the night. Lincoln’s nightlife scene has improved leaps and bounds in recent years. We’ve always had excellent pubs and the odd nightclub, but now you’ll find quirky cocktail bars, themed bars, and clubs that stay open until 5am.
Here are a few drinking spots you could try:
- The Botanist. Yep, why not bookend the day with this lovely place and come back for some botanical cocktails?
- The Cardinal’s Hat. We just love their quirky menu of craft ales and gins. A great place to kick off the evening.
- The Pessimist. A classy wine and gin bar, a favourite of ours mainly for the amazing selection of wines.
- Vine & Co. Lincoln’s speakeasy, hidden behind a rundown TV repair shop. Great for cocktails.
- Cognito. We mentioned it before for the sushi, but the cocktails are outstanding too, with rooftop terrace vibes.
- Popworld. Our favourite cheesy club. Dance the night away until the very small hours.
Have you spent a day out in Lincoln before? Let us know your own ideas in the comments below.