Walking tours are a great way to discover a city that you are visiting for the first time, or to learn more about the place you call home. We’re still learning new things about Lincoln every day! Our local knowledge gained a huge boost recently after we went along to a free walking tour run by Brant and Matt, two local experts with a real passion for the city’s history. In this article, we give a sneak preview of the Lincoln free walking tour, what it includes and how you can try it.
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Why take a free walking tour in Lincoln?
Lisa and I have done a lot of travelling together over the years. On one of our walls at home we have a display of 30 pictures, each one from a different country we have visited together.
Every time we visit a new city, we always like to begin our trip with a free walking tour. It’s such a great way to get to know a place and to build some ideas for how you want spend the rest of your time there.
The local guides that run free walking tours are always full of useful insider knowledge. Whether it’s a quirky place to eat, a landmark we didn’t know about or a hidden gem, many of our best travel experiences have come from recommendations on free walking tours.
In the same vein, the Lincoln free walking tour is a great way to introduce yourself to the city. Or, if you already live here, you will almost certainly learn something that you had no idea about before.
About the Lincoln free walking tour
Brant and Matt are the local guides who run the Lincoln free walking tour. They both live locally and hail from Lincolnshire originally; Brant from Skegness, Matt from Boston.
The pair told me how they had first met when studying architecture at the University of Lincoln some 15 years ago. They have both stuck around in Lincoln ever since, having been captivated by the city.
After trying walking tours in other cities, Brant and Matt decided to bring the concept home, inspired also by their architectural background and general love for Lincoln.
The Lincoln free walking tour is quite new on the scene. The guys first started it in September 2021, and it has already been a swimming success, attracting many people from far and wide. It has also scooped a 2022 Destination Lincolnshire Tourism Award in the arts, culture and heritage category.
The original classic tour takes place every Saturday, starting at 10am. The meeting place is in Castle Square, and you can find the upcoming meet times and book your place on the Lincoln Free Walking Tour website.
While the tour is indeed free, tips are very much welcome, as is always the case with walking tours of this kind. Giving a tip helps to show your appreciation for what is a fantastic tour, and supports the guys to keep it running in future. (They have a card machine for payment, so you don’t need to worry about getting cash out!)
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What the tour includes: a sneak preview
I arrived in Castle Square on a crisp December Saturday morning. It only took a few seconds to spy Brant and Matt with their bright yellow branded umbrellas at the meeting point opposite the Magna Carta pub.
I was joined on the tour by two friendly women from Huddersfield, who were in Lincoln on a weekend break, staying at the fabulous Old Palace Lodge, which is a favourite of ours too. It was a nice sized group, but smaller than usual – the guys told us that there had been a group of 18 the previous week. Word has been getting out!
The tour weaves through Lincoln’s highlights while sprinkling in some hidden gems and secret stories along the way. Pivoting from Castle Square, it first explores around the edges of the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral, where I was amazed to see and learn about some grotesques and statues that I didn’t know existed.
Next time I attend a pub quiz I’ll be unstoppable in the local knowledge round, now armed with so many new facts about Lincoln. Did you know that various high-profile movie stars have stayed in Lincoln while filming in the cathedral? Or that a local dog once had celebrity status at the Cornhill Quarter? Or even that the future of Britain’s monarchy was balanced on a knife edge at a crucial battle in the city 800 years ago?
These are some of the many nuggets of wisdom Brant and Matt share, along with various detailed and colourful stories about Lincoln’s past and present.
An illustrated walking tour
Brant and Matt don’t just rely on their verbal telling of Lincoln’s history. They are also armed with flipbooks of pictures and illustrations that complement their tales of the city.
For example, when explaining Lincoln’s Roman heritage, they show some amazing drawings of what the city looked like at the time, as well as diagrams showing how the Roman city interlinks with modern Lincoln.
How long is the Lincoln free walking tour?
The Lincoln free walking tour typically takes around 2.5 hours and covers some four miles in distance. It begins in Lincoln’s uphill area and gradually progresses down the hill, culminating at the Brayford Pool.
If you don’t fancy the walk back uphill afterwards, then you can jump on a local bus or grab a taxi. I chose to walk back up to Castle Square, as it happened to be the third Saturday of the month, when Lincoln Farmers’ Market takes place throughout the day. The perfect opportunity to indulge in some local produce after a thoroughly enjoyable tour!
For any more information, check out the Lincoln Free Walking Tour website.
An alternative way to see the city’s sights with guided commentary is to take the Lincoln open top sightseeing bus, which works on a hop on hop off basis.
Looking for more ideas how to spend your time in Lincoln? Take a look at our rundown of the best things to do in Lincoln, which includes sightseeing, activities, entertainment, shopping, and food and drink. You can also read our five different itinerary ideas for a day out in Lincoln.