The Lincoln Imp Trail has returned for its third run, bringing the city centre to life with added fun and colour throughout the summer. A fleet of 35 specially designed imps in total can be found around the streets of Lincoln from 3 July to 8 September. But what is the Lincoln Imp Trail all about, and where can you find these characterful little fellows? We went on a little mission to check it out, and here’s what we found…

What is the Lincoln Imp?

First of all… what is the Lincoln Imp anyway, and why has it become a symbol of the city?

New visitors may have heard before that our local football team, Lincoln City FC, are affectionately known as ‘the Imps’. Walking around the city, you will also see that the legend gives its name to an array of local businesses, such as the Imp & Angel, one of our favourite real ale pubs in Lincoln.

But where exactly does the legend originate?

The Lincoln Imp Cathedral walls
The Lincoln Imp grotesque perched high on the inner walls of Lincoln Cathedral

The answer can be discovered inside the city’s most famous building: Lincoln Cathedral. Staring down from high on the cathedral’s walls, the Lincoln Imp is a grotesque with a particularly mischievous smirk.

So the legend goes, the imp was sent to Lincoln by the devil to wreak havoc around the city. Its chaotic spree came to an end inside the cathedral, where it was turned into stone by an angel, and remains in place to this day.

Read our complete guide to Lincoln Cathedral to find out where you can see the original imp inside the cathedral.

IMPenetrable Lincoln Imp Trail
‘IMPenetrable’, one of the Lincoln Imp sculptures, by Priory Arch

About the Lincoln Imp Trail

First launched in 2019 by Lincoln BIG, the Lincoln Imp Trail is a huge collaborative art project involving local businesses, community groups and artists from all over the country.

This year’s trail features 30 colourful imp statues dotted in fixed locations around Lincoln. There are also a further five ‘roaming’ imps that will move between window displays in different shops and businesses in the city. One additional imp is on display in the seaside town of Skegness.

Each imp has been specially designed and hand-painted, with sponsorship from businesses and community groups. A range of professional and amateur artists from near and far have contributed to the project.

You will find large imps and small imp sculptures, each with a different quirky name, such as ‘imp-dangered’, ‘Lincoln vik-imp’ and ‘IMPenetrable’.

Lincoln Imp Trail infront of castle
The ‘Woodland Imp’ by the entrance to Lincoln Castle
The Folklore Imp the Strait
The ‘Folklore Imp’ at the bottom of the Strait

An educational and charitable initiative

The trail is accompanied by an educational programme led by the Education Business Partnership in cooperation with schools around Lincolnshire.

Kids will be able to learn about the legend of the imp, and create their own designs, some of which will go on display.

After the imp trail comes to a close in September, the statues will go on display in the grounds of Lincoln Castle for two weeks. Finally, they will by auctioned off at Lincoln Cathedral on 1 October, with the proceeds going to St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice.

Steam Explorer
The ‘Steam Explorer’ imp by the west gate of Lincoln Castle
Forest Imp
the ‘Forest Imp’ by the visitor information centre in Castle Square

Pick up a Lincoln Imp Trail map

You can grab a free map for the Lincoln Imp Trail at the visitor information centre in Leigh-Pemberton House on Castle Hill (look out for the imp sculpture in front of the building!). Or, alternatively…

The Lincoln Imp Trail app

We tried out the Lincoln Imp Trail app for the 2021 event. The app shows the locations on an interactive map. You can also collect points and rewards for finding the various imp statues, and read information about each of the sculptures.

The app isn’t active any more until the event returns in future, but watch this space!

Lincoln Imp Trail app
We used the Lincoln Imp Trail app to navigate our way around the sculptures

Have you been on the trail yet? Drop a comment below and let us know about your experience.

For more fun activities around the city, check out our rundown of things to do in Lincoln.

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The Lincoln Imp Trail is back on the city's streets throughout summer 2021. Here's how you can find the colourful sculptures. #lincoln #lincolnimp #lincolnimps

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