Want to see all of Lincoln’s highlights in under an hour, with fun and entertaining commentary from a local expert? The Lincoln open top sightseeing tour bus runs from March to October and is the perfect introduction to our city through the summer months. It takes you on a whistle-stop tour through 2,000 years of Lincoln’s history, including the cathedral, castle, Brayford Waterfront, and various medieval and Roman architecture. And you can explore at your own leisure as it works on a hop on, hop off basis.
We took a ride on the bus to try it out. In this quick guide we explain everything you need to know about the experience, including stops, times and prices.
About the Lincoln open top sightseeing tour bus
If you are planning a day out in Lincoln, the open top sightseeing tour bus is a great way to get around the city’s attractions, with live commentary along the way. Run by Lincoln BIG, the bus has become a popular feature in the city centre over summer in recent years.
The bus tours a circuit of uphill Lincoln, and then loops around the wider perimeter of the city centre, taking in many of the historic buildings, parks, gardens and waterways.
As it works on a hop on hop off basis, your ticket is valid through the day. You can get on anywhere you like, and take time to explore the sights on foot in between.
The full bus route takes less than an hour, so alternatively you could just stay on board for an insightful introduction to the city’s highlights before deciding where to explore for the rest of the day.
Andy from the Lincoln BIG team was our guide on the Lincoln sightseeing tour bus, and he was lots of fun! He showed lots of passion and knowledge about the city’s history, and wove in entertaining stories and anecdotes as we cruised past the sights.
Even if you live in Lincoln and you know the city well, you’re guaranteed to learn something new. And there are plenty of laughs along the way as well.
Tip: bring an umbrella! The open top roof of the bus is brilliant for the views. But we found out the hard way that if you get caught in rain unexpectedly, you might get a bit wet.
Hop on and hop off: the route and stops
The Lincoln open top sightseeing tour bus has nine stops in total:
- Lincoln Cathedral, where the route starts and ends at half past each hour, at the foot of the city’s magnificent centrepiece. See our guide to visiting Lincoln Cathedral if you want to explore inside. Steep Hill Lincoln, the heart of the city’s independent shopping scene, is also a few strides away.
- Northgate, close to the shopping and dining hub of Bailgate and interesting Roman ruins around the Lincoln hotel.
- Newport Arch, the oldest Roman arch in the UK that is still used for transport, also a good access point for Bailgate.
- Lincoln Castle, where you can explore the Victorian Prison, see the Magna Carta and take the awe-inspiring Medieval Wall Walk. Find out more in our guide to visiting Lincoln Castle.
- Museum of Lincolnshire Life, which tells the history of how local life in the county has been shaped over the last 250 years. This is located on Burton Road, where you will also find some great tea shops and an award-winning local chippy.
- Brayford Waterfront, the UK’s largest inland harbour, where you can dine overlooking the water or take boat trips. This is the mid-point of the bus tour, stopping here at 59 minutes past each hour.
- Transport Hub, the ideal hop-on point if you are arriving in Lincoln by train or bus. It’s also right by the fabulous redeveloped Cornhill Quarter for shops, eateries and the Everyman Cinema.
- High Street, the main downhill shopping thoroughfare, also marked with historic landmarks such as the High Bridge and the Guildhall and Stonebow.
- Cultural Quarter, where you will find some of Lincoln’s best galleries, museums and entertainment centres.
Lincoln sightseeing bus dates and times in 2023
In 2023, the Lincoln open top tour bus runs from Saturday 25 March to Sunday 29 October from 10:30 to 15:30.
In July, August and September it runs 7 days per week, and outside of that on weekends and bank holidays only.
Lincoln tour bus fares
We think the Lincoln tour bus is an absolute bargain at £9 for adults! The full set of prices in 2023 is as follows:
- Adults: £9
- Concessions and young people aged 16–19 years: £7
- Children aged 3–15: £3.50
- Children younger than 3 years: free
How to buy tickets
The classic way to buy a ticket is directly from the driver on the bus when you board. Cash and contactless are both accepted.
You can also buy your ticket ahead of time using the Stagecoach bus app. The process can be a bit fiddly, but our screenshots below will help you through the process.
Once you have downloaded the app, under “Buy Tickets”, enter Lincoln into the search field at the top, and swipe across to select “All” tickets. then just scroll down to find “Lincoln City Day Tour Ticket” and follow the instructions to add it to your basket.
You can find out about upcoming special events and news on the Lincoln open top sightseeing tour bus official Facebook page.
Want to try a more in-depth tour? The Lincoln free walking tour run by local experts Brant and Matt sets off from Castle Square every Saturday at 10am, and takes around 2.5 hours.
See our complete guide to the top things to do in Lincoln to plan more activities for your visit.
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