Day 3. Sightseeing in Lincoln

After another delicious breakfast at the White Hart Hotel, we checked out of our room, leaving our luggage to collect later in the day.  We’d read that an exhibition entitled ‘A Century of Valour’ documenting Lincolnshire’s aviation gallantry had just opened at the Collection Museum and as it was nearby, we decided to begin our day there.

Century of Valour exhibition taking place in the Collection Museum, Lincoln
Century of Valour exhibition taking place in the Collection Museum, Lincoln

Entrance to the museum is free of charge, with a £5 charge to view the temporary exhibition.  The galleries relate the story of bravery during WWI, WWII and the Cold War, with information panels documenting the heroism of both air crew and ground personnel who bravely risked their lives to support others.

Order of the Legion of Merit and the Victoria Cross
Order of the Legion of Merit and the Victoria Cross on display in the exhibition

A Victoria Cross awarded to Wing Commander Guy Gibson who led the famous Dambusters raid during WWII is on display for the first time in 30 years.  Wing Cdr. Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in the 1943 raid on Germany in which he commanded 617 Squadron.  He flew out of RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and was killed when his plane crashed on the way back from another mission in Germany the following year.

A model Vulcan
A model Vulcan on display in the exhibition

Other exhibition highlights range from artefacts from pilot Douglas Bader’s career to a model nuclear bomb.  Animal bravery is also recognised with photos of explosive detection dogs who had been awarded the Dicken Medal, considered the equivalent of a Victoria Cross for animals.  Also documented is a carrier pigeon who had been awarded a medal for flying hundreds of miles whilst injured carrying a message notifying officials of a plane crash.  If you might also be interested to view this exhibition, it continues until 15th March.

Collection Museum Lincoln
Entrance to the permanent collection

Although we had come to the museum specifically to view the temporary exhibition we took the opportunity of exploring the main collection which contains a diverse range of objects from the Lincolnshire area including aspects of archaeology, natural history and armoury.

University of Lincoln Robot
Lindsey the museum robot acting as our tour guide in parts of the museum

To help us find our way around, we used the services of Lindsey, a robot developed by the University of Lincoln.  The robot has been programmed to navigate parts of the museum on its own and to even recharge itself.  It was fun interacting with Lindsey via its touch screen and getting it to act as our personal tour guide.

Waterside Shopping Centre, Lincoln
The Waterside Shopping Centre, Lincoln

After leaving the museum we wandered down the hill for a spot of shopping along High Street with its mix of independent stores and national brands.  Along here we came across the Waterside Shopping Centre which has a bright, modern interior and contains a variety of stores and cafes.  The shopping centre overlooks the River Witham which looked attractive with narrow boats moored along the quayside.

River Witham, Lincoln
The River Witham, Lincoln

Close by is the Cornhill Quarter which has just completed its first phase of re-development with shops and restaurants occupying the historic Corn Exchange building.  A second phase is currently underway which will include an Everyman Cinema plus further shops and restaurants.

Brayford waterfront, Lincoln
Brayford waterfront, Lincoln

Continuing a little further we followed signs to the Brayford waterfront which we learnt is actually England’s oldest inland harbour.  The River Witham flows into Brayford Pool, a natural lake formed from where the River Witham and the Fossdyke Canal meet and this was once a bustling port in Roman times.

Brayford waterfront, Lincoln
Brayford waterfront, Lincoln

It’s a lovely place for a stroll with its marina, waterside pubs and restaurants.  After crossing the bridge over to Brayford Wharf we reached the main campus of the University of Lincoln which has a splendid waterfront setting.

Lincoln University Library
Lincoln University Library

Libraries always interest me and I was delighted to discover that an old railway warehouse which had fallen into disrepair has been renovated, retaining many of the building’s original features and is now the university library.

High Bridge, Lincoln
High Bridge, Lincoln

We then slowly made our way back up to the historic Cathedral Quarter passing the wonderful High Bridge which was built around 1160 and is the oldest bridge in the country to still have buildings in use on it.

Bells Tea Shop, Steep Hill, Lincoln
Bells Tea Shop, Steep Hill, Lincoln

Having returned to the top of Steep Hill we were ready for some lunch and spotting the quaint Bells Tea Shop we knew we’d found the perfect place.  Decorated in a traditional style with pretty little wall lamps fashioned from bone china tea cups and pastel coloured bunting hung across the rear wall it had a cosy feel.

Bells Tea Shop, Steep Hill, Lincoln, Afternoon Tea
Enjoying our afternoon tea in Bells Tea Shop, Lincoln

We ordered afternoon tea, a quintessential English classic, and our three tier cake stand arrived filled with a selection of sandwiches, homemade cakes, scones, jam and clotted cream all served on pretty Cath Kidston crockery.  We tried our best, but couldn’t possibly manage to eat it all, but as it was all so delicious, we asked for cake boxes to enjoy the remainder later in the evening when we got back home.  Bells is a family run business with friendly service and where nothing seemed to be too much trouble, even making fresh pots of tea for us as we tucked into our huge scones.  It’s definitely worth the hike up Steep Hill to get there and not expensive either, give me small independent cafes like this any day over the large chains!

Bells Tea Shop, Steep Hill, Lincoln - afternoon tea
Bells homemade fruit scone served with raspberry jam and clotted cream

Fortunately, I found a small shopping bag buried in the bottom of my handbag, so we carefully placed the cake boxes inside it before setting off to visit another of Lincoln’s museums.

The Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Lincoln
The Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Lincoln

Located about a ten minute level walk from the Cathedral and slightly off the tourist trail is The Museum of Lincolnshire Life housed in a former Victorian barracks dating from 1857.  The museum offers free entry and is open daily 10.00 – 4.00 p.m. It covers the social history of Lincolnshire from 1750 to more recent times.

The Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Lincoln
An example of an Ironmongers shop, nowadays referred to as a Hardware Store

In one building, rooms are set out as various shops, a print-works, school room and a post office.  A larger exhibition hall displays a wide range of vehicles including trains, farm machinery and a WWI tank.  There’s also a children’s playground, cafe and shop.  It was much bigger than we were expecting and we must have spent at least an hour looking around the interesting exhibits.

The Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Lincoln
A Lincolnshire co-op delivery cart on display in the museum

Our weekend in lovely Lincoln was coming to a close but we still had time for a wander around Bailgate, the level area at the top of Steep Hill beyond the Cathedral and castle.  Bailgate has a village-like feel with its small, locally run shops including a bookshop, bakers and butchers.

Redhill Farm Shop in the Bail, Lincoln
Redhill Farm Shop in the Bail, Lincoln

The butchers caught my eye as I noticed a board in its window indicating that Redhill Farm Shop supply both Lord’s Cricket Ground and Silverstone so I thought it must be something special and popped in to take a look at its array of free range meat and tasty pork pies.  Needless to say, we returned home with some of their Lincolnshire sausages (rated one of the top three sausages in the UK) and a piece of Lincolnshire Haslet as we’d never tried it before.  Laden with our shopping, we collected our luggage from the hotel and sadly bade our farewell to historic Lincoln, a wonderful hidden gem of English cities.

Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral

During our stay in Lincoln we were guests of Visit Lincoln and as always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.

If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also be interested in the following:

Other posts in this series:

A weekend in Lincoln

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A short break in Calderdale

A weekend in Cambridge


35 thoughts on “Day 3. Sightseeing in Lincoln

  1. Pingback: Day 1. A weekend in Norwich – Love Travelling Blog

    1. Lincoln is a gorgeous small city with some wonderful buildings. Going out for afternoon tea is such a treat and one I’ll definitely be having again once our cafes are back open. At least we are now enjoying some warm spring sunshine so we can get out into the garden. Take care.


  2. jasonlikestotravel

    Glad you packed so much in to your trip! I’ve only ever been to Lincoln for the day so haven’t seen a huge amount but you’ve given me plenty of excuse to go back and see more of the city! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. jasonlikestotravel

        No problem haha. It’ll be clear why in a couple of days. Yeah, luckily it was already a direct train from Peterborough but the London train must pass through Peterborough so might make it a little quicker.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tanja, yes High Bridge is wonderful and on it there’s another branch of Stokes Coffee Shop, a sister branch of the one I had lunch in the previous day. As for the afternoon tea, I must have put on pounds but it tasted delicious! I’m actually at home now, in cold, damp northern England. It appears that I’m away all the time but as I usually post every four days, I’m often back home attending to the general household chores but always looking forward to my next adventure! Marion


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