Lincoln is not the most accessible place. Despite Lincolnshire being the one of the largest counties in the UK, it has just 100m of motorway. This awkwardness adds to the charm, as you are whisked back in time to enjoy our ancient transport infrastructure. If arriving by car, enjoy the country roads and more fields of potatoes than you can bare. Be aware that if arriving on the A57 (from the West) you will need to pay the 40p toll at the troll bridge over the Trent. They don’t take cards, or Euros (they are very fierce on this point), and the nearest cash machine is in Yorkshire. Quaint.
The least worst way to get to Lincoln is by rail. Conveniently the railway acts as something of a rolling museum visit, as you get to experience the thrills of 1970’s rail travel, especially if you come with Northern Rail via Sheffield. Connections also come through Nottingham, Doncaster and Newark Northgate. If you are coming from London changing at Newark is usually significantly faster than the direct train. Please check train times since the last trains are earlier than you expect.
Don’t worry if you miss the glamour of Lincoln’s rail experience – Lincoln hosts two of the busiest level crossings in the country, and we guarantee you will have ample time to admire the heritage railway as you wait for up to 40 minutes for a chance to cross. Enjoy the regular stampede of locals dodging the closing barriers to avoid the wait. For your convenience, one of the only bridges is currently closed for maintenance. If you do find yourself stuck on “the wrong side of the tracks”, the TREATY OF COMMERCE is a convenient and pleasant pub right next to the barriers on the High St.
The conference is hosted at the University of Lincoln. It is very easy to find, sandwiched between the railway line and the Brayford Pool. This is a few minutes walk west from the train station. To orient yourself in downhill Lincoln, remember that the Cathedral, and the hill, is in the North of the city.
Once on campus you are looking for the Minerva Building. There are lots of signs for the university and the conference, and student volunteers will be wearing bright orange shirts and happy to direct you.
If you find yourself at a loose end, luckily there are TWO(!) tourist attractions in Lincoln. The Cathedral is the third biggest in the UK, and formerly the tallest building in the world. It is easy to spot! Climb the steep hill up High St (called Steep Hill, and recognised as the best street in the UK in 2012!), maybe stopping at one of the several Victorian tea rooms on the climb. Once at the cathedral, remember to hunt for the Lincoln Imp, the mascot of the city. You can also bribe a member of the clergy to switch on a spotlight for you. Lincoln Castle is directly across from the Cathedral, and has recently been refurbished with a new visitors centre. Most famously it houses one of the only remaining original copies of the Magna Carta, but also the walls and towers offer a great view over the city.
As part of the 800th anniversary celebrations, the Lincoln Barons trail offers an excellent walking tour of the city, navigated by a series of painted statues.
While in Lincoln, keep an eye out for the Red Arrows. Based 6 miles away at RAF Scampton, they regularly practice and fly low over the city. You will hear them. Look up.
Also, since St Hugh of Lincoln is the patron saint of swans, the Brayford is teeming with the buggers. Be careful, if you get too close they will break your arms. Surprisingly, the council hasn’t also encouraged sick children and shoemakers to gather at the Brayford, despite them also being watched over by St Hugh.
Lincoln offers a good variety of eating spots. The waterfront on the Brayford hosts a wide range of safe chain options. A popular and excellent spot is the HORSE AND GROOM, at the north-west end of the Brayford next to the flyover. Although a pub, it serves some of the best food in the city, and you will need to book in advance for evenings. Also popular is the traditional BROWN’S PIE SHOP, on Steep Hill. There is some disagreement over what they class as a “pie” but the Cheese Pie and Rabbit Pie are both highly recommended. If it’s cheese you want, the CHEESE SOCIETY on Hungate has an entirely cheese-based menu. If you are feeling rich, THE OLD BAKERY and THE BRONZE PIG both on Burton Rd, are the fanciest joints with the nicest linen, but for a real treat, further down the street from those restaurants is BURTON ROAD CHIPPY, voted the Best Chippy in the UK 2015.
LiSC members have dangerous appetites, and recommend restaurants that have occasionally scored one or zero stars in their hygiene inspection. Especially the CASTLEGATE curry restaurant on the High St, and barbecue spot RIBS N BIBS on the Strait.
For coffee and tea our picks are STOKES HIGH BRIDGE CAFE situated next to the Glory Hole (seriously) on High St, and the famously strict COFFEE AROMA on Guildhall St. whose great coffee (the Guardian reckons it’s in the top 10 in the UK) must be carefully ordered to avoid offending the owners (don’t ask for soy milk, for example). There are many excellent pubs in Lincoln. THE HORSE AND GROOM is the nearest to the University, now the on-campus pub is closed for summer, but the WEST END TAP is a great spot for craft beer, tucked a few minutes walk away in the residential west end on Newland St West. In the city centre, the TAP AND SPILE on Hungate is very welcoming and characterful, while the STRAIT AND NARROW on the Strait is the spot for slick tunes and cocktails. Further uphill the WIDOW CULLEN’S WELL is the cheapest pub in the city, but a walk through the castle will take you to the superior THE STRUGGLER’S INN and THE VICTORIA on the North West corner, the Vic’s late license making it a popular spot for a nightcap or two.