Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

September 2013: Lincoln

Lincoln - the name derives from Lindum Colonia, as it was in Roman times - is a small city in the east of England, about forty miles northeast of Nottingham and roughly equidistant from Sheffield and Hull. It is well known for its magnificent cathedral, but fewer people realise that it also has a castle which is home to one of the surviving copies of the Magna Carta. Fewer again will know that the cathedral was once the tallest building in the world until the central spire collapsed in 1549, never to be rebuilt, or that in modern times the cathedral stood in for Westminster Abbey in the 2006 movie The Da Vinci Code. And in this relatively flat area of England, it came as a surprise to me that the historic district enjoys a spectacular hilltop location overlooking the modern city.

An even greater surprise was that my visit coincided with something called a Steampunk Festival, as a result of which the city was full of people dressed up in Victorian-style costumes, many of which incorporated pseudo-mechanical additions seemingly inspired by H G Wells and Jules Verne! (You'll get the idea from the photos.) They seemed to be a friendly enough bunch and the spectacle added an unusual twist to my visit.


Lincoln Cathedral - properly The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln - is the seat of the Bishop of Lincoln in the Church of England. The current building dates from the medieval period and, even after the loss of the central spire in the sixteenth century, it is still an awe-inspiring sight. According to Victorian writer John Ruskin: "I have always held ... that the cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles" - quite an endorsement.

Particular highlights for me included the choir stalls, the chapter house and the magnificent Forest Stations by William Fairbank, a set of 15 wooden sculptures based on the traditional 14 Stations of the Cross.

Cathedral Quarter and Lincoln Castle

The castle was undergoing an extensive restoration programme at the time of my visit - to say nothing of an invasion by Steampunk enthusiasts!

Base: DoubleTree, Brayford Wharf