A few weekends back, on a glorious sunny June day James and I headed into Lincoln intent on wandering around the cathedral quarter, for it was the 40's weekend, and it was set to be a good one!
We set off fairly early, parked up and set off up steep hill, admiring the taped up windows, period dress and quaint window displays. We had to stop off for some homemade fudge at Roly's after sniffing it being freshly cut on the way past.
Our ultimate goal was to head to the Castle. I had been really feeling like I missed out having already had plans on the day that Libraries and Heritage staff got to visit for free prior to opening and had a hankering to visit. When you hear so much about a project you want to see the end product! We had a wander around the vehicles parked at the top of the hill, I posed next to a lorry like the one my grandma drove in the war (awful picture, won't be sharing!) and admired an old Lincolnshire stagecoach bus before heading over to the castle.
The grounds are free to enter, so lovely if you just fancy sitting on the lawn and enjoying an ice cream. If however you want to walk the walls, visit the victorian prison or see the Magna Carta you have to pay. Tickets are tiered, but honestly the best value is to just get the all in ticket!
We ended up purchasing the Castle and Cathedral tickets, I have always wanted to go see the Wren library at the Cathedral and have yet to manage it. It has funny opening hours and, determined to do it this year, I figured if we already had the tickets it would remove a hurdle. The Castle and Cathedral tickets set us back £16 per person, but they also include a return trip within 6 months, obviously we only live 20 miles away so we will be taking advantage.
We started with a stroll around the walls, the view was spectacular! We climbed the turret, saw the graves in Lucy Tower (where they used to do the hangings) and even spotted a couple having their wedding pictures taken. I absolutely loved this part of the trip, there are little boards telling you little details all the way round, the tree in the middle of Lucy Tower was a surprise, and the tranquility in the little room below the turret was serene.
I think the couple having their pictures taken really lucked out, it is probably the best place in the whole city. Right at the front you have an amazing view of the cathedral, and while we were up there we also got a fly past of the Dakota, prizes for best wedding picture of the year would definitely be heading their way!
After we had our fill of the view, I was desperate to go to Prison, to visit of course! Lincoln's retired victorian prison is pretty special as it was built during the hight of the separate system. The prisoners were kept separated always, during exercise (in the crescent shaped yard) and even while in the chapel. It was a bit eerie to imagine that they would have been preached to while confined in wooden boxes.
This all went to pot when they ended up with too many prisoners of course! One of the things that struck me was how similar to the modern prison it was, though just smaller, there were hardly any cells at all. Of course they didn't have a prison library, but the prisoners were taught to read and write while there, so that little pile of books did give me a little smile.
The last part we stopped in on was the Magna Carta. I have never really been that fascinated by it, but honestly I think i just didn't know the story. The dramatisation in the theatre is brilliant, especially for helping keep track of which king was which. Guides were on hand to point out the little details too. I love that we know that the Lincoln Magna Carta was definitely destined for Lincoln and not simply pinched as it has "Lincolnia" written on the back, as you would an address. I was struck by how small it was, and of course we got to discussing the one that has recently been found with the guides. I know from experience that cathedrals are notorious for having sprawling collections and no records, so who knows how many will have survived tucked inside other volumes in years to come!
I am really looking forward to heading back, which is not something I would usually say when it comes to visiting an attraction. The wall walk alone is worth another visit. If you have a weekend spare and fancy a trip to Lincoln make sure you add this to your list!