You know that feeling of being caught so by surprise by an experience that you tumble into an unforgettable love for the place where you felt it? That, my friends, for me was Lincoln. Only an hour away from Nottingham by train, I readily agreed when my friend asked me to visit her at the “Cathedral city of Lincoln” on a good weather day.
Here is what you should know though: if you are a craver of big cities, Lincoln will not be your cup of tea. Fortunately for me, I absolutely adore everything quaint, vintage, and painted with heritage. Stepping out of the train station, Lincoln is any other small city in England that sort of lands you right in the middle of the city centre. However, the wide cobbled streets lined with minimal, one-storied shops sets the easy pace of Lincoln for you immediately. Sure, there are a couple of bigger malls too like Waterside, decked with all your favourite brands. Let’s face it though, in a city that has much more to offer, shopping malls should barely be a place of interest!
As we walked towards the heart of the city centre, we found ourselves at the Bayford pool glittering under the afternoon high sun, a pristine lake that is iconic to Lincoln and has long been a part of its heritage. The waterfront was lined with classy restaurants, bars and movie theatres, perfect for a chilled-out hangout with a gorgeous view. My friend and I decided on a quick lunch at Wagamama, one of the many restaurants painted with a sunbathed ambience overlooking the Bayford pool. I say quick because the golden hours of dusk were soon approaching and that is exactly when we wanted to be atop the Lincoln castle.
“the breathtakingly beautiful view overlooking the entire city”
One thing about Lincoln’s landscape is evident: the entire city is built around a single vantage point where the Lincoln castle and the Cathedral sit perched like crown jewels. If you are to claim the breathtakingly beautiful view overlooking the entire city that awaits atop the hill, you must journey through the cobbled lanes of Steep Hill and the Strait. The little storefronts flanking this walk each come bearing their own personality, making this walk up the (literally) steep hill one of the most memorable things you will do in Lincoln. My personal favourites were the gelato place that served scoops of bright turquoise bubble-gum ice cream, an old school chocolate shop resembling Honeydukes straight out of Harry Potter, and a rustic-themed florist stocked with floral wreaths and fresh lavender bunches.
As the sun slowly dipped towards the horizon, we arrived at the castle standing astute in all its glory. Since we were short for time we opted to get tickets only for the castle wall walk which came with a student discount (score!). The walk along the wall, broken by short climbs up old stone stairs and careful navigation through columns that led up to high towers, got more magnificent with every step forward. After taking a fair amount of time to breathe in the faraway horizons of the city tucked behind the silhouette of sunlit stone towers, we made a move towards the cathedral.
The cathedral, equally splendorous in its own rights, was decked with intricate stonework, wooden trusses, and giant rose windows that glinted in colours of stained glass in the sun. Over a thousand years old, it resembled gothic period architecture with its towering spires and narrowing tall arches. A kind of hypnotic sense of serenity takes over when you enter the cathedral through the behemoth wooden doors into the dimly lit interiors, firmly holding years of history within its walls and arches.
As the day drew to an end, we descended Steep Hill and stopped over at a quiet little bar that was adorned with the iridescent blue of Bombay sapphire bottles in every nook and served a menu of fascinating cocktails. Needless to say, if you want to drown out your everyday chaos and need a break, a day trip to Lincoln is the shortest step away.
Labiba Mustabina Oishee
Featured Image and Main Images courtesy of Labiba Mustabina Oishee.
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