City with a special magnetism

Words by:
Glynis Fox
Featured in:
March 2023

Bursting with a wealth of history alongside fantastic shopping, entertainment and eating out opportunities, Lincoln sees no let-up in its power to tempt rising numbers of visitors, as Glynis Fox discovers.

After an amazing festive season, which saw the return of the world-famous Lincoln Christmas Market, it is clear that the city has lost none of its magnetism in the wake of Covid-19 and its disruptive lockdowns.

Now, despite the cost of living crisis, which has forced many shoppers to examine their spending power, it is time to look forward to brighter days and new things to enjoy.

Without doubt, some businesses have called it a day, but it is not all doom and gloom. Others have reinvented themselves or diversified by introducing new products and services that are helping them to move forward.

It is encouraging to note that investors are also confident enough to shell out substantial sums of money on improving empty premises, launching new projects and also bringing new ventures to the city.

Visit Lincoln’s promotional work continues to encourage more people to discover Lincoln and the wider county. At the same time the University is bringing more students to its campus. That has the knock-on effect of encouraging their families to discover the city. In turn these trends are helping to generate more trade for local hospitality businesses.

With its many attractions, public events and ever-changing shopping scene, Lincoln is the perfect destination for a weekend or local break, providing a great base for those keen to tour the wider county, including the wonderful Lincolnshire Wolds and vibrant coastal resorts.

A short stay is also a great starting point for house hunters who are thinking about moving to our part of the East Midlands, which is also well known for offering families a good quality of life.

Welcoming new enterprises, whether they are restaurants, shops or leisure ventures, is vital in encouraging locals to find everything they want on home ground and bringing in shoppers from further afield.

For many visitors, their first decision is to decide just how much they want to pack in during their time in Lincoln. The city has many different areas so there’s the natural option to choose from the historic Uphill area, or the bustling city centre.

Of course, if it’s all too much, they are always welcome to return!

Working “from the top down”, the historic cobbled Bailgate and Steep Hill areas are home to the jewels in the city’s crown – the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle.

William the Conqueror commissioned Remigius de Fécamp, the 1st Bishop of Lincoln, to build the cathedral. The foundations were laid in 1072 and it was consecrated in May 1092. The towering building was a welcome landmark for returning Lincolnshire wartime aircrews.

Lincoln Castle, built by the Conqueror, dates back to 1068 and sits on a site which has been occupied since Roman times.

The much-loved cobbled Bailgate area to Newport Arch is home to a fabulous mix of independent retailers. Traders sell books, fabrics, fashions, home baking essentials, fish and chips and much more.

There are also coffee shops, pubs and hotels and guesthouses to suit all tastes in Bailgate, nearby Westgate and Union Road.

Steep Hill links the Uphill area with The Strait (which has its own privately owned businesses) and the upper High Street.

The lively upper High Street features a cornucopia of bars, eateries, fashion, jewellery, service and charity shops and leads down to the city’s historic Stonebow and the central High Street, with its big name national retailers and the nearby Cornhill Quarter.

This area, which lies a short walk from the High Street, has attracted a wealth of new brands, thanks to its transformation through a multi-million pound regeneration scheme which has boosted the city’s shopping and leisure offer.

Work continues in the area, which is seeing the sympathetic refurbishment of the original individual shop units in Sincil Street.

The newer arrivals in the Cornhill Quarter include an Everyman Cinema, fashion outlets such as Whistles and Phase Eight, The Botanist and Three Joes restaurant, while the smaller units have been snapped up by 200 Degrees Coffee and Lakeland, which relocated from the St Marks development.

In addition, the city’s Central Market is currently undergoing a major revamp, adding to the many changes in the area.

Lincoln’s leisure scene has diversified in recent years with themed bars and gaming centres vying for attention with other longer-standing attractions such as The Collection museum and Usher Gallery, The Drill (the place to find theatre, music, comedy and workshops) and The New Theatre Royal – to name just a few.

The University of Lincoln campus continues to expand and has its own Lincolnshire Performing Arts Centre (LPAC).

Finally, the city’s Brayford Waterfront, where you will find the Odeon Cinema and a variety of pubs and restaurants, is the perfect place to relax, especially on a sunny day.

Here you can gaze over Brayford Pool, with its resident boats and visiting watercraft, while enjoying a meal at your chosen eatery or hotel. On warm, dry days, this is also a popular place to sit outside.

This year, 17th-26th March marks English Tourism Week – which provides people with a brilliant opportunity to explore many Lincoln as well as wider Lincolnshire attractions for free.

Visitors can always find out what’s happening in the city by contacting the Lincoln Visitor Information Centre in Castle Hill – tel: 01522 545458, or by visiting Lincoln BIG’s (Business Improvement Group) website

Work to transform Lincoln’s Central Market into a hub for leisure and shopping is gathering pace.

A new replica glass roof has been installed on the old Grade II-listed building, which is an important feature of the city’s regenerated Cornhill Quarter, and as we went to press new glazing panels were due to be installed, signifying the completion of external works before the internal revamp gets underway.

Contractor Lindum Group, which is working on behalf of the City of Lincoln Council, said that after the building was watertight, inside work would include putting up internal walls and dealing with the electricals, water pipes and plastering.

The market’s floors would also be tiled before new timber stalls go in. A restaurant and rooftop terrace are just two features planned for the revitalised Central Market.

City of Lincoln Council capital projects manager, Maria Clayton said: “The scheme aims to reinvent the market, bringing greater opportunity to showcase local produce, as well as offer a variety of traders to respond to local needs and changing shopping trends.”

The project is part of the Government’s Be Lincoln Town Deal, a £19 million investment plan in which City of Lincoln Council has been given funding to support the growth and development of the city. Some money has also come from Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme and Historic England.

A special ‘shop’, which has 1,500 members and aims to tackle food poverty and support people with health issues, has switched premises.

Lincoln Community Grocery Store has moved to Beaumont Manor in the city centre, thanks to funding from the Government’s Be Lincoln Town Deal. It allowed the building to be given a total makeover, ensuring it was ready to welcome customers during the first week of February.

Internal renovations have created a new grocery store, a members’ café, a new disability toilet and improved access and the building has also benefitted from upgraded lighting and heating systems. Redecoration throughout also helps to create a warm and welcoming environment.

The Acts Trust, working in partnership with The Message Trust, set up and has run the community grocery store since 2001. It is addressing food poverty, food waste and supporting health issues within the city.

The store provides affordable food to families who would otherwise go hungry, including low-cost, locally supplied waste, surplus food and other essential items. Members pay £4 per visit, typically saving themselves £20 to £25 per shop.

Advice, support and training for a variety of topics such as budgeting, cooking and life skills are also on offer.

The Lincoln Community Store was formerly based at Central Methodist Church, which was a great base, but it is hoped that Beaumont Manor will be its permanent home. It will continue to be funded and run by The Message Trust in partnership with the Acts Trust.

The ‘relocation’ would not have been possible without £205,000 in funding from the Be Lincoln Town Deal, with further investment from Investors in Lincoln, Benefact Trust and Acts Trust. The work was completed by the Gelder Group.

Acts Trust chief executive, Simon Hawking said: “We are delighted with the renovation of this lovely heritage building in the heart of the city. This will be a building for local people. We are passionate about empowering people to end poverty and Lincoln Community Grocery along with our Restore Programme of courses will help us in this mission.”

The Message Trust chief executive, Andy Hawthorne said: “The Community Grocery is about more than just food and all of our members get access to free wrap-around support courses as part of their membership too. We’re excited about the opportunities that the move to Beaumont Manor gives, to offer even more courses. We can’t wait to welcome all our current members plus new ones to the new store.”

People planning a wedding or other special event are invited to visit an award-winning venue.

Late last year The Blue Room at The Lawn on the city’s Union Road scooped the bronze award for the UK’s Best Unusual Venue at the M&IT Awards in London.

In celebration, a special Wedding and Events Showcase is being staged in The Blue Room on 26th February when visitors can discover its charms for themselves.

This room is housed in the 200-year-old Grade II-listed Lawn building, which is set in lavish grounds. This unique venue was originally purpose-built as a Victorian ballroom. Following its refurbishment it boasts amazing period features, including an eye-catching stained glass arched window, which provides a stunning backdrop for any occasion.

The Lawn events manager, Karis Hildred said: “I’m really looking forward to welcoming visitors to our special showcase event, so that they can see what makes our venue and services award-winning.”

Guests will be treated to refreshments and have the chance to meet The Lawn’s trusted experts when it comes to catering for special occasions.

The showcase runs from 10am to 3pm. Places can be booked by registering for tickets via

Lincoln Print & Copy Centre has kept investing in the latest printer and print finishing equipment over the past few years, to ensure customers receive great quality print products. This year the investment will continue with new computers and up-to-date software to keep customers’ data secure, as well as plans to invest in other printers later in the year.

Paper production has challenges and changes that have an impact on the availability of supplies. Lincoln Print & Copy Centre works with paper merchants to ensure supplies come from sustainable sources and as much waste as possible goes into the recycling system.

Working with customers to ensure the printing fits their needs and budget, Lincoln Print & Copy Centre identifies areas where they can help their customers stand out from the crowd. From posters to business cards, brochures to leaflets, all printing is created on the most suitable paper and in smaller, as well as large quantities. Part of the job is working with customers to keep information and images current, and helping customers understand how new ideas will work for them, discussing branding and logos, and what will attract and inform their clients.

For more information visit

As trusted experts in the mobility industry, AHM Installations offers a range of stylish accessible bathrooms designed for optimum safety, including stylish walk-in showers and baths, as well as smart toilets and wet rooms.Established in 1999 and based in South Hykeham, this dedicated family-run business aims for the best standards in service and care throughout the UK, leading the way in assisted bathing and disabled solutions, with finance options available for customers who need to spread the cost.

“We care deeply about creating quality mobility bathrooms that enhance our customers’ independence and enjoyment,” says director and founder Simon Symcox, who runs the company with wife Julie and son Charles.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that we genuinely care; we listen to the needs of every customer, advise on the best solution and guide them through the process. No matter the budget or the situation, we can always find a solution.”

AHM Installations, Unit 7/8 Flexspace, Roman Way, South Hykeham, Lincoln LN6 9UH

For more information call tel: 0800 7316495 or visit

X-Press Legal Services has opened a new office in Lincoln which aims to support local solicitors and conveyancers by providing fast and efficient property searches and reports, to help keep property transactions moving forwards. The business offers a comprehensive range of services, producing the reports required for all transactions, such as flood risks, and other planning and environmental matters. 

Owner Chris Watson, who is keen to support the local conveyancing community, says: “I’m incredibly focussed on helping ensure clients’ data requirements are processed as swiftly and smoothly as possible. X-Press Legal Services’ products can expedite the conveyancing process hugely.”

X-Press Legal Services covers many council districts, from South Holland and City of Lincoln, to North Lincolnshire and Hull. Chris, a member of Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, will also be running free training events for conveyancing professionals in the region.

For further information visit, email or tel: 0330 159 5367.

Ideal for photography students, keen amateurs and professionals alike, you will be spoilt for choice at the Lincoln branch of the London Camera Exchange in Silver Street.

Here you will find a select range of up-to-date compact cameras, compact system cameras and DSLRs, plus a selection of lenses in most fittings, together with binoculars, telescopes and associated accessories at competitive prices.

Shoppers enjoy a warm welcome from LCE’s expert team of helpful and knowledgeable staff who are always on hand to provide practical and useful advice and answer any technical questions.

As a Canon Pro Centre and Nikon specialists, there are also new and pre-owned premium brands such as Sony, Olympus and Panasonic.

London Camera Exchange, 6 Silver Street, Lincoln LN2 1DY

For more information tel: 01522 514131 or visit

Bransby Horses is hosting a series of free-to-attend events aimed at horse owners where experts in weight management, laminitis, farriery, rural crime and track systems will share their experiences and offer advice.

Bransby Horses’ welfare campaigns officer, Rachel Dixon said: “Through these talks we are hoping to raise awareness of the early signs of some common horse health issues, as well as offering preventative management tips for owners.”

The first information evening, looking at weight management, will take place on 9th March at the charity’s main site in Bransby, near Lincoln.

Following on from this on 18th May, registered farrier Scott Sykes DipWCF will present a talk about laminitis.

This will be followed by a talk on track grazing systems on 13th July and Lincolnshire’s Rural Crimes team will give the final talk on 20th September. The events are free but booking is essential as places are limited.

Tel: 01427 788 464, email: or visit to secure your place per event. Each event takes place at 6.30pm in the Clifford Marshall Building. Light refreshments and free parking are available.

For more information visit

Established in 1995, R Arnold Funeral Service’s compassionate team strive to support you in helping to arrange a respectful and personalised service. As experienced and dedicated funeral directors, husband and wife team Lindsay and Richard Arnold take the time to talk to each client and listen to their individual needs. As well respected members of the British Institute of Embalmers and National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, they can offer a range of funeral plans to help cover costs.

“As one of the most rewarding services you can offer, our compassionate, approachable team take time to talk to each of our clients, looking after and guiding you every step of the way, offering guidance whatever time of day or night that you might need us.”

For more information visit

Photographs: Mick Fox

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