Ever-changing city full of attractions

As springtime gathers pace, Glynis Fox finds there are plenty of good reasons to explore Lincoln.

Whether you are a shopaholic, passionate about history, love eating out, want to go to the theatre or cinema, take part in a family event, or boost your knowledge by studying in the city, you can do it all and more!

All areas of Lincoln are attracting the attention of budding entrepreneurs and growing businesses and branches of multi-national businesses are continuing to invest in bringing in their brands. Rising numbers of visitors are discovering the city too.

There is also always something happening on the events front. Organisers are taking a more creative approach, particularly in the wake of the decision to end Lincoln’s famous Christmas Market. This means it is worth keeping your calendar or diary up to date.

You can find out more about upcoming events online – including the return of a fun dinosaur attraction to Lincoln from 29th March to 14th April. It will also include the popular dino dig!

Check out more unmissable events by visiting www.lincolnbig.co.uk

If you are interested in wider county events, you can find out more at:

Lincoln has a long linear High Street, which runs from South Park upwards to the foot of The Strait. If you are feeling energetic, you can continue up The Strait and rise to the challenge of walking up cobbled Steep Hill, which leads into the historic Bailgate area.

The climb will definitely bump-up your heart rate, but the Uphill area is bursting with lots of independent shops, home to hotels – including the revamped White Hart – Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral, the city’s jewel in the crown

Where you begin your visit to Lincoln will be governed by where you choose to arrive – in lower or central High Street or the Uphill area. All have different things to offer.
The central part of Lincoln is home to the University of Lincoln, the historic Brayford Pool (which is overlooked by the Odeon Cinema, restaurants and hotels). This is a beautiful area in which to relax over a drink on a bright, sunny day and it’s just a short walk from the High Street.

Extensive regenerative work has been done in the Cornhill Quarter, a short walk off the High Street, which has revolutionised this area. Millions of pounds have been spent in upgrading work and the creation of new properties, all done in a sympathetic way which pays homage to the area’s important history.

Years after Lincolnshire Co-operative embarked on what was originally a £70 million pound project, the ongoing work in this area has made it more vibrant and welcoming and a real player when it comes to driving footfall.

Sincil Street forms a gateway to the Cornhill Quarter because it is just across the road from Lincoln Railway Station, and also close to the city’s bus station and Central Car Park.

In the Cornhill and Sincil Street area, you will find an amazing mix of well-known national brand retailers and lots of home-grown enterprises, along with a wealth of restaurants and the city’s Central Market.

Think names including White Stuff, Hobbs, Whistles, Flying Tiger and Seasalt, along with local businesses Chambers Florists, The Sign of The Fish and newer arrivals such as the fashion outlet Jailhouse Frock, Freckleface Home Fragrance and The Naked Marshmallow Company, which have moved into Sincil Street over the past 15 months.

Regeneration work has also seen Lincoln welcome an Everyman Cinema, The Botanist and the Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay.

As we went to press, the City of Lincoln Council was continuing to progress the leasing of spaces in the revamped Central Market, whose opening has been delayed.

There is also something else to look forward to – Snips, the market area’s once much-loved charity dog is going to get a statue made in his honour.

The historic Bailgate area is another important part of Lincoln and, of course, you will be more than ready for a coffee or cup of tea, if you have approached it by walking up Steep Hill. But, never fear, there are plenty of eateries to tempt you.

If you love history, you will definitely want to take a closer look at magnificent Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle. Both are major attractions for visitors from far and wide, and they also host many public events.

Tuesday to Saturday, 12th-16th March, will see the return of a spectacular light show to Lincoln Cathedral. As we went to press this was already sold out and people were invited to join a waiting list for tickets.

Science by Luxmuralis is an immersive installation which is designed to explore the contribution of science to people’s understanding of the physical world.

Entertainments-wise, don’t forget to check what’s on at the New Theatre Royal Lincoln, The Drill and the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC), which is based on the University of Lincoln campus.

Lincoln’s contemporary museum boasts a variety of collections and hosts exhibitions and the “neighbouring” Usher Art Gallery is also well worth a second look!

If you are enthusiastic about the past, make a note to save the dates 4th-6th May in your diary and take time to celebrate the city’s legacy.

Lincoln’s first citywide history festival, which is part of the City of Lincoln’s ongoing events programme, will allow people to enjoy a captivating journey down the ages.

The aim is to transport visitors and residents to pivotal moments in Lincoln’s past. The festival’s first zone announcement will allow them to step back in time to explore the Roman encampment within the Colosseum Quarter.

This will feature living history displays at St Paul in the Bail and Castle Square and visitors will be able to view traditional Roman crafts and get immersed in pop-up performances, including gladiator battles!

Historical re-enactors will parade in the Uphill area and visitors will be encouraged to join in by wearing costumes or creations crafted in the various zones at the event.

The festival will also give people an opportunity to experience thrilling historical re-enactments at Lincoln Castle, engage with living history and hear captivating tales at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, as well as delve into the exciting treasures at Lincoln Museum.

More zone announcements will follow in respect of celebrations covering time periods in the city.

People are urged to put their thinking caps on and suggest who should be the 2024 winner of the prestigious Lincoln Civic Award.

The trustees of this accolade are inviting nominations from individuals, organisations or companies worthy of joining the celebrated roll call of those who have already been lucky enough to be presented with this stunning silver award, which comes in the shape19-inch high, eight-sided obelisk. It’s a real talking point!

Previous recipients include the Red Arrows, former Lincoln City Football Club managers Danny and Nicky Cowley, the Society for Lincolnshire History & Archaeology and Lincoln’s New Theatre Royal – but that’s just a few!

Last year, it was handed to the four-strong Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue team which formed part of the UK’s International Search & Rescue group which deployed to Turkey to support efforts to help the country in the wake of a devastating earthquake. Lincoln charity developmentplus was also highly commended.

Trustees chair, Henry Ruddock, said: “We are inviting people from all walks of life to let us have nominations for this fabulous award. The 2024 winner will join a celebrated list of industrialists, educationists, charity workers, sportsmen and women and others who have taken Lincoln’s name worldwide by making a significant difference to the city.”

The Lincoln Civic Award will be presented by the outgoing Mayor, Councillor Biff Bean, at a special ceremony in the city’s historic Guildhall in April. You can make nominations digitally – visit lincoln.gov.uk/lincoln/nominate-someone-for-the-civic-award/
Nominations close on 15th March.

Leader of the City of Lincoln Council, Ric Metcalfe, who is also councillor for Glebe ward, is to retire in May after 42 years of service to the city.

Coun Metcalfe was first elected a councillor for Lincoln in 1982 and led the council for more than 20 years. First appointed Leader in 1999, he has constantly held that position (except for the period 2007 to 2011 when the authority was under Conservative control for three years and hung for one year).

Although retiring from his political position, he will continue his work as a lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Lincoln. Before holding this position he worked as HR Manager for Lincolnshire County Council, retiring in 2002.

“I have served as a member of the council continuously for more than 40 years, as deputy leader of the council for 12 years and then as Leader of the city council for more than 20 years,” said Coun Metcalfe.

“While it is always difficult to give up doing something you love and which you think is worthwhile, I have decided that I will not stand again when the next city council elections take place on 2nd May 2024.

“While still reasonably active, I want to spend some more time with my family, enjoy some foreign train travel, give a bit more time to my beloved allotment and continue my university teaching.”

City of Lincoln Council chief executive, Angela Andrews, said: “Cllr Metcalfe has been an elected member with the city council for more than 40 years and leader for 20 years. During this time his vision and ambition have helped transform the city.

“His strong leadership and moral compass have helped guide the authority to achieve its ambitions and provided it with a strong sense of purpose.

“He is incredibly well respected by all who deal with him and his candour and intellect have ensured that those who meet with him hold him in high regard.

“During his time at the authority, he has provided a strong values-driven leadership, encouraging the contribution of all and showing compassion and inclusiveness across the board.”

The Castle Hotel officially launched their two new luxury suites back in December last year. Both have unparalleled views over the cathedral and in line with their tradition of naming their deluxe rooms after famous Lincolnites – such as Tennyson, Franklin, Bader and Gibson – hotel owners Paul Catlow and Saera Ahmad decided to name one of the new suites after Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s lyricist, who grew up in Owmby-by-Spital, near Market Rasen.

Last month the hotel took a weekend booking for two VIPs and a film crew and were informed a few days before arrival that the guests would actually be Bernie Taupin himself, who had flown in from California to make a documentary about his life.

The coincidence of Bernie Taupin coming to stay in the suite named after him was not lost on Paul and Saera. “What irony that we name a room after someone famous from Lincoln and that person comes and stays in that very room,” said Paul.

“Bernie stayed with us, dined with us, had a drink with Saera and I, and posed for lots of photos with us, staff and other guests.”

Saera said, “Bernie was such a humble man for someone considered to be music royalty” and in Paul’s words “just a really nice, down to earth bloke, Saera and I had a drink with him before he went in for dinner” and he said “it was a first for him staying in a room named after him.”

The Castle Hotel have recently launched their spring menus in their Reform Restaurant, prepared by new head chef Raif Mason, formerly of Cognito, The Hope & Anchor and Winteringham Fields.

The menus and further information about the hotel can be found at: www.castlehotel.net

Where excellence in optometry meets award-winning dispensing.

Nestled in the heart of the city of Lincoln, Martin Smith Opticians has become synonymous with excellence in eye care, earning its place as a multi-award-winning practice. With a total of seven national UK awards including Optometrist of the Year, Technology Practice of the Year, and Dispensing Optician of the Year, the practice continues to redefine the standards of comprehensive eye care.

Visionary excellence
In December 2023, the practice won the coveted title of UK Optometrist of the Year, a testament to the unparalleled commitment and expertise of the practice’s founder, Dr. Martin Smith BSc DOptom DipTp(IP) Higher Cert Glauc MCOptom. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for delivering exceptional eye care services, Dr. Martin Smith has set a standard that has earned national recognition.

Technological prowess
One of the standout features that sets Martin Smith Opticians apart is its commitment to staying at the forefront of technological innovation. The practice was honoured with the title of UK Technology Practice of the Year in 2021, a reflection of its dedication to utilising cutting-edge tools and techniques to enhance patient care.

The practice’s comprehensive eye examination is unrivalled, offering an array of advanced technologies to ensure a thorough assessment. The eye examination uses Paskal 3D Eye testing which is a highly accurate, more comfortable and modern system allowing both eyes to be kept open, Zeiss Cirrus for high-resolution retinal imaging, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), to DNEye technology for precise refraction measurements. The Martin Smith Opticians team of Martin, Sue, Mandy, Josh and Joana leave no stone unturned when it comes to the health of your eyes.

Dispensing excellence: A seamless blend of technology and personalisation
Martin Smith Opticians’ commitment to excellence extends beyond cutting-edge optometry; it includes a dedication to the art and science of dispensing. Dr. Martin Smith sheds light on the unique approach taken within the practice to ensure personalised patient care.

“Our technology ensures that our patient is offered the best diagnostic eye examination available anywhere in the UK,” says Dr. Smith.

“We use the latest technology and I allocate 50 minutes for our eye examination which means I can investigate, diagnose and treat many eye problems in the examination. We understand that our patients lead diverse lives and their visual needs extend beyond routine eye examinations. Many of us spend more time on computers, or face challenges like night driving and headlight glare.

“Our dispensing room is equipped with advanced technology to cater to these specific needs, ensuring that every patient receives customised lenses in the right frame for outstanding results.”

Bespoke lenses for modern lifestyles
With the increasing reliance on technology in our daily lives, Martin Smith Opticians is at the forefront of monitoring lens advances. Sue Edwards, Practice Manager, elaborates on the quality of bespoke lens designs offered, stating: “Our patients’ needs come first and we always select the most suitable lens for each individual. Currently, biometric lenses from Rodenstock are among the most advanced lenses available.

“Our DNEye Scanner calculates several thousand data points and measurements for each eye, which are then incorporated directly into the lenses, enabling our patient to have exceptional vision.”

Independent frame styles for all tastes
The stunning reception area at Martin Smith Opticians boasts an extensive collection of independent frame styles, offering patients a range of choices to suit their individual tastes. From the vibrant and stylish designs of Etnia Barcelona to the elegant titanium frames of Blackfin from the Dolomites, and the beautiful Silhouette rimless designs, the practice ensures that each frame is not just a functional accessory but a statement of personal style.

Advanced equipment for precision dispensing
Highlighting the practice’s commitment to precision, the private dispensing room houses the Rodenstock ImpressionIST 4 3D video measuring system, where clients experience a new dimension in precision dispensing. A quick look into the mirror captures a three-dimensional image, providing all the individual measurements needed for bespoke lenses. As Sue explains, “it’s accurate, fun, and our patients can’t believe the level of detail it captures.”

The future of visionary care
Martin Smith Opticians continues to be a beacon of excellence in Lincoln not only for its award-winning eye care but also for its unparalleled commitment to dispensing excellence. Step into a world where cutting-edge technology meets personalised care, and where the pursuit of exceptional vision is a journey guided by expertise, innovation, and a genuine passion for the well-being of every patient.

Book an appointment at Martin Smith Opticians, located at 22 Saltergate, Lincoln, and experience pro-active personal eyecare. Also available at the practice is the UK’s leading Dry Eye Clinic offering Dry Eye Consultations, IPL treatment (Intense Pulsed Light) and Meibomian Gland Probing.Visit the website for more information: www.martinsmithopticians.co.uk, or email: hello@martinsmithopticians.co.uk

Lincoln Print & Copy Centre are going into their 45th year in business in 2024 – an interesting and challenging period, but ultimately a rewarding time working with businesses, the public sector, and clubs and societies in and around Lincoln.

A new, refreshed website was put in place in late 2023, making it clearer for customers what can be done in print for all customers including individuals.

The centre has recently installed a new Xerox mono print production press, for some organisations black and white printing is exactly what they need: volumes can vary from small to large, and can include multi-page documents.

Don’t forget about printing and designing leaflets, posters and programmes for your spring and summer events. Still a family-run business based in Lincoln, with connections to other companies in the area – if they can’t do something, they can direct you to a business that can!

For more information visit www.lincolncopycentre.co.uk

Roger Davis Interiors is Lincoln’s leading supplier of fine interiors, curtains and blinds, offering a full range of window dressing options from leading manufacturers, to help enhance the look and feel of every room.

The expert team, who share more than 60 years’ experience, offer customers a five-star service tailored to their needs to help transform dreams into reality.

Every set of blinds are custom made to ensure an excellent fit, and can be manufactured from a wide variety of fabrics, selected by you in the comfort of your home.

Choose from vertical, roller, Venetian (made from wood or metal) pleated and panel blinds in a choice of colours, as well as an extensive range of beautiful wooden plantation shutters which provide the very best form of insulation and sun protection when fitted close to the glazing.

For more information visit www.rogerdavisinteriors.com

If you’re looking for professional expertise to help inspire, design and fit your dream kitchen and bedroom, the Cook and Sleep team are on hand to help.

Based at their showroom in Navenby, near Lincoln, the friendly, skilled team advise and guide customers through choices to suit all budgets with a full service from design to installation.

Family owned and run, Cook and Sleep are members of the Federation of Small Businesses and retailers of Schüller Kitchens in Lincolnshire, also supplying Kitchen Stori and Aisling Artisan Furniture. Browse a variety of kitchens, worktops, storage solutions and appliances. Transform your bedroom into a space that meets all your needs with a range of styles, colours and finishes to choose from.

“We supply more than 50 designs in total and our mix and match service allows you to select the aspects you love and leave the rest. We will be on hand from the very start until your last piece is fitted and your dream kitchen becomes a reality!”

Showroom open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturday from 9.30am to 1pm. For more information visit www.cooksleep.co.uk

Ideal for photography students, keen amateurs and professionals alike, there are gift ideas galore 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.

For more information visit www.lcegroup.co.uk

Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, but marking their life with a “green” funeral in a traditional, environmentally friendly way is becoming increasingly popular, with more families choosing willow coffin creations.

Abi Griffin recently launched the East Midlands branch of Woven Farewell Coffins from her base in Lincoln, where she creates lovingly crafted and hand-made willow coffins made from British willow and timber which are appropriate for burial, cremation, woodland and green burial sites.

“Willow coffins are symbolic of traditions from centuries past and are one of the most environmentally friendly, as the materials only take a year to grow and are fully compostable,” explains Abi, who also welcomes families to participate in weaving part of the coffin with her from the workshop.

The coffins, which are 100 percent biodegradable, are double-lined with biodegradable plastic and unbleached cotton. Organic hemp rope is used for the handles while the base slats are made from local ash or larch.

Prices for an adult coffin start from £650, while a baby coffin can begin from £150.

Winner of the Best Business Woman Awards ‘Best Product’ and Association of Green Funeral Director Awards ‘Best Coffin Producer’,  Woven Farewell Coffins is one of the only coffin makers in the UK to donate to charity, with part of its profits donated to the Woodland Trust.

For more information visit www.wovenfarewell.co.uk

If you’re looking for a memorable night out and are a fan of excellent live jazz music, the sumptuous Lincoln Jazz Café in the heart of the city offers a special blend of art, music and sensory delight.

This cultural haven in Water Lane offers sensational cocktails, including the Prestige Edition classics, together with the finest selection of wines, with more than 30 wines available by the glass, catering for connoisseurs, wine enthusiasts and aficionados alike.

As a patron of local art, the award-winning Lincoln Jazz Café, which features a vintage lounge bar area with an opulent feel, also proudly displays and sells artworks by talented local artists.

This nostalgic venue is a hidden gem and a favourite with locals, so it’s not surprising that the word is spreading fast. However, if you’re looking to ditch the crowded hangouts, this is the place for you as you won’t find more than 35 guests inside, which not only provides a unique and stress-free experience, but also means everyone can make the most of personalised attention from the friendly team of staff.

For more information visit www.lincolnjazzcafe.co.uk

Photographs: Mick Fox

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