Lincoln – a magnet for investors

Millions of pounds are being invested in the city, boosting its appeal for both shoppers and leisure-seekers, as Glynis Fox reports.

The city’s newly named Cornhill Market (known as the Central Market for decades) has welcomed back shoppers and browsers, following an £8.7 million revamp.

STACK, a multi-purpose venue at St Marks, has also unveiled an array of foodie and leisure attractions.
Changes were due to get underway at the Waterside Shopping Centre and, as we went to press, a planning application had been approved which will see the city’s former Boots store in the High Street undergo a transformation, turning it into another leisure attraction.

Of course, it’s not only the big spenders who are adding extra sparkle to our city centre; Lincoln also has a new bookshop, complete with café and studios, Lark Books.

It’s almost like a domino effect. For many years now, we have been able to say that, whilst many other destinations seem to have lost so much, Lincoln has continued to attract investment – from both incoming independent businesses as well as larger companies and organisations.

Lincoln’s Bailgate area – a magnet for both locals and tourists, and home to visitor favourites Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle – has also seen the White Hart Hotel undergo an amazing renovation.

This historic, cobbled area also offers a lively mix of independent businesses and places to take time out over coffee, which add to Bailgate and Steep Hill’s special ambience.

All this activity is complemented by a calendar of events designed to tempt in day and longer-staying visitors, including those who have enjoyed a day out in the city and have pledged they will be back for more!

The millions spent on revamping the Cornhill Market, which threw open its doors in mid-May, has created a modern market which has attracted local traders and those from outside the city.

The opening was performed by the newly appointed Mayor of Lincoln, Councillor Alan Briggs, City of Lincoln Council (CoLC) Leader, Cllr Naomi Tweddle and CoLC chief executive, Angela Andrews.

Funding for this massive regeneration project was made up of £5.9m from the Government’s Towns Fund programme through the Be Lincoln Town Deal, £1.9m from the City of Lincoln Council and an additional £918,000 from Historic England. Major refurbishment works on the building were completed at the end of 2023.

CoLC Leader, Cllr Naomi Tweddle said: “Seeing the building with such an exciting atmosphere has been incredible. We are excited for the people of Lincoln and further afar to visit the Cornhill Market and enjoy this new addition to the city centre.”

Deputy Area Lead for Greater Lincolnshire in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Mick Lazarus said: “It’s incredible to see how the funding from the City of Lincoln Council, the Government’s Be Lincoln Town Deal and Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) has transformed the market.

“The opened-up blind arches bring so much natural light into the building and the new mezzanine level has provided more space for visitors to enjoy.”

Lindum Group co-chairman, Edward Chambers said Lindum was delighted to be part of the refurbishment of the Grade II-listed building.

“The project was a great team effort involving local suppliers, as well as our own in-house colleagues, including our bespoke joinery division which manufactured the new stalls which look fantastic,” he said.

The CoLC said hundreds of traders had registered their interest in pitching-up in the revamped building and, on opening day, 24 had confirmed their intention to open stalls.

The mix of stallholders include those selling ice cream, cakes, jewellery, fruit, vegetables and groceries and others offering embroidery with tattoo designs, quirky gifts and watch repairs.

First day traders included Joanne and Paul Bradford of Bradford Plants, who have grown their passion for owning and selling plants for the past 29 years. The couple have taken space in the market after Paul left his permanent job with British Sugar.

“We have been selling plants at boot sales, galas, fêtes and Mablethorpe Market,” said Joanne.

“We saw some publicity about the Cornhill Market and stalls being available and we wanted a more permanent place to sell, so we applied. We are lucky to have got a nice space just inside the Market’s main doors off Sincil Street,” said Paul.

Partners Jason Lam and Kay Hung’s stall, Once Upon A Time – just opposite the Bradfords’ – is laden with sparkling jewellery that would tempt any ‘magpie’!

Jason said: “We have a shop in Mansfield, but we wanted to invest in coming to Lincoln. It’s an energetic and attractive city and there are lots of people here, including those at the university.”

Walking past the Oatz & Co stall takes a lot of willpower! Manned by Lauren Riddell, who is helped by Maisie Scott, it is ready with irresistible sweet treats, from flapjacks to brownies and cheesecakes.

Milkshakes and smoothies are on offer too. Oatz & Co also caters for people following vegan and gluten free diets. In addition, the business supplies wholesale customers.

Lauren said: “I am Lincoln based and I have done markets before and we get very good trade, but I had always wanted a shop, without big overheads.

“Before we opened today, people were trying to get through the doors. That gave us an extra boost of confidence.”

Rashid Akhtar, who runs the Asia Supermarket opposite the former Debenhams, has taken four units in the Cornhill Market and is selling fresh fruit and vegetables and also a range of grocery items.

“I was approached and told that stalls were available in the market, so I negotiated my space. It is filling up nicely and I am hoping to serve the community and attract a lot of footfall,” he said.

Another multi-million investment for the city is the recently launched STACK development at St Marks Shopping Centre, which has been created in the area which used to be home to Argos.

An exciting night and day venue, it aims to offer something for people of all ages and features food operators, live entertainment, bars and boasts a big sports screen.

As we went to press, city planners had just given the owners of the former Boots building in High Street, Crown Alderney Ltd, the green light to transform the site into a leisure venue incorporating a bowling alley.

The site, which was fronted with a large mural emblazoned with the words Gutter Ball (a brand owned by Lane 7), ultimately promises to create 50 jobs.

In early May, Wykeland Group and Lincolnshire Co-op revealed plans to spend £1m on regenerating the city’s Waterside Shopping Centre, which they acquired in a 50-50 partnership last June. Their plans included the addition of a new coffee shop, to be operated by Lincolnshire-based Seven Districts Coffee.

Lincoln continues to diversify and bring new names to the city. A recent arrival is Lark Books, which is based in a three-storey former fashion shop in Saltergate. It’s a place to find books, gifts, enjoy a coffee and find out about events.

Aside from the variety of shopping and leisure opportunities that the city offers, Lincoln Business Improvement Group (Lincoln BIG) is encouraging people to make the most of its summertime events.

1st June saw the return of the Cornhill Cove, a seaside-style pop-up bar, complete with a crazy golf course, flanked by street food and ice cream vendors, along with pop-up entertainment and performances.

The Cove, which offers something for all the family, will stay in place until 31st August.

Watch out for a herd of “arty” elephants, which will be bringing a stampede of colour to the city’s streets from 15th July through to 15th September. Lincoln BIG is rounding up 12 of the striking patchwork creations for an exciting special event, Elmer’s BIG Art Trail.

If you love all things vintage, now is the time to get your outfit together for the much-loved Lincoln 1940s Weekend, which is making a comeback on 20th and 21st July.

Look out for vintage performances, a variety of activities and classic vehicle displays in Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter and across the city.

Lincoln BIG head of operations, Lee Roberts said: “Lincoln’s 1940s weekend was one of our most popular events last year when we welcomed tens of thousands of visitors to the city.

“We are delighted to bring it back with more attractions and activities for everyone to get involved with, such as vintage games, street theatre and musical performances at the bandstand.”

Afternoon tea is the perfect way to spend an afternoon, whether it is for a celebration, to mark an event, or simply to spoil yourselves with a special treat.

Created in 1840 by the Duchess of Bedford, it was always seen as a stop-gap between lunch and dinner and over the years it has become more and more synonymous with indulgent sandwiches, cakes and fancies.

The Castle Hotel in the historic Bailgate area prides itself with having one of the best offerings in Lincoln serving a delightful selection of sandwiches, warm savouries, scones with jam and cream, cakes, plus petit fours.

All served with your choice of tea and coffee in vintage china – it’s also the perfect occasion to also have a glass of something sparkling from the many choices on offer!

For more information visit

Getting the third Lincoln Jazz Festival in Lincoln Cathedral underway will be headliners the legendary funky and soulful James Taylor Quartet. The festival takes place over the weekend of 19th-21st July.

An exciting line-up includes 12 gigs in the intimate Chapter House plus, around Saturday lunchtime, the festival’s first colourful jazz-samba parade in the Cathedral grounds with local schoolchildren joining their explosive music mentors Kinetika Bloco.

Among the outstanding national and international jazz personalities performing will be breathtaking Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione, blending jazz, Latin, African and flamenco styles. Charismatic vibes player Joe Locke from New York, Canadian-born trumpeter Jay Phelps and stand-out saxophonist Tim Garland will all add sparkle to the bill – backed by top quality musicians!Multi-award winning jazz vocalist Ian Shaw performs a solo set and Lincoln’s own leading pianist Tom Cawley will delight the audience with top flautist Gareth Lockrane. The pair will also add a new musical dimension to Sunday morning’s popular Jazz Eucharist Service.

The festival’s artistic director, trombonist Dennis Rollins MBE, who is also appearing, said: “The weekend offers so much for lovers of great live music – not just jazz enthusiasts!”

The critically acclaimed group Hejira will close the festival with an emotional finale celebrating Joni Mitchell’s outstanding jazz material.

For further details and tickets:

Stagecoach East Midlands has introduced night-time journeys to its Lincoln network. The additional services, funded by Lincolnshire County Council, provide evening bus services on key routes such as 6, 9, 13, 16, 17, and 18.

With the introduction of hourly night journeys on these routes until midnight or later, Stagecoach East Midlands aims to provide enhanced accessibility at affordable rates under the £2 bus fare scheme.

Matt Cranwell, managing director of Stagecoach East Midlands, said: “Providing convenient transport solutions is of vital importance to us, and the reintroduction of night-time journeys to our Lincoln network responds to the changing needs of our passengers, post-pandemic.

“These extended service hours not only offer new journey times for leisure seekers, but also essential workers, including those in the hospitality and healthcare sectors. We’re grateful for the support of Lincolnshire County Council in making this initiative possible and encourage passengers to enjoy the benefits the new timetables provide for cost-effective, late night travel.”

Cllr Richard Davies, executive member for Transport at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “I am delighted that the funding made available for bus improvements in Lincolnshire is continuing to deliver services like this.

“On top of the £2 single fare capped price continuing until the end of 2024, the news of Stagecoach’s latest additions to the timetable are very welcome. I really hope that people will support the evening service as part of the wider bus improvements being brought to our county.”

For more information on the new timetables, visit:

If you’re looking to refresh or revive your home or workplace with a touch of style, the expert team at Urban Blinds Lincoln can help deliver your dream.

This well-established family-run business based in Navenby works across Lincoln and surrounding areas supplying and installing made-to-measure shutters, blinds and curtains  to complement every style and taste.

“Finding the right window covering solution means selecting the right design, light and privacy control options to suit your needs and we will always help you align your choices to your budget. Urban Blinds Lincoln offers transparent and fair pricing all year round, never compromising on the speed or efficiency of the service we offer.

“We have over a decade of experience in supplying and fitting beautiful shutters, blinds and curtains to suit all spaces and budgets. We enjoy providing a highly personal yet professional service that will ensure you feel good about our products long after we have gone.

“All of our products are hand-made by our British manufacturing partners, which have been selected by us and our work is guaranteed for up to five years from installation.

“We’re also pleased to supply all our blinds with relevant child safety devices as standard. These devices are designed to keep cords and chains safely out of the way without compromising the aesthetics of your window covering.”

Urban Blinds Lincoln offers a range of shutters in hardwood or waterproof PVC, roller blinds, including bespoke printing with logos for business or your favourite photo, Roman, vertical, wood and aluminium Venetians and vision blinds, as well as roof window blinds, curtains, poles and tracks. Customers can also choose from a selection of superb soft furnishings.

“From the initial visit to measuring up and fitting, we take great care to do the best possible job within your property and make sure we leave everything clean and tidy.”

For more information visit

Walters Opticians is a family run business which opened its doors in the heart of Gainsborough 26 years ago, with the North Hykeham practice opening 6 years later. Both practices offer bespoke services to all of their patients.

Walters Opticians pride themselves in carrying out high quality eye examinations alongside offering many other services in both practices including:
• Contact lens clinics with access to the newest contact lenses available on the market.
• Dry eye assessments and treatment plans.
• Visual stress assessments and full Colorimetry.
• Myopia management and advice with spectacle and contact lens management options.
• A wide selection of designer brands for ophthalmic and sunglass frames such as Gucci, Tom Ford, and Prada.

“In both practices we have invested in OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) retinal scanning machines, these machines take in-depth detailed scans of the back of the eye, with results discussed during the examination. Both practices are also equipped with the latest Visioffice X units which enable us to provide the world’s best truly bespoke varifocal lenses – The Varilux XR PRO. This bespoke lens is made uniquely for you.” R M Walters FBDO SMC tech.

This summer Harding House Gallery is celebrating 30 years as a co-operative run art and crafts gallery in this lovely grade II listed building on Steep Hill.

The ‘Pearls of Summer’ exhibition, which runs from 20th July to 8th September, will showcase a variety of work from multiple artists, including the co-operative members. Do call in to see the show when passing by; it’s a great place for a breather when making your way up or down Steep Hill and there’s always an artist at the desk for more information about the gallery and artworks.

Downstairs are displays from the co-operative members and around 50 other artists, many local.

“As a small business, we appreciate your interest and look forward to seeing you soon!

“If you are a professional artist interested in joining the co-operative, take a look at the information on our website.”

Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, and Sunday from 11am to 4pm.

Tel: 01522 523537, email

For more information visit

Brylaine, which has operated in Lincolnshire since 1981 as a family business, has announced a long-term aim to reframe local bus services as an affordable and easy way to get around with multiple benefits.

Until 31st December 2024, the national bus fare cap will enable travel on any single distance fare for just £2, making taking the bus cheaper, faster and more sustainable for families.

The fare cap continues to enable local residents to pay a maximum of £2 for any end to end single trip length. You can get on in Boston and travel all the way to Lincoln, or anywhere in between, on any of Brylaine’s services for just £2.

Brylaine also accepts Lincolnshire Concessionary Passes and three under-5s can travel for free with a fare paying adult or pass holder, plus your canine friend can travel with you for £1. Since 2017, every single penny of PAWS tickets has been donated to a dog rescue charity.

Having started in Old Bolingbroke with just three coaches, Brylaine now has a fleet of 52 buses carrying up to 5,000 passengers a day and operating over 1.4 million miles a year, with 60 team members operating from Boston, Skegness and Coningsby.

“We have invested in technology, with all routes being contactless and smartcard enabled.

“We were the first Lincolnshire bus operator to launch apps and digital tracking systems across all of our vehicles, along with CCTV and audio across the entire fleet for on road and passenger safety.

“Operating between Boston, Lincoln, Horncastle, Spilsby, Skegness and Spalding, Brylaine covers a huge rural area of this amazing county and we look forward to doing so for many years to come.”

From 8th April 2024 Boston Town service (B1-ABCD) will run from 7am-7pm Monday to Friday. With the support of Lincolnshire County Council, Brylaine will operate these later services for the residents of Boston. Enjoy.

If you’re looking for innovative tried-and-tested mobility equipment – from wheelchairs and scooters, to riser chairs and beds, as well as the latest in home aids and sporting equipment – Aspire 2 offers a wide choice of personalised solutions, combined with excellent customer care.

Visit the company’s newly opened showroom on the outskirts of Lincoln in Waddington, which offers free on-site parking where you can take your time and browse around the cleverly designed room sets to experience real life-changing solutions.

As a well-established friendly face in the mobility industry, the dedicated team at Aspire 2, who have a wealth of training, qualifications and experience behind them, strive to help and support customers with the best possible service.

“With over 15 years’ experience in finding the right wheelchair for a variety of different needs, we’re confident we can supply the perfect chair for you.

“Our specialist team is available 9am-6pm Monday to Friday and we’re always happy to advise.”

For more information visit

If you’re looking to design and build your dream garden where you can relax and switch off from the stresses of everyday life, the expert team at Fullers Landscaping can help.

Ed and Zoe Fuller, who have grown the family company for over 20 years, take pride in providing specialised garden design and landscaping services ensuring you get the dream garden you deserve.

Each garden is designed to make the most of every individual client’s outdoor space, according to your budget, size and shape, delivering maximum enjoyment.

Fullers’ comprehensive services include all aspects of garden makeovers, from garden design to completed installation with the highest standard finish. 

They can also help you visualise your project before it is started as, along with 2D designs, they produce 3D computer generated pictures that show what your finished garden will look like.

For more information contact Fullers Landscaping, tel: 01522 868717, email, or visit

As specialist suppliers of new and second-hand cameras, lenses and photographic equipment, the London Camera Exchange in Lincoln’s Silver Street is a favourite one-stop shop providing all the latest digital equipment for keen amateur and professional photographers alike.

As a Canon Pro Centre and Nikon Specialists, the friendly expert team at the London Camera Exchange not only sell new and pre-owned premium brands such as Sony, Olympus and Panasonic, but also offer helpful advice with a highly-rated customer service, plus an expert clean and repair facility.

Established 21 years ago, the store also carries a large range of binoculars and telescopes for customers to look through and try before they buy, with in-house specialists on hand to provide practical and useful advice and guide you through the carefully chosen range while ensuring that you buy the right model to suit your individual needs.

For more information visit

Lincoln Print & Copy Centre has been trading in Lincoln for 45 years this year – a time of many changes in printing and the wider community of businesses, public sector and clubs and societies in and around Lincoln.

A refreshed website is helping making it clearer for customers what can be done in printing for public sector, businesses, not-for-profit and individuals.

The recently installed Xerox mono print Production Press is working well to produce functional documents still needed by some organisations, the colour press can print leaflets and brochures in exactly the quantity required, and the wide format printer ensuring customers have posters, charts and construction plans in the exact quantity needed.

A particular speciality is quick turnaround on those last-minute items. Don’t forget about printing and designing leaflets, posters and programmes for summer events as well as those planned for later in the year.

Still a family run business, based in Lincoln with connections to other businesses in the area – if they can’t do something – they can direct you to a business that can!

For more information visit

Bransby Horses is one of the UK’s leading equine welfare charities, welcoming visitors to its picturesque site year-round.

Based in the village of Bransby near Lincoln, the charity works to improve the lives of horses through education, rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming.

Visiting is free and there are miles of pushchair-friendly walkways and an adventure play park for children.

This year the charity has launched a new welfare trail. Adults and children can join in and learn about the wonderful animals Bransby Horses rescues and rehabilitates.

Junior supporters can become ‘Pony Pioneers’ by answering questions about what they have learned on their quiz sheet and earning their special Pony Pioneer sticker!

Bransby Horses also has a café serving breakfast, lunch and light refreshments and a Donated Goods and Tack Shop.

The site is open to the public every Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-4pm.

For more information visit or tel: 01427 788464.

Situated in the heart of the city on the cobbles of The Strait, Forage & Fill is a family-run zero waste shop dedicated to reducing packaging, food waste and single-use plastic, selling delicious eco-friendly food, together with a range of ethically made household and beauty products.

Bring your own containers and fill them as you need with pasta, rice, flour, dried fruit, herbs, spices and much more. Customers can also refill bathroom and cleaning products with affordable eco-friendly formulas and save hundreds of single-use plastic bottles from going to landfill. There is also a range of “plantable” greetings cards made from post-consumer cotton waste with a mix of pretty flower seeds plus planting instructions.

Enjoy freshly baked goodies, including sourdough bread, sesame bloomers, pain au chocolat and almond croissants, perfect to purchase alongside some locally roasted small batch sustainable coffee.

Forage & Fill is open Monday to Saturday 10.30am-5pm, and Sunday 11am-4pm. For more information visit, or find the shop on Facebook/ ForageAndFill

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 9am-5pm and Saturday 9.30am-1pm. For more information visit

Spaldings is thrilled to unveil its new showroom, a fresh addition to the established sales counter. Located on Sadler Road in Lincoln, you will discover a range of lawncare essentials, staffed by experts eager to assist and provide exceptional after-sales support.

“Our reputation for excellence is upheld by our team of skilled technicians, ready to offer professional advice and maintenance services, ensuring your equipment remains in prime condition. Whether you’re in search of a leaf blower, replacement parts, or a lawnmower, our comprehensive selection has your needs covered.

“We also cater for professional arborists, landscapers, and gardeners with our extensive range of forestry and mulching equipment, including TMC Cancela, and premium brands such as Stihl, Honda, Husqvarna, and Kress.”

Spaldings also offers a popular range of own-branded garden hand tools and accessories, designed to nurture your lawn and garden into perfection.

“Be reassured, knowing that over 97% of customers surveyed in December 2023 would recommend Spaldings, praising our staff’s expertise as a highlight. We’re committed to quality and customer satisfaction and are happy to help whether it’s a service, repair or new purchase.

“Visit us and take advantage of our convenient location and on-site parking, where you can chat to our friendly staff and view the range of products on sale.”

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm.

For more information about Spaldings’ extensive groundcare and lawn product range, visit, or call 01522 507500.

Photographs: Mick Fox

Never miss a copy!

Big savings when you take out a subscription.

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE IN THE CATEGORY BEST RISING STAR OF THE YEAR! We need your nominations – Celebrating Lincolnshire’s food, drink and hospitality businesses in our Taste of Excellence Food and Drink Awards 2024. Click here to vote date for nominations 31st August 2024. ... See MoreSee Less