Once the tallest building in the world, the stunning Lincoln Cathedral stands proudly as one of the city’s best-loved attractions. Boasting beautiful Gothic architecture, regular tours and one of the only surviving copies of the Magna Carta in the world, there’s plenty here to keep all visitors interested.
During your stay in Lincoln, you’ll likely come across a fair few references to imps – or rather one imp in particular, the Lincoln Imp. Legend has it that the devil sent a couple of these scoundrels to cause mischief in the north of England. After trashing the cathedral’s tables and chairs, and tripping up the bishop, an angel appeared to get them to stop. One imp hopped on top of one of the stone columns and began throwing rocks, while the other one cowered in fear. The angel turned the first to stone, giving the second the chance to escape. The stone carving of the Lincoln Imp is one of the cathedral’s main attractions – so much so that it’s even lit up with a spotlight to help you find it.
Beyond the imp, there’s not much to say about Lincoln Cathedral… only joking! Did you know that it was the tallest building in the world for 238 years, having taken the title from the Great Pyramid of Giza? Or that the leading Victorian critic John Ruskin believed Lincoln Cathedral was “the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have”? We have to agree; it is pretty impressive. It’s one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture you’ll find in Europe. The intricacies of its carvings are quite incredible and a must-see for anyone visiting Lincoln.
When (not if) you visit the cathedral, you’ll find that they offer a range of different tours. The Floor Tour takes around an hour and a half and covers the building’s history, architecture and interesting stories like the imp. The Roof Tour takes you inside the roof of the cathedral, where you can get up close to its incredible stained glass windows. The Library Tour is for any scholars amongst you – you’ll get to explore the cathedral’s medieval library, designed by famous architect Sir Christopher Wren and described by art historian Sir Roy Strong as “the most beautiful room in England”.
Our pick of the bunch though is the Tower Tour, which lets you clamber your way up 338 steps to the top of the Central Tower – the cathedral’s tallest – to get incredible views of the surrounding area. On clear days, you can see the lion’s share of Lincolnshire.
A quick word to the wise, if you’re planning on paying a visit to Lincoln Castle as well, then consider buying the joint ticket that allows you to explore both attractions while saving you over 25% on separate ticket prices.