When the shopping bug bites and you’re desperate for some retail therapy, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s plenty of modern centres and High Street shops in Lincoln, catering for every taste and budget.
First of all, we’ll give you a quick geography lesson. Running from north to south, there’s one route with four names, which cuts directly in between Lincoln’s castle and cathedral and houses some of the city’s best shops. It starts off as Bailgate, then becomes Steep Hill, then The Strait and finally the High Street.
Bailgate is part of Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter. Its cobbled streets are lined with historic buildings that have been converted into independent boutiques, shops and places to eat. You’ll find everything from handmade jewellery and antique furniture to art galleries and delis containing the finest local produce. For womenswear, check out Chantal, while Chesters is our top pick for menswear. And if you can take your mind off shopping for a minute or two, check out some of the Roman ruins along Bailgate, including the well, pillars and Newport Arch.
Steep Hill has been voted Britain’s best street by the Academy of Urbanism, thanks to its eclectic array of antique, retro and vintage stores, which create a kaleidoscope of shopfronts, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with cafés, tearooms, restaurants and spas. Meanwhile, at its foot, The Strait also has a great selection of fashion names and designer stores. Between these two streets, you can pick up pretty much anything. We thoroughly recommend setting aside a couple of hours or so to explore everything that they have to offer.
At more than a mile from end to end, Lincoln’s High Street is one of the longest in the country and is packed with retailers. As you’d expect, it’s where you’ll find high street names like Primark, Waterstones and Marks & Spencer. However, there are still over 100 independent shops here to explore too.
If the weather turns while you’re making your way along the High Street, head to Waterside Shopping Centre. Indoor and spread over two floors, this is where you’ll find household brands and popular food outlets, including H&M, Next, and Burger King, plus a large Topshop. Better still, it’s just a five-minute walk from our Lincoln City Centre hotel.
St. Marks Shopping Centre is Lincoln High Street’s outdoor shopping centre, towards the south of the city centre. It has its own 890-capacity car park, so you won’t have far to carry your shopping. Assuming, that is, that you’ll be tempted by its various stores, including Debenhams, a GAP outlet, JD Sports, Homebase, Lakeland, Mothercare and Argos. If all that retail therapy has given you an appetite, why not pop into Burger King, Caffè Nero, Pizza Hut or the Toby Carvery?
It’s not quite the finished article, but the Cornhill Quarter is the latest addition to the city’s shopping scene. Centred around the Grade II-listed Corn Exchange, once completed it’ll be a stunning home to high-end retailers, cafés and restaurants, as well as an Everyman Cinema and new public spaces and walkways. It’ll dominate the south side of the river right down to the train station.
To round off our guide to shopping in Lincoln, if you were wondering when the city markets take place, The Farmers’ Market is held on the High Street every Friday between 9am and 4pm, whilst also setting up its stalls in the Cathedral Quarter on the third Saturday of every month.
The Artists’ Market runs between March and December on the first Saturday of the month, lining the cobbled streets of Steep Hill with lovingly made traditional and contemporary arts and crafts. The Craft Market is similar, but you’ll find it on Cornhill on the first and third Saturdays of the month. There’s handmade jewellery, metalwork, paper craft, soap, candles, textiles, gemstones, ceramics and pottery, as well as delightful cakes and preserves.
Last but not least, if you’re here during the festive months – like it or not – you’ll probably be enveloped in the city’s Christmas Market. It’s one of the biggest in Europe, with upwards of a quarter of a million visitors over its four-day duration. It was the UK’s first ever Christmas market, so Lincoln likes to put on a bit of a show to remind people who paved the way for what is now a frequent event across the country.
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