Lincoln is such a joy to be in! You can pass through the top end of the High Street and through the Stonebow, up through the Strait and further up Steel Hill until you reach Bailgate, Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle and all along the way, you will have be able to enjoy the quirky, unusual and unique shops and tea rooms. Don’t believe me? Read on and see exactly what you’re missing out on.
Check-out the glorious Lincoln Guildhall
At first, Lincoln will look like any old town with the usual chains, brands and organisations; from Waterstones to Carluccios to Cancer Research UK, it’s there. However, you will then spot the Stokes High Bridge Café at 207 High Street, Lincoln, LN5 7AU, which is a café built on top of a bridge that covers the River Witham. The building in which it is based is a Tudor house that has been in its place since 1050. Within eyesight from the Stokes High Bridge Café is the glorious Lincoln Guildhall, as featured in the photograph. It is certainly a striking, picturesque unmissable building. The Lincoln Guildhall has been in place since 1520 and occupies the Stonebow (which means stone arch). If you’re interested, there are free guided tours on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays at either 10.30 am or 2.00 pm where you can see a wonderful series of rooms with a treasure of memories.
A symbolic sign at the entrance of the Strait
Once you pass through Lincoln Guildhall, you will find yourself amongst some more quaint shops and restaurants; however, the further up that you go towards the Strait, you will see that the shops become more quirky and unusual. You will know when you reach the Strait because of the Strait arch, which is the gateway between Lincoln’s popular High Street and the famous Steep Hill. The Strait arch sign is fixed between two grade II listed buildings and represents the history of Lincoln through its design, such as by having the star of David, which signifies the prominence of Jews in Lincoln’s history as well as a Cross, which represents Lincoln Cathedral. The Strait is very famous for its mix of independent businesses, traditional sweets shops and one-of-a-kind fashion boutiques. You will definitely feel the amazing vibe running throughout this area.
So many shops and tea rooms along the way
With the Strait and Steep Hill being unsurprisingly so very steep, the best way to conquer this mighty area is to simply enjoy all the gorgeous views, shops and tea rooms along the way. As you can see, the further up the hill you go, the better your view of Lincoln Cathedral is and to see it in all of its glory is a motivating factor to keep climbing, in my view. However, if that’s not enough for you, then you may be motivated instead by the very many unique tea rooms that line up the hill. If you’re looking for some incredible cake choices, then you need to pop right into Coffee Bobbins at 28 The Strait, Lincoln, LN2 1JD, as this place is known for its modern and delicious selection and the Terry’s Chocolate Orange cake and galaxy chocolate cake are definitely recommended. Perhaps you’re after a tea room that reminds you of your grandma’s living room? Well, head on over to Compton’s Steep Hill Tea Rooms at 34 Steep Hill, Lincoln, LN2 1LT, as this tea room has a floral interior that extends to its China and you will feel right at home within minutes. Vegan or veggie only? Head on over to Pimento’s Tea Room at 26 Steep Hill, Lincoln, LN2 1LU, which will serve you up some goodness whether you’re looking for a light or hearty dining experience.
Dine in a former local rabbi's home
As you walk up Steep Hill, you will find yourself being transported back in time especially when you spot the Jews Court, which is located at 2-3 Steep Hill. The Jews Court is in a grade I listed 12th century building. There has been a great deal of speculation over the years as to whether the Jews Court was formerly a medieval synagogue or if there was one behind it. Today, the Jews Court is home to the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, which has an office inside of it. There is also a lecture room, library, meeting place for the Lincoln Jewish Community and a history bookshop selling books (both fact and fiction). Next door to the Jews Court is the Jew’s House, which is the former residence of a local rabbi but is now home to a stylish and high-end restaurant known as the Jew’s House Restaurant.
Quirky, retro and antique stores in abundance
Still climbing up the hill, there are more surprises in store (and I mean that literally!). This is because you will be able to have a chance to see some of the more quirky, retro and antique stores in the area. For example, it’s unlikely that you won’t spot Bird’s Yard at 61 Steep Hill, Lincoln LN2 1LR with its eye catching and colourful display. Bird’s Yard is a delightful and varied shop that houses everything from vintage couture to unisex clothing and art and crafts and is worth checking-out. In a world which is dominated by mass production, unusual items and antiques are becoming more and more popular as they’re not just an investment but rather an object that reflects a story. Now, if you’re specifically on the hunt for some antiques, then Dorrian Lambert Antiques at 64-65 Steep Hill is right up your street.
Book an appointment to enjoy Vintage Clothing & Accessories
Located at 9 Steep Hill, Vintage Clothing & Accessories is a place where you can find an array of exquisite vintage clothing and accessories. Many believe that vintage is about looking through the window of the past and taking a story from the past and creating a new future for it (through the use of clothes). If you’re one of those believers, then you need to make an appointment right away to visit Vintage Clothing & Accessories. This is because this unique vintage boutique will open up only on the basis of an appointment. So if you fancy some vintage items from the 1920 to the 1970s, make sure that you get in touch with owner, Harriet, to schedule a time.
Take a break at Le Sanctuaire spa
Can you believe that we’re only two-thirds the way up Steep Hill? Well, if you’re feeling a little bit tired or want to relax, then you will be pleased to know that there are some cute little benches that you can have a seat on whilst admiring the steep hill that you have partially conquered! I must admit that these are the first set of public benches that I’ve spotted through the climb so far, so I would have to advise you to ensure that you wear comfortable footwear, pace yourself and of course, pop into one of the little tea rooms for some respite. Alternatively, if you feel that the climb would be so exhausting that you need something even more relaxing waiting for you, then perhaps some spa treatments at Le Sanctuaire at 15 Steep Hill, Lincoln, LN2 1LT would take your fancy. The spa is based within a 14th century building that oozes with charm and character and as part of the spa, there is even a spa garden with a cedarwood sunken hot tub!
Lincoln Castle and Cathedral
Trekking it a bit further up the cobbled streets, you will find yourself in the Bailgate area, which is also the home to the Lincoln Visitor Centre. There are more independent boutiques and restaurants covering this area and most importantly, it is the location for Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral. Lincoln Castle is located at Castle Hill, Lincoln, LN1 3AA and was built by William the Conqueror in 1068 and is accessible to guests from 10.00 am–4.00 pm from October–March and from 10.00 am–5.00 pm from April–September. The cost for an adult ticket is 13.50 GBP (18 USD) and the cost for a child is 7.20 GBP (9.60 USD) unless they are under 5 years old, in which case it is free. Within the Castle is a the Magna Carta, a Crown Court and a former Victorian prison, so you will definitely have a lot to see and learn if you decide to go inside. Lincoln Cathedral at 4 Priory Gate, Lincoln, LN2 1PL is also worth a visit. The opening and closing times vary but it is usually open from 7.15 am– 5.00 pm and the cost for entrance is 4.00 GBP (5.30 USD) for adults and 3.00 GBP (4 USD) for children aged 5–16. If you have children under 5 years of age, it is free for them to enter.
Is it worth it?
So what do you think; is it worth it climbing up Steep Hill? Of course, it is. The journey from the High Street and all the way up to the Bailgate area is stunning and full of great history and interesting sites to enjoy over the course of at least one full day. If you do decide to embark on this amazing trip, I would have to advise you to wear suitable footwear because Steep Hill is as its name says, steep and has a daunting 16.12º gradient and so, it’s not for the faint hearted. If you have difficulties walking, have pushchairs or are a wheelchair user, I would caution you against this experience due to the steepness and cobbled paving, which can be difficult to tackle.
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