One of Europe’s finest Gothic buildings, once the tallest in the world, with stunning views from the roof and tower and intricate design inside.
Once described by Victorian writer John Ruskin as "out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedral we have", Lincoln Cathedral is not to be missed.
With the Norman invasion of Britain in the 11th century, William the Conqueror commissioned Remigius de Fécamp, the first Bishop of Lincoln, to build Lincoln Cathedral. Foundations were laid in 1072 and on May 9th, 1092, it was consecrated, two days after the death of Bishop Remigius.
At the time of its consecration, Lincoln Cathedral was the head of the largest diocese in England - extending from the Humber to the Thames.
After fires and earthquakes had demanded rebuilding of some of the cathedral, it took on a Gothic style of architecture. When the central spire was eventually raised in 1311, it became the tallest building in the world: taking the mantle from the Great Pyramid of Giza. This lasted until 1549 when the spire collapsed in a storm.
In spite of its size, the cathedral is filled with intricate detail. In Lincoln Cathedral the architects of the Gothic style perhaps reached the pinnacle of their art; it is an absolute must see for anyone visiting Lincoln.
There is something for everyone to see at Lincoln Cathedral and children love seeking out the funny carvings - in particular the famous Lincoln Imp!
Lincoln Cathedral owns one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta, signed in 1215 and brought back to Lincoln by the Bishop of Lincoln, which is now on loan to, and resides in, Lincoln Castle.
There is a facsimile of Magna Carta that can be viewed inside the Cathedral, near the cloisters, with detailed interpretation.
Floor Tours run throughout the year and are suitable for all. They usually last around an hour and cover all aspects of the Cathedral: from architecture, history with a few interesting stories thrown in along the way. Roof Tours are also run throughout the year which are accessed by a narrow staircase. Each tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and will give you fantastic views of the inside of one of the Cathedral roofs as well as getting up close to the wonderful stained glass windows.
Starting on the first Saturday in April and finishing on the last Saturday in October, visitors can climb one of the towers of Lincoln Cathedral on the Tower Tour. This tour takes you 338 steps up the cathedral's highest tower and once at the top you will get an amazing 360 degree view of the surrounding area. It is recommended to book onto a tour either in advance or by entering the Cathedral as the tours are limited to the number of visitors and spaces cannot always be guaranteed.
Floor tours are included in the entry price and roof/tower tours are at a cost of £5pp. All tours run Monday - Saturday.
Tour guides will ensure that tours are child friendly when young people are present.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) was born and grew up in Lincolnshire. He was the most famous poet of Victorian Britain and was Poet Laureate between 1850 and 1892.
A memorial statue to him can be found on the East Green of Lincoln Cathedral bearing the words of his poem Flower in the Crannied Wall.
The Lincoln Imp
The Lincoln Imp, turned to stone by an angel for misbehaviour according to legend, can be found in Lincoln Cathedral. A spotlight is available to help you find it if you are struggling! Find out more on the Legend of the Lincoln Imp page.
Medieval and Wren Libraries
Hidden above the Lincoln Cathedral cloisters are the Medieval Library and Wren Libraries, a 15th century collection of books in "the most beautiful room in England".
Access is included within entry to the Cathedral although times vary through the year. Guided tours are available when pre-booked at £5 per person.
The Airmen's Chapel of St Michael sits within Lincoln Cathedral and houses three Books of Remembrance containing the names of 25,611 men who flew from Lincoln RAF bases in the Second World War and never returned.
The Chapel's four windows are decorative memorials to Bomber Command, Flying Training Command, the Royal Rhodesian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The Cathedral has a poingant link to Bomber Command: it was a sign on the horizon to crews returning to Lincolnshire RAF bases that they had made it home safely.
Around 85% of the cathedral is accessibile by wheelchair, including entrance, hearing loops are installed throughout and assistance dogs are welcome.
See full accessibility details on the Lincoln Cathedral Access Statement.
Enjoy an informative guided tour with options of roof, workshop and treasury tours (price on application). Group catering is available (pre-booking required). Coach drop-off point at Eastgate (no parking at Cathedral).
Explorer Packs are available for children up to the age of 10 years - containing binoculars, a torch & clipboard with a list of fun things to look for! The packs are at no additional cost to entry.
Guided tours of the Cathedral are suitable for children too.
All are welcome at the Cathedral's services. Details of services and other events can be found by clicking on the events diary on the home page of the Lincoln Cathedral website. Due to services and other events access may be restricted, please visit the Lincoln Cathedral website for accurate opening times.
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- Guided tours available
- Dogs welcome throughout