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Discover Historic Lincoln by bike

The city that gives Lincolnshire it’s name is actually remarkably different from the surrounding area. Based around a steep hill above the river Witham, it’s a natural citadel that’s been occupied since prehistory but rose to real importance under the Romans. It’s been the commercial and government heart of the area ever since, giving it an incredibly rich historical fabric as well as a thriving modern vibrancy. Steep cobbled streets up to the beautiful cathedral are lined with half timbered medieval buildings housing every sort of eclectic shop, restaurant or pub you could want. The bishops old palace, castle, town walls and museums take you back in time, the busy waterside area is a lively, thriving epicentre for fashion shopping and the latest bars and restaurants while the art gallery spans both ancient and modern just like Lincoln itself.

You can avoid traffic on totally flat cycleways that’ll glide you into the open countryside in a few effortless minutes, making this much storied city a perfect hub for a many spoked wheel of relaxing routes.

  • Distance: 248km

  • Terrain: Quiet Roads

  • Starting point: Lincoln

  • Finish point: Lincoln

  • Difficulty Rating: ***

Highlights

BBMF Visitors Centre - Conningsby

A unique partnership between the Royal Air Force and Lincolnshire County Council provides the public with a gateway to the home of the BBMF at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire. Since opening its doors in 1986, the BBMF Visitor Centre has welcomed over 300,000 people, offering them the opportunity to see the Flight’s historic aircraft at close quarters and to observe the BBMF technicians working to maintain them in airworthy condition

Lincoln Castle

Discover a world of rich history at Lincoln Castle, dating back to 1068 and home to one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta. Built by William the Conqueror in 1068 on a site occupied since Roman times, Lincoln Castle has dominated the Lincoln skyline for almost one thousand years. Inside the Castle walls is also a Victorian prison giving an insight into crime and punishment in the Lincoln of the past

Lincoln Cathedral

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 the building of Lincoln Cathedral and in 1092 it was consecrated, becoming the head of the largest diocese in England - extending from the Humber to the Thames.

Doddington Hall

A privately owned, fine late Elizabethan Mansion with stunning gardens, located just outside Lincoln, highlighting 400 years of unbroken family occupation and a delightful cafe, restaurant, farm shop, and more. Begun in 1595 by Robert Smythson, one of England’s foremost Elizabethan Architects, Doddington Hall was completed in 1600 and has never been sold or cleared out since. Doddington is still a lived-in and much loved family home, alive with history and interest.

International Bomber Command Centre

A memorial spire, walls, peace gardens, and visitor centre that mark the service and sacrifice of World War II aircrew, ground crew and support staff that lost their lives whilst serving with Bomber Command. The International Bomber Command Centre includes a 31 metre tall memorial spire, the UK’s tallest war memorial, and walls that feature the names of all those who lost their lives during the Second World War serving or supporting Bomber Command. There are also two peace gardens: one Lincolnshire and one International.

The Museum of Lincolnshire Life

Enjoy free entry to the largest and most diverse community museum in Lincolnshire celebrating the counties' rich and varied history. The Museum of Lincolnshire Life’s rich and varied social history collection reflects and celebrates the culture of Lincolnshire and its people from 1750 to the present day. Exhibits illustrate commercial, domestic, agricultural, industrial and community life.

RAF Scampton

Explore the home of the RAF Red Arrows, visit the Scampton Airshow, and see the office of the Dambusters' Guy Gibson at RAF Scampton. RAF Scampton has had a rich and varied history: from being the base for 617 Squadron (also known as the Dambusters) to housing one of the United Kingdoms nuclear deterrents in the post-war era - the Blue Steel Missile. Even today RAF Scampton leads an interesting life as home to the RAF Aerobatic Team The Red Arrows

Tattershall Castle

Explore all six floors of Tattershall Castle from underground in the basement to the battlements at the very top. Built by Ralph, Lord Cromwell (Treasurer of England) in the 1440’s, the castle was saved from demolition by Lord Curzon of Kedleston in 1911. It is one of the earliest and the finest surviving examples of English medieval brickwork. Take the winding staircase, wander through vast echoing chambers and walk out onto the battlements revealing the beauty of the Lincolnshire countryside. Look out for the exciting programme of seasonal events and re-enactments that brings the castle to life.

Bardney Heritage Centre

Bardney has quite a diverse Industrial Heritage. From the canning factory of Morrells to the Beet factory of British Sugar, Plus the workings of the railways, the river lock system and the local agriculture.

The Kinema in the Woods

The Kinema In The Woods is a unique two screen cinema dating back to 1922. It shows the latest films as well as special events. The Kinema in the Woods remains a privately owned family business and is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.

Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre

The Centre was formerly part of No.1 Communal Site, RAF Woodhall Spa, and was built in 1940 with a planned life span of only 10 years!

Cottage Museum Woodhall Spa

To enter the Cottage Museum in Woodhall Spa is to step back in time. The Museum is housed in a rare Victorian corrugated iron bungalow, home to the Wield family from 1887 to 1964. It is an interesting historical artefact as it is an early example of a pre-fabricated building. Alongside countless artefacts of the age it also houses John Wield's extensive photographic archive of life in Woodhall Spa, depicting the village, and the people who lived and worked in and around the local area.

Whisby Nature Park

Whisby Nature Park is a beautiful landscape near Lincoln, full of wildlife, walks and trails. Once barren and lifeless, this amazing place now abounds with wildlife. The park was created by quarrying for sand and gravel, but nature has reclaimed the pits and bare sand, creating habitats for many species.

Example Route Itinerary

Day 1: Lincoln to Tattershall to Woodhall Spa

Starting in the historic Cathedral Quarter and Bailgate area of Lincoln, you will pass the stunning Cathedral and cycle to the River Witham and the canal path which forms the Water Rail Way route out of the city. Cycle this leafy, flat wide tow path route, with lovely views across the waterway and you will reach the villages of Bardney and latterly Tattershall.

Visit Tattershall Castle  - a magnificent 15th century red brick castle which rises proudly out of the flat Lincolnshire fen landscape.   

From Tattershall head towards the village of Coningsby. If you are lucky you may see the RAF training in the Typhoon jets overhead. From Coningsby you’ll head towards Thorpe Camp, formerly part of RAF Woodhall Spa and  home of the Dambusters and the 627 Squadron that flew out of the base in the 1940's.

A final 3 mile journey along quiet country lanes will take you to the award winning village of Woodhall Spa.  Here you will see the ‘Kinema in the Woods’, a small cinema and charming little building is nestling in the woods dating back to 1922.

Day 2: Woodhall Spa to Horncastle

Woodhall Spa, regarded as one of Lincolnshire's most attractive villages, is a charming place with an Edwardian character, set amidst towering pine woods. You’ll find small independent shops and eateries, all with well-kept period facades and floral displays. 

You’ll join the Spa trail and keep following it to Horncastle. This easy, traffic free route forms part of the Viking Way long distance route through Lincolnshire, and passes through woods and rolling countryside. Sculptures made from wood, stone and metal are scattered along the way, reflecting local wildlife and links with the past

Once you enter Horncastle, a thriving market town on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds there are plenty of independent cafes and pubs all serving fresh locally produced meal to choose from.  You may also want to stay a while and visit some of the many antique shops that the town is renowned for.

From Horncastle country lanes will wind their way back through Thimbleby (a delightful hamlet listed in the Domesday Book) to Bardney; and then onwards to the quirkily named hamlet of ‘Wasp Nest’ past Abbey Hill and through to the quiet villages of Potterhanworth and Heighington with beautiful views of open countryside over to the Cathedral on top of the hill in Lincoln.  

You’ll complete your journey at the International Bomber Command Memorial Centre and its stunning Memorial Spire. 

Day 3: Lincoln to Doddington

From the vibrant Brayford pool marina in Lincoln, you will ride along the river until you reach the small beautifully maintained village of Doddington and it’s stunning Elizabethan mansion Doddington Hall. You’ll find their award winning farm shop, café, restaurant and a small selection of premium shops here.

From Doddington meander along quiet country roads taking in the big skies of Lincolnshire to the villages of Eagle, Collingham and Norton Disney. Enjoy riding past the ancient woodlands and onwards through the charming Lincolnshire villages of Thurlby and Thorpe on the Hill.

Whisby Nature Reserve provides a welcome rest and opportunity to enjoy the scenery here, in addition to a great place to stop and visit the cafe. Returning to Doddington you will reach your final destination of Doddington Hall.

Day 4: Doddington to Lincoln via Torksey Lock

From Doddington you’ll pick up the cycle route to the north west of Lincoln and head towards the Domesday Book village of Thorney and onwards to the Fossdyke Navigation and Tocksey Lock and Torksey Common -  the epitomy of rural flat Lincolnshire landscape.  Take time to enjoy the nature trails, wildlife spotting and host of leisure activities here, including a lovely Tea Room, and the remains of the old castle in Torksey village with stunning views over the river Trent.

Head onwards to Saxilby via quiet country lanes and from here you may be able to watch the RAF finest The Red Arrows practicing in the distance. From Saxilby you’ll head east along waterways and country lanes, taking in the views of the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral high up on the hill, to the village of Skellingthorpe and then onwards to Lincoln.

Day 5: Lincoln to Market Rasen to Lincoln

Leave the stunning historic setting of the Bailgate in Lincoln and head north on the national cycle route to Nettleham, a lovely Lincolnshire village on the edge of the city, bustling with community and life.

Enjoy the cycle route onwards through Nettleham, via quiet country lanes through sleepy Lincolnshire villages (perhaps enjoying a stop off at the nearby Woodside Wildlife Park, complete with residents of tigers, wolves and much more!) all the way to the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds and the thriving market town of Market Rasen.  Here you’ll find plenty of shops and cafes and often the open air market in the town square too.

Meander back to Lincoln via the villages of Middle Rasen, Buslingthorpe and Faldingworth and head to Brattleby. You are now riding alongside  RAF Scampton where the Red Arrows are based.

You’ll enter the city of Lincoln again and ride past the Museum of Lincolnshire Life – an interesting stop off point home to lots of Lincolnshire social history and a lovely tea room stocking lots of local produce.