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Lincoln Cathedral – History, Tickets and information

Lincoln Cathedral – History, Tickets and information

Photo: Lebendigger/Shutterstock

Lincoln Cathedral is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of England and visitors are invited to experience the beauty of the Cathedral from the inside. Whether you want to attend a service, marvel at the architecture, or pray in the Morning Chapel, there’s a little something for everyone. 

The historic cathedral in Lincoln is one of the most famous buildings in the United Kingdom and well worth visiting. It was built already in the 11th century and is full of history and highly-revered architecture. 

How Much Does it Cost to Visit?

Standard entrance for adults is £8 and £6.40 for youth visitors between 5 and 16 years. There’s also the possibility of purchasing a family ticket or a combination with entrance included to both the cathedral and castle. 

Ticket Type Adult Concession (5- 16 years. Under 5’s free) Family (2 adults + up to 3 children)
Cathedral Only £8 £6.40 £20.80
Cathedral & Castle* £18 £10 £46.00

*Note: the Cathedral & Castle ticket includes a free second visit to the Cathedral, valid within six months.

Entrance to the Cathedral is free to those who are unable to pay between the following hours:

Monday – Saturday

  • Before 9 am
  • After 4:30 pm

Sunday

  • Free entrance all-day
Interior of Lincoln Cathedral

Photo: Angelina Dimitrova / Shutterstock.com

Ticket Info

Tickets for Lincoln Cathedral can be purchased advance online from the Lincoln Castle ticketing website or on the day from the Lincoln Visitor Information Center. All tickets include an introductory floor tour.

Opening hours

  • Monday – Sunday 7:15am – 6pm

From 5 pm onwards, access to the east end of the Cathedral is solely for those attending the Evensong service. The west end of the Cathedral remains open to visitors until 6 pm.

History & Info

Dating right back to the early 12th century, Lincoln Cathedral is quite a sight to behold and it dominates the city’s skyline. William the Conqueror ordered the Cathedral to be built in 1072 and by 1092, the building was completed.

However, the following decades would bring much destruction to the opulent building including a great fire and an earthquake, both of which resulted in the continuous rebuilding of the Cathedral.

Cathedral in Lincoln exterior

Photo: Colin Dewar/Shutterstock

Today over £1 million is spent annually to keep on top of the Cathedral’s maintenance and repairs and work to keep this beautiful building standing. Though the Cathedral has undergone much reconstruction, there are still large elements of the Norman period visible.

Furthermore, the Gothic theme runs across the entire building, particularly in the style of the Early English and Decorated periods of the 13th century. Despite its ongoing structural problems, Lincoln Cathedral remains much loved by the general public and invites over 250,000 tourists every year.

It has long been an inspiration for architectural scholars and the Cathedral in Lincoln is very famous for its spectacular vaults. If you’re interested in architecture, look for the various types of vaults that are featured between the nave, aisles, choir, and the chapels. 

Vaults in the Cathedral

Photo: Charles Bowman / Shutterstock.com

Points of Interest

The Blessed Virgin Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Cathedral’s patron saint and you’ll find her statue in the arch of the choir screen.

The Fossils in the Nave Floor

Dotted around the slabs of limestone in the Nave of the Cathedral are fossils. Keep your eyes peeled for them!

The Lincoln Imp

Hidden high up at the top of one of the pillars (close to the Blessed Virgin Mary) is the famous ‘Lincoln Imp’; a peculiar stone carving. There’s a famous legend behind the Lincoln Imp, although it has several variations. 

Lincoln imp

Magna Carta Facsimile

While the original copy of the Magna Carta is kept safe in the vaults of Lincoln Castle, you’ll find a copy in the cathedral. The original was held for several hundreds of years in the Cathedral before it was moved to the castle. 

The Boole Window

There’s a window dedicated to George Boole, one of the forefathers of technology, in the Cathedral Nave.

The Treasury

Home to fine pieces of silver from the Lincoln Diocese, you’ll find the Cathedral’s Treasury in the north choir aisle.

The Organ

The Father Willis Organ stands proud above the choir screen and is in its original state.

The Organ

Photo: Jacek Wojnarowski / Shutterstock.com

The Apprentice Wall

Found next to the entrance to St Hugh’s Choir, the Apprentice Wall is where local trainee stone masons practiced their handiwork.

Rose Windows

There are two large rose windows, one on the north side, known as the “Dean’s Eye” and one on the south side, known as the “Bishop’s Eye”. It is highly uncommon to have rose windows within English architecture from the Middle Ages, and these two are absolutely stunning with impressive details.

The Duncan Grant Chapel

This small chapel has been locked off from the public for 20 years but is now open for viewing.

Faces in the Choir Screen

Admire the intricate set of carvings found in the stonework on the screen below the Father Willis Organ.

Lincoln Cathedral architecture

Photo: David Reilly / Shutterstock.com

How to get to the Lincoln Cathedral

The Cathedral is super easy to access thanks to its central location in the heart of Lincoln and it can be seen for miles around.

By Car

There are numerous car parks dotted around the city with Castle Hill Pay and Display Car Park being the closest. Use the following address to navigate here:

Castle Hill Pay and Display Car Park at 7 Drury Lane. 

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to avoid driving in the city center, make use of Lincoln’s Park and Ride system. The Park & Ride in Lincoln allows those traveling by car from the North of Lincoln to park for free in Waitrose and continue to the city center by bus.

This means you don’t have to worry about finding a space to park in the city center. The Park & Ride bus can take you back to Waitrose after you have finished your day in Lincoln (return ticket fee is £2.60). Use the following address to navigate here: Waitrose, Lincoln, LN2 4DS. 

By Bus

The Walk and Ride Steep Hill Shuttle is the easiest way to get around Lincoln using public transport. The bus has 13 stops across the city and an adult day ticket costs £3.

How to get to Lincoln Cathedral

Photo: Angelina Dimitrova/Shutterstock

Nearby Attractions

The below attractions are all within a 15-minute walk of Lincoln Cathedral:

  • Lincoln Castle
  • Museum of Lincolnshire Life
  • The Collection
  • Lincoln Arboretum
  • Steep Hill
  • Museum of Lincolnshire Life
  • Lincoln Medieval Bishop’s Palace

Best time to visit the Lincoln Cathedral

The Cathedral in Lincoln can get quite busy on the weekend, particularly on Sunday when entrance is free and services are ongoing throughout the day. To avoid the crowds, try visiting mid-week and early in the morning.

Sometimes access to Lincoln Cathedral can be restricted due to special services or events, organ tuning, or other possible disruptions. To check whether there’s anything going on during your visit, head to the website and keep an eye out for updates and announcements.

From 5 pm onwards, access to the east end of the Cathedral is solely for those attending the Evensong service (all are welcome). The west end of the Cathedral remains open to visitors until 6 pm.

Best time to visit the cathedral in Lincoln

Photo: Ana del Castillo/Shutterstock

Facts about Lincoln Cathedral

  • It took more than 200 years to complete construction on the Cathedral! Building work commenced in 1088 but the Cathedral was damaged by fires and earthquakes over the years and has undergone serious reconstruction which wasn’t completed until 1311.
  • Over the years, the Cathedral has had multiple names including St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln.
  • The Cathedral was once the tallest building in the world! In 1311, before the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building were built, the Lincoln Cathedral stood taller than the Great Pyramid of Gaza.
  • The Cathedral is home to the Anglican Archbishop.
  • Lincoln Cathedral is the third largest Cathedral in Great Britain, overshadowed by York Minster and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
  • The building of the original Cathedral was on the order of William the Conqueror.
  • One of the four surviving copies of the 8th century-old Magna Carta is owned by Lincoln Cathedral (the original is kept in Lincoln Castle but a copy is on display in the Cathedral).
  • Around £1 million is spent annually to maintain the Cathedral.
  • The Cathedral’s design is entirely gothic!
Facts about Lincoln Cathedral

Photo: Simon Annable / Shutterstock.com

FAQ’s (Things to know before you go)

Can you take photos in Lincoln Cathedral?

Visitors are allowed to take photos in Lincoln Cathedral but the privacy of other guests must be respected and no photos should be taken during service. 

What is Lincoln Cathedral famous for?

The Cathedral is renowned for being the third-largest English Cathedral, its Gothic architecture, and for housing one of four copies of the Magna Carter.

Was Lincoln Cathedral the tallest building in the world?

The Cathedral in Lincoln was the tallest building in the world from the early 14th century thanks to its central spire until it collapsed in 1549. With the spire it had a total height of 159.7 m (524 ft), making it the tallest structure ever built until late 19th century. 

Do you have to pay to visit the Cathedral?

There’s no charge to visit on a Sunday, however, there’s an entrance fee from Monday – Saturday.

Is the Cathedral wheelchair accessible?

Lincoln Cathedral welcomes all visitors and it is listed as an accessible destination by Visit England with access to those in a wheelchair and other disabled persons.

What stone is Lincoln cathedral made of?

The main stone used to build the cathedral in Lincoln is the Inferior Oolite Lincolnshire Limestone. 

Oolite Lincolnshire Limestone

Photo: Ian Francis/Shutterstock


Do you have more questions before visiting Lincoln Cathedral? Leave a comment below!

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