Lincolnshire is one of the larger, eastern counties of the East Midlands region of central England, and the second largest county in England with an area of 2,687 square miles. It has a population of just over 1 million which is sparsely populated across the county in mostly small to medium sized towns, with larger populations concentrated in North Lincolnshire and in Lincoln.
Cities, towns and villages
- 1 Lincoln – the only city in the county. Its landscape is dominated by the cathedral and castle which can be seen standing prominently in the historic uphill area. The downhill area has grown rapidly and seen increasing commercial and cultural development centred from the Brayford Waterfront area and University.
- 2 Alford
- 3 Barton-upon-Humber
- 4 Boston
- 5 Bourne
- 6 Cleethorpes
- 7 Gainsborough
- 8 Grantham – market town, birthplace of Isaac Newton and Margaret Thatcher
- 9 Grimsby
- 10 Louth
- 11 Mablethorpe
- 12 Market Rasen
- 13 Scunthorpe
- 14 Skegness
- 15 Sleaford
- 16 Spalding
- 17 Spilsby
- 18 Stamford
The county is mostly low-lying with some areas of elevation in Western and central parts but predominantly in the Lincolnshire Wolds and in the South West. It is made up of 7 districts which form part of the East Midlands region and 2 unitary authorities which form part of the Yorkshire and Humber region.
Lincolnshire has a strong agricultural industry and background which makes a significant contribution to the UK as a whole, with a number of large supermarkets being supplied by farms in the county for fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products. Other industries include tourism which is particularly strong on the coast, in Lincoln and historic towns such as Stamford. Northern Lincolnshire is on the Humber estuary and is home to heavy industries which are linked to the docks in the area, which also serve the fishing industry.
Historically, there are many sites in Lincolnshire that date from a range of periods with some such as Lincoln Cathedral dating back nearly 1,000 years. It is also able to boast a number of impressive stately homes and castles built by rich land owners and royalty. The county has religious importance as a result of Methodism having been founded at Epworth by John Wesley.
There are many reminders of the important role Lincolnshire played during World War Two, at its height being home to over 40 RAF bases. It is home to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and has two of the 17 remaining Lancaster bombers, one of which is still airworthy. Visitors will often notice untouched pillbox defences, like little squat concrete boxes with room for three or four soldiers, scattered in many parts of the county as relics to the county's influential past. Lincolnshire still has a number of large RAF bases and is home to the famous Red Arrows display team.
Shopping development have improved gradually over previous years with new centres in Boston, Gainsborough, Grimsby and Lincoln, as well as a popular outlet village near Spalding which is popular with visitors from further afield. The rural nature of the county has meant that many traditional market towns have remained with many characterful, independent shops.
|City of Lincoln |
Cathedral City and county town for Lincolnshire. The historic uphill area is popular with tourists with the downhill area having seen many modern developments for retail, cultural and entertainment purposes.
|North and North East Lincolnshire (Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Barton-upon-Humber, Brigg)|
Most populated part of Lincolnshire and most industrial with commercial docks and steelworks in the area. The Humber Bridge links the area with Kingston upon Hull.
|Lincolnshire Countryside (Gainsborough, Horncastle, Market Rasen, Sleaford)|
Sparsely populated area of the county surrounding the city of Lincoln, referred to as the 'Lincolnshire Countryside' being hilly in parts. Lincolnshire's only race course is at Market Rasen.
|Lincolnshire Wolds (Alford, Caistor, Louth, Spilsby)|
A specially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), this area has a scenic landscape of gentle, rolling hills from which great views over the rest of the county and to sea are available. The area is known for its traditional market towns, with the largest being Louth which is referred to as the capital of the Wolds.
|Lincolnshire Vales (Bourne, Grantham, Stamford)|
This area is best known for its impressive country homes and estates which are predominantly in and around the towns of Grantham and Stamford, the latter being a popular tourist destination in its own right due to its distinctive architecture and historic buildings.
|Lincolnshire Coast (Cleethorpes, Ingoldmells, Mablethorpe, Skegness, Sutton on Sea)|
This area sees a significant increase in economic activity from April to September in the main summer season due to it having three popular seaside towns with a number of other seaside villages and beaches in between.
|Lincolnshire Fens (Boston, Holbeach, Spalding, The Deepings)|
A completely flat landscape sewn together by large waterways and canals from the Wash which is an important area for wildlife. The fertile land in the area has led to a strong and influential agricultural industry with many types of fruit and vegetables being grown for national consumption, with a variety of flowers, commonly tulips, grown around the market town of Spalding which hosts an annual flower festival.
Travelling to different parts of Lincolnshire, you may notice a strong variance in the predominant accent and dialect of an area. Visitors will find residents of North and North East Lincolnshire to have an accent that is very similar to that in Yorkshire whilst those in the South of the county have an accent which has greater resemblance to that of East Anglia and Norfolk in particular. Stamford is said to have the accent that resembles the Queen's English more than any other in the country. The Lincolnshire accent is mainly prevalent in the central part of the county and will only be slightly distinguishable to visitors to the county. There is a large Eastern European community in South East Lincolnshire and visitors here are likely to come across many people with such origins.
There are two major routes which pass into Lincolnshire:
- The M180 starts from the M18 passing south of Scunthorpe before downgrading to the A180 onwards to Grimsby. Leaving at Junction 4 for the A15 offers the best way of reaching and Lincoln from which the A158 provides a direct route to Skegness and the Lincolnshire Coast. The A16, reachable from the A180 is a scenic route that passes through the Lincolnshire Wolds past Louth before travelling south towards Boston.
- The A1 enters in the southernmost part of the county briefly passing by the historic town of Stamford, before travelling north to Grantham. From the A1, the A52 and the A16 via Spalding provide access to Boston from which Skegness is best accessible. Also off the A1 is the A46 which is a direct stretch of dual carriageway into Lincoln.
North Lincolnshire can also be accessed by the Humber Bridge from the East Riding of Yorkshire which charges £1.50 for cars to cross (2018).
The train companies travelling into Lincolnshire are:
- East Coast, operating services from London King's Cross and other major cities to Grantham.
- East Midlands Trains operating a number of services in the county including a daily service from Lincoln to London St Pancras via Nottingham.
- First TransPennine Express and Northern Rail largely serve the stations in the north of the county.
- Cross Country operate a service between Peterborough and Leicester which stops at Stamford.
A number of towns within Lincolnshire are served by National Express coaches which operate intermittently.
Doncaster Sheffield Airport closed in Nov 2022.
The only practical way to get about Lincolnshire is by car. Public transport has intermittent service and restricted geographical coverage. Care should be taken on the narrow and windy backroads.
Many roads have been designated 'Red Routes' by the police, and are signposted along their length. These are roads which have a high accident/casualty rate, and warn motorists to be extra careful.
You can hire a car in the major centres.
- easyCar.com – Boston, Grantham, Grimsby, Lincoln, Scunthorpe and Humberside Airport
- Enterprise - Boston, Grimsby and Lincoln
- Europcar - Grimsby, Lincoln and Humberside Airport
- Hertz – Grimsby and Lincoln
- Ready Rent a Car – Grimsby, Lincoln and Scunthorpe
- Thrifty – Lincoln
Travelling around Lincolnshire by train can be difficult as a number of towns lack direct connections between each other, one of the most prohibitive being the lack of a direct route from Skegness to Lincoln or Grimsby.
Of those that are available, from Skegness East Midlands Trains operates a service to Nottingham which stops notably at Boston, Sleaford and Grantham, from Sleaford onward travel to Lincoln is possible. Services in the north of the county connect Cleethorpes, Grimsby and Scunthorpe, whilst from Lincoln Central there is a direct service to Grimsby via Market Rasen.
- Stagecoach in Lincolnshire operates services which link the majority of the larger towns in the county, whilst Stagecoach Grimsby/Cleethorpes serves the north of Lincolnshire.
- Brylaine Travel run buses that largely serve the towns of Boston and Spalding as well as Skegness, Mablethorpe and Stamford further afield.
- Lincolnshire Interconnect serve more rural communities in the county and offer a Call Connect bus which can be requested by phone.
The majority of major towns in Lincolnshire have one or a number of taxi ranks, but it is advised to book a journey in advance with one of the local taxi firms, some examples of which are listed below:
- CJ's Taxi - Skegness
- Red Cabs, Skegness.
- Abbey Taxis, Boston.
- Premier Cabs, Grantham.
- Grimsby Cabs, Grimsby.
- Fast Cabs, North Lincolnshire.
- Bourne Taxi Ltd, Bourne, ☏ .
National Trust properties
- Woolsthorpe Manor Colsterworth, near Grantham
- Belton House, Grantham
- Tattershall Castle, Sleaford Road, Tattershall
- Gunby Hall and Gardens, Gunby, Spilsby.
- Grantham House, Castlegate, Grantham.
- Priest's House, Easton on the Hill, near Stamford.
Other large properties
There are a number of other impressive stately homes and castles in the county which are not operated by the National Trust:
- Burghley House, near Stamford
- Belvoir Castle near Grantham.
- Grimsthorpe Castle near Bourne
- Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe
- Alford Manor House in Alford
English Heritage properties
- Lincoln Medieval Bishop's Palace, Lincoln
- Thornton Abbey and Gatehouse, Ulceby, near Barton-upon-Humber.
- Gainsborough Old Hall, Gainsborough
- St Peter's Church Barton-upon-Humber
- Sibsey Trader Mill near Boston
- Bolingbroke Castle near Spilsby
- Tattershall College Tattershall
- Gainsthorpe Medieval Village, near Brigg (near Scunthorpe)
Lincolnshire has a proud aviation history that can be understood by visiting at a number of visitor centres in the county:
- Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre is located near the RAF base in the village of Coningsby near Spilsby
- Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre on the site of the former RAF East Kirkby near Spilsby.
- RAF Scampton Museum, near Lincoln
Lincolnshire has an impressive number of well-preserved and working windmills that often still make and sell their own produce:
- Alford Windmill in Alford
- Heckington Windmill. In the village of Heckington, near Sleaford
- Maud Foster Mill in Boston
- Waltham Windmill in the village of Waltham near Grimsby.
- Ellis Windmill In Lincoln is located close to the Museum of Lincolnshire Life.
- Sibsey Trader Mill is a National Trust property, near Boston.
- The windmills above are those with visitor facilities but there are over 130 former windmills in Lincolnshire that you may see on your travels with some having been converted to restaurants or accommodation with some standing derelict.
- Mrs Smith's Cottage in the village of Navenby near Lincoln.
- Bateman's Brewery Visitor Centre In Wainfleet, near Skegness
- The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft - see Doncaster for details.
The Lincolnshire coast has many beaches located between Cleethorpes and Skegness. Many are secluded with no tourist facilities whilst others form part of nature reserves with some restrictions in place for this and also others which are owned by the Ministry of Defence.
Most tourists to the coast will seek to visit the four main beaches which have been designated 'Blue Flag' status for cleanliness and which also offer most facilities, these are located at Skegness, Cleethorpes, Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea.
Lincolnshire is known for having plentiful open space and this can be enjoyed further in one of many nature reserves. There are around 100 which are operated by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust which offer scenic walks and great opportunities to observe wildlife. The four principal reserves which show the diversity of the nature in Lincolnshire and include visitor services are:
- Gibraltar Point, near Skegness
- Whisby Nature Park, near Lincoln
- Far Ings, near Barton-upon-Humber
- Snipe Dales, near Spilsby
Also operated by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and of note is Donna Nook Nature Reserve located on the coast between Mablethorpe and Grimsby. It is famed for having one of the largest and most accessible colonies of grey seals in the UK, a special wardening service is in operation during November and December to protect the seals and also to further explain the animals and the breeding process to visitors.
The vast reserves of Frieston Shore and Frampton Marsh near Boston are operated by the RSPB and offers an excellent opportunity to explore the Wash which is the most important estuary for wildlife in the country.
- Long-distance paths follow the coast south from Grimsby. Some stretches are on resort promenades, and there are several diversions inland to avoid harbour industry. Most it's along the sea defence dykes, with low fields and lagoons on one side and birds inspecting the mud-flats on the other.
- Water Rail Way is an inland route from Lincoln to Boston along the River Witham. It's a former railway trackbed so it's flat, and paved for cycling.
- Freshney Place, Grimsby – the largest shopping centre in the county featuring branches of most major retailers.
- Springfields, Spalding – has over 40 discount shopping outlets from major brands and retailers.
- Marshall's Yard, Gainsborough – features around 30 stores in the centre of the town
- The Parishes, Scunthorpe – shopping centre which also features 7 screen Vue cinema
- The Foundry Shopping Centre, Scunthorpe – has over 40 stores which include many of the top major retailers
There are numerous markets that take place in towns throughout Lincolnshire on a weekly basis throughout the year, selling locally grown produce including fruit and vegetables as well as meat and poultry produce. Some of the largest and most popular markets are found in the towns in the Lincolnshire Wolds such as Louth, Spilsby and Horncastle whilst elsewhere Boston, Grantham and Spalding are popular destinations.
The largest selection of antiques shops and dealers are in Horncastle and Stamford but those with a significant interest should visit the Antiques Centre at Hemswell Cliff, near Gainsborough which has over 300 dealers selling thousands of items.
Arts & crafts
- The Alford Craft Market is one of the largest craft markets in the region and takes place on regular dates during the year in the grounds of Alford Manor House.
Caravan and camp sites
One of the most popular places for people to stay whilst visiting Lincolnshire is in one of the many caravan and camp sites which can be found in every area of the county. This form of accommodation is particularly popular on the Lincolnshire Coast with hundreds of great sites to choose from.
Visiting families may choose to stay in one of the county's holiday parks which have more facilities, services and entertainment a cater for a wide range of budgets. Some of the larger holiday parks are listed below:
- Butlin's Skegness
- Haven Golden Sands in Mablethorpe
- Haven Thorpe Park in Cleethorpes
- Park Resorts Southview near Skegness
- Park Resorts Sunnydale between Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe, which are part of Louth
- Richmond Holiday Centre, Skegness
Rest of Lincolnshire
- Tattershall Lakes , Tattershall
- Bainland Holiday Park, in Woodhall Spa near Lincoln
- Kenwick Park, near Louth
There is a large range of independent hotels and B&Bs in most areas of the county for a wide range of budgets. Many of these, especially guest houses are occasionally able to offer accommodation without having to book beforehand.
For those wanting to stay in hotels operated by well-known brands there are a number who have properties across the county that are available at affordable prices. The locations where the main hotel chains are in operation include:
- Holiday Inn – Lincoln (also has a Holiday Inn Express)
- Doubletree by Hilton - Lincoln
- Hotel Ibis – Lincoln
- Premier Inn – Boston, Grantham, Grimsby, Lincoln and Scunthorpe.
- Travelodge – Grantham, Lincoln, Scunthorpe, Sleaford and Spalding
Upon dialling 999 you will likely be first met by a first responder service called LIVES [formerly dead link] (Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service) which operate in all areas of the county and often take on great importance due to the remoteness and rural nature of many places. They are usually able to make those in need more comfortable and provide assistance until the East Midlands Ambulance Service arrives.
The following hospitals have 24-hour major Accident and Emergency departments:
- Pilgrim Hospital, Boston. Tel: (01205) 364801
- Lincoln County Hospital, Lincoln. Tel: (01522) 512512
- Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, Grimsby. Tel: (01472) 874111
- Scunthorpe General Hospital, Scunthorpe. Tel: (01724) 282282
The following hospitals have 24 hour minor Accident and Emergency departments:
- Grantham & District Hospital, Grantham. Tel: (01476) 565232
- Skegness & District Hospital, Skegness. Tel: (01754) 762401
- County Hospital, Louth. Tel: (01507) 600100
The following hospitals do not have 24 hour Accident and Emergency departments and can only deal with the most minor injuries:
- John Coupland Hospital, Gainsborough. Tel: (01427) 816500
- New Johnson Community Hospital, Spalding. Tel: (01775) 652000
- Stamford and Rutland Hospital, Stamford. Tel: (01780) 764 151
The following emergency services are also in operation in the county (all contact numbers are for non-emergencies only, otherwise dial 999):
- All crimes and other incidents are dealt with by the Lincolnshire Police Force. Tel: 0300 111 0300
- Fires, serious road traffic accidents and serious incidents are dealt with by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue. Tel: (01522) 582222
- There are coastguard stations at Skegness, Chapel St. Leonards, Mablethorpe, Donna Nook and Cleethorpes. Tel: 023 8032 9486
There are three lifeboat stations in Lincolnshire operated by the RNLI:
- Skegness – Tower Esplanade. Tel: (01754) 763011
- Mablethorpe - Promenade. Tel: (01507) 477848
- Cleethorpes - Promenade. Tel: (01472) 690857