Lincoln's medieval center has walkable castle walls, one of the best of the four original copies of the Magna Carta, an unusual Victorian prison to tour, a truly memorable cathedral - and it is the Steampunk capital of Britain. This small Midlands city has a lot going for it but it can seem off the beaten path. Getting there will probably involve changing trains but it's well worth the trouble. Although Lincoln is only 143 miles from London, it's better as an overnight trip than a day trip. Here's how to get there.
How to Get to Lincoln
There are at least 25 trains a day between London and Lincoln and most journeys involve changing trains at least once. Virgin East Coast Trains run services from London King's Cross to Lincoln with one change to an East Midlands Trains service at Newark North Gate .
Trains leave Kings Cross about every half hour from before 6am to after 9:30pm. The trip takes between two and three hours. There is also a train that leaves Kings Cross at 11:30pm, but you really don't want to take that one - it's a more than seven hour trip.
The cheapest advance fare for a round trip - purchased as two one-way tickets was £34 when booked in December 2016 for a January 2017 trip.
There is also one direct train a day, at 6:30pm, from St Pancras International to Lincoln but cheap fares are not available for that service and a round trip in (2017) can cost you more than £100.
UK Travel Tip - Finding the right combination of one-way tickets to arrive at the cheapest fare for a longer journey can be confusing and time consuming. You can spend a lot of time trying out different combinations. If you can be flexible about your date and time of travel, it's easier to let National Rail Enquiries do it for you with their cheapest fare finder.
The fastest National Express Coach from London to Lincoln takes 5 hours 10 minutes and there are only two departures each way between London Victoria Coach Station and Lincoln City Bus Station. The return journeys are rather early, leaving Lincoln at either 7:25am or 9am, so you need to factor that in when working out how much useful time you'll actually have in Lincoln. The fare ranges between £12.90 and £30 depending upon which combination of one-way tickets you buy.Use their Cheap Fare Finder to discover the lowest fares and to find special offers.
Bus tickets can be purchased online. There may be a booking fee from 50 pence to £2 depending upon the type of ticket you buy. Paper tickets, e-tickets that you print yourself and m-tickets for mobile phones are all available.
Lincoln is 143 miles directly north of London via the A1(M) and the A1. These roads are not the UK's main motorways. There are points on this journey when you will go through town centers, roundabouts or traffic lights. No matter what the traffic is like, plan on a drive of at least three hours. Remember too that gasoline, called petrol in the UK, is sold by the liter (a little more than a quart) and the price is usually between $1.50 and $2 a quart
Staying in Lincoln
Lincoln has an incredible medieval center, a stunning cathedral, a waterfront on the oldest navigable canal in England still in use (the Fossdyke Navigation was built by the Romans), one of the original copies of the Magna Carta, Roman ruins and castle walls you can walk around that give amazing views of the countryside for miles. Despite it's many charms, however, Lincoln has only recently become a viable destination for overseas visitors on short vacations. Because of that, the availability of good quality, city center hotels is slim.
But things are improving. I recently stayed at Lincoln's Double Tree by Hilton, on the waterfront, and I can recommend it.