If you're looking for a taste of England's medieval history, consider taking a day trip north of London to the city of Lincoln. This small city in the English Midlands has a lot going for it, but it is relatively less connected than other nearby cities and may seem difficult to reach if you don't have a car. However, it is possible to get there by bus or train, but you may need to make a transfer or two along the way. Lincoln is 143 miles (231 kilometers) away from London, so you may want to consider staying overnight if you do decide to go—especially if you are relying on public transportation.
The easiest and most direct way to get to Lincoln is by renting a car, although travelers should be wary of the high costs of gasoline that come along with driving in the UK. If you're looking to save money, the train and bus are much cheaper and you won't have to worry about the cost of a rental car or parking. However, it typically takes much longer, especially if you have to transfer. If your schedule is flexible, there are a couple of direct trains you can take from London that are even quicker than driving.
|Train||2 hours||from $17||Convenience|
|Bus||4 hours, 45 minutes||from $8||Budget travel|
|Car||3 hours, 20 minutes||144 miles (232 kilometers)||Flexibility|
There are daily trains that travel between London and Lincoln, although the majority of journeys require changing trains at least once. For example, London Northeastern Railways (LNER) runs services from London King's Cross to Lincoln with one change to an East Midlands Trains service at Newark North Gate.
Trains leave King's Cross about every half hour from before 6 a.m. to after 9:30 p.m. The trip takes between two to three hours, depending on how many changes you need to make. There is also a train that leaves King's Cross at 11:30 p.m., but you probably won't want to take that one because it requires two changes and takes about seven hours. There are two direct trains a day: the 6:05 p.m. train departing from St. Pancras Station and the 7:06 p.m. train, which departs from King's Cross Station.
Finding the right combination of one-way tickets to arrive at the cheapest fare for a long journey can be confusing and time-consuming, so take your time testing out different combinations using the National Rail Enquiries website's cheapest fare finder tool. You'll find the best results if you can be flexible about the date and time you wish to travel.
The fastest National Express Coach from London to Lincoln takes four hours, 45 minutes and there is only one bus daily between London Victoria Coach Station and Lincoln City Bus Station. From London, there are two departures per day in the afternoon. On your return journey from Lincoln, there is only one bus per day that typically leaves around 8:45 a.m. Bus tickets between London to Lincoln are extremely affordable, but if you choose to only travel by bus, you will have to factor in the cost of overnight accommodation into your budget. If you only plan on spending one night, this does not leave you much time to explore Lincoln, since you will be arriving late in the evening and leaving early in the morning.
Lincoln is 143 miles directly north of London via the A1(M) and the A1. These roads are not the UK's main motorways and there are points on this journey when you will go through town centers, roundabouts, and traffic lights. No matter what the traffic is like, unless you are leaving from the center of north London, plan on being on the road for at least three hours.
From London, you'll take Hendon Way north until you can continue on to Watford Way, where you'll stay for a little less than the mile. At the roundabout, take the exit to Barnet Way until you reach the roundabout to get onto the A1, where you'll stay for about 111 miles (179 kilometers). After passing the town of Coddington, you'll take the roundabout to exit onto A46, which you'll follow for about 15 miles (24 kilometers), taking the first roundabout after passing the Fossdyke Canal and exiting onto Saxilby Road, which will take you all the way to Lincoln.
What to See in Lincoln
Steeped in history, Lincoln has many well-preserved elements of the past worth seeing in person. The medieval quarter features a stunning cathedral and remains of the Roman Empire. Visitors up for a challenge may take satisfaction in conquering Steep Hill, a hill so appropriately named that there are handrails to help pedestrians get to the top. There is also a bus if you'd rather save your energy.
At the top of the hill, the Lincoln Cathedral is one of the city's proudest landmarks, and until the 16th century, it was the only manmade structure in the world that was taller than the Pyramids of Giza. Don't forget to take time to explore the waterfront too, which sits on the Fossdyke Navigation, England's oldest navigable canal which was built by the Romans. This is the same canal you'll cross over if you arrive by car.