Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs) is a historical county in eastern England. It offers many advantages: it’s an energetic, modern city with a magnificent cathedral and a growing university; it’s improving transport infrastructure; and the county also hosts historical attractions that regularly lure an influx of tourists. Oscar-winning director Ron Howard described Lincoln as, "beautiful, absolutely gorgeous and friendly".
Its largely rural geography is varied but contains distinct sub-regions that form their own natural attractions: the chalk hills of the Lincolnshire Wolds; the Lincolnshire Fens; the Carrs; the Humber Estuary and North Sea coast; and the limestone hills of the Kesteven Uplands.
Part of this ceremonial county is in the Yorkshire and Humber region while most occupies the East Midlands – Lincolnshire is the only British county to occupy two different regions. Its county town is Lincoln – one of the fastest growing locations in the UK – and its districts are Boston, East Lindsey, Lincoln, North Kesteven, South Holland, South Kesteven, and West Lindsey. The county borders Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Rutland, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire. (Its 18-metre border with Northamptonshire is England's shortest county boundary.)
Lincolnshire is home to numerous RAF Stations, including RAF Coningsby and RAF Waddington. The Army runs Sobraon Barracks, home of 160 (Lincoln) Squadron. The unofficial anthem of the county is the traditional folk song The Lincolnshire Poacher dating from 1776. Its county flower is the Common Dog-violet and its flag is a St George's design with a Fleur-de-Lys.
Overall: An ambitious £30-million ‘Lincoln Transport Hub’ scheme will transform the city centre via a new, state-of-the-art bus station; 1,000 space multi-storey car park; retail units and pedestrian plaza area connecting the new facilities with Lincoln Central Railway Station.
Road: The county is dominated by single carriageway A roads and local B roads. The M180 motorway passes through North Lincolnshire, and the A46 is now a dual carriageway.
Rail: Most rail services come from East Midlands Trains and Northern, although Virgin Trains East Coast, CrossCountry and the TransPennine Express also pass through Lincolnshire. There’s a train line and two stations between Lincoln and Sleaford – and the East Coast Main Line offers direct trains to London.
Air: The small Humberside Airport near Brigg serves Lincolnshire. Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster is also within travelling distance – and operates more flights.
Bus: The county's biggest bus companies are Stagecoach Grimsby-Cleethorpes and Stagecoach. Several smaller bus companies, including Brylaine, Delaine and Hornsby's, also operate services.
Bike: A Sustrans’ cycle route runs from Lincoln to Boston in the south of the county.
Lincolnshire has recently been the second-fastest growing county in the UK. Over the next two decades, the county is projected is to grow – in terms of both population and economy – assisted by the Government’s Growth Points strategy. Lincolnshire has been granted £13 million to fund sustainable development and intensive growth in key regional sites.
Along with traditional housing, modern homes are also being built throughout the area. Opportunities for living in the city centre are being enhanced by numerous newly-built apartments. Lincoln aims to build 14,000 new homes and offer 12,000 new jobs by 2026; the target for Grantham is an additional 6,200 homes in the same timespan – again supplemented by increased employment opportunities.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Brexit may cause a fall in house prices – plus a rise in the cost of mortgages. This would work well for first-time buyers (but it’s not such good news for the area’s existing homeowners). However, the steady recovery of the housing market from the last recession is evidence that Lincolnshire’s housing market is resilient enough to resist huge change. Owning property within Lincolnshire remains a fantastic investment.
Fancy some retail therapy? Lincolnshire’s shopping ranges from some of the UK’s best antique dealers and markets to craft outlets, gorgeous boutiques and high-street brands – in both quaint and contemporary locations. Lincolnshire produces up to a fifth of the nation’s food. The town of Louth, for example, is brimming with local produce – yet no supermarkets. There’s a huge range of farm shops in the county.
Lincoln city is home to boutique outlets, tearooms and restaurants. Stroll the historic cobbled streets of Bailgate, Steep Hill and The Strait, enveloped by medieval buildings or Roman ruins. There’s also the open-air St Marks and the riverside Waterside shopping centres. Marshall's Yard in Gainsborough houses a super range of shops on the former site of a 19th-century ironworks – reflecting the town’s industrial history.
Grimsby’s Freshney Place contains over 100 retailers while The Hildreds in Skegness offers seaside-style shopping. Horncastle hosts legendary antique shops while Hemswell Antique Centre showcases Europe’s largest selection of antique dealers. There are traditional street markets plus the coastal Fantasy Island, one of Europe’s largest indoor/outdoor markets. Lincoln’s monthly Crafts in the City or Alford Craft Markets are also worth visiting.
Sport: Two local teams play in the Football League: Scunthorpe United and Grimsby Town. In cricket, Lincolnshire play in the Minor Counties Championship. Lindum Hockey Club play in northern Lincoln. Market Rasen is Lincolnshire’s only racecourse. The motorsport circuit at Cadwell Park near Louth hosts parts of the British Motorbike Championship; there’s also a speedway track in Scunthorpe, home of The Scorpions. Stock cars race in Orby. The Lincolnshire Bombers Roller Girls are a roller derby team.
Family: Some of the UK’s best-known seaside resorts are in Lincolnshire – including Skegness with its famous Jolly Fisherman mascot. Neighbouring Ingoldmells and Chapel St Leonards provide the biggest concentration of resorts along the coast. Mablethorpe, Trusthorpe and Sutton-on-Sea also offer leisure activities. Not forgetting Cleethorpes and Humberston, which has a Pleasure Island Family Theme Park.
Culture: Woolsthorpe Manor was the birthplace and home of Sir Isaac Newton, who attended The King's School in Grantham; its library preserves his signature scrawled on a window sill.Lincoln also offers The Collection, an archaeological museum and art galley, while its cathedral hosts events year-round, from concert recitals to indoor food markets. The National Centre for Craft & Design at SleafordisEngland’s largest venue for contemporary and international craft and design.
Events: Lincolnshire Agricultural Show (est 1884) is one of Britain’s largest. The two-day RAF International Waddington Air Show attracts 150,000 people and usually showcases The Red Arrows. Stamford Mid-Lent Fair fills Broad Street, the Sheepmarket and the Meadows for a week then moves onto Grantham. Roger Tuby brings a small funfair to Bourne and Spalding. Stamford Mid-Lent Fair lasts a week. Throughout summer the Stamford Shakespeare Company presents open-air plays at Tolethorpe Hall. The Spalding Flower Parade has been held since 1959. There’s also the Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival.