Lincoln Cathedral at dusk
On the occasions when our adventures are city-based, our family of six pack our rucksacks just as if we were about to hike across fields or mountains and we treat the landscape exactly the same. We walk and explore, and try and find the hidden corners that breathe character into the bricks and mortar.
Dusk was already beginning to fall, as we crossed cobbled streets that led towards the Cathedral. It’s a very peaceful time of the day, workers have gone home, and revellers are yet to arrive for the evening and the city feels very still.
We made our way through an old stone archway to the cathedral square just beyond.
When you look at our children exploring the courtyard below, you can see the sheer scale of Lincoln Cathedral, which for hundreds of years (1311-1549) was the tallest building in the world.
Standing under the main entrance, we look upwards to see layer upon layer of carved stone above the doorway and we get the children to run their hands over the door and imagine the countless number pilgrims who have crossed this threshold over the centuries.
Our youngest boys enjoy spotting all of the carved creatures in the pillars…
… and then we spend time just quietly walking around the entranceway, looking at the details. We are the only people here.
As we walk around the outside of the building, there is an ancient wall to our right with a set of wrought iron gates, leading to a little courtyard and the ruins of the medieval Bishop’s Palace – we’ll return again in the daytime to explore further.
Onwards, and it’s starting to get dark. The first lights flicker on under the eaves, and a choir begins to practise, the song floating along the air.
To the other side of the Cathedral, at Priory Gate, there’s a wide green and rows of terraced houses…
… and a small path winds under a stone arch and into a little public garden. Its here that we eat a small packed supper together and watch the street lamps slowly light up along the road.
As we continue our circuit of the cathedral, darkness falls and the floodlights come on.
The air feels heavy, and there are swirling storm clouds above us. We retrace our steps back to the cobbled street and turn back, to see the spires dramatically illuminated against an inky sky.
Our Top Tips
- Visiting a city either in the early morning, or at dusk, gives a completely different perspective, and you can quite often have very famous landmarks all to yourself. This allows you to really connect with your surroundings thoughtfully and peacefully, without competing with the crowds.
- Do something different. Taking a homemade supper and searching out a quiet garden alcove in a city, talking to passersby, and taking in the atmosphere is much easier, cheaper and greener than relying on franchise takeaways to feed a hungry family.
- Look up, look back – don’t just look straight ahead, the best views are the surprises.
- Don’t rely on Sat Nav in the older parts of Lincoln when getting to and from the Cathedral on the very top of the steep hill. A Tesla (or any family car) will not easily fit down the more ancient roads – follow the traffic flow.
We parked in a small carpark, just behind the Wig & Mitre pub. It gives good access to both the castle (closed in the evenings) and the cathedral.
Lincolnshire is a bit of a void for chargers as yet, but the new Sheffield bank of superchargers will be a big help, meaning that you can charge at the M1, then take the Worksop route across to Lincoln.
*New superchargers are due to open by the end of 2017 at Leicester Forest East Services and Grantham.
The Ecotricity Electric Highway has options near to Sheffield and Grantham.
To learn in detail about the history of Lincoln Cathedral, and to view opening times, see the official Lincoln Cathedral website.