As many of you may know Poi and I live in Lincoln, we love Lincoln however we tend to do nothing touristy here, in fact, I usually tell people there’s not much to do in Lincoln. But I’m wrong – I take for granted the fact we have a beautiful Cathedral and an amazing castle on our doorstep as well as all the rest of the cathedral quarter. When I moved back to Lincoln from London I promised myself I would become a tourist within my own City.
Lincoln castle has undergone a £22-million renovation and reopened to the public all shiny and new in April this year. There are three main exhibits at the castle, the Magna Carta vault, castle walls and Victorian prison.
The present castle that you see today was built in 1068, so it’s nearly a 1000 years old, but there’s actually been a castle of some description on the site since the Roman times.
It is currently free to go in the castle however if you want to explore the castle walls or any of the other exhibits you’ll need a ticket.
Home of the Magna Carta
The Magna Carta is Latin for ‘great charter’ and was first issued by King John in 1215 to try and bring peace to England – it didn’t work and within months there was civil war! In 1217, his son reissued the charter, naming it the Magna Carta and also issued the charter of the forest, mainly written to strengthen the Magna Carta’s key promises.
There are only 4 copies of the Magna Carta and 2 copies of the Charter of the forest that have survived 800 years. And more importantly, Lincoln Castle is the only place where you can see the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest together.
As part of the renovation, there is now a new visitor centre which explains the importance of the Magna Carta and how it has impacted our lives today. Personally it is exciting to see both documents but I am not sure I would come to castle just to see them – good job they have a couple of other attractions up their sleeve!
The Castle Walls
The wall is completely accessible via lift or a staircase and you can use a free audio guide to find out more about the Castle and Lincolns history. The best thing is you can now walk around the whole castle and get some amazing pictures of the surrounding areas (like this one!)
The prison was built on the Pentonville model of ‘separate system’ the idea was that prisoners would live in complete solitude throughout their time to ensure that no one was corrupted by another criminal and that all could reflect on why they were in prison in the first place. This was very popular at the time of building the prison, however, it never really came into fruition at Lincoln.
Lincoln Prison found it very expensive to keep an eye on everyone in their separate cells, instead they kept everyone together during the day and within months Lincoln Castle Prison was so overcrowded there was 2, 3 and sometimes 7 inmates in one cell! Whoops!
Because of it’s teething problems the prison only opened for 30 years before it moved to a new site on the outskirts of Lincoln.
Lincoln castle has the only separate system chapel left in the world. This was designed so the prisoners could see the chaplain but not each other. I stood in one and they are incredibly claustrophobic!
This was my favourite part of the castle, it was great to explore the different parts of the prison including listening to guards and prisoners stories. We also had a go at the different jobs you had to do to try and earn some money for the prison’s upkeep.
Opening times: 10am – 4pm in the winter and 10am – 5pm in the summer.
Cost: £12 per adult, £10.60 concession and £7.20 child. You can also combine tickets with the cathedral £16 for adult (saving £4)
Upcoming events: click here to find out about upcoming events: http://www.lincolncastle.com/content/events