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Lincoln Cathedral - my beacon of home

If you’re already a follower of Follie on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for Lincoln Cathedral, in particular taking pictures of her. Whatever the weather, come wind, rain, snow or sunshine, her spectacular architecture always lifts me up and I count myself very lucky that I get to walk past her to my shop every day.

She’s survived fires, earthquakes and sieges by Oliver Cromwell’s forces, provided backdrops for Hollywood blockbusters like The Da Vinci Code and Napoleon and to this day is still a very welcome homing beacon for RAF pilots & their crew returning to their bases throughout the county.

Stood magnificently at the top of the hill overlooking the city & surrounding countryside for over 950 years, Lincoln Cathedral is always the landmark I keep a lookout for, especially if I’m travelling back by train, watching the illuminations light up the Brayford. But even from several miles away, once you get that 1st glimpse, you know you are nearly home.

Having already weathered many a storm, like a steady symbol of reliability, I found photographing her during the recent lockdowns and sharing those images quite comforting. And even now, some days when you need a quiet moment to yourself, I sometimes go in to one of the little chapels, not to pray, but just to be still, take some deep breaths and look up at the great big V shaped arches, a legacy of the Norman engineering introduced by the Bishop of Lincoln, St Hugh, in 1186, meaning that the windows could be bigger, ceilings higher and the architecture a whole lot more Gothic.

I got to walk above those arches a few years ago, right up into the rafters, when I went on one of the roof tours. If you love history & architecture, it’s absolutely fascinating and something that I definitely recommend. You’re guided to parts of the Cathedral that are usually hidden away under lock & key, behind big thick oak doors, up spiral staircases, across walkways, through passages and most importantly, you get to go outside on the roof with views west over towards Lincoln Castle and to the south over the whole of the city.

In the warmer months, before starting work, I like to go and have a stroll in the new Deans Garden, which is also the entrance to the Cathedral cafe & shop. It’s very peaceful and when it’s in full bloom, the plants and trees are beautiful & I’ve even taken a little planting inspiration to my own little green space, a 10 x 10 allotment on the edge of town.

There is an entrance fee to visit the Cathedral*, which includes a guided Floor Tour, but I recently discovered if you Gift Aid this entry fee, it then becomes a pass to visit for 12 months. As well as the roof tour, there are several others to choose from, including an Historic Graffiti Tour and the Tower Tour, with 300 steps to tackle to reach the top, they usually run from Monday - Saturday, each costing an additional £7.50 per person and lasting up to 90 minutes, *students & under 16s are free.

As well as providing your usual cathedral services and ceremonies, Lincoln Cathedral continues to provide a magnificent setting for an increasingly diverse range of theatre & musical productions, graduations, concerts, engineering festivals and immersive light shows and as renowned author & adventurer Simon Reeves once said “….Lincoln Cathedral is one of the finest buildings on planet earth” and I happen to agree with him.

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