Lincoln’s affordable housing, historic centre and retail hotspots are raising its profile among house-hunters.

Lincoln is a cathedral city in the East Midlands. Previous inhabitants include Roman army veterans, raiding Vikings, Norman conquerors, the Bishops of Lincoln and Empress Matilda.

Today, this city offers residents a highly sought-after balance of rural calm and historic charm.

Located 74 miles from Leeds, 98 miles from Birmingham and 141 miles from London, Lincoln occupies a rare geographic position. It’s informally split by residents into ‘uphill’ and ‘downhill’ Lincoln.

The city is centred around an historic core, framed by an abundance of modern shops, cafés, independent stores, accessible waterways and green space. Living costs are very affordable and property is in high demand.

Current house prices in Lincoln stand at £185,000, considerably below the average for England. However, continued investment in Lincoln’s infrastructure, such as the South East Bypass and Transport Hub, means that prices are likely to rise. You can check up-to-date prices here.

Interested in other areas in the East Midlands? Take a look at Nottingham.

Lincoln cathedral and an old Tudor building

Living in Lincoln: what to expect

Lincoln is ideal for families as its state grammar schools come with excellent reputations. The city is also home to two public universities – the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University.

Lincoln’s small, largely pedestrianised city centre appeals to homebuyers inclined to shy away from overwhelming cities. Uphill Lincoln furnishes residents with tea shops and independent retailers, while high-street favourites are found in the downhill region.

Locals gather to get into the festive mood at the Lincoln’s Christmas market. More than 250,000 people flock to the city to buy Christmas treats and presents, but you can also enjoy several street markets throughout the year.

Accessibility to the rest of the UK is one of Lincoln’s major draws. It also links easily with Europe via London’s major airports, or the nearby Humberside Airport, which connects residents with Amsterdam.

Lincoln’s industry today is booming in the areas of public administration, education and health. A quarter of the workforce is also involved in distribution, restaurants and hotels.

Major employment is provided through building gas turbines, or working for Siemens mobile, or Jack Dawson and Son, a belting and hose manufacturer. Keep an eye on the evolving IT economy in this region too.

You can expect life in Lincoln to be lively with fans of their professional football team, ‘The Imps’, flocking to games at Sincil Bank Stadium. The team has played there since 1895.

The view up Steep Hill in Lincoln

Where to start your property search

The city is divided into uphill and downhill areas. The former is the historical quarter, featuring Lincoln Cathedral, Castle and the Medieval Bishop's Palace. The latter includes the city centre, as well as suburbs to the south and south-west.

City living: Uphill, you will find large Victorian semis along roads such as Stonefield Avenue. Look for period features like bay windows and high ceilings in these homes.

For stately semis and detached family homes, some with mock Tudor fronts, look to areas such as Bunkers Hill. Twentieth-century family homes can be founds along streets such as Greetwell Road.

Look to the conservation area of Carline Road for easy connections to the A46. Cottages and Victorian properties are on the market, some of which have great views over Lincoln and the surrounding countryside.

For properties downhill, search areas such as Sincil Bank. Terraced houses are a common sight here, most of which have two to three bedrooms. Victorian terraces can also be found along Portland Street.

In the city centre is Brayford, another conservation area. Search Brayford Street for award-winning modern apartments.

More unusual properties can be found downhill for those looking for a more unconventional home. Old mills, such as the one on Princess Street, have been converted into luxurious executive apartments.

Suburbs: The town of North Hykeham sits to the south-west of Lincoln and is a popular suburb. Large Victorian residences line Newark Road, while modern detached family homes can be seen on Brant Road. Character cottages are also available.

Not keen on bustling city centre life? Consider extending your search to the wider satellite villages of Navenby, Saxilby and Skellingthorpe. These locations are just a 20-minute drive away from the centre of Lincoln.

Navenby has a host of modern and 20th-century bungalows, which are ideal for those looking to downsize. Conversions of period homes are also on the market.

Bungalows are also widely available along Waterloo Lane and Martin Close in Skellingthorpe. Substantial family homes line streets such as Lincoln Road, and modern townhouses can be seen on Stirling Way.

If you’re looking for character, take a look at the cottages in Saxilby. The popular area of West Bank is also a haven for residents who enjoy the direct views onto the river.

Getting around Lincoln

By train: Direct train services reach London in just two hours. Lincoln Central is situated on St Mary's Street and connects with destinations along the Nottingham, Doncaster, Cleethorpes, Peterborough, Stevenage, Sheffield and Newark lines.

By car: Lincoln’s medieval centre means it is not well adapted to cars. Residents should therefore consider taking advantage of bus services to access the inner city.

The A15 runs the entire length of Lincolnshire. The old Roman Road, Fosse Way (A46) connects to the A1 dual carriageway. The B1190, which partly forms the county boundary between Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, runs through Lincoln and meets the A46 bypass.

By bike: Lincoln offers a HireBike scheme on the Brayford Waterfront (outside Royal William IV pub). Rent a bike for free for up to 30 minutes. £1 per hour is charged thereafter. The Water Rail Way also offers a purpose-built off-road cycle path that follows 33 miles of the River Witham.

By air: Humberside is the closest airport to Lincoln. Most flights connect from Amsterdam. Doncaster Sheffield Airport is less than an hour away by car and offers a wider selection of international flights. All major London airports are three hours away by train or can be reached by car via the A1.

Steep Hill sign in Lincoln

Things to do in Lincoln

The standout features of Lincoln are its English Gothic Cathedral and Norman Castle, which dominate the local architecture.

When it was first erected, the central wooden cathedral spire was said to have surpassed the height of Egypt’s Great Pyramids as the world’s tallest man-made structure. Sadly, the spire has not survived, but you can take a tower tour for great views over the city.

Lincoln Castle was built as a fortress by order of William the Conqueror in the 11th century. It’s a must-visit for those who appreciate the fascinating history of England, as one of only four surviving Magna Carta documents is preserved within its walls.

The cultural vibe of this city is reflected by the most popular live entertainment venue of Lincoln Drill Hall. It hosts an annual programme of performance arts, music, literature, comedy and youth events.

Head to Theatre Royal for musicals and drama performances, or for something more contemporary, try The Engine Shed. It opened in 2006 and has hosted some of the biggest names currently in the charts. The venue also has vintage fairs during daytime hours.

Shopping is excitingly varied. On one hand you can scale Steep Hill or explore Bailgate for independent boutique and antique outlets in a historic, cobbled setting. Alternatively, you’re spoilt for choice at St Mark's Square retail complex, the High Street, or Waterside Shopping Centre.

Residents can look forward to even more shopping choice in the future. The huge Lindongate shopping centre is a development in the region set to be opened in 2016/2017.

For food, Lincoln has an assortment of pubs, restaurants and cafés in both its historic quarter and urban areas. Favourites include The Bronze Pig for local produce and Bunty’s Tearoom for cake.

You can also head to the Brayford Waterfront Quarter for your pick of contemporary restaurants and bars. It also has a cinema, so follow a meal by watching the latest blockbuster.

The rural surroundings of Lincoln allow residents to spend a weekend at Whisby Nature Reserve, exploring its wildlife, lakes, family walks or café. Or venture out to Hartsholme Country Park campsite for a weekend in the wild.

Stretch your legs along the Fossdyke Canal Trail. It runs for six miles from Lincoln to Saxilby and follows the Roman-built canal, which has been used to transport cargo for 2,000 years.

Neighbouring attractions include Waddington and Scampton Airfield, home of the RAF's Red Arrows, and Cadwell Park motor racing circuit, located near Louth.

Lincoln canal on a sunny day

Best kept secret in Lincoln

Join locals at the Lincoln Sausage Festival. Cooking demonstrations, live music and food stalls crowd the castle square and ensure that this family-friendly event is always a hit.

5 reasons to live in Lincoln

  • Good travel connections to the rest of the UK including London, Leeds and Birmingham

  • Lower-than-average house prices

  • Good mix of independent and high street shops

  • Historical city centre

  • Choice of urban or rural living

Have we left anything out of the mix? Leave your recommendations in the comments.

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