Having loved our visit to Lincoln Castle & Cathedral yesterday, we know that Lincoln caters brilliantly for little explorers....our girls loved every second of the castle walls walk, guided cathedral tour and visit to the Victorian Prison. But could Lincoln provide as much enjoyment today but this time for free? So what's available in the city, if like us, you're on a tight budget?
Well for starters, look no further than the truly brilliant and free 'Museum of Lincolnshire Life'... this museum certainly packs in far more than it's exterior suggests... it's a treasure trove of historical collections that will keep your kids occupied for hours! Sadly, we'd only given over 2hrs to visit and it wasn't nearly enough!! The audio guides, worksheets and treasure trails gave plenty to do and it really did offer a brilliant 'RoadSchooling Opportunity' on what life has been like for generations of Lincolnshire folk.
But there's more than just reflecting the culture of Lincolnshire since 1750, it also tells a narrative of the lives of the people... the Lincolnshire regiments in WW1 at the Somme or by the retelling of stories (told through the lives of two children - Tom/Lucy)... it's clever, well organised and full of things to do & see...
But perhaps it's most telling contribution is the fantastic resourcing that has obviously taken place, everything looks authentic and the kids loved seeing the names/brands they know today... albeit in a different container or jar!!! At times, it reminded us of our visit to York's Castle Museum and their Victorian Street or our visit to Harry Potter's Diagon Alley.
Leaving behind the museum, we headed into the vibrant centre of Lincoln on the search for what else this city could offer.. Perhaps the free self guided smartphone Roman Walking Trail or the Mystery Trail. Past old waterways that reminded us of our visits to Bruges. Heading through Roman or Norman historic gates to the city...Past Lincoln's many theatres and performing arts areas all offering great free Sunday opportunities... but onwards up the Strait toward Stoke Cafe at the Collection Museum.
This opportunity to grab a 'Sunday Brunch' was something we'd been looking forward to all day... it's been a family tradition (before LifeinourVan began)... and it's great to see cafes/restaurants taking up the trend... So Eggs Supreme, Waffles & steaming mugs of coffee or freshly squeezed orange juice were devoured in 'double quick ' time!! Perhaps we should add these into Lottie/Libby's Bakery Blogs!
The coffee was sensational but the company was even better! As we shared brunch with the fantastic owners and their active young family... So both girls loved the opportunity to play outside the smartly decorated, stylish cafe or in the attached playroom... But sadly, time got the better of us as we could have stayed and chatted all afternoon. But we didn't want to miss the free Collection Museum.. and a chance to see some of Lincoln's Roman/Norman/Viking treasures!
We'd heard that it was an award winning archaeology museum and also housed the region's most important art gallery (Usher). We hadn't realised the true extent of Lincoln's historical treasures until we'd heard Lincolnshire's history over the past 500,000 year (from our excellent guide Jonathan)... The chance to see marine reptile skeletons (dinosaurs to you and me!), Bronze age implements, Roman mosaics, Viking coins and artefacts...all under one roof for free??? That's genuine value for money!!!
It's well presented and easy to understand. The interactive displays add a little more to the glittering array of artefacts, but perhaps the best part is the amazing 'mocked up' historical scenes.. the Viking selling his wares, the Roman Legionnaire in his full kit or the prehistoric animal area... You could easily spend a few hours here and the kids were absorbed throughout so it clearly grabbed their full attention!
So the question on our lips as we hauled ourselves out of the museum at closing time was 'What did we miss in Lincoln?'....
It's hard to list in full detail, so we'll leave it to the excellent Visit Lincoln website... but don't forget the attractions on the outskirts of Lincoln (Bransby Horses, Aviation Trail, Doddington Hall, Cranwell Aviation Centre, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Ellis Mill...)
But perhaps the biggest smile on their faces came as we headed back into the city centre past an old sweet shop... well it would have been unfair to not let them have a small bag of sweets, wouldn't it????
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