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Monday : A Day in Lincoln and the Cardinal’s Hat


My plan for the next few days was to visit Lincoln, which was the first casualty of Covid a couple of years ago, when I had to cancel my hotel and train bookings. It was also the only money I lost on travel, an £18 pound rail ticket to get there wasn’t refunded, but the return was, as train services were cancelled during that weekend because of the Covid worries. In fairness, compared to what others lost, that was trivial and I was very fortunate with Covid relating bookings. Anyway, back to the present (well, back to three weeks ago, as I’m still catching up with this blog), leaving the Travelodge, I walked past the queue for a passport, which even at 08:00 was wrapped around the Passport Office building in Peterborough.


Wetherspoon breakfasts are getting too decadent in price for me now, so I just settled down with my £1.20 unlimited coffee and waited for the train to Lincoln. I can’t complain about the value for money on hot drinks in the pub, especially as I used their power sockets to keep my devices charged up.


Fun fact, Peterborough is twinned with Bourges in France and also Vinnytsia in Ukraine. I’m surprised that the city leaders haven’t twinned the city with one of the Peterboroughs in the United States, or even the one in Ontario in Canada, as that would have made for some interesting holidays, or business trips, whatever they’re called.


The railway station, in all its glory. Located 120 kilometres north of London on the mainline, there are frequent services up to Scotland, although I was getting ready to board a more provincial train.


I was quite taken with this LNER clock, but then again, I’m easily pleased.


I had obtained my train ticket to Lincoln for under £5, another rail sale ticket, and it was all clean and comfortable (the train, not the ticket). I had a reserved seat on this train and also had the entire table for four to myself which was handy.


Lincoln railway station and note the professional photography skills of my finger over the camera. I’ve got used to the phone now, so photos shouldn’t be obscured in future. Hopefully and I can’t promise anything. Formerly known as Lincoln Central, the station was constructed in 1848 for the Great Northern Railway company. There was another railway station nearby, Lincoln St. Marks, which was closed in 1985 and for a change, this decision made sense. But more on this in tomorrow’s riveting update from Lincoln.


The view from the JD Wetherspoon’s Square Sail. I’m still ticking them off my list…. The reviews are fairly average for one of the chain’s venues and it has a modern feel to it and I liked these views from the upstairs tables. I had a little read through the negative reviews, as that’s the sort of thing that passes for entertainment for me on a Sunday evening now and I liked this 1/5 review:

“After waiting over half an hour we my Husband and I (10th Wedding Anniversary!), received 2 mugs of cold Tea, well stewed”

Puzzled as I am that they didn’t just get the tea as self-service and with no disrespect to Wetherspoons, but perhaps a special anniversary deserved a little more of a decadent venue.

This humoured me as well:

“The food was cold the hottest thing on my plate was the English mustard.”


The entrance to the Drill, a drama theatre. It takes its name from when the building was a Drill Hall and it has only recently re-opened following what was feared to be a permanent closure.


I rather liked the head, designed by Rick Kirby.


Located on Free School Lane and next door to the Drill is Lincoln library and I had a quick inspection of the local history section and I was suitably pleased with it. The building was opened as a library in 1914, moving from the Assembly Rooms.


The city’s war memorial which was repaired in 2005 after it started to fall into disrepair.


They took the iron railings during the Second World War to help the war effort and I’m not sure whether that was appropriate or not. Although, in the end, the bulk of this mass collection of metal that they took was just dumped.


And a quick visit to JD Wetherspoon’s, the Ritz. This felt a little bit more rough and ready than their other venue in the city, but I think I preferred this one as it had some characters in it. This former cinema, named Ritz which will come as no surprise, was opened in 1932 and the on-line reviews are again fairly average for the chain.

I’d agree with this customer, but am disappointed that they didn’t upload a photo of their mound of sausages:

“If you are out of a particular item, let the customer know rather than simply decide to substitute it. My mixed grill had no chicken and no lamb, and simply bunging on extra sausages doesn’t make up for that”

And in the middle of another review, someone was complaining in general about the pub and mentioned the pub’s:

“Professional coffee drinkers”

I think I manage that sometimes….


Some of the pub’s decor.


With that it was time to move onto the nearby Travelodge, where I had a cheap room for three nights. The Travelodge room did not surprise and delight me, indeed it annoyed me. This ground floor room didn’t have opening windows so I decided I’d be in a general mood about the room, which wasn’t in a particularly good state of repair and goodness knows what the stain on the curtains was. Anyway, it was cheap.


Departing from my decadent hotel room, I noticed the Lincoln Imps on this closed shop, which was a Boots until recently.


The war memorial again, with St. Benedict’s Church behind it.


This is Lincoln Guildhall, but what’s rather exciting (to me) is that this was the site of the gateway to the town on Ermine Street. The gateway was built in 211 AD and was known as the Stonebow, surviving until the fourteenth century. A new structure was completed in the following century and that in turn was faffed about with in the nineteenth century by the Victorians. It’s still where the meetings of Lincoln City Council take place, a building with considerable historic interest.


The Guildhall’s coat of arms.


George Boole (1815-1864), a local man who was mostly self-taught and he went onto become an important mathematician and philosopher, and I hope my friend Nathan is impressed that even I know of his importance to maths (Boole I mean, I’m not sure how important Nathan’s legacy is to the mathematical community).


Off to the Good Beer Guide listed Cardinal’s Hat pub, which I very much liked, with a suitably interesting keg and cask choice. The service was friendly and the whole pub felt historic and interesting.


Decadent surroundings to enjoy my Voodoo stout from Ossett Brewery, reminding me of my visit to the Rat & Ratchet pub in Huddersfield last year.


Lovely room, I like sitting by books.


The pub has a newspaper for a menu which has their food and drink list as well as some gossip about the pub. I like the idea of this, it might not be entirely practical, but it’s quirky and different.


And as I liked the pub so much, I went for a second drink, the Orbital Horizon from the wonderful Atom Brewery in Hull. Which then promptly reminded me of their pub in Hull, Atom Brewing at the Corn Exchange…. This was a very decent beer, a jam doughnut and chocolate sprinkle pale ale, this is just the sort of drink that I like. I am not threatened by beer with a flavour of doughnuts, indeed, I am very open to the concept.


It had started to rain by the time I left the pub, which was far from ideal. I’d recommend the Cardinal’s Hat and the building is authentically old, having been built in the fifteenth century as a residential property. It was used as an inn from 1521 until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when it became a shop. After the Second World War, it was acquired by St. John’s Ambulance and has recently been restored back into a pub, and a fine job they’ve made of it.


I had wanted to go to another pub listed in the Good Beer Guide, but it was closed due to be short staffed, more on that tomorrow. This is the rear of Lincoln Guildhall.


St. Mary’s Conduit, named after St Mary-le-Wigford’s church which is sits in front of.


The conduit was used from the sixteenth century until the turn of the twentieth century (1906 to be exact) to supply drinking water to local residents. They built it by pinching bits of the stone from the Carmelite Friary which has been dissolved following the Reformation, hence the rather quirky looking nature of the structure. There’s far more information about this at for anyone interested.