If you are in Lincoln over the summer you can’t fail to notice the Knights dotted around town. Many cities, towns and villages across the country now have trails that you can follow. I think they are a great idea as it gets you exploring and takes you to various buildings and sights that you may normally miss.
Before you leave home it may be an idea to check the Lincoln Knights website. There have been some cases of the Knights being damaged. In these cases the missing symbols are posted online. Why anyone would carry out such an awful act I will never fathom.
You may be wondering where to get hold of a map for the trail. We initially printed out all the documentation we needed from their website. Knights’ trail map. The map is really good and although it helped us to have a good knowledge of Lincoln I am sure you will be able to follow the map just fine if you don’t. You will also want to print out your entry form so you can find the clues to win your badge and certificate. A link to this can also be found on the page mentioned above.
We started our trail some distance from where you can pick up a guide from. There are many locations across town where you can pick up your trail map and leaflet. Think tourist attraction and information centres and you should find one. I later picked up a trail leaflet and transferred the answers we’d already collected to it. It was a lot less fiddly with their leaflet.
Once you have completed the trail you can claim your prize from Lincoln Visitor information centre on Castle Hill, The Museum of Lincolnshire life on Burton road, Bluebird arts and craft on the Strait, At The Collection museum on Danes Terrace, Marks and Spencer on the high street. Music room on the high street and the Pop up shop on the high street. If you are struggling to find a map these locations all have one.
If you are local I would recommend that you do this trail over 2+ days. We did it all in one day and we were shattered. We walked such a long way. My legs were tired let alone my little legged boy. It’s really easy to split the trail up. From steep hill up to the castle could be one day and from the bottom of steep hill downwards the other day. Or even longer if you so desire.
What are the Knights?
The trail is on until the 3rd September. There are 36 knights to find. This year they mark 800 years since the Charter of the Forest. The large sculptures represent the two main figures of the 1217 Battle of Lincoln. Nicola de la Haye, Custodian of Lincoln Castle and William Marshall, Regent to the young King Henry III.
Each knight on horseback has been sponsored by a local business and painted by a different artist. They are all really lovely but I am sure you will have a favourite.
We were going to start the trail near the train station but our train was cancelled so I parked in an all day car park over near Brayford waterfront instead. Below I will cover each area and mention what there is to do around the location of some of the knights. There is so much to do in Lincoln and a lot of it is free. It would certainly suit to have time to visit places as well as to do the trail.
This is one of my favourite parts of town. There is a really good variety of restaurants to eat at, most looking out towards the water. There is also a large Odeon cinema and boat trips on the Brayford Belle (does not sail on very windy days, nor all year round).
There are only three knights around Brayford itself but there’s many close by near the train station. So that is where we headed after finding them.
What are you looking for?
I decided to take a photo of Jamie by each Knight and the idea was for him to stroke it’s nose. I think they make a nice keepsake so to speak. When we were doing the trail a lot of people stopped us and asked us what you have to do.
Basically each Knight (unless it’s a bonus Knight) is numbered and has a small green painted shield on it. It could be anywhere and some are harder to find than others. On that shield there is a symbol. You have to find the symbol on your leaflet or print out. This has a word underneath it. You then write that word in the space for that corresponding number. This eventually spells out a phrase. Once you have that phrase you can collect your certificate and badge.
South of the river
In the area south of the river there are quite a few Knights to find. This area mostly has shops. If you have arrived by train or bus it may be a good area to search first. I’m still not sure how but we went a little bit wrong around here. It looked like a right on the map but really we should have gone left.
Moving up from here we were now on the High street.
High street – The main shopping area
There are a lot of Knights to find in this area. Which was a highlight for Jamie as I’d brought a bag of sweets to share. Basically with the idea that we could have a couple whenever we found a knight. If you want to you could do a spot of shopping while finding the knights in this part of Lincoln.
Another bonus for Jamie in this area was the beach. It’s here over the summer and is situated next to the canal, near Wilkos. You won’t miss it if you are on the trail as there’s a knight right next to it.
He loved the beach and we spent quite awhile here. Basically me sat on the deckchairs resting while Jamie rolled around in the sand. He also had a ride on the fairground ride for £2.00.
Next came a nice big rest as we stopped for lunch around here. Mostly because the next part of the trail for us meant going up Steep hill. You need plenty of energy for Steep hill!
The area around Steep Hill
They have put Knight #14 way out. It’s over at Lincoln college. Could we find it? No we couldn’t. In the end we had to ask some scouts who had obviously just found it. Turns out it’s much further down than it looks on the map. We really could not walk back again so they helped us out with this clue. It was a shame though.
We crossed back over and up to the Knights at the Usher Gallery and The Collection. Both of these museums are free to enter and would provide a good stop for you on the trail.
Next came Steep Hill. It can’t be avoided as there’s knights to be found on the way up (or down). I actually quite like the challenge. There’s not many places in the UK with a hill so steep.
The castle and the cathedral
There are plenty of knights to be found around here. Two are guarding the castle with many more dotted around. It’s not free to enter the main castle and cathedral but both are well worth a visit, you can however enter the castle grounds for free. We walked through here to find the knight at the Lawn. There is also the Bishop’s medieval palace in this area, currently closed as it’s undergoing work.
The area above the castle and cathedral
By now we were both really starting to tire. We found a playground by the knight at the lawn area. It had decided to rain and I actually found myself trying to match up words so we could avoid finding knights 1,3,4 and 5. I honestly wasn’t sure if we could walk much further, especially as we had to go back down steep hill to where our car was parked.
The rain stopped and I realised we couldn’t really cheat. We had to plough on. So on the promise of an ice cream (we were burning off lots of calories right?) on we went. Knight #1 took us up to the museum of Lincolnshire life. This is free to enter and well worth a visit. You can read all about it in my review here – Museum of Lincolnshire life, free day out review. We did it though and I’m glad we did. We now just had one knight left. #20 that we’d missed when we went across to the museums. So down steep hill we went. If you want to rest on steep hill there’s plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants.
Jamie and I were thrilled to find our last knight and after many high 5’s we went down to the pop up shop to claim our prize. A badge and a lovely certificate for Jamie. Later that day he said that finding our last knight was the best thing of the day, bless him.
Another thing you could do while visiting Lincoln is to have a ride on their open top sightseeing bus. This runs every hour and takes you around the sites of the city. Your ticket is valid for two consecutive days and you can hop on and off – Open top sightseeing bus further information.
Lincoln has had a similar trail over the summer in 2015 and 2016, plus of course 2017. So hopefully it will return again next year.