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Lincoln features on big & small screen during BBC Anniversary

A view of the historic Lincoln Castle in Lincoln, UK. The Castle was constructed by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century.
  • Speculation: Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary Special being filmed at Belton House
  • Napoleon starring Joaquin Phoenix filmed at Lincoln Cathedral
  • Lincoln Castle used to film award-winning TV series Downton Abbey

As the BBC celebrates its 100th anniversary this autumn, speculation is building that the 60th anniversary special of Doctor Who is being filmed at the grand stately home of Belton House in Grantham, in Lincolnshire. Together with Ridley Scott’s epic drama of Napoleon which used Lincoln Cathedral Quarter earlier this year for release next year, it is a timely reminder to visitors that the city of Lincoln and its surrounding areas have often been top picks for location scouts looking for scenic and historic buildings, quaint streets and quintessentially British landscapes.

Some of the most popular sites for filming in the region include Lincoln Cathedral – which has stood in for Westminster Abbey in the Tom Hanks adaptation of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt. Lincoln Castle was used for the award-winning TV series Downton Abbey, whilst Belvoir Castle featured in popular Netflix drama The Crown and the city’s literally named Steep Hill was used for the true-life story of the massacre at Peterloo over 200 years ago.

Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Castle is one of the oldest locations featured in ITV’s Downton Abbey. It was used as a key setting during the filming process, as author of the series Julian Fellowes had the location in mind as he wrote the series.

How to Enjoy it

The castle is open to visitors daily with guided tours available. The castle is also home to one of the only four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta, as well as the 1217 Charter of the Forest. The castle’s Medieval Wall Walk (adults: £10/children under 16: £5.50/children under 5: free/family ticket £25.50) is a particular highlight, giving visitors a chance to navigate the whole circumference, enjoying the historic site and a stunning view over the city. The castle grounds are free to enter and explore on non-event days and are the perfect spot for a picnic on a sunny afternoon.

Belvoir Castle

Netflix drama The Crown used Belvoir Castle in many of its episodes from 2016 – 2022. The castle took a starring role as one of the locations featuring multiple scenes both inside and out seeing several of the castle’s most magnificent rooms including the Elizabeth Saloon and Regent’s Gallery.

How to Enjoy it

Belvoir Castle is located along Lincolnshire’s southern gateway. Whilst the current castle was built in the 19th century, four previous castles have stood on the site since 1067 and it is the Duke of Rutland’s ancestral home, where the family have lived in an unbroken line for almost 1,000 years.

Featuring priceless artwork, opulent décor, and quirky corridors, it is home to some of the county’s best views. The castle also hosts a huge range of events throughout the year such as the Festival of the Horse, Duchess Days and live open-air concerts. Visitors can also see the range of wildlife spotted around the estate including deer and birds. Belvoir Castle also has a variety of gardens and lakes which have trails including the Rose Garden, Spiral Walk, Japanese Woodland and more. For some refreshments, there’s The Engine Yard which serves locally sourced food, and The Fuel Tank offering a delicious menu of fresh home cooked meals. A Castle and Garden Ticket is around £18.00 for an adult and £9.00 for a child 4-16 and free for those under four.

Lincoln Cathedral Quarter

Set to hit cinemas in 2023, historical drama Napoleon starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, and directed by Oscar-nominated Ridley Scott, is a highly anticipated movie which used Lincoln Cathedral as one of its locations. The movie centres on legendary leader Napoleon Bonaparte who went from military general to Emperor of France. Lincoln Cathedral Quarter was transformed into a set resembling 19th Century France, whilst the cathedral stood in for Notre-Dame, where Napoleon was crowned. Popular Netflix hit The King also chose Lincoln Cathedral as a location to film one of its sets.

How to Enjoy it

First built in 1072, Lincoln Cathedral is one of Europe’s most renowned gothic buildings. Commissioned by William the Conqueror, the cathedral is known as a constant during the changes to British rule over the last millennia. There is something to see for everyone, children love the opportunity to seek out the different, funny carvings – in particular the famous Lincoln Imp. There are multiple guided tours all costing £7.50, which are also suitable for children, running through from Monday to Saturday; dogs are welcome and all visitors are welcome to attend the services.  

Accommodation & Getting There

From luxury hotel rooms, self-contained holiday homes, glamping sites and B&Bs, there is a wide range of accommodation to suit all tastes in Lincoln.

The Dairy Barn in Ingham, a luxury barn conversion just outside of the city, offers a tranquil and private experience for its guests. A self-contained and self-catered property, The Dairy Barn is suitable for up to six guests. Rates start from £600 for a 7-night stay. Please note that the property requires a 3-night minimum stay.

Newly opened in 2020, Hanworth Country Park is the perfect accommodation to suit all budgets and holiday styles. Choose from camping, static caravans, or a luxury lodge, depending on what is preferable for your family. All accommodations benefit from the on-site trim–trail, family-friendly coffee shop serving locally sourced food, and the country park’s fishing lake. Rates for tent pitches start from £15 per night.

For more information, please visit: https://www.visitlincoln.com/stay

Via the LNER railway line, Lincoln is just a 1 hour and 55-minute trip away from London King’s Cross. Trains depart every two hours. Tickets start from £36 for a day return.

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