You can admire and photograph the cathedral for the west end of the nave. Those wanting to explore further have to pay an entrance fee. This includes free ground and roof tours. I signed myself up for both.
The ground tour was excellent and we had an enthusiastic guide. We began by overing some of the early history of Lincoln and why the cathedral was built here. This was followed by a brief history of the cathedral – essential to the understanding of the architecture. We then walked around the cathedral stopping to admire some of the special things about it. The guide talked and answered questions. This is no set spiel but flows with the interests of the group. We debated the falling down of the centre spire in 1549 and light heartedly if this was God’s response to the publication of the first book of AnglicanPrayer.
The tour is scheduled to take an hour we were still going strong after we reluctantly concluded after 90minutes. Even then we had hardly begun to scratch the surface of all there is to see and learn about the cathedral.
We were lucky as it was a small group that morning, only ten people. There is no number limit on the tour so the experience may not be the same if there is a very large group.
I picked up a wealth of information about the Cathedral and much I would have missed if looking round by myself. I know know what those unusual barred and shuttered windows at the back of the nave outside the shop are. They are Dole Windows. Pilgrims to the shrine of St Hugh could get food and drink here. Look closely at the stone screen across the chancel. The small figures carved on the pillars were decapitated by the Puritans. The heads on them were carefully recarved by the Victorians. Unfortunately they added bishops heads. Looking at the posture of the statues and their dress, they are more likely to be female saints.
Allow yourselves time to do this tour. It is well worth it.
For more information about the cathedral, I have written two reviews covering the history, architecture and visiting and another giving a description of the inside. I have also written a separate review of the Roof Tour.