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Coordinates: 53°4′N 0°11′W / 53.067°N 0.183°W / 53.067; -0.183

Arms of Lincolnshire County Council.svg
Coat of arms
Land and God
Lincolnshire within England
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionEast Midlands
Yorkshire and the Humber (North Lincolnshire and
North East Lincolnshire)
Time zoneUTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of Parliament
Ceremonial county
Lord LieutenantToby Dennis
High SheriffMichael Scott[1] (2020–21)
Area6,959 km2 (2,687 sq mi)
 • Ranked2nd of 48
Population (mid-2019 est.)1,087,659
 • Ranked18th of 48
Density156/km2 (400/sq mi)
Ethnicity98.5% White
Non-metropolitan county
County councilLincolnshire County Council
Admin HQLincoln
Area5,921 km2 (2,286 sq mi)
 • Ranked4th of 26
 • Ranked14th of 26
Density128/km2 (330/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2GB-LIN
ONS code32
Lincolnshire numbered districts.svg
Districts of Lincolnshire
Unitary County council area
  1. City of Lincoln
  2. North Kesteven
  3. South Kesteven
  4. South Holland
  5. Boston
  6. East Lindsey
  7. West Lindsey
  8. North Lincolnshire
  9. North East Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs.) is a county in the East Midlands of England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east. It borders Norfolk to the south-east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south-west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north-west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders Northamptonshire in the south for just 20 yards (19 m), England's shortest county boundary.[2] The county town is the city of Lincoln, where the county council has its headquarters.

The ceremonial county of Lincolnshire consists of the non-metropolitan county of Lincolnshire and the area covered by the unitary authorities of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. Part of the ceremonial county is in the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England, and most is in the East Midlands region. The county is the second-largest of the English ceremonial counties and one that is predominantly agricultural in land use. The county is fourth-largest of the two-tier counties, as the unitary authorities of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire are not included.

The county has several geographical sub-regions, including the rolling chalk hills of the Lincolnshire Wolds. In the south-east are the Lincolnshire Fens (south-east Lincolnshire), the Carrs (similar to the Fens but in north Lincolnshire), the industrial Humber Estuary and North Sea coast around Grimsby and Scunthorpe, and in the south-west of the county, the Kesteven Uplands, rolling limestone hills in the district of South Kesteven.


Lincoln Cathedral, one of the oldest cathedrals in the UK viewed from Lincoln Castle
Part of 'The Bailgate', the centre of the uphill area of Lincoln

During pre-Roman times, most of Lincolnshire was inhabited by the Corieltauvi people. The language of the area at that time would have been Common Brittonic, the precursor to modern Welsh. The name Lincoln was derived from Lindum Colonia.

Large numbers of Germanic speakers from continental Europe settled in the region following the withdrawal of the Romans. Though these were later identified as Angles, it is unlikely that they migrated as part of an organized tribal group.[3][4] Thus, the main language of the region quickly became Old English. However, it is possible that Brittonic continued to be spoken in some communities as late as the eighth century.[5]

Modern-day Lincolnshire is derived from the merging of the territory of the Kingdom of Lindsey with that controlled by the Danelaw borough of Stamford. For some time the entire county was called "Lindsey", and it is recorded as such in the 11th-century Domesday Book. Later, the name Lindsey was applied to the northern core, around Lincoln. This emerged as one of the three Parts of Lincolnshire, along with the Parts of Holland in the south-east, and the Parts of Kesteven in the south-west, which each had separate Quarter Sessions as their county administrations.

In 1888 when county councils were set up, Lindsey, Holland and Kesteven each received separate ones. These survived until 1974, when Holland, Kesteven, and most of Lindsey were unified into Lincolnshire. The northern part of Lindsey, including Scunthorpe Municipal Borough and Grimsby County Borough, was incorporated into the newly formed non-metropolitan county of Humberside, along with most of the East Riding of Yorkshire.

County and County Borough areas pre 1965

A local government reform in 1996 abolished Humberside. The land south of the Humber Estuary was allocated to the unitary authorities of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. These two areas became part of Lincolnshire for ceremonial purposes, such as the Lord-Lieutenancy, but are not covered by the Lincolnshire police; they are in the Yorkshire and the Humber region.

The remaining districts of Lincolnshire are Boston, East Lindsey, Lincoln, North Kesteven, South Holland, South Kesteven, and West Lindsey. They are part of the East Midlands region.

The area was shaken by the 27 February 2008 Lincolnshire earthquake, reaching between 4.7 and 5.3 on the Richter magnitude scale; it was one of the largest earthquakes to affect Britain in recent years.

Lincolnshire is home to Woolsthorpe Manor, birthplace and home of Sir Isaac Newton. He attended The King's School, Grantham. Its library has preserved his signature, carved into a window sill when he was a youth.

Geography and ecology

Bedrock in Lincolnshire features Jurassic limestone (near Lincoln) and Cretaceous chalk (north-east). The area around Woodhall Spa and Kirkby on Bain is dominated by gravel and sand.[6] For much of prehistory, Lincolnshire was under tropical seas, and most fossils found in the county are marine invertebrates. Marine vertebrates have also been found including ichthyosaurus and plesiosaur.[7][8]

The highest point in Lincolnshire is Wolds Top (168 m, 551 ft), at Normanby le Wold.[9] Some parts of the Fens may be below sea level. The nearest mountains are in Derbyshire.

The biggest rivers in Lincolnshire are the Trent, running northwards from Staffordshire up the western edge of the county to the Humber estuary, and the Witham, which begins in Lincolnshire at South Witham and runs for 132 km (82 miles) through the middle of the county, eventually emptying into the North Sea at The Wash. The Humber estuary, on Lincolnshire's northern border, is also fed by the River Ouse. The Wash is also the mouth of the Welland, the Nene and the Great Ouse.

Lincolnshire's geography is fairly varied, but consists of several distinct areas:

  • Lincolnshire Wolds: area of rolling hills in the north-east of the county designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • The Fens: dominating the south-east quarter of the county
  • The Marshes: running along the coast of the county
  • The Lincoln Edge or Cliff: limestone escarpment running north–south along the western half of the county

Lincolnshire's most well-known nature reserves include Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve, Whisby Nature Park Local Nature Reserve, Donna Nook National Nature Reserve, RSPB Frampton Marsh and the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve. Although the Lincolnshire countryside is intensively farmed, there are many biodiverse wetland areas[citation needed], as well as rare limewood forests. Much of the county was once wet fenland (see The Fens).

From bones, we can tell that animal species formerly found in Lincolnshire include woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, wild horse, wolf, wild boar and beaver.[10][11] Species which have recently returned to Lincolnshire after extirpation include little egret, Eurasian spoonbill, European otter and red kite.[12][13]


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Lincolnshire at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional gross value added
(£ millions)
Agriculture[a] Industry[b] Services[c]
1995 5,719 657 1,769 3,292
2000 6,512 452 2,046 4,013
2003 8,419 518 2,518 5,383
a includes hunting and forestry
b includes energy and construction
c includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

Notable businesses based in Lincolnshire include the Lincs FM Group, Young's Seafood, Openfield and the Lincolnshire Co-operative (whose membership includes about one quarter of the population of the county).


Lincolnshire farmland near Burton Coggles

Lincolnshire has long been a primarily agricultural area, and it continues to grow large amounts of wheat, barley, sugar beet, and oilseed rape. In south Lincolnshire, where the soil is particularly rich in nutrients, some of the most common crops include potatoes, cabbages, cauliflowers, and onions. Lincolnshire farmers often break world records for crop yields.[14][15] South Lincolnshire is also home to one of the UK's leading agricultural experiment stations, located in Sutton Bridge and operated by the Potato Council; Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research engages in research for the British potato industry.[16]

The Lincoln Longwool is a rare breed of sheep, named after the region, which was developed both for wool and mutton, at least 500 years ago, and has the longest fleece of any sheep breed.[17] The Lincoln Red is an old breed of beef cattle, originating from the county. In the mid 20th century most farms in Lincolnshire moved away from mixed farming to specialise in arable cropping, partly due to cheap wool imports, partly to take advantage of efficiencies of scale and partly because the drier land on the eastern side of England is particularly suitable for arable cropping.

Mechanization around 1900 greatly diminished the number of workers required to operate the county's relatively large farms, and the proportion of workers in the agricultural sector dropped substantially during this period. Several major engineering companies developed in Lincoln, Gainsborough and Grantham to support those changes. Among these was Fosters of Lincoln, which built the first tank, and Richard Hornsby & Sons of Grantham. Most such industrial companies left during late 20th-century restructuring.

Today, immigrant workers, mainly from new member states of the European Union in Central and Eastern Europe, comprise a large component of the seasonal agricultural workforce, particularly in the south of the county. Here more labour-intensive crops are produced, such as small vegetables and cut flowers. This seasonal influx of migrant labour occasionally causes tension between the migrant workforce and local people, in a county which had been relatively unaccustomed to large-scale immigration. Agricultural training is provided at Riseholme College and in 2016 the University of Lincoln opened the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology.



Westminster Parliamentary constituencies

Lincolnshire is represented by 11 Members of Parliament (MPs). As of the 2019 general election, all 11 constituencies are represented by the Conservative Party. One constituency, Brigg and Goole, contains part of the East Riding of Yorkshire around the towns of Goole and Snaith.

2019 general election: Lincolnshire
Conservative Labour Liberal Democrat Green Others Turnout
348,325 (66.0%)
120,808 (22.9%)
35,049 (6.6%)
10,564 (2.0%)
13,271 (2.5%)
Overall numbers of seats as of 2019
Conservative Labour Liberal
Green Others
11 0 0 0 0
Parliamentary constituencies
Constituency District MP Party
Boston and Skegness Boston, East Lindsey Matt Warman Conservative
Brigg and Goole North Lincolnshire (plus part in East Riding of Yorkshire) Andrew Percy Conservative
Cleethorpes North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire Martin Vickers Conservative
Gainsborough West Lindsey, East Lindsey Edward Leigh Conservative
Grantham and Stamford South Kesteven Gareth Davies Conservative
Great Grimsby North East Lincolnshire Lia Nici Conservative
Lincoln Lincoln, North Kesteven Karl McCartney Conservative
Louth and Horncastle East Lindsey Victoria Atkins Conservative
Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire Holly Mumby-Croft Conservative
Sleaford and North Hykeham North Kesteven, South Kesteven Caroline Johnson Conservative
South Holland and The Deepings South Holland, South Kesteven John Henry Hayes Conservative

Lincolnshire County Council

Map of outcome of 2017 Lincolnshire County Council election. The Conservatives retook control of the council, winning 58 of the 70 seats. North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire are unitary authorities and do not form part of the non-metropolitan county of Lincolnshire

The Conservatives control the county council, with 58 of the 70 seats. North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire are unitary authorities and do not form part of the non-metropolitan county of Lincolnshire.

2009 election

The Conservative Party comfortably controlled the County Council after the 2009 local elections, in which they increased their majority to 43 seats. The Labour Party lost a total of 15 seats including 7 in Lincoln, whilst the Liberal Democrats lost three. The Lincolnshire Independents gained a total of four seats, although one of their number moved to the Conservative group during 2010, increasing the number of Conservative seats to 61. The collective group of the Lincolnshire Independents, the Boston Bypass Party and other independent councillors formed the opposition for the four-year term.

2013 election

In the 2013 County Council elections, the Conservatives lost their overall majority and formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and independents. The UK Independence Party made significant gains from the Conservatives, particularly around the town of Boston, due to opposition to Eastern European immigration.[18]

UKIP were initially the main opposition party with 16 councillors, but six members broke away to form a separate group, UKIP Lincolnshire.[19]

2017 election

The 2017 Lincolnshire County Council election took place on 4 May 2017 and saw a local landslide victory for the Conservatives, who won 58 out of the 70 seats. UKIP was left without a single seat. Labour lost four seats, reducing their number of seats to six, the Liberal Democrats were reduced to one seat, and the Lincolnshire Independents were also reduced to a single seat after losing eight seats. Four other independents were elected.


1975 EC membership referendum

The 1975 EC membership referendum was the first major referendum to be held in the county, and saw one of the largest majority votes in favour of continued membership of the then European Communities (which would later become the European Union) within non-metropolitan Lincolnshire and also Humberside, which then included northern parts of historic Lincolnshire. The referendum was held on 5 June 1975 with votes within the county being centrally counted under the provisions of the Referendum Act 1975 where voters were asked to decide on the question “Do you think that the United Kingdom should stay in the European Community (the Common Market)?” by voting for either “Yes” or “No”. The result was declared on the following day.

1975 United Kingdom European Communities
(Common Market) membership referendum

Non-metropolitan Lincolnshire
Choice Votes %
Yes 180,603 74.75%
No 61,011 25.25%
Valid votes 241,614 99.82%
Invalid or blank votes 445 0.18%
Total votes 242,059 100.00%
Registered voters and turnout 370,518 63.70%
Referendum results (without spoiled ballots):
180,603 (74.7%)
61,011 (25.3%)
  • The result above only includes non-Metropolitan Lincolnshire as parts of historic northern Lincolnshire made up part of Humberside at the time.
County Yes votes No votes Yes No Turnout
Humberside 257,826 122,199 67.8% 32.2% 62.4%

2011 AV referendum

The 2011 United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum was the first to be held in Lincolnshire since the 1975 EC membership referendum and was only the second time that the people of Lincolnshire have been asked to vote in a referendum. The referendum asked voters whether to replace the present "first-past-the-post" (simple plurality) system with the "alternative vote" (AV) method for electing MPs to the House of Commons in future general elections. The proposal to introduce AV was overwhelmingly rejected by voters with all eight counting areas within Lincolnshire returning significant "no" votes.

Flag of Lincolnshire.svg
United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum, 2011
Choice Votes %
No 232,034 75.19%
Yes 76,570 24.81%
Valid votes 308,604 99.49%
Invalid or blank votes 1,593 0.51%
Total votes 310,197 100.00%
Registered voters and turnout 722,210 40.17%
Referendum results (without spoiled ballots):
76,570 (24.8%)
232,034 (75.2%)
  • The result above includes all areas within historic Lincolnshire

The seven shire-districts and two unitary authorities in Lincolnshire were used as the voting areas.

Counting areas Turnout % No votes Yes votes No % Yes %
Boston 39.58 13,337 3,958 77.11 22.89
East Lindsey 42.60 34,045 10,571 76.31 23.69
Lincoln 36.68 16,099 6,951 69.84 30.16
North East Lincolnshire 34.23 29,484 9,549 75.54 24.46
North Lincolnshire 39.57 36,031 12,542 74.18 25.82
North Kesteven 42.95 27,397 7,926 77.56 22.44
South Holland 39.83 20,542 5,603 78.57 21.43
South Kesteven 42.63 32,217 11,247 74.12 25.88
West Lindsey 43.70 22,882 8,223 73.56 26.44

2016 EU membership referendum

On 23 June 2016, in the EU referendum, the people of Lincolnshire voted for the second time on the issue of the UK's continued membership of what is now known as the European Union under the provisions of the European Union Referendum Act 2015 where voters were asked to decide on the question “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union” by voting for either “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave the European Union”. Of the ten MPs which represented the historic county at the time six MPs Andrew Percy, Martin Vickers, Edward Leigh, Karl McCartney, Stephen Phillips and John Hayes supported a "Leave" vote with five MPs Matt Warman, Nick Boles, Victoria Atkins, Melanie Onn and Nic Dakin supported a "Remain" vote.[20]

Flag of Lincolnshire.svg
United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016
Choice Votes %
Leave the European Union 380,556 65.98%
Remain a member of the European Union 196,184 34.02%
Valid votes 576,740 99.95%
Invalid or blank votes 308 0.05%
Total votes 595,954 100.00%
Registered voters and turnout 780,761 73.91%
Referendum results (without spoiled ballots):
380,556 (66%)
196,184 (34%)
  • The result above includes all areas within historic Lincolnshire

The seven shire-districts and two unitary authorities in Lincolnshire were used as the voting areas.

Voting areas Turnout % Remain votes Leave votes Remain % Leave %
Boston 77.2% 7,430 22,974 24.4% 75.6%
East Lindsey 74.9% 23,515 56,613 29.3% 70.7%
Lincoln 69.3% 18,902 24,992 43.1% 57.0%
North East Lincolnshire 67.9% 23,797 55,185 30.1% 69.9%
North Lincolnshire 71.9% 29,947 58,915 33.7% 66.3%
North Kesteven 78.4% 25,570 42,183 37.7% 62.3%
South Holland 75.3% 13,074 36,423 26.4% 73.6%
South Kesteven 78.2% 33,047 49,424 40.1% 60.0%
West Lindsey 74.5% 20,906 33,847 38.2% 61.8%

Police and Crime Commissioners

The most recent elections for Police and Crime Commissioners within the Lincolnshire and Humberside police force areas took place on 5 May 2016.

Lincolnshire Police

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner election, 2016
Party Candidate 1st round 2nd round
 First round votes  Transfer votes 
Total Of round Transfers Total Of round
Conservative Marc Jones 39,441 35.22% 8,592 48,033
UKIP Victoria Ayling 28,583 25.52% 8,837 37,420
Labour Lucinda Preston 25,475 22.75%
Lincolnshire Independent Daniel Simpson 18,497 16.52%
Turnout 111,996 20.70%
Conservative gain from Independent

Humberside Police

Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner election, 2016
Party Candidate 1st round 2nd round
 First round votes  Transfer votes 
Total Of round Transfers Total Of round
Labour Keith Hunter 62,010 40.31% 14,118 76,128
Conservative Matthew Grove 40,925 26.61% 10,832 51,757
UKIP Michael Whitehead 27,434 17.84%
Liberal Democrats Denis Healy 23,451 15.25%
Turnout 153,820 22.10%
Rejected ballots
Total votes
Registered electors
Labour gain from Conservative

Services and retail

According to an Intra-governmental Group on Geographic Information (IGGI) study in 2000,[21] the town centres were ranked by area thus (including North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire areas):

Public services


Lincolnshire is one of the few counties in the UK that still uses the 11-plus to decide who may attend grammar school. As a result, many towns in Lincolnshire have both a grammar school and a secondary modern school. Lincolnshire's rural character means that some larger villages also have primary schools and are served by buses to nearby high schools.

Lincoln itself, however, is primarily non-selective, as is the area within a radius of about seven miles. In this area, almost all children attend comprehensive schools, though it is still possible to opt into the 11-plus system. This gives rise to the unusual result that those who pass the Eleven plus can attend a Grammar School outside the Lincoln Comprehensive area, but those who do not pass still attend a (partly non-selective) Comprehensive school.


The Humber Bridge connecting North Lincolnshire to the East Riding of Yorkshire

Being on the economic periphery of England, Lincolnshire's transport links are poorly developed compared with many other parts of the United Kingdom. The road network in the county is dominated by single carriageway A roads and local roads (B roads) as opposed to motorways and dual carriageways – the administrative county of Lincolnshire is one of the few UK counties without a motorway, and until several years ago, it was said that there was only about 35 km (22 mi) of dual carriageway in the whole of Lincolnshire. The M180 motorway passes through North Lincolnshire, splitting into two dual carriageway trunk roads to the Humber Bridge and Grimsby, and the A46 is now dual carriageway between Newark-on-Trent and Lincoln.

The low population density of the county means that the number of railway stations and train services is very low considering the county's large area. Many of the county's railway stations were permanently closed following the Beeching Report of 1963. The most notable reopening has been the line and two stations between Lincoln and Sleaford, which reopened within months of the Beeching closure. Most other closed lines in the county were long ago lifted and much of the trackbed has returned to agricultural use.

Prior to 1970, a through train service operated between Cleethorpes and London King's Cross via Louth, Boston and Peterborough. The part of this line in Grimsby is now the A16 road, preventing reinstatement as a railway line, and a small section of the line is now the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway, with an extension towards Louth in progress.

A daily through train service operated between Cleethorpes and London King's Cross via Grimsby, Market Rasen and Lincoln Central until the late 1980s. The Humberlincs Executive, as the service was known, was operated by an InterCity 125, but was discontinued following the electrification of the East Coast Main Line. Passengers now have to change trains at Newark North Gate when travelling to and from London. However, the East Coast Main Line passes through the western edge of the county and one can catch direct trains to London from Grantham.

A rural road in Lincolnshire
The rural B1397 in Gosberton Fen heading out towards the Bourne area

Most rail services are currently operated by East Midlands Railway and Northern Trains. London North Eastern Railway and CrossCountry have services which pass through the county, with London North Eastern Railway frequently passing and stopping at Grantham on the East Coast Main Line and a serviceevery other our to Lincoln, while CrossCountry trains stop at Stamford on their way between Birmingham and Stansted Airport. Stations along the Humber are served by TransPennine Express services between Manchester Airport and Cleethorpes. One of the most infrequent services in the UK is in Lincolnshire: the Sheffield-Gainsborough Central-Cleethorpes line has passenger trains only on a Saturday, with three trains in both directions. This line is, however, used for freight.

On 22 May 2011 East Coast started a Lincoln-London service, initially one train a day each way, and there is a northbound service on a Sunday. This was increased in 2019 to a service every two hours. East Midlands Railway also run a daily (Mon-Sat) service each way between Lincoln and London St Pancras, though this is a stopping service which takes around three hours via Nottingham, compared to London North Eastern Railway's service to London King's Cross which takes around 1 hour 50 minutes.

The only airport in Lincolnshire is Humberside Airport, near Brigg. East Midlands Airport the main airport servicing the East Midlands is within travelling distance of the county. Doncaster Sheffield Airport near Doncaster is within travelling distance of much of Lincolnshire.

The county's biggest bus companies are Stagecoach Grimsby-Cleethorpes (formerly Grimsby-Cleethorpes Transport) and Stagecoach in Lincolnshire, (formerly Lincolnshire Road Car). There are several smaller bus companies, including Brylaine of Boston, Delaine Buses and Hornsby's of Scunthorpe.[22]

A Sustrans cycle route runs from Lincoln to Boston in the south of the county.[23]

Health care

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust[24] is one of the largest trusts in the country, employing almost 4,000 staff and with an annual budget of over £200 million. The north of the county is served by the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Some of the larger hospitals in the county include:

Since April 1994, Lincolnshire has had an Air Ambulance service.[25] The air ambulance is stationed at RAF Waddington near Lincoln and can reach emergencies in Lincolnshire within 25 minutes. An A&E hospital is only 10 minutes away by helicopter from any accident in Lincolnshire.


Separately to the commercial water companies the low-lying parts of the county are drained by various internal drainage boards, such as the Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board,Witham 4th District IDB, Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board, or the Welland and Deepings Internal Drainage Board.[26]


Lincolnshire is now the second fastest growing county in the UK with thousands of people moving there every year. Over the next two decades, Lincolnshire is set to grow both in population and economy with the help of the Government's Growth Points strategy. Lincolnshire has been awarded £13 million in funding to deliver sustainable development and intensive growth through sites of key regional significance. In essence, the target for Lincoln is 14,000 new homes and 12,000 new jobs by 2026 whilst the target for Grantham is an additional 3,200 homes by 2016 and at least 6,200 by 2026. This housing growth will be supported by the provision for 4,800 jobs by 2016.

Towns and villages

The non-metropolitan county of Lincolnshire has no major urban areas, apart from the areas in and around Lincoln, Grantham and Boston and to a lesser degree around Spalding. However, the Skegness, Ingoldmells and Chapel St Leonards areas (and to a lesser extent the Sutton-on-Sea and Mablethorpe areas) along the Lincolnshire coast are becoming increasingly urbanised, as people holiday at large caravan sites during the summer. These holidaymakers are not reflected in census or local population figures, though it is estimated that at the height of the summer months there are over 100,000 such residents in these coastal areas. This has an appreciable impact on the local infrastructure and amenities.

A small part of the Thorne Waste area of the town of Thorne in South Yorkshire, known as the Yorkshire Triangle, currently falls under North Lincolnshire.[27][28]

Map of civil parishes within Lincolnshire
Largest settlements in Lincolnshire by population
Rank City/ Town District/Unitary Authority Population
(2011 est.)
1 Lincoln Lincoln 119,541
2 Grimsby North East Lincolnshire 88,243
3 Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire 79,977
4 Grantham South Kesteven 41,998
5 Boston Boston 41,340
6 Cleethorpes North East Lincolnshire 39,505
7 Spalding South Holland 31,588
8 Skegness East Lindsey 24,876
9 Gainsborough West Lindsey 20,842
10 Stamford South Kesteven 19,701

For a more detailed list of the largest populated towns see the List of settlements in Lincolnshire by population page.

For a full list of Lincolnshire towns and villages see the List of places in Lincolnshire page.


The centre of Skegness, showing the clock tower and the "Jolly Fisherman" sculpture/fountain
Seafront and beach at Cleethorpes
Skegness seafront and Pier
Beach Huts and Paddling Pool at Sutton-on-Sea

The majority of tourism in Lincolnshire relies on the coastal resorts and towns to the east of the Lincolnshire Wolds. The county has some of the best-known seaside resorts in the United Kingdom, which are a major attraction to visitors from across England, especially the East Midlands and parts of Yorkshire. There are three main coastal resorts in Lincolnshire and several smaller village resorts.

The main county seaside resort of Skegness with its famous Jolly Fisherman mascot and famous slogan "Skegness is so bracing", together with its neighbouring large village coastal resorts of Ingoldmells and Chapel St Leonards, provides the biggest concentration of resorts along the Lincolnshire Coast, with many large caravan and holiday sites. The resort offers many amusements, beaches, leisure activities and shops, as well as Butlins Skegness, Fantasy Island, Church Farm Museum, Natureland Seal Sanctuary, Skegness Stadium, Skegness Pier and several well-known local golf courses. There are good road, bus and rail links to the rest of the county.

The second largest group of resorts along the coast is the small seaside town of Mablethorpe, famous for its golden sands, and the neighbouring village resorts of Trusthorpe and Sutton-on-Sea. This area also offers leisure activities and has large caravan and holiday sites. But the area is less developed, with fewer amusement arcades and nightclubs, and poorer road links to the rest of the county; but the area offers a more traditional seaside setting. The rail service to these towns was axed in the Beeching cuts.

The third group of resorts includes the seaside town of Cleethorpes and the large village resort of Humberston within North East Lincolnshire. It has the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway and Cleethorpes Pier along with its local golf courses and caravan and holiday sites, whilst it is also the former site of Pleasure Island Family Theme Park. Cleethorpes is well-served by road and rail; it is easily accessible from the M180 and the TransPennine Express route to Manchester.

Nature is an attraction for many tourists: the south-east of the county is mainly fenland that attracts many species of birds, as do the national nature reserves at Gibraltar Point, Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe and Donna Nook, which also contains a large grey seal colony which is popular with visitors.

The market towns of the Lincolnshire Wolds (Louth, Alford, Horncastle, Caistor and Spilsby) are also attractive, with several having historically important buildings, such as Alford Manor House and Bolingbroke Castle. The Wolds are popular for cycling and walking, with regular events such as the Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival.


A view up 'Steep Hill' towards the historic quarter of Bailgate in Lincoln
Lincolnshire mobile library at Pode Hole. Lincolnshire County Council operate five routes, covering small villages in this large, sparse, county. Each location is visited once a month.[29]

Lincolnshire is a rural area where the pace of life is generally much slower than in much of the United Kingdom. Sunday is still largely a day of rest, with only shops in Lincoln, larger market towns, and resorts and industrial towns of the North Sea coast generally remaining open. Some towns and villages in the county still observe half-day closing on Thursdays. Due to the large distances between the towns, many villages have remained very self-contained, with many still having shops, pubs, local halls and local chapels and churches, offering a variety of social activities for residents. Fishing (in the extensive river and drainage system in the fens) and shooting are popular activities. A lot of the culture in Lincoln itself is based upon its history. The Collection is an archaeological museum and art gallery in Lincoln. Lincoln Cathedral also plays a large part in Lincoln's culture, playing host to many events throughout the year, from concert recitals to indoor food markets.

A Lincolnshire tradition was that front doors were used for only three things: a new baby, a bride, and a coffin.[30]


Lincolnshire is one of the least ethnically diverse counties of the United Kingdom (98.5% of the population describe themselves as "white").[31]

Those born in Lincolnshire are sometimes given the nickname of Yellowbellies (often spelt "Yeller Bellies", to reflect the pronunciation of the phrase by the typical Lincolnshire farmer). The origin of this term is debated, but is most commonly believed to derive from the uniform of the 10th Regiment of Foot (later the Lincolnshire Regiment) which featured yellow facings. For this reason, the coat of arms of Lincolnshire County Council is supported by two officers of the regiment.[32]

Notable people

The following list of notable people associated with Lincolnshire is arranged chronologically by date of birth.

Born before 1701

Born 1701–1850

Born 1851–1950

Born 1951 onwards

Local dialect

In common with most other Northern and Midlands dialects in England, "flat" a is preferred, i.e. /bæθ/ over /bɑːθ/, and also traditionally in words like water, pronounced /ˈwætər/ watter (though such a pronunciation is rarely heard nowadays). Similarly, /ʌ/ is usually replaced by /ʊ/. Features rather more confined to Lincolnshire include:

  • Elaboration of standard English /eɪ/ or /iː/ into a complex triphthong approximating, and often transcribed -air- or -yair-. For example: "mate" [m(j)ɛːət]; "beast" [b(j)ɛːəst]; "tates" (potatoes) [t(j)ɛːəts].
  • An equivalent elaboration of standard English /oʊ/ – commonly [oː] in Northern England – into -ooa-. For example, "boat" [bʊːət].
  • Insertion of an extra schwa into the standard English diphthong /aʊ/.
  • Vocabulary: "duck" as a term of endearment or informal address, "mardy" meaning upset or angry, "mowt" (pronounced like mout) for might, "while" as a substitute for standard English "until", "frit" meaning frightened, "grufty" meaning dirty or disgusting, and the inimitable salutation "now then!?" (hello), sometimes written nairn to reflect pronunciation.
  • In the north-east of the county, around Grimsby and Immingham, the nurse-square merger can be heard, as is also the case along the east coast of Yorkshire and also in Liverpool. Words that take /ɜː/ in RP take /ɛː/ in these areas.

Lincolnshire has its own dialect "champion", a farmer from the village of Minting called Farmer Wink (real name Robert Carlton), who has produced videos about rural life, narrated in his broad Lincolnshire accent. A resident of Woodhall Spa has published a dictionary of words once prevalent in parts of the county.[33]


Lincolnshire was historically associated with the Lincolnshire bagpipe, an instrument derided as a coarse and unpleasant instrument in contemporary literature, but noted as very popular in the county. The last player, John Hunsley of Middle Manton,[34] died in 1851,[35] and since then the instrument has been extinct.

In 1937, Percy Grainger wrote his Lincolnshire Posy for wind band. The piece is a compilation of folk songs "musical wildflowers" collected by the composer in and around the county of Lincolnshire.[36]


Lincolnshire has a number of local dishes:

  • Stuffed chine – this is salted neck-chine of a pig taken from between the shoulder blades, salted for up to ten months and stuffed with parsley (other ingredients are normally kept secret), and served cold.[37]
  • Haslet – a type of pork loaf, also flavoured with sage (pronounced HAYSS-let or AYSS-let in Lincolnshire but HAZ-let in many other parts of the country).[37]
  • Lincolnshire sausages – most butchers in Lincolnshire have their own secret recipe for these and a competition is held each year to judge the best sausages in the county. Traditional Lincolnshire sausages are made entirely from minced pork, stale bread crumb (rusk is used nowadays) pepper, sage and salt. The skins should be natural casings which are made from the intestines of either sheep or pig.
  • Pork pies – the same pork butchers will take a pride in their unique recipe for pork pies.
  • Giblet pie.[37]
  • Mutton stuffed with oysters.[37]
  • Plum bread – as with plum pudding, plum refers to dried fruit, namely currants, raisins and sultanas, sometimes soaked in tea.
  • Grantham Gingerbread – a hard white ginger biscuit.
  • Lincolnshire Poacher cheese – a cheddar-style cheese produced in Alford. Lincolnshire Poacher has won numerous awards over the years including Supreme Champion at the 1996/7 British Cheese Awards and Best British Cheese at the World Cheese awards in 2001/2.
  • Batemans ales – a beer brewed in Wainfleet and served in many pubs in the county and further afield.
  • There are several small breweries.
  • Grimsby is renowned for its fishing industry, and historically Grimsby Fish has carried a premium price. Since the decline of the fishing industry following entry to the European Economic Community in the 1970s this is no longer the case, with the majority of fish sold at the town's fish market being brought overland from other ports. However, Grimsby Fish is still a recognised product, one associated with a particular area that specialises in and has expertise in a particular trade (cf Sheffield steel). In 2009 smoked fish from the town was granted Protected Geographical Indication by the European Union, reflecting the unique smoking methods used by certain local fish companies.[38]

Craft Chocolatiers can be found throughout[39][40][41] the county, such as Hansens[42] in Folkingham.[43] In 2013 Redstar Chocolate's Duffy's Venezuela Ocumare Milk won a gold medal as best bean-to-bar.[44][45] The factory is in Cleethorpes.[46]


Every year the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society, founded in 1869, stages the Lincolnshire Agricultural Show.[47] It is held on the Wednesday and Thursday of the last whole week of June at its showground at Grange de Lings, a few miles north of Lincoln on the A15. The show was first held here in 1958. First held around the year 1884, it is one of the largest agricultural shows in the country, and is attended by around 100,000 people over its two days. The showground is in regular use throughout the year for a wide range of other events and functions.

Smaller local agricultural shows, such as the Heckington Show[48] can still be found. Corby Glen sheep fair[49] has been held since 1238.

The Red Arrows, based at RAF Scampton near Lincoln[50] are a popular attraction at the Waddington Air Show

Each year RAF Waddington is the home to the RAF International Waddington Air Show. The two-day event attracts around 150,000 people and usually takes place during the first weekend of July. Since its inception over 35 countries have participated, with aircraft from around the globe attending the Lincolnshire Base. Beginning 2017, the event will be held at nearby RAF Scampton.

On the Monday before Easter, an unusual auction takes place in Bourne to let the grazing rights of the Whitebread Meadow.[51] Bidding takes place while two boys race toward the Queen's Bridge in Eastgate, the end of which dash is equivalent to the falling of the gavel. The whole affair dates back to the 1742 will of William Clay.

The Haxey Hood village competition takes place every January, as it has for over 700 years.

Stamford's Mid-Lent fair sees showmen converge on the town the week after Mothering Sunday, with rides and sideshows filling Broad Street, the Sheepmarket and the Meadows for a week. Stalls selling Grantham gingerbread and nougat are a traditional feature. The following week sees them in Grantham, on the way north for the Summer. Roger Tuby brings a small funfair to Bourne and then to Spalding in Spring and returns in Autumn at the end of the season.

The villages of Tetford and Salmonby hold an annual Scarecrow Festival in May every year.

The Belchford Downhill Challenge which is held every two years: soapbox racers race down the hill at up to 30 km/h. The turnout has been up to 1,000.

In recent years Lincoln Christmas Market, a street market throughout the historic area of the city, has been held at the start of December. Around the same time, Christmas lights are turned on in Bourne, Sleaford, Skegness, and other towns.

Throughout the summer the Stamford Shakespeare Company[52] presents the Bard's plays in the open-air theatre at Tolethorpe Hall, which is actually in Rutland.

The Spalding Flower Parade was held in late spring every year between 1959 and 2013. Colourful floats decorated with tulip heads competed for a cup.[53]


The Gold Victorian-style Penfold post box in Lincoln painted in recognition of Paralympian Sophie Wells who won the gold medal in the team Equestrian event at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. It is the only post box painted gold in the county

The main sports played in the county are football, cricket and rugby union. Lincolnshire does not have a high sporting profile, mainly due to the lack of facilities and high-profile football teams. Probably the most well-known sporting venues in Lincolnshire are Cadwell Park near Louth, where a round of the British Motorbike Championship is held on the last Monday of August every year and the racecourse at Market Rasen


The Lincoln Imp high above the choir on the southern side of Lincoln Cathedral

The unofficial anthem of the county is the traditional folk song, "The Lincolnshire Poacher", which dates from around 1776. A version of the song was the theme for BBC Radio Lincolnshire for many years.

According to a 2002 marketing campaign by the charity Plantlife, the county flower of Lincolnshire is the common dog-violet.

In August 2005, BBC Radio Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire Life magazine launched a vote for a flag of Lincolnshire to represent the county. Six competing designs were voted upon by locals and the winning submission was unveiled in October 2005.[56][57] Lincoln has its own flag – St George's flag with a Fleur-de-Lys.

The Lincoln Imp has symbolised cathedral, city and county for many years.[58][59] In 2006 it was replaced as the brand of Lincolnshire County Council by the stylised version seen on the header here [2] which has lost even the unique pose of the carving.



The county is home to one daily newspaper, the Grimsby Telegraph which as the name suggests, is published in the town and whose circulation area ostensibly covers North East Lincolnshire, although it reaches as far south as Louth and Alford and as west as Brigg.

There are two further weekly papers which used to be published daily until 2011; the Lincolnshire Echo is published weekly from Lincoln and covers the majority of the county reaching as far north as Louth, and the Scunthorpe Telegraph which covers northern Lincolnshire. All three are ultimately owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust.

There are also a number of weekly papers serving individual towns published in the county by Johnston Press. One of these, the Stamford Mercury claims to be Britain's oldest newspaper, although it is now a typical local weekly and no longer covers stories from the whole East Midlands as the archived copies did.


With the exception of a small area to the south-west of the county,[60] Lincolnshire is served from the Belmont transmitter,[61] receiving programmes from ITV Yorkshire and BBC One Yorkshire and Lincolnshire regions.

The BBC has, since 2003, provided the area with its twelfth regional service: BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, carrying a local "Look North" news programme from the main studio in Hull, with input from other studios in Lincoln and Grimsby.

ITV Yorkshire provides coverage through its evening news programme "Calendar". Until late 2008 the station provided a separate edition for the Belmont transmitter (although it was still broadcast from Leeds). From January 2009 the area is now covered by a programme that covers the entire ITV Yorkshire region.

From 1959 to July 1974 ITV programmes were provided by Anglia Television (although some coverage could be received from the Manchester-based Granada and ABC Weekend). Based in Norwich the company had news offices in Grimsby.[62] Following a transmitter change ITV services were provided by Yorkshire Television. This company kept open the offices in Grimsby and opened further facilities in Lincoln, although both of these closed in the mid-1990s.

South-west Lincolnshire receives BBC East Midlands and ITV Central which are broadcast from the Waltham-on-the-Wolds Transmitting Station. Although subject to co-channel interference from the Waltham transmitter, a small number of households in the southern tip of the county[63] are able to receive regional programming from BBC East and ITV Anglia.

Many villages just west of the Lincoln Edge cannot get a signal from Belmont due to shadowing and instead get their TV from Emley Moor near Huddersfield.


The area is covered by several local radio stations including:


Typhoon FGR4 aircraft, based at RAF Coningsby


Because of its flat geography and low population density, Lincolnshire is an ideal place for airfields, and the Air Ministry built prolifically with the county hosting nearly seventy separate air bases. It became known as "bomber county".[64] Since the end of the Second World War most of these airfields or stations were decommissioned, but the RAF retains a significant footprint in Lincolnshire for the air defence of the United Kingdom and aircrew training. For more information on former bases, see List of former RAF stations.

Two major front-line bases located in Lincolnshire are RAF Coningsby, which is one of only two RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Stations in the United Kingdom and home to the Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighters, and RAF Waddington, where most of the RAF's Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance aircraft are based. Other stations in Lincolnshire include RAF Cranwell, home to all Air Force Basic Officer Training for the Royal Air Force; RAF Scampton, home base to the Red Arrows Aerobatic Team and former base of the Avro Vulcan nuclear strike V bomber-force; RAF Barkston Heath, a training airfield; and minor bases such as RAF Kirton in Lindsey, RAF Donna Nook and RAF Digby.

Lincolnshire is also home to two active RAF and NATO-allied air weapons training bombing ranges, located along The Wash and north Lincolnshire coastline—RAF Holbeach active since 1926 (originally part of the former RAF Sutton Bridge station) and Donna Nook. The RAF Wainfleet range was decommissioned in 2010.


The Army runs Sobraon Barracks, home of 160 (Lincoln) Squadron, Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), as well as Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, Grantham, home to the national specialist logistics units. In November 2016 the Ministry of Defence announced that the Grantham site would close in 2020.[65]

Places of interest

AP Icon.svg Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
Accessible open space Accessible open space
Themepark uk icon.png Amusement/Theme Park
CL icon.svg Castle
Country Park Country Park
EH icon.svg English Heritage
Forestry Commission
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House
Mosque Mosques
Museum (free)
Museum (free/not free)
National Trust National Trust
Drama-icon.svg Theatre
Zoo icon.jpg Zoo

See also


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External links