iQ in the city: Lincoln

City guide Lincoln Student life Social life

Home to two iQ sites, Pavilions and Hayes Wharf, Lincoln is a small city with a big hill and a large student community – courtesy of the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University. Sitting on the River Witham, it’s an attractive place to live and to visit, with the waterfront quarter and city centre packed with cafés and bars, and old buildings lending plenty of heritage to its shopping streets. We’ve rounded up some spots around Lincoln you might like to check out.


The iQ city guide to Lincoln




The Engine Shed – 10 min walk

This on-campus venue down by the river is one of the best places in town to catch some live music or comedy, with some big names making it their Lincoln stop-off of choice. Ross Noble, Henning Wehn, Nish Kumar and Hal Cruttenden are among those hoping to raise a laugh at the Shed, while the Kaiser Chiefs and Turin Brakes also have upcoming gigs at time of writing. Impressive bars, huge event spaces and the ability to attract top DJs make The Engine Shed a force to be reckoned with (nice view too).


Moka – 10-15 min walk

A big city centre nightclub, Moka is somewhere you might find yourself on a Friday or Saturday night in Lincoln, if you don’t end up at Home (another big city centre nightclub). Does the things you would expect a big city centre nightclub to do, and regularly hosts the Propaganda club night. Just along the street, you will also find Circle, a club which has earned the review ‘sick’ – hopefully a compliment rather than an outcome.


Odeon Lincoln – 5-13 min walk

This nine-screen Odeon shows all the films you would expect, but its location makes it a bit more special than your average multiplex. Down on Brayford Wharf, it has a string of bars and casual dining joints within a couple of minutes’ walk – Nando’s, Wagamama, Zizzi and the like – making it easy to combine dinner, drinks and a movie. There are also regular ‘event cinema’ screenings, if you fancy seeing a live performance from the National Theatre, Royal Ballet or Met Opera.


The Blue Room – 16-23 min walk

An intimate, flexible venue in the Cathedral Quarter, The Blue Room is the sort of place where you might just discover something new. The programme is eclectic, with The Blue Room offering a performance space to musicians, theatre productions and DJs. It could be classical, funk, ska, jazz or house – this beautifully restored space has seen it all. They also host yoga and Zumba classes, and because it’s associated with local tea and coffee company, Stokes, there’s a lovely café on site as well.




Food and drink


Coffee Bobbins – 12-19 min walk

Lincoln has a great choice of places to stop for a coffee, but this awesomely-named independent café deserves a mention for the yummy homemade cakes, bagels and sandwiches and good vegan options you can accompany it with. The vintage theme nods to sewing and fashion, giving this quirky little place on The Strait lots of character. If you over-indulge, you can walk it off on the famous Steep Hill, a few steps away.


Madame Waffle – 11-18 min walk

Who loves waffles? Well, we do – so Madame Waffle on the High Street is always going to be hard to resist. Their fresh Belgian beauties go far beyond the usual sweet toppings (although there are plenty of yummy dessert options), with lovely waffle lunches like pulled pork, lemon pepper chicken and houmous and feta. Why not finish off with an ‘Elvis’, piled high with peanut butter, banana, streaky bacon and maple syrup? Uh-huh-huh!


Bar Unico – 10-15 min walk

An authentic Italian café just a couple of minutes’ walk from the waterfront, Bar Unico is one not to miss. Everyone raves about the array of pastries, pizza and freshly baked biscotti, and you will be greeted by a wonderful display of tempting treats when you enter. The lovely gelato and proper Italian coffee is another bonus – and its location off the High Street means it’s the ideal shopping stop-off. In fact, you might just ditch the shops and keep eating.


Café Shanti – 11-18 min walk

It would be easy to speed past Café Shanti as you head round the corner from the High Street into Clasketgate, but be sure to slow down if you’re after something vegan – and tasty. This colourful café’s menu is rated as one of Lincoln’s best for vegan and vegetarian food, convincing even committed carnivores. Tempting falafel wraps and a range of vegan curries and lighter bites ensure there’s something for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with several dishes also ticking the gluten-free box.




Steep Hill and The Strait – 15-20 min walk

This gradient-heavy part of town is home to all sorts of curious independent shops, giving you lots to stop for as you ascend from the High Street in the direction of Lincoln Cathedral. You’ll find vintage fashion, cool stationery, books and fancy teas, and there’s even a shop devoted to Russian dolls. The climb isn’t for the faint-hearted – but have you really been to Lincoln if you haven’t conquered Steep Hill?


Waterside – 11-18 min walk

One of Lincoln’s best shopping centres for fashion and tech, Waterside is home to H&M, Next, New Look and a huge Topshop among other well-known names. Many of the major mobile networks have a store there, including O2 and Virgin Media, but the big draw for gadget lovers is probably official Apple reseller, Stormfront, where disciples can drool over sleekly presented iPhones and Macbooks (although ideally not literally).


Back to Mono – 8-15 min walk

If cratedigging is your thing, you won’t find a better stash of vinyl in Lincoln than at Back to Mono. This Guildhall Street shop stocks both new releases and elusive collectables and, if your tastes stretch back that far, you could also check out their monthly 60s club night at the nearby Red Five bar, with its mix of Motown, Northern Soul, psychedelia and freakbeat. No, us neither.


Agatha – 11-18 min walk

Lincoln has plenty of High Street fashion stores with most of the familiar chains present, but if you’re after something super-stylish from your favourite brand, upscale Agatha is the place to go. Rated as one of the best boutiques in Britain by British Vogue, you’ll find the likes of Tom Ford, Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood represented here and, even if a full outfit is out of reach, there’s a nice range of accessories for a subtle note of chic.





Lincoln is small enough to get around easily on foot, but it’s no problem finding public transport either. The bus station and train station are located across the road from one another, 10-15 minutes from both iQ sites and just a minute’s walk from the High Street.

For more details on public transport in Lincoln, take a look at this page on the Lincolnshire County Council website.


Your iQ team will be happy to help you get to know Lincoln better, so please ask at Reception if you need any help. And if you find somewhere in town that you think everyone else should know about, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #MyiQLife


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