It’s that time of year again! This last weekend I visited the annual Lincoln Christmas market. It was bitterly cold, so I only spent a couple of hours there as I didn’t want to get frostbite.
The market ran from Thursday until Sunday. Luckily I chose to go on the Friday instead of Sunday, which was cancelled because of forecast snow.
They had all sorts of stalls at the market but it does have a German theme. There were lots of stalls selling German sausages, German wine, all sorts of food and snacks, Christmas decorations, craft stuff, and more. There was also a funfair but as is usually the case with funfairs none of the rides were wheelchair accessible so that was off-limits to me.
There were lots of interesting things to eat and drink ranging from mini Dutch pancakes to German Schokokuss (chocolate covered marshmallow teacakes). The latter being my personal favourite!
But how wheelchair accessible is the market? Well, I went along to give it my verdict.
Getting to the Market
Getting to Lincoln Christmas market can be a bit of a nightmare as there are literally thousands of people there. They have closed all the car parks around the castle area where the market is, so you have to park in car parks nearer the city centre. These other carparks are further away so you will have further to travel to get to the market.
Plus, you will have to negotiate the aptly named Steep Hill, which is, well, steep, and covered in cobbles. Definitely not a wheelchair friendly route.
Alternatively, a better option in my opinion is to use the park and ride service from the Lincolnshire Showground nearby. I was pleased to see that they have a wheelchair accessible bus at the showground which I used. It was the first time I’d ever used the park-and-ride to get to the Christmas market, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.
We parked our car on the showground and then jumped on the bus that was waiting and it took us to the market. It only took about five or 10 minutes to get from the showground to the market which definitely beats getting stuck in traffic in the city centre.
The park-and-ride was rather expensive though. You have to pay £14 to park your car there, but I guess it’s probably worth it to avoid all the aggravation of trying to find a parking space in the city.
To get back we just met the bus again where they dropped us off. We told the driver the general time that we would need to be picked up and they took us back to the showground. No trouble at all.
Accessibility of the Market
There were market stalls all around the castle area and cathedral in uphill Lincoln. Plus there were stalls in the Lawn, and even a mediaeval Christmas market too in the old bishops Palace. So there is quite a lot to see. I was only there for two hours so I just went around the castle area.
The area between the front of the castle and the cathedral has a lot of cobbles. But you can avoid the worst of the cobbles by taking a careful route along the pavement into the castle grounds. Inside the castle grounds and behind the castle there are no cobblestones, and the ground is relatively flat.
The grass area was covered over with a hard walkway on which the wooden chalets of the market were placed. So it was a very smooth drive around the inside of the castle grounds.
The real problem is the crowds. There are thousands of people that visit Lincoln Christmas market every year so sometimes it is difficult to get a clear view of the stalls when there is a big crowd around them. Eventually, they disperse a bit so you can slip into the gap though.
Most people tend to go to the market in the evenings and at the weekend, so it’s best to go during the day to avoid the worst of the crowds. But even then there are usually a sizeable number of people there.
They had a Mobiloo at the market this year, which was fantastic! If you are not familiar with Mobiloo they are mobile changing places toilets for disabled people. They are brilliant! In the back of a van they have a changing bed, ceiling hoist, and lots of space. Plus there is a tail lift on the back of the van to get in. So it was brilliant to see one at the market, as it’s the first time I’ve ever seen one there. It makes the event a bit more inclusive for disabled people.
In my opinion, Lincoln Christmas market is very good for wheelchair access. Most of the market stalls are on flat ground, with the notable exception of Castle Square and around the Cathedral. I was impressed with the accessible park and ride bus from the Lincolnshire Showground which made getting to the market a lot easier. Plus it was fantastic to see a Mobiloo at the market this year as it makes the market more inclusive to disabled people.
The park and ride could be cheaper though, which would also encourage more people to use it instead of trying to find a parking space in the city. It can be difficult trying to get through the crowds in the market but if you go during the day and on the weekday it should be less busy.