Mulled Wine and Medieval Festivities at Lincoln Christmas Market

The Cheese stall at Lincoln Christmas Market.

Stalls selling mulled wine and hot mince pies with brandy cream were in abundance. The luring smell of a hog roast filled the air and great square and triangular chunks of cheese could be seen seductively piled up. I was at Lincoln Christmas Market – the longest running Christmas market in the UK and one of the largest in Europe.

Early in December, hundreds of stalls are erected in the grounds of the 11th century Lincoln Castle and the surrounding area. Crowds descend on the cathedral city to lap up the Christmas spirit in bucket loads. There are more than 300 traders selling all kinds of festive goodies.

Bottles of festive drinks.

Lincoln Christmas Market is based on a market in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany. This is Lincoln’s twin town and local councillors were inspired following a trip here in the 1980s. The market was founded in 1982 and has been going strong ever since, apart from last year when it was snowed off for the first time.

Looking around, it is no surprise that the event is based on a German market. One of the highlights is the delicious bratwursts. Another highlight is, of course, the mulled wine. There are plenty of places selling this warming festive drink. My favourite is the Round Table stall where everybody dresses up as monks.

This year there was also a medieval style market in the Bishop’s Palace, near the castle. This was the perfect location for a market such as this. The stunning medieval building was once the administrative centre of the largest diocese in medieval England, stretching from the Humber to the Thames.

Subtly illuminated, it was an extremely atmospheric setting. Lincoln Cathedral could be seen shining brightly in the background; beaming in bright gold.

The Bishop's Palace where the Medieval Market was located.

The ancient stone walls held so much historic character. And so did the traders, who were all dressed in medieval style clothes. Sweet smells were coming from the stall selling medieval perfume oils. There was even one stall selling medieval style capes.

Medieval Market in the Bishop's Palace.

Traders in medieval style dress.


  1. December 5, 2011 / 12:19

    ahhh this post made me feel so christmassy! The castle looks so beautiful lit up! xx

  2. December 5, 2011 / 20:27

    Thanks Jen, Lincoln is Lovely at this time of year – especially at night when its all lit up. This market was a nice thing to do to get the Christmas mood and have some mulled wine, which I love!

  3. December 12, 2011 / 20:00

    I still only have a vague idea where it is on a map, bu Lincoln sounds like a lovely place to visit. All the pictures make it look neat, especially this market. I love that it was borrowed from the Germans. A monk of wine for me too.

    • December 13, 2011 / 17:55

      Hi Andrew, Lincoln is one of those places that is not really well known. Heck, I didn’nt really know where it was until I moved here :-) It would be good to visit a ‘real’ German market someday. But this market is great – just not on the Saturday as wayyyy too packed!

      • December 13, 2011 / 18:19

        A good market should probably be packed. It helps to know that it is not something that people avoid, not to mention large groups of people act as a nice windbreak to the winter.

        • December 14, 2011 / 08:15

          Trust me, it’s too packed on the Saturday. As in can of sardines, can’t get to any of the stalls, pushed everywhere kind of packed. Thursday and Sunday, the first and final days, are still busy but you can at least move.