The daughter of television producer Philip Hinchcliffe, her uncle is the actor Geoffrey Whitehead. Hinchcliffe was educated at the independent Sir William Perkins's School in Chertsey, and then gained a first class degree in English Literature and Drama from the University of Birmingham.
She initially worked with various theatre companies, and travelled.
Hinchcliffe got her first break in broadcasting in 2001 at BBC Southern Counties Radio, reporting on the likes of Crawley Town and Lewes. From there, she worked as a reporter on African Football for the BBC World Service, and then atBBC Radio 5 Live.
In the summer of 2002, she joined BBC News and BBC World News as a sports presenter. In 2005, she fronted BBC Two's live coverage of England's matches in the women's European football championship. On 21 January 2006, she became the first woman to present BBC One's Saturday lunchtime show Football Focus. In 2006, she presented BBC Three's coverage of some England's qualifiers for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2007. In 2008, she also appeared on the BBC 8pm News summary, while usual presenter Ellie Crisell was on maternity leave. In light of BBC Sports presentation moving to MediaCityUK in Salford, Hinchcliffe made her final on-air presentation on the BBC on 21 February 2012, presented with her favourite chocolate cake by the floor manager.
Hinchcliffe married in May 2009, and gave birth to a son the following year.
She lists her interests as film, theatre, and live music. Hinchcliffe is also a passionate supporter of Sheffield Wednesday.