With its medieval castle, fine Georgian architecture, and Victorian cathedral, Lancashire's county town is marked by its fascinating history that dates to the settlement originally formed by the Romans nearly two thousand years ago. Lancaster is a small but thriving city, with a population of 50 000 and a wide range of shops, heritage sites and places of cultural interest as well as a well established University just outside of the city centre. On the edge of the countryside and situated close to the seaside resort of Morecombe there is no shortage of ways to spend a visit in and around Lancaster. With its cobbled streets and winding alleys, the town centre is a pleasure to stroll around and its proximity to the Lake District national park as well as its links to the legends of the Pendle witches make it a popular city for tourists all year round.


Lancaster is overlooked by Williamson Park, a vast expanse of greenery that also houses the Edwardian Ashton Memorial, and the city's very own tropical Butterfly house. On top of Castle hill, a low peak in the centre of the city is Lancaster's medieval castle,part of which was constructed in 1090 by Roger de Poitou, the third cousin of William the conqueror. Today a section of the castle serves as Lancaster's prison, but the rest of the castle is open daily to members of the public offering an insight into the role of the castle in historic Lancaster.

As well as taking a tour of the castle and admiring the panoramic view from castle hill, visitors can also admire the majestic [ Priory Church] which sits next door to the castle. The Priory dates back to the 11th century although there has been a church on the site since 630 AD. The church welcomes visitors wishing to admire its historic features and beautiful stained glass windows and has several Sunday services for those wishing to use it as a place of worship. Lancaster is an ideal space to cycle round, owning a vast network of cycling routes running through its town centre, and along the Lancaster canal. The city has recently been deemed a "cycling demonstration" town, awarded for its efforts in encouraging its inhabitants to discover the benefits a bike can bring.

The Riverside Lune Millennium Park is a riverside pathway that, at a stretch of 15km, connects Lancaster with the village of Caton. At the Lancaster end of the Park is the magnificent Millennium bridge and all along the route are sculptures, glass-work rocks and other specifically commissioned public art works.

Housed in the city's former town hall, the story of Lancaster story is told in its City museum situated in market square in the town centre. The museum has a rich permanent collection illustrating Lancaster's history and archaeology as well as having a regularly changing temporary exhibition programme. Also in the town centre, the Storey Gallery has a range of historic and contemporary art shows and the Universities own Peter Scott gallery presents touring exhibitions alongside work produced by Lancaster students.


Whilst being a relatively small city, Lancaster has a wealth of high street shops contained within two shopping centres and along a network of winding cobbled streets. Its narrow ginnels lined with charming historic buildings house quaint shops that contrast nicely to its busy big name stores and allow for a more individual shopping experience. "Humbugs" sweetshop on Market street is a delight for children and adults alike and with over 1600 different sweets it is one of the most popular old fashioned sweetshops in Britain. Atkindson & co tea and coffee merchants also attracts visitors from far and wide selling leaves, beans and blends to suit any coffee connoisseur. The city has its own farmers market which is held monthly in the town centre, a great opportunity to experience the city's local produce. The Port of Lancaster Smokehouse also sells award winning local meat and poultry as well as Morecambe bay shrimps and salmon fresh from the river Lune.

The Canal Side craft centre at Galgate, just outside of Lancaster is situated in attractive farm buildings and sells a wide range of unique gifts and crafts.

Eating out/night life

Lancaster is a hive of restaurants and cafes serving a wide variety of English and International cuisine. Situated down a narrow alley-way, the Old Bell cafe, is a friendly tea-room serving traditional light dishes and homemade cakes, and has a character typical of Lancaster's tea rooms. For high class cuisine Antony's Cafe Bistro is dubbed as Lancaster's best kept secret, serving an inventive menu with modern tasteful decor. For those on a budget there are plenty of pizzerias such as Etna Pizza Pasta, on New Street, which serves tasty Italian food at modest prices and from Tapas, to Japanese there are international restaurants to suit all tastes.

As a student city, Lancaster has its fair share of nightclubs and bars which come to life most evenings during term time. The Sugarhouse and Liquid are the most popular with students but there is a range of quieter bars for those craving a more sedate night out. The city also has some lively public houses and most of its Freehouse pubs sell Lancaster's very own Brysons real ale.

In terms of more diverse forms of entertainment, the city is also host to a variety of cultural events, including live Jazz, contemporary dance and theatre. Particularly notable is the annual literature festival, "Litfest," during which there are workshops, plays and readings which attract some of the country's most renowned writers. Shows can be seen at Lancaster's beautiful Grand Theatre that stands as one of the country's oldest theatres and boasts the claim that Charles Dickens once performed on its stage. The Dukes Playhouse and the Nuffield Theatre, which are both situated in the grounds of the university are also fine settings which stage some of the more contemporary cultural events that come to the city.

Tourist Information

Lancaster Visitor Information CentreThe Storey Creative Industries CentreMeeting House LaneLancasterLA1 1TH


Lancaster's nearest airport is Manchester International Airport, which is an hour long drive by car and is also easily accessed by a direct train from Lancaster station.

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