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With a rich history encompassing the Romans, the Saxons and the Normans, Lancaster has always been popular with out of towners. It boasts a majestic castle, an activity-packed park and a theatre that doubles as an arts centre and gallery – so its appeal is pretty obvious. As well as all that it’s just over 15 minutes from Preston and 2 hours 15 minutes from Glasgow.
On arrival the bus station is a 10-minute walk from the train station on Cable Street and the timetables can all be found on the council website. There’s also a NoWCard Lancaster Bus Pass that will help you get around the town for a relatively low price. Finally, right outside the station is a taxi rank.
Lancaster Castle has been described by English Heritage as ‘the North-West's most important historic and archaeological monument’, this might have something to do with its long history as a prison ( from 1196 to as recently as 2011). Take a tour and uncover its fascinating history. Dubbed the ‘Taj Mahal of the North’,Ashton Memorial is a magnificent folly built in 1909. Take a trip to Williamson Park for great views of it and from it. At the site of a once bustling port, the Lancaster Maritime Museum celebrates the town’s history and heritage in a beautiful Georgian building.
The Borough is a 3-story Georgian town house converted into a vibrant pub and restaurant that is much-loved by locals. The Sultan of Lancaster is an award-winning Indian restaurant decorated with mesmerising Islamic art and serving food that looks and tastes as exquisite as the surroundings. Quite Simply French is a much-lauded restaurant in a converted 18th-century quayside warehouse. And a final shout should go to The Hall on China Street that serves amazing coffee and cake.
Located just a little way out of town, The Ashton has it all when it comes to relaxation with 5 uniquely-styled rooms. The Sun Hotel and Bar has been welcoming guests to Lancaster since the 17th century and it’s still getting it right. The Toll House is a 4-star Thwaites hotel that’s just a 10-minute walk from the station.
With The Ashton Memorial, the Butterfly House, the Walkabout Theatre and 22 hectares of fresh air and greenery, Williamson Park is an absolute must. The Dukes is a theatre, a cinema, an arts centre, a gallery and yet another must-attend attraction. Lancaster isn’t shy of a festival: if you’re in town in October then The Lancaster Music Festival plays in multiple brilliant venues and if you arrive in May, head to the Lancaster Food and Drink Festival.
St Nicholas Arcade is Lancaster's main shopping centre and all your favourite high street stores can be found here. The quirky Assembly Rooms Emporium is housed in an 18th-century building and crammed with vintage clothing, costume jewellery, books, cards and more. And when you’re done you can grab a cuppa at Penny’s Tearoom.
For more ideas on what to do in Lancaster, see Visit Lancashire.