Lancaster is a small city in the North of England, historically the county town of Lancashire. It is in The Duchy of Lancaster and The County Palatine of Lancashire and is a gateway to the Lake District and Morecambe. It has a high student population. Lancaster University is a top university and there is also a former teacher training college, now the University of Cumbria.
- Lancaster is easily accessible from the M6 motorway, and is about 1 hour north of Manchester.
- Lancaster also has a train station on the West Coast Main Line with regular trains to Manchester, Preston, the Lakes and Scotland.
- There is a one-way road system in Lancaster and traffic can be heavy.
- There are many regular bus services servicing Lancaster and nearby Morecambe. A return on the bus from the city centre to the University costs about £2, and takes about 20 mins on the direct bus or over 30 mins on the other routes through Bowerham. A week ticket can be obtained for £8.10 which enables you to have unlimited travel in the Lancaster area. A Bay Big 5 is another offer; if there is five of your party wanting to go to the same place you can spend £5 for all five of you to travel in Lancaster. A monthly, term and yearly pass is available to save you money.
- Lancaster has recently become a cycling demonstration town and there are spaces in within all the town centers around Lancaster for bikes.
- Ashton Memorial - A folly created for Lord Ashton's wife, upon her death; shortly before completion he gave it to the Lancaster area, so all can see its splendour. There's a butterfly house in Williamson Park, with great views across Morecambe Bay to the Lake District.A cafe shop and a kid's play ground make it an ideal day activity. The park its self has extensive ponds, fountains, hills, trees, orienteering trails and picnic tables to have a quick snack. The local theatre the Dukes put on an annual show in various sections of the grounds, varying stages from; in the round, flat, thrust and prosteaum arch styles. This makes it a brilliant event for all ages.
- Lancaster Castle - A stunning castle with lots of history. Officially the Duke of Lancaster's castle who currently is the Queen; there are tours available, from the state rooms, to the official (still in use) court rooms, or a trip in the prison cells and you may even see one of the Pendle Witch's ghost. The annual fireworks display at bonfire night is amazing and a must see for anyone near at that time. A Halloween treat round the castle, judges loggins and many more bloody seeped historic places.
- Lancaster Maritime Museum, Custom House, St George's Quay, ☎ +44 1524 382264, fax: +44 1524 841692, e-mail: Museums.Enquiries@lancashire.gov.uk. Apr-Oct: 11AM-5PM; Nov-Mar: 12:30PM-4PM; Closed Christmas and New Year. Reflecting Lancaster's 18th century period as sea port. £2-3.
- Lancaster University - Lancaster University is currently 6th in the UK according to the Guardian newspaper. The InfoLab21 building, housing the School of Computing and Communications, was nominated for a national design award.
- Historic buildings from the town's past as a centre of the cotton industry and lino manufacturing
- Shopping - has typical department stores and a couple of shopping centres. There is a traditional sweet shop (Humbugs) opposite Morrison's city centre "M Local" store (formerly HMV) which is nice. There is a twice-weekly market in the centre with food and other stalls. The high student population supports distinctive alternative lifestyle shops such as the Single Step Wholefood Cooperative
- Cinema - Lancaster has a new multiplex cinema where you can catch the latest releases. Nearby bars and restaurants often have food and cinema deals.
- Dukes Theatre and Cinema - The Dukes is Lancashire's professional producing theatre. The Dukes' drama productions include classics and new plays performed in two auditoria, plus Summertime theatre - an unmissable outdoor experience. Dukes Cinema is one of the most successful independent screens in the country, offering a huge range of mainstream and non-mainstream programming, with Dolby Digital surround sound. Other events include a selection of touring drama, music, literature, art exhibitions. Plus there's a relaxing bar.
- Theatre - Lancaster has a couple of theatres.
- Lancaster Canal Aqueduct, Caton Road or Halton Road. Magnificent 18th century stone aqueduct carrying the Lancaster Canal high over the River Lune. Follow the canal north for 1 mile from the City Centre
- The cathedral, Balmoral Road (It is just up the hill past the town hall.). It is a beautiful but not overly ornate catholic cathedral which is tucked away from the centre of Lancaster; it is definitely worth a visit.
- Niche Indian Delights - Fantastic Indian food made in a traditional way. Can eat in or take away.
- Nice and Spicy - An award winning takeaway. Also Delhicious is another excellent Indian takeaway.
- The Gregson is a unique institution, hippy-style food and drink, with jazz, folk, salsa, etc. in the bar and in the dance halls
- Soupanova - Excellent home-made soup, very friendly service.
- The Whale Tail - A fantastic veggie cafe which is famous for its salads and specials.
- The Gatehouse - Excellent restaurant near the canal.
- The Water Witch - An award winning pub on the canal. Famous for its cheese boards and great for sitting out in the summer.
- Merchants - In an old cellar of the building which is now the tourist information centre, quite near the castle. Nothing flash, but decent cheap pub food. Smoking and non smoking areas are in separate cellar vaults.
- Quite Simply French - An upmarket dinner location specializing in fish and meat. Veggie options used to be uninspired but have recently improved. Very good seafood (including oysters). Now also run Quite Simply Food deli/restaurant on Moor Lane by the Dukes.
- Pizza Margherita - A cult pizza restaurant, on Moor Lane opposite the Dukes. Excellent for a quick bite before a play.
- The Sun Cafe - A lovely cafe/art gallery on Sun Street; in the evening it's a restaurant serving food made from local ingredients and particularly fabulous pasta
- The Sultan - Award-winning Indian restaurant housed in an old church and famous for amazing Islamic decor as well as the fab vegetarian selections. It now has a cafe and deli downstairs, which is very comfortable and does Mediterranean and Middle Eastern as well as Indian food. The Indian sweets are particularly good.
- The Golden Dragon - Chinese restaurant. Speciality is crab.
- Marco's Restaurant - A modern Italian restaurant in the heart of Lancaster, serving traditional Italian cuisine as well as a selection of contemporary dishes.
Lancaster is also home to the regular chain eateries: Litten tree, Wetherspoons (The Sir Richard Owen is generally better than the Green Ayre), Bella Italia, McDonalds.
There is a good supermarket with local food, Booths (this small regional chain recently came 2nd in a poll of the world's best stores), to the south of the city on the A6 at Hala.
- Antony's cafe (just opposite the market, across the road and through the Ginnel or via Middle Street). It is a friendly place. Tastefully decorated where the staff do not rush you and your food is well cooked and tasty. Prices are fair.
- Flames (just round the corner from the Sugarhouse, on the road back to the bus station. It is on the corner.). Only after a night out!
There are many bars and pubs as Lancaster is a thriving university town. Some excellent bars and pubs exist alongside some of the expected chain bars including Revolution, Wetherspoons, Lloyds bar and one Scream pub.
- The Water Witch- Canalside pub with outdoor seating and very good food. The pub offers a huge selection of continental beers, as well as many local hand-pulled bitters.
- The White Cross - Canalside pub with lots of space inside and outdoor seating as well. Offers food too.
- The Herdwick (Also called Gradbar) - Lancaster University Graduate College bar. One of only 3 university bars in the UK included in the Good Beer Guide. Great selection of real ales and whiskies. Great beer festivals and weekly live music nights.
- The Vodka Revolution - 40 plus varieties of Vodka and a pseudo club atmosphere. Dress code and cover charge on busy nights. Caters to the University crowd. Small dance floor on second floor, and three separate bars, two downstairs and one on the second floor. Plush but limited seating.
- Merchants - Pub just below the Castle. It is said to connect to the Castle via a tunnel, as the pub used to be the powder storage room for the castle. The pub is a series of three bricked tunnels just off of a small bar. There is also a second floor housing a washroom.
- Weatherspoons - Two of this chain of bars are in Lancaster. The official names of the Weatherspoons in town are the Sir Richard Owen and the Green Ayre. They offer lots of space, and cheap drinks but lack the character of many of Lancaster's finer pubs. Look out for a crazy bar tender named Martin, he is an odd ball and may short change you.
- The Friary - An old church converted into a pub. Amazing setting, and a lively crowd of University students on the weekends. There is a second floor balcony with a small bar, and a large bar on the main floor with lots of seating. This is a very popular last stop with many University students on Saturday nights before heading to the very popular club "The SugarHouse".
- Varsity - An interesting and modern design. Four split levels and a basement area containing the washrooms. Only the main level is large enough to accommodate more than 20 people. The bar can be very busy on weekends when University is in session.
- Paddy Mulligans - An Irish pub just off the main street, but tucked away. This is a fairly quiet pub. Open seating and a central bar.
- The Walkabout - One of a chain of bars. This bar offers a dance floor located below the main seating level, which can be seen from the seating area from the balcony, and a large seating area on the main level. The washrooms are located upstairs.
- Fox and Goose - A quiet pub located outside of the down town on one of the bus routes from Lancaster to Lancaster University. This pub has one good sized room with open design and a bar at the back.
- Fibber McGees - An Irish pub just off the main street, but tucked away. This is a fairly quiet pub.
- Boot and Shoe - A quiet pub located outside of town on another of the bus routes connecting Lancaster with Lancaster University.
- The Bowerham - A quiet pub located outside of town on another of the bus routes connecting Lancaster with Lancaster University. This pub offers live music during certain days of the week.
- The Sun - for expensive but a nice range of European beers.
- The Yorkshire House - local pub with good beer and excellent live music venue upstairs.
- The Borough - girl-friendly wine bar with restaurant at the back and good terrace for sitting outside in summer.
- The Plough. Very nice local pub that serves large dishes of traditional and tasty pub lunches. Strongly recommended. Also has a rewards scheme for frequent diners. Located next to the local football ground, so generally busy on match days. Also does student discount on production of NUS/purple card.
- The Sun. has accommodation above the pub and though parking can be a problem it's a nice modern place to stay.
- The Wagon and Horses. a beautifully restored pub by the river, which does good food and also has rooms. Backs onto the Vicarage fields, and next to the Quite Simply French restaurant.
- The seaside resort of Morecambe is so close to Lancaster that they've basically merged.
- The Lake District is about 40 mins by road.
- Only 15 minutes away is the amazing Silverdale peninsula - next junction on the M6, follow signs to Carnforth and Warton. Fantastic limestone pavement walks, also the Leighton Moss RSPB bird reserve. Birds of prey centre at Leighton Hall is worth a detour. Deepdale is England's largest meteorite crater (near Leighton Hall, in the woods surrounding the pretty Yealand village).
Manchester is an hour away.