Things to do in Lancashire

Polly Checkland Harding

The coastal county of Lancashire sits just above Manchester and Liverpool, its uppermost edge bordering the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Among the great northern cities and towns located here are Blackburn and Burnley to the south, the celebrated waterfront resorts of Blackpool and Morecambe on the seashore further north, as well as the historic city of Lancaster inland. Between them, these places help to define this area of the country: this was where mill and factory workers helped to forge the industrial revolution beneath the chimney stacks that still mark skyline, occasionally escaping to the fresh sea breezes at some of the greatest Victorian pleasure resorts.

But what is Lancashire like to explore today? Now, prestigious cultural festivals have sprung up in the former industrial heartlands, including the National Festival of Making, British Textile Biennial, Blackburn Open Walls and Burnley Canal Festival. Over in Blackpool the Illuminations light up the shore front annually, while the Grundy Art Gallery adds cutting-edge contemporary art to the historic joys of the Blackpool Tower and Ballroom. Lancaster is one of the few cities in the country with Heritage City Status, its medieval buildings a pleasure to discover, while Morecambe mixes heady nostalgia at the Vintage by the Sea festival with the forthcoming prospect of a new Eden Project.

Read on to discover more of the best things to do in Lancashire.

Discover our top picks

Grimm Tales: Witches, Wolves, Fairies and Frogs at Williamson Park
Theatre Until 22 August 2021, from £20.00

Grimm Tales: Witches, Wolves, Fairies and Frogs at Williamson Park

The shades and glades of Williamson Park will provide an atmospheric setting for this magical outdoor show.

British Textile Biennial 2021 – across Pennine Lancashire
Exhibitions 1–31 October 2021, FREE

British Textile Biennial 2021 – across Pennine Lancashire

British Textiles Biennial 2021 has an impressive list of headliners, including Maxine Peake, Lubaina Himid and fashion designer Patrick Grant.

Exhibitions 15–30 October 2021, FREE

Lightpool Festival

Taking place during Blackpool’s annual Illuminations display, Lightpool is a celebration of spectacular art works and live, illuminated performance across the iconic town.

light up lancaster
Exhibitions 5–6 November 2021, FREE

Light Up Lancaster

Festival of light and art Light Up Lancaster returns to the city with installations, projections, performance and fireworks illuminating the city’s historic buildings, charming streets and hidden squares.

Vintage by the Sea
Families 4–5 September 2021, FREE

Vintage by the Sea in Morecambe: CANCELLED

Celebrate the brilliance of 20th century design, fashion, vehicles and entertainment at this award-winning festival set around Morecambe’s famous art deco Midland Hotel.

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2022, FREE

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike

A collaborative project that takes inspiration from the history of the Leigh Female Reformers of 1819 and the monstrous representations of them in the media of the time.

Blackburn Open Walls
Activity Until 31 December 2021, FREE

Blackburn Open Walls

Over 3 years, forgotten walls of Blackburn were brought to life with the creation of a vibrant outdoor gallery, by international, national and local artists, who together over 2 weeks, created a collection of large scale murals and art walk trails for the residents and visitors of Blackburn to enjoy.

Pendle Witch Experience Tours
Activity Until 31 December 2021, from £18

Pendle Hill Witch Experience Tours

Group tours of Lancashire in the area surrounding Pendle Hill. Through visiting the countryside and villages of Pendle, visitors learn all about the dark deeds and wicked plots surrounding the Pendle Witches in the 1600s.

Lancashire District Guides

Thompson Park in Burnley

Things to do in Burnley

Our guide to the best things to do in Burnley, including places to eat and drink, shopping and cultural attractions.

The Midland Hotel Morecambe

Things to do in Morecambe

Our guide to the best things to do in Morecambe, including places to eat and drink, shopping and cultural attractions.

Photo of the towering entrance to Lancaster Castle

Things to do in Lancaster

Our guide to the best things to do with your time in Lancaster, including the city’s historic castle, literature festival and Dukes theatre.

Blackburn Open Walls

Things to do in Blackburn

A jam-packed guide of the best sights, spots and locally sourced goods on offer in Blackburn and the surrounding area.

Walks in Blackpool

Things to do in Blackpool

World famous for the Illuminations, Blackpool Tower and the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool is one of the country’s most iconic seaside resorts.

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