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

Exhibitions Until 18 December 2022, FREE

Selma Makela: Future Haunting at The Whitaker

Selma Makela’s Future Haunting at The Whitaker includes paintings developed from a rare collection of 19th-century glass slides of alpine climbers on Glaciers, as well as work derived from meteorological and geological phenomena.

The paintings reference multiple sources of imagery, including glimpses of the world as seen during travel, and also found through researching archival sources and ephemera.

Makela’s work reflects upon concepts of distance and dislocation, both in terms of geological timelines – and also in terms of displacement and migration in a time of great uncertainty.

blackburn festival of light
Families 17 December 2022 10:00 am, FREE

Blackburn Festival of Light

Blackburn Festival of Light is a lantern parade created by and for the whole community. In just five years the festival has gone from a small-scale arts event to a staple in the town’s cultural calendar.

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.

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.