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, arts and cultural gems spring up in former industrial heartlands, including many prestigious festivals including the National Festival of Making and the hotly anticipated British Textile Biennial. There’s also Blackburn’s ever-growing Confessional Festival, the more family orientated Burnley Canal Festival, and Morecambe’s twin punch of The Bay International Film Festival and Morecambe Poetry Festival — all of which are coming up in the next few months!
Over in Blackpool the Illuminations light up the shore front annually, while the Grundy Art Gallery (where you can currently catch a fantastic exhibition by Louise Bourgeois) 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. It’s also great for theatre, with The Dukes playing regular host to explosive, innovative productions — and keep an eye out for its award-winning outdoor walkabout theatre this summer!
If you know where to look, Lancashire has an incredibly vibrant arts and culture scene, as varied as the landscape it inhabits. Check out some of our upcoming highlights below.