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 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. 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! Morecambe, meanwhile, mixes heady nostalgia at the Vintage by the Sea festival with the forthcoming prospect of a forward-thinking new Eden Project.

Discover our top picks

Families 21 July–27 August 2023, from £16.00

Around the World in 80 Days at Williamson Park

Following the success of The Jungle Book in 2022, The Dukes’ award-winning outdoor walkabout theatre is back with a spectacular race around the world, fun for the whole family.

Cinema 22–24 September 2023, from £15.50

Adventure Cinema at Stanley Park, Blackpool

Watch the stars under the stars at Blackpool’s Stanley Park this September.

Cinema 27–29 October 2023, from £5.00

The Bay International Film Festival at Reel Cinema Morecambe

Brand new this year, The Bay International Film Festival is set to delight movie buffs from Morecambe and beyond.

The National Festival of Making
Families 8–9 July 2023, FREE

The National Festival of Making

Britain’s revolution in hands-on creativity, contemporary manufacturing and tech-led making shows no sign of slowing and the festival that shouts loudest about the brilliance of the nation’s makers returns for enjoyment year on year.

British Textile Biennial 2021 – across Pennine Lancashire
Exhibitions 29 September–29 October 2023, FREE

British Textile Biennial 2023

The British Textile Biennial throws a spotlight on the nation’s creativity, innovation and expression in textiles.

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 seaside town of Morecambe, including places to eat and drink, shopping and cultural attractions.

Things to do in Lancaster

Our guide to the Heritage City of Lancaster, including the city’s historic castle, literature festival and Dukes theatre.

Blackburn Open Walls

Things to do in Blackburn

Our guide to the best sights, spots and locally sourced goods on offer in Blackburn and the surrounding area.

Walks in Blackpool

Things to do in Blackpool

Our guide to the iconic seaside resort of Blackpool, famous for the Illuminations, Blackpool Tower and the Pleasure Beach.