Lancaster Castle.

Things to do in Lancaster

Polly Checkland Harding

Lancaster is one of only 13 places in England with Heritage City status – the site of the Pendle witch trials, home to a port on the River Lune that was once one of the busiest in Britain and to a theatre that dates back to the reign of King George III. The city’s streets are a mix of buildings rich with history and cultural ambition: trip to discover the gripping events that once took place inside Lancaster Castle’s ancient walls wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The Dukes for cinema and live performance, or to Williamson Park in the summer for open-air theatre with spectacular views.

This is a city that wears its history well: here, a coffee company dating back to 1837 is now a thriving shop and roastery, while Light Up Lancaster, a brilliant festival of light and art, illuminates heritage buildings and public spaces throughout the city each year. The Grade II listed Grand Theatre, meanwhile, is one of the oldest working theatres in England, opened in 1782 during the reign of King George III.

Home to Ludus Dance and touring theatre company, imitating the dog, Lancaster has long nurtured a vibrant community of artists and creatives. You’ll find cutting-edge contemporary organisations, such as Lancaster Arts (based at the University), and jazz, literature and music festivals happening throughout the year – it’s also worth noting that Lancaster and the seaside town of Morecambe are well connected by a nine-minute train ride. Read on to discover more.

Discover our top picks

light up lancaster
Exhibitions 4–5 November 2022, 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.

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park
Families Until 28 August 2022, from £15.00

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park

The enchanting backdrop of Lancaster’s Williamson Park will provide a magical and leafy setting for this outdoor walkabout performance.

Exhibitions 14–29 October 2022, 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.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £15

Embroidery with Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle

Learn embroidery in a fun and relaxed environment with the BBC’s Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle’s famous Witches Tower.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £60

Glass fusing at Glassmonkey Studio

Come and experience the magic of fused glass at Glass Monkey Studio in Burnley, where workshops cater for all levels and abilities.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £3.50

Knittaz with Attitude: Yarnbombing at Upside Down Coffee

Knitting, crochet, yarnbombing and contemporary needlecraft. Not a workshop as such but a ‘learning’ social with Knittaz with Attitude.

The Wizarding Adventure at East Lancashire Railway
Families Until 2 September 2022, from £13.00

The Wizarding Adventure at East Lancashire Railway

Families: Get ready to climb aboard the spell-binding steam train for a magical Wizarding Adventure at East Lancashire Railway.

Lancashire District Guides

Thompson Park in Burnley

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The Midland Hotel Morecambe

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Blackburn Open Walls

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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.

Things to do right now

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