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

  • 1. Lancaster Castle

    Lancaster Castle Lancashire
    Lancaster Castle - Gidzy

    Lancaster Castle, Castle Parade, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA1 1YJ - Visit now

    Lancaster Castle’s origins date back almost 1,000 years. This Grade 1 Listed Building occupies a city-centre hilltop location on the site of three successive Roman forts.

  • 2. The Dukes

    The Dukes, Lancaster

    The Dukes, Moor Lane, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA1 1QE - Visit now

    Lancashire’s only producing theatre hosts exciting seasons of work featuring new writing and the classics in a converted church in central Lancaster. 

  • 3. The Grand Theatre, Lancaster

    The Grand Theatre in Lancaster
    Lancaster Grand

    The Grand Theatre, Lancaster, St Leonardgate, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA1 1NL - Visit now

    First opened in 1782, the theatre is now host to amateur drama, music and dance and professional touring companies. You can take in the history of the area with a tour of the building too.

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.

Exhibitions Until 7 May 2023, FREE

Jo Clements: Everyone In This Room Is Connected To Everyone In This Room at the Whitaker

Jo Clements explores the meandering paths of human knowledge in ‘Everyone In This Room Is Connected To Everyone In This Room’ at The Whitaker.

Lancashire District Guides

Thompson Park in Burnley

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The Midland Hotel Morecambe

Things to do in 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.