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

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.

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.