Photo of the towering entrance to Lancaster Castle
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. 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 5–6 November 2021, 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.

British Textile Biennial 2021 – across Pennine Lancashire
Exhibitions Until 31 October 2021, FREE

British Textile Biennial 2021 – across Pennine Lancashire

British Textiles Biennial 2021 has an impressive list of headliners, including Maxine Peake, Lubaina Himid and fashion designer Patrick Grant.

Exhibitions Until 30 October 2021, 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.

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2022, FREE

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike

A collaborative project that takes inspiration from the history of the Leigh Female Reformers of 1819 and the monstrous representations of them in the media of the time.

Blackburn Open Walls
Activity Until 31 December 2021, FREE

Blackburn Open Walls

Over 3 years, forgotten walls of Blackburn were brought to life with the creation of a vibrant outdoor gallery, by international, national and local artists, who together over 2 weeks, created a collection of large scale murals and art walk trails for the residents and visitors of Blackburn to enjoy.

Halloween Ghost Train
Childrens 28–30 October 2021, from £12.90

Halloween Ghost Train at The East Lancashire Railway

Climb aboard the hair-raisingly spooky Halloween Ghost Train at the East Lancashire Railway this October half-term and expect a journey of spooktacular fun and delight!

Pendle Witch Experience Tours
Activity Until 31 December 2021, from £18

Pendle Hill Witch Experience Tours

Group tours of Lancashire in the area surrounding Pendle Hill. Through visiting the countryside and villages of Pendle, visitors learn all about the dark deeds and wicked plots surrounding the Pendle Witches in the 1600s.

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.

Things to do right now

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Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £60

Glass fusing at Glassmonkey Studio

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £15

Embroidery with Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle

Exhibitions Until 30 October 2021, FREE

Lightpool Festival

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £3.50

Knittaz with Attitude: Yarnbombing at Upside Down Coffee

Pendle Witch Experience Tours
Activity Until 31 December 2021, from £18

Pendle Hill Witch Experience Tours

Blackburn Open Walls
Activity Until 31 December 2021, FREE

Blackburn Open Walls