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Explore Lancaster - a small city with a big history.
A good starting point is Lancaster City Museum and one of its star attractions, a Roman tombstone dating to around 100AD. Roman forts once stood where Lancaster’s imposing castle now welcomes visitors. Be transported back in time as you step into Lancaster Castle with its magnificent Shire Hall, dark dungeons, and working courtrooms which have witnessed famous trials including the Pendle Witches and the Birmingham Six. Take a guided tour of this iconic building to find out more.
Lancaster’s fortune was made as a port in Georgian times and you’ll discover one of the era’s many architectural gems, the Maritime Museum, on St George’s Quay. Another of Lancaster’s four museums, The Judges’ Lodgings, is based in the city’s oldest townhouse and features the renowned collection of Gillow furniture, once produced in Lancaster, and the nostalgic Museum of Childhood. Just around the corner, experience an intimate glimpse of early Victorian life at the Cottage Museum.
Walking through Lancaster, you’ll find many landmarks associated with the city’s most prominent Victorian and Edwardian entrepreneurs and philanthropists. And in this centenary year of World War One, don’t forget that Lancaster was the birthplace of Laurence Binyon who penned the immortal words “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We Will Remember Them”.
A trip to the spectacular Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park is not to be missed and neither is the Storey Institute, now a creative industries hub and also home to Lancaster Visitor Information Centre.
Whether you’re a culture vulture, foodie or shopaholic, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Lancaster. Lancaster is an Arts City full of cultural activity from theatres and live music to galleries, cinemas, literature and dance. In the summer, Lancaster is also home to the UK’s biggest outdoor walkabout theatre season performed by The Dukes theatre in the city’s beautiful Williamson Park.
One of the beauties of Lancaster is that it’s a compact city with a pedestrianised centre where theatres, music venues and galleries are just a few minutes’ walk from shops, pubs and eateries. Wander along one of Lancaster’s charming cobbled streets and you’ll find a wide variety of independent and individual shops, cafes and restaurants alongside the familiar chains. Lancaster’s heritage as a market town still continues with the twice-weekly Charter Market in bustling Market Square right in the centre of the city. And the vintage vibe is alive in Lancaster too at The Assembly Rooms with its wealth of retro clothing, antiques and collectables and at the growing number of specialist vintage shops.
The River Lune flows through this historic city and into Morecambe Bay. The bay brings nutrients to marine life that has attracted both birds and people throughout the ages. Sunderland Point on the north bank has a magical atmosphere and important maritime remnants, while Glasson Dock on the south bank is still a lively port. Download your guide here.