Spend a Weekend in the Local Area
If this will be your first time in Lancaster or even if you have been here before, we encourage you to use the opportunity to explore the local area, whether in Lancaster itself or close by. The Northwest of England has so much to offer, you're sure to find something for you. We have listed some of the CGE Team's favourite aspects below.
Lancaster City & Culture
Lancaster is one of England's many Heritage Cities - it may be small, but it comes with a big story. There are many opportunities to explore its history, cultue and nature throughout the city and surrounding area.
To find out more about Lancaster's thrilling history, visit Lancaster's castle, museums, or Roman Ruins.
Lancaster Castle, built almost 1000 years ago, has served a significant purpose throughout its time. Its darker past involves being a place of punishment and home to the infamous Lancashire Witch Trials in 1612. In contrast to this, it has also welcomed many Royal visitors over the centuries, as well as playing host to guided tours and craft fairs. Whether you would like to learn about the 10 individuals who were convicted of witchcraft over 400 years ago, the castle's more recent use as a prison, or its royal standing, this is definitely a must-see in Lancaster.
The House of Lancaster also played a prominent role in the War of Roses against the House of York, where they fought for the throne of England during the 15th Century. Residents of Lancaster and York can relive the battle on an annual basis, when Lancaster University and the University of York continue the rivalry in the largest varsity competition in Europe and compete in over 100 sports during the Roses tournament.
Lancaster offers a unique and vibrant culture, involving stunning architecture, museums, and boutiques. Lancaster is home to Georgian architecture that lines the River Lune, an Edwardian-designed Butterfly House, and England's grandest folly - The Ashton Memorial. Visitors can also witness the influence of two seats of learning, Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria throughout the city, as well as a visit a variety of shops, cafes, markets, and restaurants. If you stay until Saturday, be sure to browse the Charter Market before you leave.
To experience Lancaster's green spaces and wildlife, you can taka stroll along Lancaster's city canal or even take a boat trip. Explore Williamson Park or the various footpaths that line the River Lune. Admire the Ashton Memorial that dominates the skyline across the city. These are parts of Lancaster that you will not want to miss.
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Morecambe Bay & Morecambe
Various locations allow you to see Morecambe Bay, but the closest one is Morecambe itself, only a ten-minute train ride or a 25-minute bus journey from Lancaster City Centre. The Ramsar Convention established that Morecambe Bay is a ”Wetland of International Importance”, as it is the largest intertidal wetland area in the UK and remains a habitat for thousands of shorebirds and coastal wildfowl. Make the time to visit and enjoy the diverse views during a stroll on the promenade. Admire the views and imagine the excitement of the Eden North Project that will soon call Morecambe its home.
Two National Parks: Yorkshire Dales & Lake District
Lancaster is cosily locates between two famous national parks. Yorkshire Dales National Park is renowned for its scenic sites and wide range of activities for visitors. It comprises various river valleys and hills that are crossed and enjoyed by numerous long-distance routes and cycle paths.
The Lake District National Park, a mountainous region of Northwest England, is home to 12 of the largest lakes in the UK and is also recognised for its beuatiful forests and hills. It is the most visited national park in the UK due to its diverse offering, including boat tours and trips, various walks and a multitude of sites to see that shape both its landscape and its history.
It only takes a 40-minute drive or 1-hour bus journey to Yorkshire Dales Community centre, while the various locations in the Lake District are only a short bus or train journey away. By bus, visitors can reach Kendal, Staveley, Windermere, Bowness, Ambleside, Keswick, and Grasmere, whilst the train can take visitors to Penrith, Windermere, Staveley, and Oxenholme.
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Arnside and Silverdale - Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Located on the border between North Lancashire and South Cumbria and adjoining Morecambe Bay, Arnside and Silverdale is recognised as an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. Its landscape is under national protection, while its wildlife has international importance. The area has various special qualities, including:
- Breathaking views, landscape and seascape
- Unique nature and habitats that contribute to its extraordinary diversity of wildlife, including woodlands, marshes, limestone pavements and hills, mosses, orchards and meadows
- Historical significance, reflecting the agricultural and industrial past of the area
- Vibrant communities, including Arnside, Silverdale, Warton, Storth, Sandside, Beetham, and the Yealands
- Variety of footpaths to enjoy the countryside
With Northern Trains, you can reach Silverdale within 40 minutes from Lancaster.
To learn more, visit: https://www.arnsidesilverdaleaonb.org.uk/
Forest & Trough of Bowland
Home to the Trough of Bowland, the Forest of Bowland is another landmark that is recognised as an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. The whole area was shaped by various natural events over millions of years, causing its diverse geological structure. The Trough itself is a high pass that divides the areas in two, which also provided the route taken by the unfortunate people accused of witchcraft for their trial at Lancaster Castle in 1612. Popular for hikers and cyclists, the landscape is unbelievably unique and scenic and worth a visit if you choose to stay locally following the conference.
Unfortunately the area cannot be reached by public transport, but is within an hour's drive by car.
To learn more, visit: https://www.forestofbowland.com/