Ahhh, Lancaster, what a dreamy little town you are!
I studied at Lancaster University for my semester abroad, and while the campus had everything you could ever need to survive 6 months…sometimes it’s nice to venture a little further afield and head to town. I’ll be covering the University itself in another post, but for now – how can you fill a weekend in Lancaster, Lancashire?
The town itself is a treasure trove for any of you who are history-inclined: my first foray in town was to Lancaster Castle, which served as a prison until 2012. Take the tour, they show you a lot more than you would have access to on your own, and the charming tour guides are so passionate that when they’re delving into stories of witch trials, you’ll honestly feel goosebumps spring up! Super tip – the tour guides will undoubtedly ask you who the Duke of Lancaster is – answer with The Queen, and you’ll have impressed your group good and proper!
After taking the castle tour, which shouldn’t take more than an hour or two, head a little down the hill towards the centre of town and you’ll hit Merchants 1688, an old wine cellar converted into a pub with both traditional and modern hearty English food. The portions are quite large – my friend and I shared the vegetarian burger and the fish and chips (can’t forget those mushy peas!)
There’s something quite special about leaving the hustle and bustle of centre of town, and heading up the (steep but short) hill to the Ashton Memorial. It’s surrounded by wonderful parkland, and you’re treated to a wondrous view, particularly of sunset if you manage to coordinate your timing.
The town centre is quite cute, with markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays (look out for the Cake Man, he’s a gorgeous character, takes a real interest in your day and makes the MOST delicious and generous portions of cake and brownie you’ll ever eat!) The shops are normal high-street stores, nothing too special there, but if you wander down towards Sainsbury’s there’s a lovely walk along the river.
If you’re keen on the clubbing scene, there are a few choices, most notably The Sugar House and Hustle – my tip, don’t set your expectations too high here. Rooms look like school halls filled with smoke and dark lighting, but the music is good and the place is always packed with uni students during term time so there’s no shortage of good times there. And McDonalds is only a street away for those early morning drunk foods.
If you’ve got more than 2 days, head over to nearby Morecambe. It’s a sleepy seaside town, often overcast and too cold to swim, but the view itself is quite something. If you wander along the pier you’ll come to look out spots that take you a little way into the sea – quite breathtaking, especially if a storm is about to roll in! Escaping the storm is another issue! We often took advantage of the Morecambe Superbowl – don’t try the food there, but definitely indulge in a 50s style milkshake while you throttle those pesky pins!
Lancaster is lovely, and set only an hour away from the Lake District, which deserves a weekend all on its own! There isn’t enough to do here for more than a couple of days, but if the history, sandstone buildings and gorgeous landscape don’t impress you, I’m really not sure what will (though, I’ll admit, considering it was my home from January to June 2016, I may be a tiny bit biased!)