Light Up Lancaster – A Week of Special Events in the City

Light up LancasterVisitors from the whole of Lancashire and further afield flock to Lancaster for the city’s annual firework extravaganza at Lancaster Castle. The event which grows in popularity each year returns in 2013 with a full week of FREE ‘Light Up Lancaster’ events around the city. It is the perfect time to explore Lancaster both day and night.

To make the most of some of these fantastic events, consider booking a short break at Lancaster House hotel, just a short drive away from the city centre with prices from £88.00 Bed and Breakfast for two people (available at the time of publishing) with family rooms also available.

Light Up The Waterways

Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 October 2013
Times: 7.15pm, 8.00pm, 8.45pm

Commissioned by the Canal & River Trust, this is a free event for all the family to enjoy. Discover the stories and heritage of our waterways and their often overlooked ecology, with a series of acts by aerial artists, magicians, dancers, musicians and other exciting performance artists, alongside the Grade 1 Listed Lune Aqueduct. Although this is a free event it must be booked in advance on 01524 598500 as there are limited places.

Drawing Workshops

Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 October 2013
Times: 10am – 5pm

During the day there will be family-friendly drawing workshops taking place at St Nics – creating pieces of artwork to be exhibited at Light Up The Streets. No need to book – just bring the family and join in!

Light Up The Streets

Friday 1 November 2013
Performances from 6pm onwards

Take a stroll through the city centre for a unique evening art experience animating our beautiful buildings and squares. Discover new stories along the trail, with a string of music,
dance, theatre and film events. This is a self-guided evening; performances begin at 6pm, but you can arrive at any time and pick up a guide to the evening’s performances and installations from one of the stewards.

Light Up The Skies – The Fireworks Spectacular

downloadSaturday 2 November 2013
Activities from 10am, Fireworks at 8pm

Lancaster’s magical extravaganza of fireworks, which lights up the historic landscape and skyline of the city, is one of the finest displays in the north. This year the fireworks will again be fired from the roof of Lancaster’s medieval castle.

Although the main viewing areas are now fully booked, there are also many other excellent viewing areas throughout the district which do not require wristbands. Recommended areas include the Millennium Bridge, Williamson Park and Salt Ayre Sports and Leisure Centre. Salt Ayre will have a host of family-friendly activities including a fun-fair from 4pm onwards.

There will also be activities including workshops, guided walks and storytelling taking place throughout the day on Saturday.

Morecambe’s Hidden Vintage Gems

Midland Vintage 2013The vintage buzz can be felt in Morecambe and I’m more than a bit excited to be in the middle of it. After harping on about all things vintage and being told my living room looks like it belongs to an old lady, it’s with a hint of ‘I told you so’ that I welcome you all and wonder what took you so long?!

Vintage by the Sea is set to take place at the fabulous Midland Hotel on Saturday 14th September and we’re in full swing ready for the masses to descend on Morecambe. Being Morecambe born and bred though I feel I should let you in on a few secrets and silence the cynics that think there is nothing to do here. Morecambe is a gem of second hand and antique shops, some that have been in the town for years. Being a kind soul, I’ll let you in on a few of the places you must go when you visit the seaside.

Old Pier Bookshop

The Old Pier Book Shop in Morecambe
The Old Pier Book Shop in Morecambe

Firstly I have to mention The Old Pier Bookshop on Morecambe promenade. Many a rainy day off (and one first date) have been spent in this shop.

This shop is a maze of great books that you can spend hours looking through. You do need to have a good look but luckily the owner knows where everything is so just ask if you don’t fancy a rummage!

Great for having a good rummage
Great for having a good rummage

Enjoy an afternoon in here and see if you can spot the stuffed seagull!

A Quirky Stuffed Seagull looks after the bookshop
A Quirky Stuffed Seagull looks after the bookshop

Dotty’s Vintage

Secondly (and I’m not biased at all) is my Mum’s vintage shop, Dotty’s Vintage.

Dottys Vintage Shop and Tea Room, Morecambe
Dotty’s Vintage Shop and Tea Room, Morecambe

Dotty’s came about from a collection gone mad and after much persuasion from me and my sister to open a shop so people could come and enjoy the many beautiful things my mum had picked up over the years.

You can feel the passion for vintage when you come in the shop, not just because some of the pieces are so loved, some are only shown to visitors over a cup of tea and never sold! This sparked the idea for ‘Tea by the Sea’ which is a vintage styled tea room which was opened alongside the shop. Now even more people visit having tea and are shown some of the many treasures in Dotty’s.

Pop in for original garments from the 20s onwards or even if you just love vintage and want a cup of tea and a chat!

Dotty’s Vintage are curating the Vintage Marketplace for Vintage by the Sea so expect quality vintage items and the loveliest of traders!

The Vintage West End

Art Installation, Morecambe's West End
Art Installation, Morecambe’s West End

Now this isn’t necessarily one shop but rather an area of Morecambe that people might neglect.

Morecambe’s West End has many second hand shops, some of which sell retro and vintage garments but I find it is a great place to pick up second hand furniture.

For anyone in to up cycling, you can pick up furniture from around five pounds so there’s no excuse not to experiment! My tip would be to make sure you have a good wander round the side streets to find a little shop selling china and another selling military collectibles.

Northern Relics

Northern Relics is a couple of minutes walk from The Midland and packed full of antiques.

Northern Relics - Antiques and Collectables shop in Morecambe
Northern Relics – Antiques and Collectables shop in Morecambe

If you’re looking to splash out on something then this holds the largest selection of antiques in Morecambe. You’ll spot this usually by the large giraffes outside!


I think that should be more than enough to keep any vintage lover busy during a day in Morecambe. That is if you manage to leave the hotel with all of the things going on at Vintage by the Sea!

Visitor Giving is Win, Win, Win!

Bluebells at Barbooth Lot
Bluebells at Barbooth Lot

Research has shown that visitors to the Lake District want to contribute to the beautiful environment that keeps them coming back time after time.

“Tourists in the 21st century are likely to base their choices in travel and tourism on environmental protection and social responsibility” British Tourism Framework Review.

We love where we live and work. Our family of hotels are all located in beautiful corners of Lancashire and Cumbria, with either stunning Lake views, ancient woodland, the Trough of Bowland on the doorstep and on Morecambe Bay an area of outstanding natural beauty. Continue reading “Visitor Giving is Win, Win, Win!”

A New Lancaster House Menu What Children REALLY Want

Damien Ng and Emma Underwood, Lancaster House and the children of Scotforth C of E Primary
Damien Ng and Emma Underwood, Lancaster House and the children of Scotforth C of E Primary

The planning of a new children’s menu can be fairly long, drawn-out affair. Quality local suppliers must be sought, analysis of what children are favouring from our current menu, ensuring that we are keeping up with the ever-changing high street trends, and even, as we have done in the past, consulting to underline our commitment to healthy eating.

But for the next Lancaster House Sam’s menu, the team wanted to know what Kids Really want. So, we have gone ‘back to school’ to find out from the children themselves. Continue reading “A New Lancaster House Menu What Children REALLY Want”

The Perfect Wedding at The Midland

 [ About This Video ]

Meet Vicky Cruise, The Midland’s wedding co-ordinator and the team at the hotel as they prepare for the day of a bride and grooms dreams.

Getting married at The Midland is like a modern day fairytale come true. The hotel is a perfect example of modern day glamour combined with the classic art deco style and the team here at the hotel enjoy making couples dreams become a reality.

Beef Daube Recipe from Lancaster House Head Chef

Damien Ng shows us how to make a great value winter favourite

I have always been of the opinion that when it comes to planning a great meal, sometimes its best to look to the past rather than trying to re-invent the wheel. Every chef boasts about their “own interpretations” or “contemporary twists” on dishes. But for me personally, you’d be hard pressed to beat a true classic that’s been around for generations. Something your Gran might have made. Something that evokes warm, childhood memories of happy times at the family dinner table.

With this is mind, here’s a dish we’ve reincarnated recently at Lancaster House, and what’s more, it’s incredibly easy and also relatively cheap to make.

Beef Daube in a Guinness & Red Wine Stew and “Real” Dumplings (For 2)


For the Stew For the Dumplings
  • 2 Beef Daubes diced into 1½ cm cubes
  • 1 Large Diced Onion
  • 1 Small Swede & 2 carrots cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 celery sticks (roughly chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 glasses of red wine
  • 2 cans of Guinness or stout
  • 25g Fresh Thyme (finely chopped)
  • ½ bulb of garlic (crushed)
  • Beef-based Thickening agent
  • 4½ oz of Self Raising Flour
  • 1½ oz of Beef Suet
  • ¼ tspn of Salt
  • 1 tbsp of Chopped Parsley
  • ½ tbsp of Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 3½ fl/oz of water


  1. Place all the ingredients (except the thickening agent) for the stew in a deep sauté or good non-stick saucepan
  2. Add the red wine and the Guinness and make sure there is enough to cover all the ingredients, bearing in mind some of the liquid will evaporate during cooking. If you need to add more wine, then feel free to do so. (You can never have too much of a good thing I say!)
  3. Bring the pan to boil. Once it’s reached boiling, turn the heat down and let it simmer for at least 1 hour, or until the meat is tender.
  4. For the dumplings, place all your carefully weighed out ingredients (except the water) into a bowl and make a “well” in the middle of it. Now add the water and mix with your hands to make into a nice soft, spongy dough.
  5. Clean and dry your hands thoroughly. Now add a little flour to cover the inside of your hands and roll out 6 balls of the dough mixture into round dumplings
  6. As soon as the meat is tender, start adding some of your thickening agent (Bisto is good). But don’t thicken it too much as you don’t want it to burn after you’ve added your dumplings
  7. Now, the most important part. Season with Salt & Pepper (to your own liking) and add the dumplings to the pan and keep on a low heat for another 15-20 minutes. The dumplings should rise a little.
  8. Serve into a bowl accompanied with your favourite vegetables. I’d go for some nice creamy mash and green beans. Hope you’ve also saved a little red wine to accompany your meal


Lancashire Fireworks Spectacular 2012

On Saturday 3rd November the skies above Lancaster will be ablaze with colour with the 2012 Firework Spectacular from the historic Lancaster Castle.

The fireworks spectacular can be seen from a number of viewing areas around the Castle. We recommend viewing the fireworks from Ashton Memorial, a perfect place to see the display without the crowds! Our Reception teams will be able to advise on how to get to the best viewing spots. The general rule is ‘If you can see the castle – you can see the fireworks!’ Continue reading “Lancashire Fireworks Spectacular 2012”