Winter is a great time to take a hotel break in Lancashire and take advantage of the wonderful quality of light, the tranquillity of outdoor spaces and the colourful character of the many varied attractions and events.
Here are a few of the best.
In a category all of its own, the greatest free light show on earth, Blackpool Illuminations with its six miles of amazing lights and so much more. With extended opening from 4th September to 3rd January, it is definitely worth putting on your ‘must visit’ list. Whilst there, it’s also worth putting The Big One on your list of things to do, along with Blackpool Tower and, of course, the Strictly famous Ballroom. Read about one young family who included Blackpool Illuminations for their son’s first birthday celebrations.
A short drive from Lancaster, The Crook O’ Lune is perfect for a gentle walk along the River Lune. There’s a circular 3 mile walk over flat terrain with lovely views over the countryside, the river and across old bridges. There’s a café at the start and end of the walk.
The magnificence and grandeur of the Forest of Bowland, area of outstanding beauty, is at its rugged best during the winter months. Fascinating history, great walks, Lancashire villages and monuments. It’s easy to see how Lord of the Rings was created in the mind of Tolkien in this wild and dramatic landscape. We’ve compiled five great walks in Forest of Bowland to help you plan your itinerary.
Fifty four acres of beautiful woods and open parkland with magnificent views across the city to Morecambe Bay. Williamson Park is home to the Ashton Memorial, a Grade I listed monument completed in 1909. Lord Ashton, local industrialist, commissioned this work in commemoration of his late wife, Jessy. The memorial is open to visitors’ unless there are weddings and events on, and has information about its architecture and history.
Available to guests at the hotel, the Lancaster House Fun trail is a great way to spend a day out in the city, discovering lots about the history of Lancaster with some fascinating facts. The family of one of Lancaster House team tried it out for themselves – take a look at what they discovered.
It’s just a statue, but it makes you smile! National treasure and comic genius Eric Morecambe is remembered fondly in the place of his birth. Try to resist having your photograph taken alongside him!
Fancy a challenge! Just fifteen minutes from Lancaster, The Black Knights Parachute Centre is an award winning attraction and offers a range of skydiving courses. Accelerated Freefall and Static Line courses are available throughout the year and they offer a Tandem skydive to 15,000 ft – the highest in the UK.This activity must be booked 1 month in advance with the parachute centre, and the activity is weather dependant on the day.
Not just for children, this 100-trampoline extravaganza has something for ‘big kids’ too. With a 2m air bag, ‘ninja zone’ and battle beams that replicate the 90’s gladiator’s game show challenges and an inflatable Inflatarush! More bounce activities include dodgeball, basketball, and traverse walls. Get active without getting cold! There are also gentler soft play bounce activities for toddlers.
Sandpiper Health Club offers a large indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, indoor and outdoor hot tubs and is complimentary to guests at Lancaster House. The club also has a well-equipped gym to ensure you don’t fall behind in your fitness goals. If you’re looking for a relaxing and revitalising stay in Lancashire, this is would be a perfect base. Guests of The Midland Hotel have free access to the health club.
The best rated Escape Rooms in Cumbria, this independent live adventure game provides lots of objects, codes and hints which help you complete your mission in time. As a couple or a team you’ll need to think smart and out of the box to solve puzzles. A game master will be on-hand if you need a clue or two.
The Salt-Ayre-Leisure Centre has a whole host of fun activities; the Xheight climbing walls have a host of challenging routes for adults and kids alike. If you’re visiting with young children, the indoor soft play area allows kids to jump, climb, slide, swing and explore through the play area.
Visit this homely farm shop and café, best known for their home-cooked meals and cakes. Light Ash Farm Cafe offers light lunch options as well as tantalising desserts, cakes and drinks, this is a chocolate lover’s paradise. They run craft workshops throughout the year and host special Christmas workshops including Christmas crackers, snowflake and tree paper decorations, Christmas cards and Christmas tree table centre pieces
The UK’s biggest antique and furniture shopping area is GB Antiques in Lancaster. There’s 120 dealers offering a kaleidoscope of colour and choice of goods set on one large single story 40,000 square foot site. Take your time and browse through the beautiful furniture, pottery, glass, artwork, memorabilia, books and toys.
Bespokers Forge is home of artist blacksmith, John Law, located at Yew Tree Barn near Grange-over-Sand. Try the ancient craft of blacksmithing for yourself under his expert eye. Learn the basics in the morning and work on a project of your choosing in the afternoon. A one day course for a maximum of 4 people includes lunch and drinks.
Take your pick, the Lancashire Afternoon Tea at Lancaster House, featuring the very best of local Lancashire produce, or the more traditional Afternoon Tea at the iconic Midland hotel. Both have their own distinctive charm, and both are utterly delicious and very filling!
Explore Lancaster’s golden age and rich maritime and natural history. Lancaster Maritime Museum occupies two historic buildings on St George’s Quay.The 1764 Custom House presents history of the Port of Lancaster and the local fishing industry. The warehouse has displays on Lancaster Canal and the ecology of Morecambe Bay. There are also well preserved and impressive sailing vessels including ‘Sir William Priestley’ and ‘Coronation Rose’
A great way to spend half a day in the vibrant city of Lancaster. Lancaster Castle dates back to the Romans and is an important national monument. Situated high on Castle Hill, it overlooks the city and was a centre for justice and reform. Take a guided tour covering all aspects of the castle’s fascinating and dark history including tales of witches, crime and punishment.
Download a Walking with Witches Trail and discover the intriguing 400 year old story of the Pendle Witches. Starting in the Pendle Heritage Centre near Nelson, follow the route taken to their trial at Lancaster Castle. Drive through the beautiful Trough of Bowland to Lancaster Castle. Once there, take a tour and hear all the grisly details of the trail and imprisonment. Were they involved in witchcraft, or were they innocent of the crime? You decide.
A Grade I listed building dating back to Saxon times. Lancaster Priority situated on Castle Hill overlooks the city. The building today occupies the site of the pre-1430s Church and includes some of the original stone. It contains the several monuments of special archaeological importance including a small Saxon doorway, a chancel area thought to be from Roman times and carved choirstalls dating back to the mid fourteenth century.
Morecambe is a hub of creativity throughout the year. Two magnificent and contemporary sculptures in the Headlands to Headpace project on are certainly worth a visit. Horizon Line Chamber by internationally-acclaimed environmental artist, Chris Drury, is a walk-in stone built cloud chamber. Situated on the dramatic Sunderland Point coastland, as you sit inside the chamber a lens projects an image of the coastal scene outside. A beautiful structure in the shape of an upturned boat.
Another talented artist, Anne Gillespie, has created a dramatic and thought-provoking sculpture at Half Moon Bay, named SHIP. Two figures facing in opposite directions, gaze out simultaneously out to sea and back toward the land expressing the extremes of departure and return.
Visit Haworth Art Gallery in Accrington and view the world-famous Tiffany glass collection, including glass vases, mosaics and tiles – the largest public collection in Europe. The gallery is set in a beautiful Arts & Crafts house with gardens, and exhibits fine examples of ancient Roman and Egyptian influenced Tiffany glass. The blown and cut glass includes Iridescence, Millefiore, Paperweight and Intaglio vases. Examples of glass tiles and vases inspired by Tiffany’s knowledge of Chinese and Islamic cultures is also on display.
Peacock Vase by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company (right); Aquamarine Vase by Tiffany Studios (left)
The Dukes is a well established theatre and cinema in the heart of Lancaster. Celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2021, there’s a wealth of stage performances throughout the year, catering for all ages.
Just across the road from The Midland in Morecambe, The Platform is the main venue for live music and events in the area. Housed in the restored Edwardian railway station on Morecambe promenade it presents comedy, threatre, children’s shows and a great selection of live music performances.
Walk in the footsteps of Cecilia Johnson and Trevor Howard whose magnificent portrayal of Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter has made it one of the best-loved movies of all time. Carnforth Railway Station, is the setting and the Heritage Centre has a wealth of information about the filming, the Director, David Lean, as well as the stars of the movie. The Refreshment Room in ‘Milford Junction’, has been restored to reflect the original film set and you can order home-made food and hot drinks. There’s also a programme of entertainment and events throughout the year. Read more about Carnforth Heritage Centre and interesting facts about the film Brief Encounter.
With an exotic collection of wildlife and interactive activities, learning about animals and conservation is fun and family-friendly. There’s an array of exhibits at Lakeland Wildlife Oasis including fossils, fossa’s, snakes and snow leopards, the oasis hosts some of the world’s most threatened species. As a charity, your visit will help them continue to partake in international breeding programmes to help conserve endangered species.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day out or hoping to see your favourite animal, the Sea Life Centre in Blackpool has a variety of animals from sharks, clownfish, octopuses, jellyfish, rays and turtles. The aquarium has created ‘Four Corners of the World’ which explores four different scenes, centred on man-made wrecks which have been inhabited by marine life. Asia, Africa, Europe and America have been represented.
Whilst in Williamson Park, visit The Butterfly House – a classic Edwardian glasshouse, home to butterflies, Koi carp, tortoises and more. Now a rainforest haveen, this building was previously an Edwardian palm house. Great for winter weather, the animals enjoy a warm oasis of trees, vines, a waterfall and beautiful tropical plants. You can walk through the house and spot some of the world’s most spectacular butterflies, including the blue morpho, emerald swallowtails and cleverly camouflaged owl butterflies.
Arnside and Silverdale, area of outstanding natural beauty, is home to RSPB Leighton Moss. It has an amazing collection of birds and wildlife, and a diverse range of habitats. The largest reed bed in the north of England, the wetlands are an important breeding ground for many types of birds. During the winter the team undertake vital reed cutting as part of their vital conservation work. The mudflats and saltmarsh are home to important wintering populations of oystercatchers, redshanks and wildfowl.