Things to do in Lancaster

About Lancaster

Lancaster Castle, with its captivating history of crime and justice, sits atop the list of must-see attractions. Williamson Park, offering beautiful landscapes and the iconic Ashton Memorial, is equally important. The Maritime Museum provides insight into the city's seafaring past and is not to be missed when exploring Lancaster's rich heritage.
Families with kids can enjoy a fun-packed day at Williamson Park, which features a playground and enchanting Butterfly House. The Lancaster Maritime Museum's interactive exhibits are also sure to delight children. For a unique educational experience, the Lancaster City Museum presents history in an engaging way that resonates with younger audiences.
Enjoying a leisurely walk or boat ride along the Lancaster Canal offers an opportunity to admire the cityscape from the water. Hiking up to Williamson Park provides panoramic views and an exploration of its scenic parkland. For a more structured outdoor excursion, guided walking tours are available to discover Lancaster's architecture and history.
The captivating Lancaster Castle tour provides an educational journey through medieval cells and grand courtrooms. Art lovers can explore The Storey, an arts and innovation center, while the Lancaster City Museum provides a dive into the city's past. Theatrical performances at the Grand Theatre offer a splendid indoor option as well.
The best tours in Lancaster capture the essence of its varied attractions, including guided historical tours of Lancaster Castle, audio tours uncovering the city's Roman roots, and picturesque canal tours. Thematic ghost walks are also available for those interested in the city's more supernatural side.
The Lancaster City Museum is highly popular for its extensive local history collections, and the Maritime Museum is a favorite for its engaging nautical exhibits. The Judges' Lodgings also receives acclaim for its period rooms and the Museum of Childhood it hosts.
Indoor tours such as the Lancaster Castle tour provide a historical escapade perfect for rainy days. The Lancaster City Museum and the Maritime Museum both offer sheltered educational experiences with plenty of exhibits to keep visitors fascinated while they stay dry indoors.
Guided walks in the historical quarters, expeditions around Lancaster Castle's courtyards, and brief strolls along the Lancaster Canal, particularly the city center section, offer experiences that can be enjoyed in an hour or less, perfectly suited for visitors with time constraints.

Best Things to Do In Lancaster

Immerse yourself in the blend of heritage and natural beauty that Lancaster offers with its array of engaging attractions.

Lancaster: The Judges' Lodgings

What is it?
This grand Georgian building served as the residence for visiting judges.
Why you should go?
The Judges' Lodgings avails visitors an opportunity to step back into the elegance of the 18th century. As Lancaster's oldest townhouse, it now houses a museum that showcases period furniture and Gillow's of Lancaster's exquisite cabinetry. Notably significant for anyone interested in social history, the museum also features a Victorian schoolroom and the Museum of Childhood. Visitors can explore the genteel lifestyle of the judiciary and gain insights into bygone eras, making it a captivating destination among the places to visit in Lancaster.

Lancaster: Priory Church of St. Mary

What is it?
An imposing historic church that has stood since the Middle Ages.
Why you should go?
The Priory Church of St. Mary, adjacent to Lancaster Castle, offers a spiritual look into the city's past. The church's stunning architecture with its beautiful stained glass windows and ancient grave slabs tell stories of Lancaster's history and community. Visitors can participate in guided tours, experiencing the church's serene atmosphere and attending the choral evensong for an auditory treat. This sacred site, coupling historical intrigue with spiritual peace, remains amongst the essential things to see in Lancaster.

Lancaster: Lancaster City Museum

What is it?
A museum set in an 18th-century building, narrating the history of Lancaster.
Why you should go?
Lancaster City Museum invites history aficionados to explore Lancaster's rich tapestry from its Roman roots through the present day. Housed in the former town hall, the museum presents a collection of artifacts, fine art, and decorative art that illustrate the city's heritage. It is home to the King's Own Royal Regiment museum, adding a military layer to its historical account. Entry to the museum is usually free, making it a worthwhile and enriching stop for anyone interested in Lancaster's lineage.

Lancaster: Ashton Memorial

What is it?
A prominent Edwardian folly located within Williamson Park.
Why you should go?
The Ashton Memorial is arguably Lancaster’s most recognizable landmark. Commissioned by industrialist Lord Ashton in memory of his late wife, this splendid Baroque-style monument commands sweeping vistas of the surrounding area, including Morecambe Bay. For art lovers and those looking for the best things to do in Lancaster, the interior’s art gallery hosts an array of exhibitions. Its panoramic viewing gallery is a highlight, offering unparalleled views that photographer will find irresistible.

Lancaster: The Storey

What is it?
A creative hub for the arts, learning, and enterprise in Lancaster.
Why you should go?
The Storey serves as a creative nucleus in the heart of Lancaster, fostering arts, culture, and innovation. This charming Victorian building hosts studios for local artists and entrepreneurs, as well as public galleries exhibiting contemporary art. The Storey also houses Lancaster's Visitor Information Centre, making it a practical first stop on many Lancaster excursions. With its regular events, including workshops, lectures, and performances, it encapsulates the artistic spirit and is one of the unique fun things to do in Lancaster.

Lancaster: Lancaster Castle

What is it?
A majestic medieval castle with a wealth of history.
Why you should go?
Lancaster Castle stands as a bastion of history, offering a glimpse into England's medieval past. This formidable fortress not only presents a stunning example of historical architecture but also holds tales of intrigue, serving as a crown court and prison. Visitors can delve into spine-tingling stories of witch trials and well-preserved courtrooms. Overlooking the city, the castle provides panoramic views, making it a must-see for history buffs and photography enthusiasts alike on their Lancaster tours.

Lancaster: Williamson Park

What is it?
A spacious, verdant park offering panoramic views.
Why you should go?
Williamson Park is the epitome of Lancaster’s natural beauty and is amongst the fun things to do in Lancaster for families and solo travelers. Spread over 54 acres, the park presents a spectrum of flora, captivating woodland walks, and the iconic Ashton Memorial. The park's Butterfly House and Mini Beast Center are star attractions, providing educational fun for all ages. Whether picnicking, exploring scenic trails, or enjoying open-air performances, the park captures the essence of Lancaster's green spaces.

Lancaster: Maritime Museum

What is it?
An informative museum showcasing Lancaster's maritime history.
Why you should go?
Nestled in a former Custom House on the quayside, the Maritime Museum is a treasure trove of Lancashire's seafaring legacy. This museum brings to life the city's trading past and its relationship with the sea through models, paintings, and artifacts. Highlights include exhibits on the Lancaster Canal and the fishing industry, which engage visitors in interactive and enlightening Lancaster activities. It's an ideal spot for educational outings, drawing in visitors eager to understand the significance of maritime activities in Lancaster's development.

Lancaster: Lancaster City Centre

What is it?
The vibrant, historical heart of Lancaster.
Why you should go?
When considering what to do in Lancaster, the City Centre is the go-to destination. As a hub of cultural and social activity, it boasts charming streets lined with historical buildings, independent boutiques, and inviting cafes. Cultural landmarks such as the Grand Theatre offer a taste of local arts, while frequent markets provide opportunities to savor regional produce and crafts. This bustling center epitomizes the city's community spirit and is an essential aspect of places to visit in Lancaster.

Lancaster: Lancaster Canal

What is it?
A tranquil waterway offering leisurely walks and boat rides.
Why you should go?
The Lancaster Canal presents an idyllic setting for a serene escape into the city's calmer side, perfect for those looking for the best Lancaster tours that combine relaxation with exploration. As one of the country's few contour canals, it provides a smooth passage through scenic countryside. This peaceful waterway is ideal for narrowboat tours, cycling, or walking along the towpath admiring the scenery and local wildlife. The canal offers a unique perspective on Lancaster's landscapes, making it a memorable expedition on any Lancaster excursion.

TOP-5 tours in Lancaster for first time visitors

  • Discover the regal architecture and storied past of Lancaster Castle, a historical highlight among things to see in Lancaster.
  • Stroll through the tranquil pathways of Williamson Park, one of the best things to do in Lancaster for nature enthusiasts.
  • Uncover maritime heritage with an insightful venture to the Maritime Museum, a staple of educational Lancaster activities.
  • Explore the bustling Lancaster City Centre, where what to do in Lancaster comes alive with shops, eateries, and local culture.
  • Conclude the best Lancaster tours with a serene canal walk, combining fitness with sightseeing in a unique Lancaster excursion.

Fun things to do in Lancaster with kids

Lancaster offers numerous attractions that cater to families and young adventurers. The Lancaster City Museum, nestled in the city's historic quarter, not only offers an educational journey through time but also captivates young minds with interactive displays and engaging storytelling. Children can learn about Roman Lancaster, admire historical treasures, and even dress up in period costumes. Another must-visit is the Lancaster Maritime Museum, where kids can immerse themselves in lively exhibitions about the sea, boats, and the ecology of Morecambe Bay, sparking a sense of wonder and an appreciation for the oceanic world. Lastly, Williamson Park provides a perfect outdoor experience with its enchanting Butterfly House, Mini Beast Center, and ample space for play and exploration. Kids can roam around the park's enchanting grounds, which include a children's playground, making for a delightful day out amidst Lancaster's natural beauty. Together, these attractions offer a rich mix of culture, history, and fun, placing them high on the list of family-friendly things to do in Lancaster.

Things to do in Lancaster with family

Planning a family trip to Lancaster promises a blend of education and entertainment. The Lancaster Maritime Museum is a treasure that brings the rich seafaring past to life. Families can explore interactive exhibits, uncover tales of old trading routes, and learn about the ecology of the Lancaster Canal and Morecambe Bay. A visit to Williamson Park, with its renowned Ashton Memorial and captivating views, offers a delightful break in nature. The park's playgrounds and the Butterfly House ensure that both adults and children have a memorable day outdoors. For a dose of history, Lancaster Castle provides a dramatic backdrop where kids can marvel at the medieval architecture and learn about the castle's past as a court and prison. These family-friendly attractions highlight the diversity of things to do in Lancaster with family, ensuring that every member, from the curious youngster to the history-savvy adult, finds something to enjoy.

Free things to do in Lancaster

Lancaster is a city rich with history and culture, offering a variety of activities and attractions that don't come with a price tag. One of the city’s key landmarks is Lancaster Castle. While there is a fee for guided tours inside, wandering the castle grounds and taking in the majestic exterior is free, allowing families to appreciate the city's medieval heritage. The Lancaster City Museum, housed in an elegant Georgian building, is open to the public without charge. Visitors can delve into Lancaster’s Roman history and discover local art and artifacts, making for a low-cost educational outing. Additionally, the scenic pathways of Williamson Park are always accessible and free for all. The park’s lush fields, woodland walks, and noteworthy Ashton Memorial provide a peaceful setting ideal for picnics, leisurely strolls, or energetic play, making it an excellent choice for those seeking free things to do in Lancaster.

Cheap things to do in Lancaster

For those seeking budget-friendly experiences in Lancaster, the city does not disappoint with attractions that offer high value at low cost. First, the Lancaster City Museum is a gem for the culturally curious, allowing you to dive into the area's history for a small donation. From exhibitions detailing the Roman occupation to displays on local archaeology and heritage, it's a cost-effective way to spend an enlightening afternoon. Just as inviting, the verdant expanses of Williamson Park offer an inexpensive day out amidst natural beauty, with only a minimal fee for certain attractions within. Complete your visit by exploring Lancaster’s quaint streets on foot, soaking in the city’s vibrant atmosphere, and admiring the well-preserved historic buildings. Lastly, the Lancaster Canal presents a picturesque setting for either a leisurely self-guided tour or an affordable boat ride, perfect for enjoying the city's scenic waterways without straining your wallet.

Things to do in Lancaster for couples

Couples exploring Lancaster will find a wealth of romantic activities. Start your adventure at Lancaster Castle, where you can take a leisurely, self-guided walk around its impressive exterior, enjoying tales of history and drama while taking in the sweeping city views. For a serene outdoor experience, meander along the Lancaster Canal, where an idyllic waterside stroll culminates in picturesque spots perfect for a private picnic or a quiet moment together. As dusk settles, the lit-up Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park offers an enchanting backdrop for an evening to remember. Known as the 'Taj Mahal of the North,' its luminous facade creates a magical atmosphere for a dusk walk. These spots are not just landmarks but intimate settings for making memories, earning them a spot among the top things to do in Lancaster for couples seeking a blend of history, nature, and romance.

Things to do in Lancaster at night

Lancaster's charm continues well into the night, offering visitors a variety of nocturnal activities. For a taste of local culture, couples and individuals alike can attend an evening performance at the historic Grand Theatre, which showcases a diverse program of plays, musicals, and live entertainment. After the show, take a leisurely stroll through Lancaster’s City Centre, where the nighttime ambience adds a lively sparkle to the historic streets; dine at one of the city’s delightful eateries or enjoy a casual drink in a cozy pub. Another popular evening pastime is to join one of Lancaster's ghost tours, which combine the spookiness of storytelling with the exploration of eerie historic sites. These tours reveal the darker side of Lancaster's past, sending a shiver down your spine as you wander through the ancient city under the cover of darkness. Each of these activities highlights the range of experiences available in Lancaster at night, catering to all who seek after-dark adventure.