Historic Lancaster

A weekend visit to the historic city of Lancaster located in the north west of England was our plan, approximately a two hour drive from our home.  I’d visited Lancaster before but not for many years and on entering the city, it was still congested through the one way system as we crept along until finding a turn off to a car park.

Merchants Restaurant & Bar, Lancaster
Pub just below Lancaster Castle

Before looking around the city we found a pleasant pub for a bar snack and a drink before climbing a hill to visit Lancaster Castle which overlooks the town and river Lune below.

Lancaster Castle
Lancaster Castle

The castle buildings are owned by the Duchy of Lancaster and part of the castle is leased to Lancashire county council who operate a crown court in part of the building.  Interestingly, up until 2011 a large section of the castle was leased out to Her Majesty’s Prison Service, with the H.MP. Lancaster Castle sign above the large entrance gates still in place.  Tours of the castle cost £8 and last 90 minutes, further details can be found here.

Judges' Lodgings, Lancaster
Judges’ Lodgings, Lancaster

Leaving the castle, a little lower down the hill we came to the Judges’ Lodgings which is the oldest remaining town house in Lancaster, dating back to the 17th century.  The building was originally home to Thomas Covell, Keeper of Lancaster Castle and a notorious witch hunter.  It was then used by visiting judges when they attended the sessions at the Assizes Court but this ceased in 1975 when the building was converted into a museum.  Sadly, the museum closed in 2016 due to council cutbacks but there are plans for it to re-open in the near future.

Lancaster City Museum, Market Square, Lancaster
Lancaster City Museum, Market Square, Lancaster

Returning to the town centre we wandered along the narrow, pedestrianised streets, glancing in the quaint shop windows along the way and being drawn in to some of the more interesting stores.  Although quite small for a city, Lancaster has a prosperous feel and with its artisan food stalls in the market square it was buzzing with activity.

Lancaster City Museum
Interior of Lancaster City Museum

Dominating the market square in what was once the town hall is Lancaster City Museum.  The museum was founded in 1923 and features displays on the history of the city from Roman to current times.  Also located within the building is the Kings Own Royal Regiment Museum with artefacts covering Lancaster’s Regimental history.  Admission to both these museums is free of charge and we found each of them interesting to view.

Millennium Bridge, Lancaster
Millennium Bridge, Lancaster

Our walk continued along the River Lune which stretches 53 miles through Cumbria and Lancashire.  To celebrate the millennium the Lune millennium bridge was constructed, opening in 2001 and allowing pedestrian and cyclist access.  This cable stayed footbridge is unusual in that it forms a Y-shape, connecting the riverbank, a viaduct and the quay.  Our car was parked close to the river so we concluded our tour through the city here but decided to stop off at Lancaster University on our way home.

Lake Carter duck pond, Lancaster University
Lake Carter duck pond, Lancaster University

The University campus is situated three miles outside the city centre at Bailrigg and was established in 1964.  Occupying a 360 acre site in a parkland setting, campus buildings are located on a hilltop whilst the lower slopes are landscaped with sweeping lawns, the Lake Carter duck pond and playing fields.  In recent years the university has expanded with the building of new halls of residence and research facilities making it a pleasant environment for study.

After a busy day of sightseeing in Lancaster we made our way home with fond memories of our visit to this part of Lancashire.

Lancaster University campus
Modern buildings on the Lancaster University campus

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68 thoughts on “Historic Lancaster

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    1. Sorry for any inconvenience Ian, my fault, I pressed the wrong button and published it instead of saving the post as a draft. I don’t know how it happened but I’ll try not to do it again. I’ve just returned from a weekend in Bristol and Bath and those posts will be published very soon. Thanks for your much appreciated feedback. Marion.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This tour brought me back to my visits to Lancaster shortly after the flood in 2015. At the time, homes and buildings near the river were being repaired. It was sad, but a city this old knows how to bounce back.

    Thanks for the visit!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting to hear about your memories of Lancaster. You must have been one of the first cohorts if students at the University. It has grown considerably. I visited the castle when I was about 10 and I remember being able to look over the wall and be able to see the prisoners exercising in the yard down below.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I was part of the second year entry. I did stop by on the way to the Lake District a while back – maybe the early 90s – and really didn’t recognize the city. The original buildings didn’t seem to have aged well, but of course the campus is much, much larger now.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. We had a day trip to Lancaster earlier this year Marion and did the castle tour – it was so interesting. We didn’t have time to do any of the other museums but the City Museum is definitely one I want to visit when we go back. Like the sound of that walk too!!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. wonderful. I shall have to add Lancaster to my Project 101 list of cities to visit. I love visiting castles, historically they are so amazing. Have you been to Caenarfon Castle in Wales? It’s astounding. Interesting article, thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. What a gorgeous photo of the duck pond! Should be framed and mounted on a wall. This blog post was so pleasant to scroll through. It’s been years since I visited GB and probably won’t be able to get back for some time. Thanks for sharing your travels!

    Liked by 2 people

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