City Guide

Things to Do in Lancaster

Ben Maples  · Apr 14th 2023
Lancaster castle and town houses

The city of Lancaster is one of the most popular cities in the UK to study in, with a number of students flooding to the city every year!

In this guide, we will show you the history of the city, the sport & culture in the city and will show you the various things to do in Lancaster.

Things to do in Lancaster


Boasting a rough population of 45,952 according to the most recent figures, Lancaster sits on the River Lune and is one of the jewels of North West, decked in history and culture and rich in it tourist attractions and the like. One of the most popular places to study for most students who embrace the city’s nightlife and the culture.

Things to do in Lancaster

Lancaster’s nightlife has long been one of the attractions of the city itself, with everything from normal pubs and bars all the way through to raves and restaurants, Lancaster is able to cater (If you’ll pardon the pun) to your every need. We’ve compiled a list of three places that we think you should be visiting during your time in Lancaster.

First up, we have The White Cross Pub, a charming pub located on Quarry Road. The pub has just had a facelift too sits looking better than ever, and the food is simply to die for, we thoroughly recommend that you pop in on your travels. Next up, we have The Lancaster Comedy Club, which is the place to go if you’re looking for a laugh. Some of the very best appear here, and some of the comedians from this illustrious comedy club have appeared on such shows as Mock the Week, which means you’re in a well-respected and funny company here. Thirdly, we recommend The Holly Bar, which comes very highly recommended owing to it’s incredibly enticing food and aromas, all of which will have you craving more and more. The bar and grill have been a fixture of Lancaster for some time, and if it carries on as it is, it’s difficult to see it leaving any time soon either.

Lancaster has a rich and decadent history. The museums that litter the city are full to the brim of interesting artefacts and the like commemorating everything in the city’s history. Lancaster’s museums are definitely worth looking into such as the Lancaster City Museum or Lancaster Maritime Museum, all of which are accessible to everyone and affordable.

Maybe you’re looking to take a night out and go and watch a film, to which we recommend going to one of Lancaster’s many cinemas. Vue Cinemas is probably the most well-known cinema within the city; however, there are other cinemas up and down the city including The Dukes, which shows slightly lesser-known films as well as well-known films and latest releases.

Lancaster has a number of different things that you can do in the city, including music festivals. If you like your live music and fancy enjoying some festival experience then we recommend the Lancaster Music Festival, which features a wide variety of musical acts with everything from indie and hipster all the way to the current mainstream, you’ll be in good company here for sure!

Things to do with kids in Lancaster


The transport in the city of Lancaster is extensive and wide-ranging.

The main railway station in the city is Lancaster Railway Station, with the whole city being mainly served the West Coast Main Line. The station was previously known as Lancaster Castle, to differentiate it from the now closed Lancaster Green Ayre. The trains run to a number of local counties and major cities, such as Barrow-in-Furness, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Morecambe. The city are currently looking into the possibilities of opening a railway that will also service the local university and will also service the south of the city as well.

The main bus operators in the city of Lancaster are Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire, who operate over thirty services in the city and also travel through various other areas of the county as well.

There is no airport in the city, those who wish to fly internationally or nationally, will need to head to Manchester, Liverpool or Blackpool, as these are the closest cities with airports.

Universities in the City

There is only one university in the city, the Lancaster University, and also to one of the campuses of the University of Cumbria.

Lancaster University was established in 1964 and was an established university from its inception.

The university student body is represented by Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU). Strangely for a university, the union does not have a main union building. The union instead has eight college JCRs (student common rooms) and also has its own social venues and a variety of meeting spaces for students as well. The union also provides a student newspaper, SCAN (Student Comments and News), which started in 1967. The union also runs a student radio station, Bailrigg FM and it’s own TV station LA1TV and their own cinema, the Take 2 Cinema.

The union owns its own nightclub in the city as well, called The Sugarhouse and also operates a number of on-campus facilities like a shop and housing support.

The university competes every single summer in the Roses Tournament against the University of York, taking its name from the War of the Roses, which is one of the biggest varsity competitions in Europe today.

The Lancaster Athletics Club (LUAC) was formed in 2011 and represents most of the sports clubs in the university. The union had a very good first year, winning the AThletics Cup in 2012 and winning the Society of the Year Award in 2012.

The University of Cumbria has its Ambleside campus based in Lancaster. The university was formed as part of a merger between St. Martin’s College, Lancaster, the Cumbria Institute of Arts and the Cumbrian campuses of the University of Central Lancashire.

Things to do with family in Lancaster


A Roman fort was erected in the 1st century in Lancaster (though that has since been built over by the Lancaster Castle), with some evidence suggesting that inhabitance of the settlement predates even that, with the aforementioned fort lasting until the end of the Roman era.

After the Romans left Britain, very little is actually known about the settlement of Lancaster, having dropped off the radar in the history books until the beginning of the 11th Century.

After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the settlement of Lancaster fell under the rule of William I. The city was named in the Domesday Book of 1086, though it was then known as Loncastre, which had connections to English, Old English and Latin vernacular.

Lancaster Castle was eventually built in the 13th century, which Elizabeth I then expanded upon. Lancaster also developed the unfortunate nickname of “The Hanging Town”, as it had the most hangings of any settlement in the country apart from London.

The settlement did enjoy a rather brief period as an exciting new port in the country, however, the port was eventually deemed unneeded as the city’s river began to silt up.

Lancaster was given city status in 1937.


There is an extensive selection of sports within the city.

The main football team in the city is Lancaster City, who play in the Northern Premier League Premier Division and play their home games at the Giant Axe stadium. The team won the Northern Premier League President’s Cup for the second time in the club’s history in 2011.

The city also has a rowing team, called the Lancaster John O’Gaunt Rowing Club, which competes in national regattas and a number of races that are hosted by British Rowing.

There is a citywide event known as the Lancaster International Youth Games, that is a multi-sport Olympic event for youths in the city. As Lancaster is twinned with a number of cities worldwide, a number of competitors from those cities also take part in the various events.

There is one cricket club in the city, called the Lancaster Cricket Club and have a Rugby Union club inthe city, called Vale of Lune RFC.

Who's from Lancaster?

There are plenty of people that have come from Lancaster such as: Jon Richardson, Joe Abercrombie, Cherith Baldry and James Beattie.

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