Lancashire’s beautiful landscapes will help put the spring back in your step, with fascinating heritage, generous hospitality and tasty local food.
With mile upon mile of green rolling landscapes and an Irish Sea coastline studded with award-winning beaches, Lancashire offers a friendly, genial welcome to this northwestern corner of England. The county has much to offer, from traditional family fun by the sea to healthy outdoor pursuits and heritage towns sporting a fascinating (and often spooky) history.
Vast, green and immensely walkable, Lancashire’s countryside begs to be explored. Follow the Ribble Way on foot or by bike for 70 miles (112.5 km) as it snakes alongside the Ribble River, starting at Ribblehead in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and ending at the estuary near Preston. Alternately, head to the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where you can test your legs on hills and fens and treat yourself to a local brew in a tempting array of cosy pubs.
Discover fascinating (and sometimes harrowing) history in Lancaster, Lancashire’s county town and one of England’s Heritage Cities. Its 12th century castle served as a prison right up until 2011 and its courtrooms have witnessed many famous (and infamous) trials, including those of the Pendle Witches, who were sentenced to death here in 1612.
Lancashire’s wealth and importance during the Industrial Revolution is reflected by the development of its waterways. Stroll along the meandering towpaths of Lancaster’s historic canal or take a canal boat cruise to the magnificent Lune Aqueduct, a striking cultural gem. Meanwhile, Queen Street Mill Museum in Burnley is home to the world’s last surviving steam powered mill and is where you can relive the sounds, sights and smells of a working mill.
Fun-loving families can head over to Blackpool for a dizzying array of traditional seaside entertainment, from promenading like the Victorians did along the iconic North Pier to enjoying white knuckle rides on the UK’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster, The Big One.
Lancashire has a number of quirky traditions and events, including tractor-pulling in Great Eccleston and the hilarious sport of gravy wrestling in Bacup. Or for something a bit more glamorous, September’s Vintage by the Sea offers a whole weekend of dance, music and dressing up in retro finery along Morecambe’s seafront.
Lancashire’s award-winning produce means the county has made a name for itself as a prime foodie destination. Dive into Lancashire’s quirky food heritage at Hoghton Tower, a 16th century manor house, and learn the story of how King James I knighted a loin of Lancashire Beef – naming it Sir Loin.
Tickle your tastebuds on the Lancashire cheese trail, with walking trails dedicated to three different types of cheese: Creamy, Crumbly and Tasty. Round the experience off by learning all about the history of cheesemaking at Dewlay Cheesemaker’s Cheese Shop, taking home some of their wonderfully creamy Garstang Blue.
The county’s famous slow-roasted dish – Lancashire hotpot, also shouldn’t be missed. You’ll find it served up all over the county but Lancashire’s Michelin-starred restaurant Northcote, in the Ribble Valley, does a fantastic modern take on it using prized lonk lamb and fresh, seasonal vegetables.