Lancashire is the ninth largest county in the UK – so whether you’re here for a day, a week or just a couple of hours, there are plenty of options around to pass the time, have some fun and perhaps even learn something.
As well as rolling hills and lakes, Lancashire plays host to a long coastline overlooking the Irish Sea. In addition to coastal towns, there are many popular beaches, and Morecambe Bay is one of the best. Just south of the Lake District, it is within easy reach from Liverpool or Manchester. In particular, the Heysham and Leighton Moss nature reserves offer the chance to see an array of birdlife, and towns such as Fleetwood and Knott End-on-Sea are perfect day-trip destinations.
Among the many towns around the county, Lancaster is one of the oldest and largest. You can visit 18th-century Georgian houses, walk down the canal, see sweeping views of the county from the top of Williamson Park or visit the Lancaster City Museum. Perhaps best of all is Lancaster Castle, which is packed with more than a millennium of history. Lancaster is a relatively small city, easy to get around on foot, and there are good rail links so you can reach it from London in just a few hours.
Having been mentioned in the Domesday Book from 1086, Garstang is one of the oldest market towns in the UK. You can get here from Liverpool in an hour, and once you arrive, hire a narrowboat to explore the county in a floating home for a day, or several, breathing in the beautiful scenery and setting your own pace. There are numerous rental companies to choose from, and you can book many of them online.
Anyone who has seen Brief Encounter (1945) will recognise certain areas of Carnforth. It was shot here, and reconstructions of the set are on display at the Carnforth Station Heritage Centre. You can also see some relics from the steam age and even catch a real steam train to Scarborough. First-class is available if you’re in the mood for high tea on the go. Walkers could also take some time to climb the nearby Warton Crag where there’s a peregrine falcon breeding site, and the views are breathtaking. Carnforth is an hour from Manchester.