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Enjoying Lancaster Like a Local - Tips for Town and Countryside

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The City of Lancaster encompasses the towns of Morecambe, Heysham, Carnforth, and surrounding villages. The sights are clustered close together and laid out along the banks of the River Lune and Lancaster Canal. The city is rich in Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian architecture, with distinctive sandstone buildings topped by slate roofs. Sunny days can be well spent relaxing around Morecambe Bay, cycling the Lune Valley, or hiking through scenic Bowland.

Best time to travel

 

Perched on the edge of the lush green Lake District, Lancaster gets more than its share of classic British weather. Rain can fall at any time of year, and locals will tell you to expect “all 4 seasons in 1 day.” Morecambe Bay receives brisk sea breezes, and it's busiest on clear summer days when families and tourists flock to the beaches. From May to October there's a continuous run of public events through summer and fall, starting with the Lancaster Food and Drink Festival.

Not to miss

 

Lancaster is crowned by its imposing castle and priory, beneath which the streets and squares are lined with historic sandstone townhouses, pubs, museums, and cafés. The rugged beauty of the Forest of Bowland is a major draw for hikers, and cyclists know the area as one of Britain’s top spots for well-marked, picturesque routes. Neighboring Morecambe is a pleasant, old-fashioned English seaside town, and the vast adjoining estuary is a popular birdwatching spot. On warm summer evenings there's a real sense of occasion surrounding the outdoor theater performances in Williamson Park.

 

Getting around

 

Lancaster is just off the M6 motorway, with the Lake District 45 minutes to the north. The bus and train stations are a 5-minute walk from the town center. There are direct trains to London every hour. All the city's main attractions are within walking distance, and there’s an excellent bus network through the region. Taxis can be hailed or booked by phone, and hiring a bike is a great way to get across the flats between Lancaster and Morecambe Bay. Manchester (MAN) is the nearest airport, just over an hour from Lancaster by car or train.

 

Cuisine

 

For a relatively small city Lancaster has a flourishing and eclectic dining scene that includes both hot new establishments and long-standing neighborhood restaurants. You can find everything from French cuisine to spicy Thai fusion alongside old-fashioned inns that serve up hearty northern English fare. Local produce from Lancashire farms and fisheries add to the quality and freshness. Several foodie pubs are found by the canal and River Lune, where you can while away hours sampling regional ales. There’s also a good coffee-shop scene, with local roasters J. Atkinson & Co. leading the way with 2 groovy café-bars.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Lancastrians are warm and welcoming, asking only basic politeness and perhaps a sense of humor of their guests. Tips are only expected in restaurants and cafés that give table service. About 10 percent of the final bill is standard, which can be in cash or added to a card payment. Bars and pubs may have a tip jar on the counter but contributions are by no means mandatory. Most restaurants in the Lancaster area don’t have a dress code, and the country and canalside inns are well used to walkers wearing muddy boots.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 138375
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  • Spoken languages: English
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  • Electrical: 220-240 volts, 50 Hz, plug type G
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  • Phone calling code: +44 (0) 1524
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  • Emergency number: 999