The parents have landed

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Your parents are visiting and you’ve spent the last hour creating the impression that you’re a hardworking, conscientious student. The clothes which usually reside on your floor have all been tidied into your wardrobe, you’ve recycled all the empty wine bottles and you’ve even remembered to vacuum the floor. Then the hard part comes; what do you do when they arrive? As much as you enjoy drinking tea in the kitchen during the day, then spending the night in the Sugarhouse, that’s probably not what your parents have in mind!

It’s a good idea to find some information about the local area, especially if you don’t venture off campus very often. Looking online is a good place to start, you can make yourself a list of places to visit or things to do. The council website is a little clunky and unhelpful at times, so look out for leaflets too. There’s usually a good selection in the train/bus station and LUSU bunker.

It’s nice to be a tourist in your own city sometimes. Lancaster has a wealth of museums, historical monuments and other attractions such as Williamson Park which always seem to be on my to-do list as something to see eventually, but something else always manages to take priority. But, this way, taking your family to see the sights becomes the perfect excuse to see them yourself.

You can also look out for events in the city which are more family-orientated. For example, on Bonfire Night, the city organises a huge fireworks event near the river. There are also events for the 400-year anniversary of the Pendle Witch trial. Not that I’m biased towards Pendle or anything.

As nice as your Sainsbury’s Basics noodles are, one of the highlights of a family visit can be taking them out to dinner, or if you’re lucky, getting them to take you! It can be difficult to know where to go as there’s a wealth of restaurants in Lancaster, so it’s a good idea to think back to meals you enjoyed at society socials or ask friends for recommendations.

If you go to a particular pub regularly or to a club at a community centre in town and they do food, it can be nice to take your family there as it’s more personal to show them somewhere you have a connection to.

Chances are, your parents have driven down to see you in a car. Any good student without a car knows not to waste this opportunity, but this usually means a trip to Sainsbury’s without having to lug everything back on the 2A. However, a car is not just a shopping trolley, it’s also transport which doesn’t stick to the bus routes. Why not make the most of it to travel into the nearby countryside for some fresh air? If it’s a rare day of nice weather, bring a picnic, if not, find a cosy country pub somewhere.

Most of all, enjoy their company for a bit. They’ve probably been missing you, but maybe not your dirty washing…

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