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I will be the first to say I don’t like summer. I feel as if this should be whispered, as it comes across a little Grinch-like, even I’ll admit. I don’t like the atmosphere of heightened narcissism, the hot weather and the kind of giggly, ‘woo summer!’ vibe generally. Saying this, I do love barbecues, and sunglasses mean people can see less of my face. Still, my idea of summer doesn’t involve tanning, and thankfully Lancaster’s weather seems to lean more favourably towards my perspective on May-September. If you’re as grumpy as me, or even if it’s just raining, here are some things to do to fill that post-exam, pre-Extrav glorious few weeks.
My best advice on this is to take up a new hobby. A couple of years back I was hiding from the sun and started scrapbooking, and despite not being a middle-aged mum with a craft room, I actually enjoyed it. Granted, fishing in the rain isn’t really the same thing, but one connotation of summer is also ‘free time’, which means you can become a puzzle master or expert on bees without feeling too guilty. One of the best things I get done over summer is reading for pleasure, which, as a Literature student, is the holy grail of activities. In 2003 BBC compiled a list of the nation’s top 100 books, which is definitely still worth looking at if you want a starting point, or compile your own. Likewise with films: Harry Potter marathon, anyone?
Assuming most of us don’t originate from Lancaster, go and see what is happening in town. The Storey regularly holds exhibitions and events such as ‘Stories at The Storey’, and check out the programme for the Dukes, Grand Theatre and LICA to see performances and shows. Tucked in the centre of town is also a Vue cinema, so as per the ultimate hiding-from-the-daylight activity, it’s your best chance to go and see Fast and Furious 21.
On researching activities in Lancaster, I discovered we have five museums here, and my automatic response was “what” and “how”. Museums are underrated as an activity, but they are excellent places to go and spend time, and Lancaster City Museum (which also houses the King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum) is smack bang in the centre of town and has your usual suspect creepy mannequins to spice things up. If that’s not tempting enough, try the Museum of Childhood in the Judges’ Lodgings on Church Street, Maritime Museum or the Cottage Museum. Apparently we also have a Roman Bath House somewhere near the Castle, so points to anyone that can locate that. Of course, the Castle is highly recommended: they do regular tours, which are £8 but completely worth the money.
Lancaster also has a lot of great pubs. I’m not implying that you should drink the summer away, but maybe you should eat it. The Borough, The Waterwitch, White Cross all serve great food and drink, and Lancaster boasts Bar 1725 for tapas, several Italian restaurants such as Molly’s, and Pizza Margherita on Moor Lane are great for, yep, pizzas.
If you feel like defrosting, head to Williamson Park and up to the Butterfly House by Ashton Memorial. It’s only £2.80 for students and, particularly after the stress of exams, is a pretty peaceful and laid back activity. Alternatively you can reach the viewing balcony of the Memorial itself for the little price of 50p, giving great views over the entire Lancaster/Morecambe Bay area. The thing about Williamson Park is it’s beautiful the whole year round, and feels like a park in a much larger city with several grassy areas and paths. With the views and the escape from the business of campus, you might even start to enjoy this time of year. Altogether now: ‘woo summer!’ … no? Ah well. It’s only a few months until Halloween after all!