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For many final-year students, Easter offers a time to finish off those essays, catch up on missed lectures, and start the dreaded revision for finals. I know quite a lot of final-year students will spend their Easter in Lancaster to make use of the library and resources, but it is also important that final-year students take a break from work as this will be their last holiday before graduation.
Now, I know if you are a final-year student reading this then I may have caused you to panic, but don’t fret: I have put together a list of the top ten things to do in Lancaster before you graduate.
- Visit the castle
This is a must for anyone who has been a student at Lancaster. I have personally found the castle to be an interesting visit which helped me gain an understanding of the heritage of the city we all call home. There has been a fortification on the site ever since the Roman period, and the castle was used a prison and a law court from the Medieval to modern period with it ceasing to be a prison in 2011. The castle offers guided tours and boasts a tea room for after your visit. It is open from 9.30am to 5pm, seven days a week, costing £8.
- Watch a play or film-screening at The Dukes
The Dukes is a great space to take in a film or a play. It offers a variety of pieces to watch over the Easter period, from Oscar-nominated films such as The Shape of Water or Three Billboards, to stage-on-screen showings of Les Misérables. And with a purple card discount what’s stopping you from taking the opportunity to procrastinate from work and spend your evening there?
- Visit the Ashton Memorial
This one has got to a priority considering it is free to visit Williamson Park. From Ashton Memorial there is an amazing view across the Bay to the Southern Lake District. With many winding paths to follow, Williamson Park is also a great place to do some exercise: it is very important to keep your mind and body healthy during the exam season. Marching up the hill through the UCUM campus is definitely worth it for the views you get on a clear day.
- Take the train (or bus) to Windemere
We’re so lucky here in Lancaster to be incredibly close to the Lake District national park. And those who haven’t been are really missing out. If you’re a hiker or a tea drinker, there are walks and tea rooms aplenty in Windemere. It is also one of the most beautiful parts of the world. With buses there only taking a couple of hours, at the rate of £10 for a return ticket, and trains running there daily, what are you waiting for?
- Visit pubs in Lancaster
Fun fact: did you know that Lancaster has the highest density of pubs for the number of people living here? Well, it does! And if you think about all those pubs you pass on the 2A (now the U2) route and then all the bars and pubs in town, it does start to make sense. Whether you’re a drinker or not, pubs offer a chance to get out in the hopefully sunny Easter weather. A pint in a sunny beer garden sounds good to me!
- Visit museums
I am a History student so this opinion may be biased (sorry, guys), but the museums in the city, like the castle, offer an interesting day out. Did you know that Lancaster was an important port during the period of the slave trade? Or that Heysham up the coast reveals evidence of Vikings in the area? The museums in Lancaster are free, so it requires minimal advance-planning to spend a couple of hours in one, learning more about the city you have lived in.
- Go to Blackpool
You can get there on the bus or train. With many exciting activities to offer from the Pleasure Beach to the Sea Life Centre, Blackpool is a must for those studying in Lancaster. Especially, if like me, you are not a local to the North West: when are you going to be in this region again? Make a day of it and have an ice-cream while watching the sea. You never know: you might be lucky and not get rained on!
- Try a new restaurant or café
From Thai restaurants to Italian cuisine, Lancaster has a lot of eateries to offer. Why not swap the commercial coffee shops for a private company? The prices are usually comparable or a bit cheaper, so your purse may even thank you!
- Partake in the University’s activities
During the vacation breaks, the University usually has events which are open to everyone. Looking at the events calendar on your portal will give you the full range of events available. One example is Lancaster Arts at Campus in the City which boasts creative activities happening on the 29th March from 10.30am to 3.30pm. Have a look and see if there is anything you fancy to take a break from revision or work.
Yes, we are here at the University to get a degree, but it is also important that we have breaks and get out into Lancaster. To be frank, what are you going to regret not doing at University? That day in the library that is the same as all the others, or a day in the Lake District with your friends where you can make some memories? You are only at the University once, so make the most of your time here. There are plenty of things you can do without spending money, and in the grand scheme of things, a day here and there spent having fun during the four weeks off aren’t going to make much difference to your revision plans.