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Welcome Freshers to Lancaster University! In no time you’ll get used to the exciting and busy life of a university student and you’ll easily learn how the campus works. However, visiting the city is an entirely different matter. This quaint little town, as any other place in the world, is impregnated with ancient stories and magical nooks which will leave you breathless. A long time ago, in the 11th century, a small piece of land gave birth to the city of Lancaster, firstly named by the Romans who founded the city on the shores of the river Lune. This seemingly small place will surprise anyone who ventures there. As a help guide, I am leaving a list of some of the must-see places during your time at Lancaster; go on, delve, I dare you.
Lancaster Castle: the castle was constructed on the site of a Roman fort. It was also used as a prison during the 12th century until 1916, when it closed due to the very few prisoners. This building, which is located in the city centre, holds guided tours for anybody who wants to learn more about its history.
Williamson Park: the beautiful 53-acre park, built by James Williamson, has several magical nooks, such as the butterfly house and café. However, the focal point is the Ashton Memorial, an incredibly large structure built in the 20th century, and named after Lord Ashton. A place full of different pathways, surrounded by the leafiest trees, which adorn the ground in gold and ochre every fall. Host of the Highest Point Festival and the best place to watch the Bonfire Night fireworks above the city. Lancaster students often visit Williamson Park during the warmer months, and it’s known as a student favourite spot!
Lune Aqueduct: constructed in the 18th century, above which the canal runs through, and upon the river Lune. A nice 35-40 min walk from the city centre, accompanied by casual narrowboats which make their way through the canal – will get you get a great view of Lancaster town.
Lancaster Cathedral: also called St. Peter’s Cathedral. Before its construction, Catholic parishioners used to congregate in a chapel in town. The building was first constructed because of the Lancaster Catholic Mission in the 18th century, and in the 19th century the cathedral, dedicated to Saint Peter, was built next to it.
Judges Lodging: the oldest town house, which goes back to the 17th century, was a place to lodge the travelling judges who came to town throughout time. Now it remains as a house museum and can be visited.
The Grand Theatre: known by many names, including the Athenaeum Theatre since its first opening, it is the third oldest theatre in Great Britain. Even though it has suffered many restorations, a lot of the initial building infrastructure has remained. Located in St. Leonard’s Gate, the theatre holds tours which will let you know the wonders hidden between its ancient walls.
Bailrigg House: not located in Lancaster city centre, but on campus, Bailrigg House is an enormous mansion with beautiful green ivy climbing its structure, and walls made of red brick and sandstone dressings. It has been the property of several families throughout the years, from the Hinde Family to the Storey Family. Don’t forget to check it out while you’re on campus.
Honourable mentions are the Lancaster City museum and the Custom House. Regardless of the time you’ll be with us, these places are not to be missed. It’s also worth noting that Lancaster is the gateway to the Lake District. Make sure you try and get over to the lakes at least once during your time here!