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Touring Lancashire

See also Greater Manchester

Blackpool Tower courtesy Lancashire Tourism Lancashire runs the gamut from the historic seaside resort of Blackpool to a textile-based industrial past to quiet, almost deserted countryside. Blackburn, a former mill town, tells the story of the textile industry in its museum and art gallery. Blackpool is designed for families, with its seaside promenade and amusement piers. Try Morecambe’s sands for a quieter seaside holiday. Views over the bay show off the southern shores of the Lake District.

Pendle Hill Lancashire by Barbara Ballard A darker part of Lancashire’s history is the Pendle Witch Trials, held in the town of Lancaster in 1612. The so-called six witches were forced to walk along what is now called the ‘Pendle Witches Trail’ leading over the 1831-foot high summit of Pendle hill to the town of Lancaster where they were tried and then hung. Pick up a guide at the Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowfold.

Lancaster Castle by Barbara Ballard Lancaster, a very busy county town, sits on the river Lune. The scenic way to get here is by taking the minor road from Clitheroe across the Forest of Bowland. There’s almost no traffic and the views are far-reaching. Allow time for exploration along the way. Lancaster’s most notable attraction is its Norman castle with the John O’Gaunt Gateway Tower (in use as a prison). The original castle was partly destroyed by Scotland’s Robert the Bruce in 1322. You can visit the Grand Jury room (the building is still in use as a court), the former dungeon, and the Shire Hall. The priory church of St Mary sits alongside the castle.

Ribchester Lancashire by Barbara Ballard Lancashire’s Ribble Valley is a hidden gem. Chipping is one of its most picturesque villages. There is a 17th century school, almshouses, attractive inns, and a 13th century church with a medieval font, a sundial and a yew tree.

Ribchester on the banks of the Ribble river has a Roman museum and 13th century St Wilfred’s church containing stained glass and unusual dormer windows. Waddington village is justly proud of its Coronation gardens at the village centre. St Helen’s church built in 1435 has a medieval tower and font.

Downham village Lancashire by Barbara Ballard Downham is a quiet unspoilt village, perfect for historic films as no TV aerials or telephone poles are allowed. Park at the bottom of the hill by the river and enjoy the semi-tame ducks. Slaidburn is a gray stone village with a 13th century church. The first floor of the Hark to Bounty Inn was a courtroom from the 14th century until 1937. Bolton by Bowland has two village greens, a set of old stocks, and a mid-15th century church.

Dunsop Bridge Lancashire phone booth by Barbara Ballard Dunsop Bridge, gateway to the Trough of Bowland and the place where the rivers Hodder and Dunsop meet, has a unique attraction. Beside the river is BT’s phone booth number 100,000, placed at the exact centre of the British Isles according to Ordnance Survey.

Historic house lovers will want to put Leighton Hall and Hoghton Tower on their list. Hoghton is a mid-Tudor manor house (the 3rd house on the site since 1100) built in the shape of the figure eight. It saw much turmoil through the centuries as its owners took various unpopular religious and political stands. A 40-minute guided tour shows off Queen Anne panelling, furniture, and a galleried banqueting hall.

Leighton Hall at Carnforth sits in parkland with the Lakeland fells rising behind to make the view memorable. The 18th century house (built on the ruins of a medieval one) has a neo-Gothic façade. The house has many pieces of furniture by Gillow. Other pieces to note are silver and clocks.

Gawthorpe Hall Lancashire by Barbara Ballard Astley Hall Museum and Art Gallery dates back to 1578 with later additions. Inside are glorious plaster ceilings, 17th century oak furniture, tapestries, and art displays. Gawthorpe Hall, built in 1600 and restored in mid-Victorian times houses a textile collection. Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museums is located in a 14th century house, with 17th and 19th century changes. Inside are paintings, oak furniture, and a museum of local crafts and industry.

Browsholme Hall near Waddington Lancashire by Barbara Ballard Browsholme Hall at Clitheroe was built in 1507. It houses collections of oak furniture, portraits, arms and armour, and other antiquities. Warton Old Rectory is a medieval stone house with remains of the hall and domestic offices.

Sawley Abbey Lancashire by Barbara Ballard Near Clitheroe are the remains of Sawley Abbey, once belonging to the Cistercians. Clitheroe’s castle has the smallest keep in England. Inside is a museum of local life.

Rufford Hall Lancashire courtesy Lancashire Tourism If you are interested in black and white timber buildings, be sure to visit Rufford Old Hall. The 16th century hall is considered the county’s finest. Inside is a carved screen, oak furniture, arms, armour, and tapestries.

Whalley Abbey Lancashire by Barbara Ballard In the the town of Whalley are historical buildings from different periods. 13th century St Mary’s and All Saints has a carved oak roof, choir stalls, and a priest’s door. Whalley abbey ruins consist of a Cistercian church, monastic buildings, a gatehouse, and a 16th century manor house (now used as a conference centre).

Lancashire Attractions

For opening times and full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.

Astley Hall Museum and Art Gallery
Two miles west of Chorley
Tel. 0 1257 515 555

Blackburn Cathedral
Cathedral Close, Blackburn
Tel. 0 1254 503 090
Web: Blackburn Cathedral

Blackpool Tower
Blackpool, on the beach
Tel. 0 1253 622 242
Web: Blackpool Tower

Brockholes Nature Reserve
Near Samlesbury, at junction 31 of M6
Tel. 0 1772 872 000
Web: Brockholes

Browsholme Hall (HHA)
Forest of Bowland, 4 miles north-west of Clitheroe
Tel. 0 1254 826 719
Web: Browsholme Hall

Carnforth Railway Station
by Station Hotel on Market St, Carnforth
Tel. 0 1524 735 165

Clitheroe Castle Museum
Clitheroe, next to castle keep remains
Tel. 0 1200 424 568

Cottage Museum
No. 15 Castle Hill, Lancaster
Tel. 0 1524 64637

Fleetwood Museum
6-7 Queens Terrace, Fleetwood; overlooks Morecambe Bay
Tel. 0 1253 876 621

Gawthorpe Hall (NT)
Padiham near Burnley
Tel. 0 1282 771 004

Grand Theatre
St Leonardgate, Lancaster
Tel. 0 1524 64695 (box office)
Web: Grand Theatre

Helmshore Mills Textile Museum
Tel. 0 1706 226 459

Hoghton Tower (HHA)
On A675, midway between Blackburn and Preston
Tel. 0 1254 852 986

Lancaster Castle
Castle Parade, Lancaster
Tel. 0 1524 64998
Web: Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Maritime Museum
St George’s Quay, Lancaster
Tel. 0 1524 64637

Lancaster Priory and Parish Church of St Mary
Lancaster, beside the castle
Tel. 0 1524 65338

Leighton Hall (HHA)
Three miles north of Carnforth
Tel. 0 1524 734 474
Web: Leighton Hall

Madame Tussauds Waxworks
85-89 Promenade, Blackpool, Lancashire FY1 5AA
Tel. 0 1253 625 953
Web: Madame Tussauds

Pendle Heritage Centre
Park Hill, Barrowford
Tel. 0 1282 661 702

Queen Street Mill Textile Museum
Burnley, on town outskirts
Tel. 0 1282 412 555

Ribchester Roman Museum
Riverside, Ribchester
Tel. 0 1254 878 261
Web: Ribchester Roman Museum

Rossendale Museum
Whitaker Park, Haslingden Road, Rawtenstall, Rossendale
Tel. 0 1706 260 785

Rufford Old Hall (NT)
200 Liverpool Rd, Rufford, near Ormskirk
Tel. 0 1704 821 254

Samlesbury Hall
Preston New Rd, Samlesbury, Preston
Tel. 0 1254 812 010
Web: Samlesbury Hall

Sawley Abbey (EH)
Sawley, 3.5 miles north of Clitheroe
On the banks of Ribble river, off the A59
Tel. NA

St Peter and St Paul Church
Bolton by Bowland
On a minor road off the A59 north of Clitheroe
Tel. 0 1200 441 154
For further details and photos see our article: St Peter and St Paul Church

St Peter’s Cathedral
Tel. 0 1524 384 820

Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museums
Tel. 0 1282 424 213

Turton Tower
Chapeltown Road, Turton Nr Bolton
Tel. 0 1204 852 203

Warton Old Rectory (EH)
Warton, 1 mile north of Carnforth
Tel. 0 1612 421 400

Whalley Abbey Gatehouse
Whalley, on the banks of river Calder
Tel. NA

Lancashire Tourist Information Centres

Town Hall, Blackburn Road, Accrington
Tel. 0 1254 872 595

32 Market St, Ashton-Under-Lyne
Tel. 0 161 343 4343

The Council Shop, Fernlea Ave, Barnoldswick
Tel. 0 1282 666 704

26 Main St , High Bentham
Tel. 0 15242 62549

15-17 Railway Road, Blackburn
Tel. 0 1254 53277

1 Clifton Street, Blackpool
Tel: 0 1253 478 222

Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Unit 25, Ocean Blvd, Blackpool
Tel. 0 1253 403 223

Burnley Mechanics, Manchester Road, Burnley
Tel. 0 1282 664 421

Victoria Square, Thornton, Cleveleys
Tel. 0 1253 853 378

12-14 Market Place, Clitheroe
Tel. 0 1200 425 566

Old Ferry Office, The Esplanade, Fleetwood
Tel. 0 1253 773 953

Discovery Centre, High St, Garstang
Tel. 0 1995 602 125

Lancaster Visitor Information Centre
The Storey Creative Industries Centre
Meeting House Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1TH
Tel. 0 1524 582 394

Lancaster Services, M6 North
White Carr Lane, Bay Horse, Lancaster
Tel. 0 1524 792 181

Lytham St Annes
67 St Annes Road West, Lytham St Annes
Tel. 0 9066 800 033

Old Station Buildings, Marine Road Central, Morecambe
Tel. 0 1524 582 808

12 Albion Street, Oldham
Tel. 0 1616 271 024

Pendle Heritage Centre
Park Hill, Barrowford, Nelson
Tel. 0 1282 661 701

The Guildhall, Lancaster Road, Preston
Tel. 0 1772 253 731

41-45 Kay St, Rawtenstall, Rossendale
Tel. 0 1706 226 590 or 0 1706 244 678

The Clock Tower, Town Hall, Rochdale
Tel. 0 1706 356 592

Insider Tip: The small villages are especially authentic as they do not cater to the tourist with tacky souvenir shops and other twee ventures. On the down side is the fact you may have difficulty finding a place for a cuppa or a snack, so carry your own supplies. The quiet roads and peaceful villages more than make up for any lack of amenities.

Photos by Barbara Ballard and courtesy Lancashire Tourism

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Our Lancashire Articles
St Peter and St Paul Church, Bolton by Bowland
Gawthorpe Hall
Ribble Valley Villages
Leighton Hall
St Wilfrid Church
Browsholme Hall
Waddington Village and its Church
St Peter and St Paul Church, Bolton by Bowland
Other England Articles

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