As the gateway to the Lakes, the tiny City of Lancaster has almost too much to cram into a single day out… here are my recommendations for the perfect day there:
Start your morning with a J Atkinson’s & Co coffee. They supply most of the independant cafes in the city but you can also get one directly from them, from their shop on China Street or their Music Room cafe.
Next make your way to the wonderfully quirky Assembly Rooms… browse an eclectic range of accessories, clothing and other eccentric wonders from a host of independent retailers.
Wander up into the oldest part of Lancaster to see Lancaster Castle. Now a prison, you can still take tours of parts of the castle and enjoy the visitor centre.
Explore around the back of the castle to find The Priory church.
Carry on round between The Priory and the castle, to get my favourite view over Lancaster (above).
For lunch try the Merchant’s, just two minutes walk from the castle. Built into old wine cellars, you won’t get a more authentically medieval atmosphere.
For pudding, treat yourself to one of the many original cupcakes from the Yummy Cupcake Company, one of the first cupcake companies to be established in Britain before the whole country went mad for them.
Watching over Lancaster is the grand Ashton Memorial, built in 1909 by Lord Ashton in memory of his late wife, Jessy. Hit this place at sunset (between 3.30 and 4.30 in winter) for extraordinary views across Morecambe Bay. The memorial is hidden in the grounds of Williamson Park, a magical place to explore if you have the time.
5 minutes down the road from Willamson Park is Lancaster Antiques Centre, open 10am to 5pm every day. Part museum, part treasure trove, this warehouse is genious for original Christmas gifts that you would pay a fortune for on eBay (I picked up some very vintage looking Charlie Brown books for my dad).
Just next to the antiques centre is the new Lancaster Brewery Visitor Centre – a good place to grab an afternoon coffee if you are in need, and also worth a tour of where they brew their famous ales.
For your evening meal, try Sultan’s of Lancaster – excellent Indian food in the truly magnificent surroundings of a converted church.
For the perfect evening, finish off at The Dukes Playhouse for one of their many exceptional plays or independent and foreign films.