Shropshire Star

Historic city is full of charm

Lancaster, why are you going to take a break in Lancaster? A question asked not just once but several times.

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Lancaster House Hotel is a short drive away from the historic city of Lancaster, with its castle and brewery, and a few minutes from Junction 33 of the M6

Isn’t that the place with the university just off the M6? What on earth is there to do there?

Well let me tell you, quite a lot – in fact far too much to do comprehensively in the short break I took. The historic city is charming and fascinating and the surrounding coast and countryside sheer delight.

So, to begin with my base – the Lancaster House Hotel, just outside the city and on the fringe of the university campus.

It might look like an impersonal big hotel, but step inside and admire the magnificent minstrels gallery, a grand open fireplace and flagstone floor, and feel a warm Lancashire welcome. And not just from the surroundings, the staff are equally welcoming and genuine – not in the false ‘have a nice day’ way. This is a large hotel but with a family-run feeling and you don’t get that very often.

The four star Lancaster House offers luxurious accommodation, including studio suites featuring a separate lounge area and a stand-alone bath. There are fluffy robes, towels and quality toiletries – plus a lavender spray for your pillow to waft you off to sleep. All types of accommodation are well-equipped and furnished.

There is excellent food on offer in The Foodworks Restaurant which showcases some of the best local produce of Lancashire, whilst The Sandeman’s Bar offers a wide selection of bar snacks and drinks including the famous Sandeman’s Wine collections.

We enoyed a delicious meal in The Foodworks Restaurant including tender local lamb and fish landed just a few miles away. And breakfast was another pleasant experience featuring local black pudding on one plate and kippers on the other!

Guests also get free access to the hotel’s Sandpiper Leisure Club where you can use the relaxing 15-metre indoor pool, steam room, sauna, spa and outdoor hot tub from which you get idyllic countryside views, as well as a high-spec Star Trac fitness suite.

You can also pamper yourself during your stay, with a variety of treatment. I sampled the ‘Body Booster Spa Day’ which included a two-course lunch with a glass of Prosecco, full body scrub, mini facial and a back, neck and shoulder massage. And the lunch was outstanding.

The beauty salon offers a wide range of treatments, delivered by highly-trained therapists using a range of top quality products from my favourite brand, Elemis.

The hotel is child-friendly but for me the big plus is that it’s dog friendly. There are dog treats to welcome your pampered pooch when you check in and while the restaurant (quite rightly) does not admit hounds, staff will set up a table for you in one of the public areas to enjoy your breakfast or even your dinner.

A short drive into Lancaster and there’s a wealth of history to be found. Lancaster Castle described by English Heritage as “not only the North-West’s most important historic and archaeological monument but also of international importance”, the origins of this Grade I listed building date back almost 1,000 years. It was also in use as a prison until 2011. Now you can married in it!

A particular interest of mine is anything maritime and a visit to the Maritime Museum was a must. The golden age and rich maritime and natural history of Lancaster occupies two historic buildings on St. George’s Quay, the city’s main 18th century harbour.

There’s also the Lancaster Brewery, one of the largest microbreweries in the north west of England, Lancaster Brewery which offers relaxed, informal 45-minute tours covering the entire brewery process.

Take a walk in the Williamson Park and see the Grade 1 listed Ashton Memorial (you can see the dome from the M6 and I always wondered what it was on my travels up north!) which was commissioned by Lancaster industrialist Lord Ashton as a tribute to his late wife Jessy.

At around 150 feet tall it dominates the Lancaster skyline and the first floor outdoor viewing gallery provides superb views of the surrounding countryside and out across Morecambe Bay to the Lakeland fells and mountains.

And if you want even more of the outdoors, Lancaster is surrounded by some of England’s most beautiful landscapes. Morecambe Bay is just a short hop away, there’s the Forest of Bowland, the Lake District and even the Yorkshire Dales within a 30-minute drive.

A short visit did not do justice to the hotel or its surroundings and a return trip is on the cards.


Address: Lancaster House Hotel, Lancaster, LA1 4GJ

Tel: 01524 844 822


Classic rooms from £110 BB/£169DBB based on two people sharing

Body Booster Spa Day £75