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With its royal connections - Queen Elizabeth II is also the Duke of Lancaster - and historic importance as a trading port, Lancaster is very much a genteel beauty. The 18th century is when it was at its busiest, unfortunately as a hub of the slave trade, and much of the city’s best architecture is Georgian - though there are also some lovely country seats in the region surrounding the county town. The best places to stay in Lancaster are a mix of city centre boltholes, converted manors and some charming old seaside hotels along the coast at Morecambe.
Naturally Lancaster has a castle, built first in 1150 and then added to regularly. Its tower, also a later addition is famous for housing the Pendle Witches during their trial in 1612. These days it's a Crown Court, so you can only visit on a guided tour.
Lancaster also has a very fine Priory Church which predates the castle, several museums - including a Maritime Museum, and a wonderful park with a beautiful Edwardian Palm House, now converted into a Tropical Butterfly House.
What not to miss:
- Visit Lancaster Castle, dating back 1,000 years, this hilltop grade I-listed fortress was a prison for centuries.
- Take a cruise along the Lancaster Canal, across an impressive Georgian aqueduct and over the River Lune.
- Hire a bike (or bring your own) and explore the 50 miles of traffic free cycle paths.
- Visit the Maritime Museum and learn of Lancaster's past. Both a thriving port city as well as its darker side as the centre of the slave trade.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Lancaster are ideal bases from which to explore this old county town.
For the city centre
- The Penny Street Bridge is a 28 room hotel converted from a lovely listed building right in the middle of town. Rooms are crisp and stylish and there’s a popular bar and restaurant - which serves great breakfasts.
For a luxury B&B
- The Ashton, a luxurious five room B&B, has been converted from a Georgian manor house. You’re just five minutes from the centre of town and there’s lovely attention to detail.
For an apartment
- If you've decided that a self catering property would be more suitable for your holiday, then we recommend you visit our online booking partner Booking.com where they have a wide selection for all tastes and budgets.
- Lancaster's obviously nicest weather-wise in the summer months, with the average temperature rising to 15°C in August. So it's not exactly balmy, but there are plenty of sunny days which are ideal for sightseeing.
- Lancaster has a train station on the West Coast Main Line with regular trains to Manchester, Preston, London, the Lake District and Scotland.
- Visitors can fly into Blackpool International Airport, Manchester Airport or Leeds International Airport all served by a number of domestic, mainland European and international destinations.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Lancaster
The Toll House Inn 28 rooms from £74Lancaster
Historic pub-hotel in the heart of Lancaster. A locally-inspired menu in the restaurant, fantastic bar and a wide choice of rooms. The historic architecture and interior remain with stained-glass windows and ornate plasterwork. Lancaster Castle is located nearby. Ideal for explorers & foodies.Local exploring - Lots to see in the area including the fantastic Lancaster Castle.Great walks - Just minutes from Williamson Park which has lots of walking trails.Sights nearby - Located just 700 yards from the magnificent Lancaster Castle.Recommended by - Sawdays
The Sun 16 rooms from £75Lancaster
The Sun, Lancaster's only 4* hotel, is centrally located on Church Street. Boasts comfortable and airy boutique rooms as well as a lovely summer courtyard-the perfect spot to relax in with a drink. Their atmospheric stone-walled bar serves up delicious food. A cosy, charming and upmarket stay!Great walks - Wander around town getting a feel for the place or head off hiking around the area!Sights nearby - Be sure to visit the historic Lancaster CastleTraditional
Penny Street Bridge 28 rooms from £85Lancaster, Lancashire
Brilliant new town hotel in a listed building - with lively and popular bar and restaurant right in the middle of town. Stylish, crisp rooms, hearty breakfasts and great value.Sights nearby - Bang in the centre of townLively - Hip and happening.Recommended by - Sawdays
The Ashton 5 rooms from £125Lancaster, Lancashire
Exquisite Georgian manor house turned luxury boutique B&B, 5 minutes from the centre of Lancaster. Chic styling and exceptional attention to detail make for a romantic bolthole, a different kind of business crashpad, and the perfect stopover en route north.ChicSights nearby - Close to the centre of townRomantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - I Escape, Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays