Lancaster Priory Church
The 15th Century Priory and Parish Church of Lancaster standing by the Castle on the hill overlooking the City is built on the site of a priory which was founded in 1094.
The interior is mostly medieval but has 13 centuries of history including traces of a Saxon Church including a Saxon doorway with Anglian cross fragments; 14th century choir stalls; superb tapestries; and King's Own Memorial Chapel with historical Regimental Standards and battle honours. The present building holds Viking ornaments, crusaders' coffins and part of Jacobean "three-decker" pulpit.
In the Memorial Chapel there is probably the most complete collection of Regimental Colours in the country.
The Refectory offers light refreshments. Guided tours are available by arrangement. Open 10am - 4pm daily all year.
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
The Castle is owned by Her Majesty the Queen, who is the 'Duke of Lancaster'. As well as being a fortification the Castle is also one of Europe’s longest serving operational prisons. Amongst many alleged witches to be brought to Lancaster, the most famous were the Pendle Witches, who were tried, convicted and sentenced to death here. George Fox, the founder of the Quaker movement, was imprisoned in the Castle for 2 years.
The Grand Jury Room includes some superb Gillow furniture, whilst in the Crown Court the branding iron can still be seen. Many prisoners convicted at the Castle’s Assize Courts were sentenced to transportation to Australia. Visitors can experience briefly what it’s like to be locked in the ancient dungeons.
In the Shire Hall is a magnificent display of heraldic shields.
Open daily for guided tours, 10 am to 5pm (Court sittings permitting). Closed Christmas/New Year. Visitors are advised to check opening times.
Amission is £4 for adults, children & concessions are £2.50. £11 family ticket (but check web site for up to date pricing).
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
- Castles and Palaces
Capture breathtaking views of the stunningly diverse landscape of Lancaster, Morecambe and the Lune Valley. The Tower, built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, makes a superb viewing platform. From this exposed but beautiful location high on the fells there is a superb view over the Fylde and North Lancashire coast line and the Yorkshire Dales.
This is a really fabulous park. Even when busy, the place absorbs vistors with ease and you can always find a peaceful spot. Aroung every corner there is a surprise, and the views are the best in Lancaster.
Williamson Park comprises 54 acres of beautiful parkland with enchanting walks and play areas and breathtaking views to the Fylde Coast and the Lake District. The Tropical Butterfly House, Mini-Beasts, Bird Enclosure and Small Mammal section will fascinate all the family and add a touch of the exotic to a visit to Lancaster's leading tourist attraction. Enjoy the pleasant surroundings of the Pavilion Cafe or browse around the Gift Shop packed with all kinds of exciting gift ideas.
The Park includes the Ashton Memorial (a famous Edwardian folly on the skyline overlooking Lancaster) which was a gift to the City from Lord Ashton, set within the parkland created by his father, James Williamson. The "structure", as it became known locally, was a memorial to Lord Ashton’s first wife. The park was created out of the quarries from which came the stone for most of Lancaster’s buildings. Inside the recently restored Memorial is the Williamson Gallery, with breathtaking views to the Fylde Coast and the Lake District. All the facilities are open daily.
(See my travelogue for more photos from the park).
When I was living in Lancaster in the late 80's, the Memorial was fenced off and in a very sorry state. I'm pleased to say that it has been restored to its former glory.
The Ashton Memorial was commissioned by Lord Ashton as a tribute to his late wife. Born in Lancaster, Lord Ashton became a millionaire producing oil cloth and linoleum which was exported from the port all over the world. It serve as reminder of the importance of Lancaster as a thriving commercial centre, not only in times past but now in the 21st century.
The first floor outdoor viewing gallery provides superb views of the surrounding countryside and across Morecambe Bay (50p charge).
From the viewing gallery, the Lakeland hills are clearly visible and it is possible to see Blackpool Tower and the Isle of Man.
The stonework reflects the colour of the sun and can be seen in hues from pale yellow through pure white to deep orange depending on the time of day.
The memorial is one of Lancaster's best landmarks and a very impressive sight.
Enjoy the history that Lancaster can offer. Hear about Elizabeth the Duke and witch trials. The tour of the castle is fun, even if it is a partial prison.
- Castles and Palaces