From the miles of unspoiled countryside, steep fells and untamed moorlands of the Forest of Bowland in the east, to donkey rides on the sandy beaches in the west, there are plenty of things to do in Lancashire.
Since 80% of the county is rural, if you love being in nature, walking, hiking, cycling, horse-riding or just losing yourself in a breathtaking view, Lancashire welcomes you.
The famous Pleasure Beach at Blackpool, Britain’s most visited tourist attraction offers all kinds of traditional seaside entertainment.
Related: Holiday Parks in Blackpool
Then there’s the historic city of Lancaster, with its Georgian streets, canals, castle and dark past – it is well worth a visit too.
But let’s start with the great outdoors.
The Forest of Bowland
Festival Bowland – a year-round calendar of events – is a great way to find out more about its fascinating heritage, the abundance of wildlife and fun family activities.
Pendle Hill in the east is famous for its connection to the 1612 witch trials, a mysterious, spellbinding place that combines history with stunning scenery on long-distance walks like the 43-mile Pendle Way, dotted with villages, country pubs and farmhouses.
Arnside and Silverdale
Arnside and Silverdale in contrast, located on the Morecambe Bay coastline are designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for the rich diversity of habitats and wildlife, a perfect environment for spotting rare butterflies and marshland birds. There’s a shop and tearoom for heavenly cake and home-cooked meals.
The Beacon Fell Country Park
There’s an abundance of wildlife at The Beacon Fell Country Park covering 271 acres of woodland, moorland and farmland. The Beacon Fell summit is 266 metres (873 feet) above sea level for spectacular views of the Forest of Bowland and Morecambe Bay.
With hundreds of kilometres of coastline, Morecambe Bay and two major canal waterways, Lancashire is the perfect sailing and water sports destination. Charter a boat, learn to sail or have a go at water skiing.
The Water Ski Academy, Whitworth, set in the beautiful countryside has some of the best facilities for water skiing and wakeboarding.
Outdoor Revolution Water Sports at Stanley Park Lake offers a fantastic variety of courses or pay and play water sports sessions in a fun, relaxed and safe environment with kayaks, canoes and raft building activities. There are lots of other activities too including high ropes, climbing and kids go wild.
For a more relaxing watery experience, Fairhaven Lake between Lytham and St Anne’s is one of the most popular locations on the coast where you can hire a rowing or a pedal boat, play golf or bowls or enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.
If you don’t fancy getting wet, Preston Docks is a great day out where you can watch boats at Riversway, Preston’s Dock and Marina, take in the history, steam trains, waterfront living, shops, eateries, pubs and cinema.
Rufford Old Hall
Speaking of history, Lancashire is rich in museums, art galleries and historic buildings. Rufford Old Hall, Ormskirk is a superb timber-framed 16th-century manor house, held to be one of the finest Tudor buildings in Lancashire. A young William Shakespeare is thought to have performed in the great hall before he became famous.
And Elizabethan Gawthorpe Hall is nicknamed the ‘Downton of the North’, remodelled in the 1850s by Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament and the ‘real’ Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle.
Lancaster Castle houses a wealth of English history and antiques, home to monarchs since Roman times, a place of trial and execution, and a working prison right up until 2012. Still, a crown court, the majority of the castle is open to the public for the first time in over 1,000 years.
Lancaster City Museum
While you’re in the city, Lancaster City Museum is worth a visit and lovely Williamson Park is a delightful place for a picnic with woodland walks, a butterfly house and coastal views.
Clitheroe Castle museum standing high on Castle Hill in the Ribble Valley has dominated Clitheroe’s skyline for over 800 years. A fascinating day out for the family, the galleries will take you on a journey through 350 million years of history, heritage and geology of the local area. There are lots of activities for children in the museum – a competition hunt, dressing-up costumes, explorer back-packs, craft activities and interactive displays.
The Beaches of Lancashire
Lancashire enjoys miles of sandy beaches attracting thousands of visitors every year. Blackpool is possibly the best-known seaside resort in the UK with seven miles of sand, three amusement filled piers and the 500ft tall Blackpool Tower.
Cleveleys, 4 miles north, enjoys a vast sandy beach with a promenade and there are now art installations and a focus on the coast’s abundant wildlife. You could also spend the day on the sands at Lytham St Anne’s and visit the iconic Lytham Windmill.
At Morecambe, the promenade also hosts art installations and games and puzzles for children. The Stone Jetty juts out into the sea, a great place to walk with a café at the end and stunning views of the Lake District. The children will love Happy Mount Park with its swingboats, trampolines, Pirates in the Park, crazy golf and a miniature railway.
There’s lots for the whole family to do at Samlesbury Hall, exploring the 700-year-old house, discovering secrets like the hidden priest hole from Elizabethan times and the story of Janey the witch. Outside there’s the animal farm and Mayflower playground. The little farm has pigs, chickens, miniature sheep, pygmy goats, rabbits and guinea pigs, and a honeybee centre.
Farmer Parrs Animals World
Farmer Parrs Animals World at Fleetwood is home to many different species of animals such as alpacas, deer, donkeys, ducks, cattle, ferrets, chickens, geese, goats, guinea pigs and peacocks.
Farmer Parr is on hand to give you a tour and tell you everything you need to know to become an honorary farmer for the day. Ride on a tractor, collect the eggs, groom the ponies and feed and pet the animals. After you’ve finished your farm work, relax and have fun in the outdoor play area or the indoor bouncy castle barn and soft play area. There are also indoor picnic areas and a Country Life museum.
Great Lancashire fun for everyone!