Lancaster, Heritage City

Lancaster Castle Grounds

Lancaster is one of a small number of locations in England which are designated as a “Heritage City“, which means it has national recognition as a destination in the premier league in terms of history and culture.

Other places on the list include York, Chester and Bath, all of which it is fair to say have to date been better known than Lancaster as a visitor destination. Lancaster is very much the Tortoise of a Group of Heritage Cities which includes many Hares; and in that sense Lancaster is the one to watch.

Highlights of Lancaster

Highlights which await visitors to Lancaster include The Castle (The Queen’s Castle in the North owned by the Sovereign in her capacity The Duke of Lancaster), the many intact Georgian Buildings, the thriving Night-time and cultural economy (boosted very much by presence of Lancaster University and its staff & students) and the natural beauty of Morecambe Bay, Trough of Bowland and The Lake District close at hand.

And if London is the starting point of your journey, Lancaster being situated on the North West Mainline out of Euston and the M6 means that it’s quicker and easier to get to than many of the other Heritage Cities.

Before the growth of recent upstart cities like Manchester and Liverpool, Lancaster was the focal point of civilised society in the North West of England and the historical narrative of the City reflects this. The infamous Trial of The Lancashire Witches in 1612 took place in Lancaster because at that time it was the leading administrative and legal centre in the North West.

Regional Heritage Centre

The role of Lancaster University in re-establishing the regional and national status of Lancaster cannot be exaggerated. Since it was founded in 1964, the University has brought economic benefit, as well as intellectual rigour to the City. An important part of the latter in terms of analysing the historic importance of Lancaster and environs has been The Regional Heritage Centre based at Lancaster University.  The key to the success of the Regional Heritage Centre has been engaging with communities in the North West of England and allowing them to tell their many and varied stories.

Small City, Big Story

Stories are what hook us into a book, a film or indeed a place. So whilst Lancaster undoubtedly has the historic credentials to be a Heritage City, it needed the stories to go hand in glove the buildings to make it a place which speaks to and engages with its visitors. It is therefore entirely appropriate that the strap-line Marketing Lancashire have chosen for Lancaster is “Small City, Big Story”.