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Living in Lancaster
Lancaster is the town for people that don’t really like towns. Although it’s the biggest settlement in the county and home to Lancaster University, the stunning countryside around it still gives it a distinctive rural feel.
If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, there aren’t many other towns of this size that could suit you more than Lancaster. It slips in between the Forests of Bowland and the Ribble Valley to the east, beyond which is the Yorkshire Dales National Park. To the west is the beautiful beach at Heysham, and just half an hours drive north is the Lake District, one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK. Sorted!
As any good rural town should, there is a market which happens twice weekly where you can pick up your fruit and veg on the cheap. Also in the town centre is the Marketgate Shopping Centre, which hosts a range of popular brand names, but the surrounding pedestrianised area is worth exploring too for the independant, vintage and local shops that will add some variety to your shopping basket.
The student nightlife in Lancaster is good, although there is definitely a preference of pubs over clubs. The Plough Inn is a popular one, serving food that tastes like your mum made it. If you’re feeling a bit cheaper, there’s always the local Scream pub, The Friary. This one’s actually in an old church building, which surprises you by being suddenly modern when you get inside. There’s a big cinema locally, but also The Dukes, which is an indie cinema/arts centre. They show foreign, niche and nostalgic movies as well as the current stuff, and occasionally throw in a live music gig or theatre production for good measure.
Lancaster has a definite competitive spirit, mainly aimed at York. Although the Tudor ‘War of the Roses’ is long over the two counties still apply the term to their ongoing rivalry, particularly the yearly sports competition between the universities of the two towns. Unsurprisingly there’s a big football following here, but also a strong cricket scene, a couple of good golf courses, and the Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club, which is one of the oldest non-university clubs in the UK.
What shall we do today?
- Get Cultured: Well you are at university, so you probably should. There’s Lancaster City Museum and the Maritime Museum, or you could head on up the hill to Lancaster Castle. There’s a big emphasis on its use as a court and prison, so maybe not a trip for the squeamish, but it’ll make you appreciate your halls of residence so much more!
- Beach: Obviously. We already mentioned Heysham’s great beach, but a little further up the coast is Morecambe, which is slightly larger and has more of a seasidey look to it.
- Day trip!: You could head south to Manchester for a day out in the big city. To the north is Kendal, the gateway to the beautiful Lake District, where you can get stuck into some outdoor activities or just spend the day eating mint cake and paddling.
Good to know
- Bus: The X1 goes from the train station to campus, while buses 2 to 4 do 15min shuttle runs from the town bus station on Damside Street.
- Taxi: A1 Taxis.
- Car?: For getting around Lancaster probably not, but it might be a good idea to have one on standby if you intend to explore a bit further afield.
70 Lancaster Reviews
Cute town with everything I really need. Not a shopping mecca but that doesn't bother me. Good road and rail links to other cities. Very good transport links to campus. Nice night life (it's not a huge city but I like it).
There are enough shops to keep you going with things like Topman, Topshop, River Island etc. but for an actual day of shopping you would need to get the train. Public transport is irrelevant because everything is walking distance but buses to the university are very regular. Nights out are unusual, the clubs are average but due to the small town and large student population you can easily see the same people out regularly which means you will often make friends with people you meet on nights out. The general feel of a night out is very friendly and social although obviously there are always some t**ts wherever you go.
The nightlife in Lancaster is pretty good. There's loads of bars and pubs to go to, but only a limited number of clubs. However, I've always had a good night out wherever I've been, and because there's only a small number of clubs, you find that they're always busy!
The public transport is very frequent however there is often lots of traffic so be sure to leave plenty of time for a journey. The shopping is good, however it's not anything special like Leeds or Manchester but it works for the area, and with the rapidly growing online shopping. There aren't many chain restaurants, more locally run and can be difficult to find out about unless you 'explore' Lancaster. The night out is fab, again nothing like Manchester or Leeds but a great night out none the less.
Lancaster is a small town, so don't expect much variety. Although it is nice enough, easy to navigate and with good public transport. It is also pretty safe, nothing happens in Lancaster. There are virtually no shops, so if you want to find variety, the closest choise is Preston or Manchester. Nights out are always at the same places, there are probably 3 decent noght clubs and a few bars. It is not bad nut nothing especial. Is close enough to cities like Manchester or Liverpool. Also the Lake district is quite close which is a nice place to visit. Two and a half hours to Edinbourgh by train and 3 from London. It's go its own micro weather, so be prepared for plenty of wind and rain. Bu when its sunny and you fancy a pint, ty going to the Water Witch or White Cross by the canal, probably the nicest pubs in town (they are quite nice actually).
Nice, little city. Excellent public transport links, even on a Sunday. Cost of living in the city is cheap, and it's good value. The shopping isn't that bad, but isn't that great, but other cities are cheap and easy to get to, and online shopping is a thing now. Nights out are good, but you have to be drunk before you go, and go with people that are suited to you. The societies are fantastic. Debating is the best society on campus, and it opens up the university world, and has many wonderful nights out. I really wouldn't be anywhere else.
Lancaster Uni is great. Town is a bit lacklustre. Quite insular but on the whole, it's okay. In terms of shopping for clothes etc, Manchester isn't too far away but there is a small selection of shops. Very student orientated, Sugarhouse is the main place to go out so if you're used to living in a big city like me, it's a massive change. Overall, I like it but would change a few things if I could.
Cost of living is really low in comparison to other universities. Accommodation is reasonable, and food and nights out are cheap. There's a lot of eating out opportunity on campus and in town, but not mainstream chains such as Nandos and Pizza Express etc, more small independent restaurants. Nice though. Nights out are limited by there only being a maximum of 10 venues, but they're fun and it's the people and knowing many faces around that make the nights great. The drinks prices are really reasonable and places for cocktails aren't too badly priced either with many special offer nights. Shopping is awful, a very small city, therefore your limited to a small topshop, new look, next and river island and a few others. Much easier to shop online or take a trip to Manchester. Public transport is excellent, on time and cheap.
It is a very cheap nice town, there are loads of places to eat out that do fairly cheap deals for students. There are a lot of shops and they are building a primark this year! Nights out a extremely cheap - can have a good night out on £10 on student days.