Our round-up of the best entertainment in Lancaster includes theatre, live music, stand up comedy, cinema and some of the best hiking and biking routes in the country.
Entertainment in Lancaster
Next to Lancaster City Museum in the heart of city, Vue Lancaster is the largest cinema complex with six modern screens capable of seating over 1,500 people. The chain cinema on Church Street is fitted with ultra-modern Sony 4K screens and Dolby Surround Sound and is a great place to catch the current crop of Hollywood blockbusters.
Alternatively, head to the independent cinema at The Dukes for a more alternative range of releases. As well as screening mainstream movies, they offer a varied range of cultural, leftfield and more artistic screenings with three or four films shown each day in total.
The Trough of Bowland
Lancaster Grand Theatre
Hiking and biking
On the western edge of the Forest of Bowland and a short drive from the Lake District, Lancaster is in the heart of hiking country. The Trough of Bowland is a popular hiking valley that bisects the Forest of Bowland, running from Lancaster to Dunsop Bridge. There are plenty of well-travelled routes in the region including the Pendle Sculpture Tramper Trail, Grizedale Forest and Gisburn Forest, but one of our favourites is the Dunslop Bridge Circular. The 10-mile hike starts and finishes at Dunslop Bridge, commonly accepted as the entrance to the Trough of Bowland, and takes in gently-sloping grassy banks, remote moorland, gentle river valleys and some more testing climbs. When you’re finished, make sure to nip into Puddleducks Tea Room for a restorative cup of coffee and slab of cake.
If you’d rather travel on two wheels and see the sights, Lancaster is close to the start (or finish) point of the Way of the Roses cycle trail, a 170-mile route running from Morecambe to Bridlington passing through Lancaster, York, Settle and Ripon. One of the most popular coast-to-coast routes, it generally takes around three to five days to complete the challenging path taking in traffic-free paths, cycle lanes and country roads.
The third oldest theatre in Britain, Lancaster Grand Theatre has been in near-continuous use since 1782 with Macbeth one of the first plays to be performed. The 460-capacity theatre is spread over two levels and has been through various rebuilds over the years, always maintaining its historical look and feel. One of the key northern theatres, they have a diverse range of programming spanning drama, comedy, live music and family as well as a range of amateur and professional productions, with more than a dozen shows each month. There is a small licensed bar in the main foyer for pre-show drinks and snacks with nearby recommended cafes and restaurants Moorish and Red Peppercorn on hand for something more substantial.
The Dukes is the other theatre in Lancaster, a relatively modern space built in 1971 around two miles from our Lancaster hotel. As well as hosting travelling productions, comedians and live music, the theatre also produce their own range of plays, with three shows each year. There are three separate theatre spaces at The Dukes including the 313-capacity Rakes auditorium and the 240-capacity Round theatre, plus they recently launched their independent cinema. A short distance from the Grand Theatre on Moor Lane, The Dukes has a buzzy bar open from 11am each day and popular restaurant The Boroughs which runs plenty of ticket and dinner deals. Make sure to save some room for the interval ice cream, however, which comes from local favourite Mrs Dowson’s.