Preston is a city to watch. It is popular for a number of reasons. One of these, is that not only is there so much to do within the city, there’s also so much to do in places outside of the city. Whether you’re visiting the city of Preston and wanting to explore more of the North West, or you’re a resident of the city, wanting to try something new; there’s plenty going on outside of Preston, which you can find out about here.
Two extremely popular places, only half an hour’s drive away from Preston City Centre, are Lytham St Annes and Blackpool. Home to seaside attractions and endless entertainment, these are two places not to be missed.
Blackpool is always a worthwhile visit. One of the main reasons for its popularity is the infamous Pleasure Beach Resort. Home to one of Europe’s tallest rollercoasters, the Pepsi Max Big One, coasters suspended completely over water and many others with special effects, this theme park should definitely make the list of “things to do”.
Another attraction is the UK’s largest indoor waterpark, Sandcastle, which has over eighteen slides for everyone to enjoy. Opposite the Pleasure Beach, this waterpark has everything you need to enjoy the whole day; from burger bars, arcades and a swim shop. At the end of the day, you can even go for a stroll along Blackpool’s promenade and visit the unspoilt sandy beach.
Blackpool is also host to Blackpool Football Club, Blackpool Zoo, the 518ft Blackpool Tower and much more. You can find out more information on the Visit Blackpool website.
Lytham St Annes, a ten minute drive away from Blackpool, is a picturesque place. It is perfect, if you want to escape the bustle of the town centre, and unwind. There are historic places of interest, such as Lytham Windmill and Lytham Hall, which provide an insight into the history of the town.
Lytham Windmill is a museum open throughout the year, which hosts different exhibitions displays organised by the Lytham Heritage Group. Lytham Hall is a historic house, which is known as the “finest Georgian house in Lancashire”. Just a mile from the city centre, this house is host to a courtyard, which acts as a tea room, and if you like it that much, you can book it for weddings or other special events.
St Annes-on-Sea is also host to miles of beautiful beach. It is quintessentially British, with everything from ice cream vans to donkey rides. Visitors can also experience the charming Victorian Pier and the elegant parks and gardens. You can find out more information on the Visit Lytham St Annes Website.
Places near Preston range from big to small, and a place on the smaller side, is Lancaster. Small it may be, but Lancaster is big in terms of popularity and is only half an hour away from Preston city centre. And it is now home to the ninth best university in the UK, Lancaster University, in the ‘Complete University Guide 2013’.
Lancaster is known for its cultural heritage. You can visit Lancaster City Museum, which displays collections that represent the history and archaeology of the city; and Lancaster Maritime Museum, an award winning museum that portrays the history of the port, the Lancaster Canal, the Lune Estuary and Morecambe Bay.
Lancaster Castle is another highlight of the city. Owned by Her Majesty the Queen, this tells the history of Lancaster. It is a brilliant experience, and visitors can even see what it is like to be locked in the ancient dungeons.
You can take boat trips, indulge in the shopping centres, take a walk round the attractive parks and visit the beautiful and not to be missed, Ashton Memorial. You can find out more here.
Bigger places near Preston include the increasingly popular cities, Manchester and Liverpool.
Manchester, a 45 minute drive from Preston City Centre is one of the most popular cities in the UK. It is known as the shopping capital of the North West, home to niche boutiques and fashionable chains. With many highly rated restaurants and an electric nightlife, you can spend a day, a week or a lifetime in Manchester.
For sight seers, the city does not disappoint. Manchester’s only national museum, The People’s Museum, was reopened in 2012 after a £12.5 million development. It tells a 200 year story of British democracy, with many interactive exhibits.
Oxford Street, known by locals as Manchester’s ‘cultural corridor’ is home to many galleries, museums and theatres. Some of these include the Cornerhouse, the Whitworth Art Gallery and the Manchester Museum.
As football fans will know, Manchester is home to the infamous football clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City. The National Football Museum holds both the FIFA and FA collections and even the hallowed ball used in the World Cup final in 1966. This is not to be missed.
For a complete guide to Manchester, visit Manchester.com.
Liverpool, an ever-growing city, is about an hour’s drive away from Preston City Centre.
The city is home to various art galleries, theatres and museums with a wide range of exhibitions. An unmissable exhibition is the Beatles Story, a unique attraction that lets you experience the life and music of the Beatles. For something else unique, you can visit the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, which is host to the ‘Liverpool Phil’, the oldest surviving professional symphony orchestra; and the second oldest concert-giving organisation in the UK, featuring top names from all genres of music.
For fashion lovers, there is Liverpool ONE, a shopping centre offering over 160 famous high street stores and independent boutiques. Popular museums include the Museum of Liverpool and the International Slavery Museum and more, which are all worthwhile visits.
Liverpool Echo Arena is a highlight of the city situated on the waterfront and seats over 10,000 guests. It opened in conjunction with the city being awarded the European Capital of Culture in 2008 and has been host to a range of high class names, including Beyonce, Elton John and Bob Dylan.
For a complete guide to Liverpool, visit Visit Liverpool.
Image credit to Bob the Courier