Lancashire Holiday Cottages News and Offers
Local Villages and Towns to Visit
This is where given the time, is one of the places that I walk the dogs to most mornings. So, if you have rung in the mornings and didnt get an answer, chances are I was on my way to here!
The shortest distance sticking to the lanes is 2 miles, 30-40 minutes. To make the walk longer you can walk through the Nicky Nook/Grizedale Valley past the resevoirs and be gone for hours. Alternatively, you could go a number of ways and end up walking along the millenium way which follows the river Wyre getting eventually to Scorton.
On one of the walking routes down to Scorton, down Snowhill Lane, is the Applestore Cafe. This is in the grounds of Wyresdale Hall which actually appeared on the tv show Country House Rescue a few years ago. The cafe is in the converted garden buildings and on fine days the old established gardens are perfect to sit in and have a drink or a piece of one of the homemade cakes. Sally who works in the cafe and makes a lot of the cakes, owns and lives in the Hall with her husband James, who is also to be found chatting away to the customers. We walk down here with our daughter Callie and her pony most Sunday mornings - weather permitting!
Once in Scorton, you will see our local shop/post office/offlicence. The same family also own the Priory across the road. It is quite a basic pub/café that does food all day. On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday mornings it can get quite busy with cyclists, it is a popular stopping off point.
Across the road is the Barn, which started just a few years ago and has grown every year. The garden bit has expanded to include a bbq in the summer. There are some covered areas to sit out under, outdoor heaters for when it gets chilly and they have got a licence so you can now have an alcoholic drink with your lunch.
As well as cakes, soups, batons and light food and sunday roasts, the main reputation is for their scones. Personally I prefer the cherry and almond, served with butter and jam! Wallings home made ice creams are sold, Blackcurrant cheesecake and Toffee crunch which has pieces of crunchie bar in it are our favourites. They are quite specialist herbaceous plant sellers and almost all of the plants around the garden have come from there. Also the winter, summer baskets and holly wreaths.
Situated midway between Lancaster and Preston. Back in the 18th century, it was an important staging post for the mail and passenger coaches. Off the High Street are numerous old buildings and 'weinds' (narrow alleyways). In the centre is the Market Cross, the Old Town Hall and the Market House. At the top end of the High Street is the old Grammar School which is now the Arts Centre. Nearby are the ruins of Greenhalgh Castle built in 1490 and virtually destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in 1646. In 2002 the castle had another siege with people coming from all over the country to enact in traditional costume the original events of 1646.
Every Thursday is market day. This dates back to 1310 when King Edward 11 granted a charter to hold a weekly street market. There are 70 stalls which extend the length of the High st. We always avoid driving along here on Thursdays as the stalls take up much of the road and it does sometimes get congested - best to park somewhere, possibly the public pay and display parks near the Discovery Centre and the other near Booths supermarket. The rents to the stall holders are minimal, as low as £7 for the day. This is used to support worthy causes such as the Arts Centre and the Christmas festival and lights.
There are some nice little specialist shops in Garstang. We like Hamlets the butchers which is at the far end of the High Street, near Dantes the Italian takeaway.. Their pies, pork, steak and sausage rolls are our favourites. The meat products, including pork and blackpudding sausages are excellent and always on our bbq shopping list!
In early December the town is lit with Christmas Lights and on the Monday and Tuesday evening of the week prior to Christmas Day, there is a Victorian festival. People dress in costume and there is music and street entertainment. Shops and businesses stay open late.
On Wednesday afternoon you may find that a lot of the shops still keep to the tradition of half day closing - this of course does not apply to the supermarkets, most of which are open until 7.30 or 8, except Sundays when it is normally 4pm.
There are 2 car parks, one is at the top end of the High St, this is a pay and display . The other is across the road from Booths, next to the leisure centre and skateboarding park. (The public toilets are on this car park). Beware, traffic wardens do patrol the car parks occasionally.
Behind the car park at the top of the High Street is the sports field and a nice walk along the River Wyre. You can either turn right and walk behind the houses and shops along the High Street, or if you turn left, you can walk along the river, through the public footpaths and eventually end up back here. It should take about 45 minutes to an hour. The walk can also be done with a narrow pushchair/buggy (personal experience) there is a metal bridge with some steps over the river and it is not very wide. It is however a very pleasant walk and certainly worth making the effort. The sports field in spring and summer turns into a picnic area with lots of ducks congregating on the river bank.
In August, on one of the Saturdays, is held the 1 day Garstang Country Fair. It is one of the largest and most popular in the county.
Only about 20 minutes away. The university is in the top 10 in the country. Lancaster is a truly historic but small city. With a small pedestrianised shopping area, 2 small arcades and an indoor market. A small Marks and Spencers, Waterstones, Monsoon and a few other little specialist shops. There is plenty of heritage here with Lancastle Castle, the City Museum, Williamson Park, Ashton Memorial Folly and Tropical Butterfly House. The Dukes Theatre and Cinema put on many worthwhile shows and Christmas pantomines that are certainly worth going to see. The theatre is really quite quaint and you sit pretty close to the stage. Some summer productions are actually held in Williamson Park and you follow the show around to different parts of the park.
In November is the annual Fireworks spectacular and Beacon lighting which follows a day of themed events. Throughout the year there are quite a few themed days such as the Georgian Festival Fair in August and a Jacobite day at the end of November.
Lancaster has a one way traffic system operating around the center which can make it very busy at certain times of the day. As you actually go round the system there is a largish Sainsburys supermarket on the left.
We are about 10 miles from the city of Preston. There are quite a few car parks, the best, safest and handiest for the shops is probably (the one I use) the Fishergate Centre which is also next to the railway station. Preston also has a one way system which at peak times can also cause major traffic problems. For shopping there are quite a few big brand names. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Friday and Saturdays there is a large indoor and outdoor market. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the market is used for car boot sales.
There are some magnificent buildings in Preston, particularly the Harris Museum, library and art Gallery in front of which is the old Flag market and Cenotaph. Here at the end of August is the pot fair which sells all sorts and qualities of crockery and attracts the same stall holders year after year, although lately, not as many as previous years.
Behind the museum is the Guild Hall and Charter Theatre. There are pantomines in the festive season as well as quite some big name entertainers/singers throughout the year. When our big girls were little we have watched things like Postman Pat and Fireman Sam. With Callie we went to see the Tweenies at the MEN Arena at Manchester - never again! For those of you interested in football, there is the football museum located at the ground of Preston North End at Deepdale.
Not too far away, back down the M6, is Camelot theme park which has over 100 rides and live jousting and magic shows. The wildfowl and wetlands trust at Martin Mere is ideal for young children especially at Downy Duckling time.
The old Preston docks has disappeared and replaced with a shopping area, multi plex UCI cinema and apartments overlooking the River Ribble. You can actually enjoy a pleasant walk along the dockside and every year there is a week of activities created by the Maritime festival which is now a successful event- for those of you interested in boats.
About 45 minutes drive away, Blackpool is not a choice for everyone when staying in the countryside, but definitely a popular place to visit, especially with children and teenagers.
There is the Pleasure Beach with the Pepsi Max Roller coaster, originally Europes tallest at 235ft high and speeds of nearly 90mph. It looks horrendous. Beth our middle daughter went on it twice with her uncle when she was only about 10. Other rides have been introduced in the past couple of years, each one supposedly more thrilling! Beth also advises me that the Pleasure Beach cannot match Alton Towers. It can also be quite an expensive day out, but it is possible to buy family tickets and there are special offers early on in the season. Both Nickleodeon and Wallace and Gromit are now features on the park.
On the same site is also an ice rink on which there are also some spectacular ice dance shows.
The Pier, in the Tower and Winter Gardens are held seasonal shows and pantomines. Occasionally with some very big names starring in special concerts. Elton John played a concert a couple of years ago. Amazingly, Bob Dylan held a rare concert for which the tickets were sold out in minutes.
From the end of August until the end of October are the Illuminations, 6 miles of bright colourful lights, scenes, decorated trams and laser lights. Worth driving few once - and not at weekends when it is so busy, most children enjoy it - that is if they havent fallen asleep in the car on the way there! You can actually see the tower lit up from the field next to the tennis court.
The tower can be a good place to visit on a rainy day. There are lots of things in there to keep you entertained. An undersea world aquarium, animal free circus, music and dancing in the ballroom and jungle jims with rope swings, ball pools and slides. At the top of the tower is the Walk of Faith Challenge, a pane of glass over a 380 ft drop.
Blackpool Zoo is an ideal size for young children as it is not too large for walking around. There are lots of animals to see and the grounds are well kept. It is away from the town centre and opposite the large Stanley Park.
Lytham and St Annes
At the end of the M55 motorway you can turn right for Blackpool , turn left and head first for St. Annes and then drive further on to Lytham. Both are the complete opposite of Blackpool and there are many multi million pound apartments and houses here. Quite similar to Southport with wide streets, small shops and particularly in Lytham a café culture with some good small restaurants. As children many a day was spent playing and picnicking on the green at Lytham and fishing in the rock pools (with the windmill at the end). You can actually see across the water to Southport on a clear day.
The Lake District
Whilst we have beautiful countryside around here, some of you may wish to travel up the motorway to the Lake District. A word of warning, the motorway on bank holidays and weekends can be horrendous and you could end up stuck in traffic jams for miles. During the week you can drive to Windermere or Kendal (which has one of the highest rainfalls in the country)in 45 minutes. At Windermere you can take a cruise on the lake or visit the aquarium or even spend some money in the Lakeland Plastic shop! (which actually has a very nice café in there) Bowness has the World of Beatrix Potter, with walks to Hilltop, her home. At Ravenglass you can ride the steam train to Eskdale or visit any of the numerous National Trust attractions.
In August, Lowther Park have a fantastic 3 day event which is based on the horse trials but also has loads of attractions. Fly fishing competition, ferretts, gun dogs, horse carriage driving (Prince Phillip used to compete here many years ago)marquees with craft stalls, fine foods and country clothes.
Holker Hall, north of Carnforth, is a beautiful house which has woodland walks, a caterpillar maze and an aviary garden. Birds of Prey are flown here every afternoon depending on the weather. Again, throughout the year many events are held such as the Proms concert and fireworks, Classic car rally, and my favourite the Garden festival.
You can always ask us for information if there is some particular place you wish to visit. We have found certain attractions are popular for different ages and times of year. The website has links pages on which I have listed various places which I thought maybe of interest to some of you and I have printed copies in ourinformation book for you. Each of the cottages has a large selection of brochures about what is in the area and slightly further afield.
Some other suggestions for those who need to go shopping
The Trafford Centre towards Manchester, is a huge modern indoor shopping complex which has Selfridges (we had some guests, a lovely family from Kuwait who managed to spend the whole day just in Selfridges!), John Lewis, Debenhams, Monsoon, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange and loads of other shops. Lots of eating places and also a cinema complex. If you ever watched How to look good naked with Gok , then a lot of the fashions shows were held in the Orient eating area. Parking is free, which is a major plus after myself having paid £9 for a couple of hours in Manchester City Centre at the car park behind Kendalls.
Liverpool, City of Culture. The main shopping area is Liverpool 1. Has really been the up and coming place, both just to have a walk around and shop. Some guests have been known to visit twice in a week - not particularly liking any cities myself, I have yet to visit once!
East Lancashire was the main cotton mill area years ago. Some of the old mills have been converted into apartments. It really is the industrial part of Lancashire and you can see that by all the rows of streets from the motorway, property here has been cheap over the years as once the mills had gone, there was no work unless people travelled, mainly to places like Manchester. At Burnley is Barden Mill, which as well as selling potery, clothing, furniture and textiles, also has a restaurant and childrens play area.
At Colne, is Boundary Mill, this has moved to a new site as it has outgrown the old. There is a huge homewares section with items such as Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood crockery and Sheridan bed linen. The clothing sections range from a Marks and Spencer outlet to Jaegar, Kaliko and Timberland.and quite a large menswear section. Oswaldtwistle Mills also has a factory shop and a Textile Time Tunnel and Museum, Garden Centre, Lakes and Picnic area.
Fleetwood has a small shopping outlet called Freeport, probably only worth a visit if you are in the area, as there is not really a lot of shops worth looking at.
Further afield (probably 90 minutes drive) is Cheshire Oaks outlet shopping. Lots of big names and worth a full days trip.
Locally, for children, the Wild Boar Park at Chipping, only 30 minutes away, is very popular with our guests.