Located on a city-centre hilltop, believed to have been the site of several Roman forts, Lancaster Castle still served as a prison until 2011. Today, the formidable stronghold is used by film and TV crews and operates as a museum, documenting the history of crime and punishment through the ages from religious persecutions to the infamous ‘Lancashire witch trials’.
Marvel at the impressive John O’Gaunt Gatehouse, and don’t miss the Well Tower, renowned for housing the accused Lancashire ‘witches’ before their trial in 1612. The wells and stone-flagged dungeons testify to the horrors endured.
Across the city, Williamson Park provides a welcome retreat with woodland walks offering views across Morecambe Bay and even the Lake District fells. These beautiful parklands are home to the iconic Ashton Memorial. Built by industrialist James Williamson in memory of his second wife Jessy, it stands 150 feet tall, its copper-domed folly dominating the skyline. Visitors can also call in at the Edwardian-era Butterfly House, with its meerkats and marmosets, and the Pavilion Café for tea and cake.