Lancaster may be a small city, but there’s a lot to see and do if you know what you’re looking for! Here’s the lowdown on some of the must-visit places to explore during your time here.

The Herbarium

Lancaster’s trendiest new vegan cafe/yoga studio/Instagram spot. The Herbarium opened earlier this year and is the place to go for catch ups, smoothie bowls and to escape from work. The cafe offers a diverse range of yoga classes, mindfulness courses and concerts, as well as tea and cake to match. This isn’t hidden – it’s just down the road from Dalton Square – but it’s definitely a gem and deserves several visits during your time here. A rainy day in Lancaster, a cup of tea and a book would be perfect here.

The Dukes

This alternative cinema/theatre space is slightly hidden but should not be missed. The range of productions and theatre shown is a welcome change from the mainstream calibre of Vue, and tickets are surprisingly cheap. Sporting an old school style cinema, cafe-bar, gallery and theatre, there’s nowhere better to escape from uni and soak up some culture. SCAN often reviews their productions too – get in touch if you want to get involved!

The Gregson Centre

On the way up to Williamson Park you’ll find the Gregson Centre, a community and arts venue with a very reasonably priced restaurant. They host open-mic nights, wine tasting events, art exhibitions and so much more. The Gregson is unfairly overlooked in my opinion; often perceived as a ‘locals only’ place, but I can assure you that it deserves your time. They’ve got a Lancaster Live event on Friday 12th October entitled ‘Friday Funk Night’ – check it out!

The Storey

The first thing you see as you enter Lancaster from the train station will be the Storey, an unsuspecting building that doubles up as the Visitor Information Centre. The Storey describes itself to be a ‘hi-tech office space, creative hub, performing arts venue and contemporary eatery’. Translation: theatre venue with a funky cafe-bar. Be sure to check out the events listings for this place, and visit the cafe. It’s quiet, but it’s got a good vibe and is the perfect spot to relax with a book or a friend if the more popular spots are full.

Full House Noodle Bar

Situated up the stairs from the Oriental Supermarket that’s opposite the bus stop in town, this restaurant is a go to for anyone who enjoys oriental food and trying new things. The menu accommodates all types of allergies and food preferences, and the prices are satisfyingly cheap for students. It’s definitely a change from Spoons or Crafty Scholar and is consistently labelled as the best Chinese in Lancaster – treat yourself!

Atkinsons Hall Cafe

Those already familiar with Lancaster will be aware of Atkinsons, the coffee shop who owns The Music Room and the Hall. For coffee lovers, Atkinsons is something of an institution in Lancaster. The Hall is an ideal place to go for reading, writing, drawing – anything really! The coffee is holy, the cake is sinful and together, it combines to make a quintessential coffee shop experience. Atkinson’s having two cafes is a blessing – The Music Room truly is a hidden gem, situated down a little alleyway in town – you’d be lucky to get a spot in here after 11am. The Hall is much bigger, and provides work rooms too, as well as screening old films on the wall throughout the day. No list of gems in Lancaster is complete without it – be sure to visit!