Lancaster Maritime Museum

Discover the story of Lancaster and Morecambe’s relationship with the ocean, the challenging lives of those living and working in the places between land and sea, and how our inland waterways have shaped our lives, work, and leisure. We uncover the dark legacy that the transatlantic slave trade has left in this proud, historic city and show how the Quay where the museum stands was once a bustling place of trade and commerce from all over the world.

Light Up the Quay

Above: Light up Lancaster 2023 showing the Maritime Museum and the historic quay in all of its splendour (image courtesy of the Wagon & Horses).


About the Museum

Lancaster Maritime Museum occupies two historic buildings on St. George’s Quay, the city’s main 18th-century harbour. 

The museum was opened in 1985 in the former Custom House of 1764, designed by Richard Gillow. It also incorporates the upper floor of the neighbouring warehouse, where goods were stored after being shipped into the port from all over the world  

Explore these atmospheric and fascinating buildings and discover the history of the Port of Lancaster, the local fishing industry and life in the spaces between land and sea. You can experience the treacherous crossing of the sands, sit in a packet boat on the Lancaster Canal, and hear about life on and around Morecambe Bay. Discover Lancaster’s darker side, as we uncover the city’s involvement in the Transatlantic slave trade and how many families grew their wealth from the trade in enslaved Africans and slave-produced goods.


Museum Opening Times

Monday12:00 – 16:00
Friday12:00 – 16:00
Saturday12:00 – 16:00
Sunday12:00 – 16:00


Please note that the Quayside Tea Room closes at 15:30, half an hour before the museum & shop.

Last admission to the museum is also at 15:30.

Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Please see the web pages for our other museums to see their opening days and times, as each museum is different.


Admission Charges

Adults  £3.00
Concessions (Full-time Students, People with Registered Disabilities & those 65+)  £2.00
Children (under 16)  Free (must be accompanied by a responsible adult)
Local Residents (LA1 – LA6)  Free (please bring proof of address)
Carers  Free



There is a gender-neutral and wheelchair-accessible public toilet available on the ground floor. (Please be aware that there is no emergency cord).

There are baby changing facilities on-site within our ground floor toilet.

We have a gift shop and a tearoom serving drinks and cakes.

Free parking for up to 3 hours is available along the roadside and there is a Blue Badge parking space at the front of the museum. There is also a Pay and Display car park behind the museum. 

Only assistance dogs are permitted in the museum. This is because even well-behaved dogs are curious, and they sometimes need the loo. We can’t risk it for the sake of our fragile museum objects, which might get knocked over by a very waggy tail, and other visitors who may be nervous around dogs.


Quayside Tea Room

Open for drinks and cakes 12:00 – 15:30* every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.

*Please be sure to check our Facebook page, as occasionally we have to amend our cafe opening hours.




Thursday 6 June, 11.00am-4.00pm

BOOK NOW for this unique full day event at Lancaster Maritime Museum:

Northern Ceramics Society Summer Visit: The Lancaster Potworks
  • £23 per person including lunch & refreshments.
  • Phone the Maritime Museum on 01524 382264 to book BY MIDDAY ON TUESDAY 4th JUNE.
We have arranged private access to the Lancaster Delftware exhibition and the unique opportunity to hear lectures by:
  • Dr Matthew S Hobson, co-author with Barbara Blenkinship of the book Lancaster Delftware: an 18th Century Pottery (1754-c1786). Matthew was director of the excavations funded by the NCS and carried out by NCS members. He will speak about the project, excavated material and processing and publishing finds.
  • Amber Turner, Project Curator, Delftware and Curator, Applied Art, Bristol Culture. Amber is a curator specialising in British Delftware (tin-glazed earthenware) and will give an overview of Delftware production in the UK during the period of operation of the Lancaster potworks. Amber compares and contrasts products from other centres, giving context to this factory, the discovery and excavation of which changed our understanding of this important category of ceramics. Amber is also Programme Secretary of the ECC.
  • Keith & Alison Morley, co-authors of the NCS Journal Article The Lancaster Delftware Pottery: Partners, Potters and the Pot-house, will also lead discussion about their research which adds significantly to knowledge about this pottery. You are welcome to bring your own items along for discussion (at your own risk) and there will be the opportunity to view excavated and extant material.
11am – Meet at the Museum; tea/coffee & biscuits
11:30am – Welcome; Presentation by Matthew Hobson, followed by Q&A
12:30pm – Lunch, viewing the exhibition and items brought for discussion; opportunity to buy copies of the Lancaster Delftware book
2pm – Presentation by Amber Turner, followed by Q&A
3pm – Tea/coffee & biscuits, viewing the exhibition and items brought for discussion
4pm – Close.



Wednesday 12th June, 7:30pm

Join us at the Maritime Museum to hear about the dissertations of three students from Blackpool and Fylde College, thanks to the local Marine Conservation Society, MCS Lancashire Local Group.
Topics include:
  • Microplastic contamination of Mytilus edulis, by Scarlett Henson
  • Infection of mackerel by Anisakis Parasites, by Bradley Cooke
  • The impact of pH on coral growth, by Jack Dyson
£4 cash donation requested
No need to book, just drop in – all welcome!


Current Exhibitions

Lancaster Delftware: a Potted History

This exhibition looks at the history of the recently discovered 18th century pothouse right here on St. George’s Quay, and brings together a collection of the ceramics that were made there.

20 April – 25 August 2024



Hidden | Lost | Stolen | Offered | Collected

This immersive exhibition literally uncovers the hoards that we have in the collection. From pre-history through to the Tudor period people have always stashed away their valuables for one reason or another. We take a look at each one and ask what was happening in Britain at the time and why the owners felt the need to hide theirs.

This exhibition will continue throughout 2024. 



All areas except the small mezzanine gallery are physically accessible to all visitors, with lift access available. Please feel free to call or email the museum for more details before your visit. 

There is a Blue Badge parking space directly in front of the museum.

One of our ground floor toilets is wheelchair accessible, but please note there is no emergency cord.

We also have a sensory backpack available for use by children and young people with autism.

Please download our Access Statement for an in-depth look at accessibility in the Maritime Museum.


Getting here

On Foot or by Public Transport

The Maritime Museum stands beside the River Lune on St George’s Quay. It’s within walking distance of the bus station (five minutes) and train station (fifteen minutes)

By Bike 

The Lune cycle path runs past the museum and there are bike parking stands near the entrance.

By Car

There is free on-street parking for 3 hours in front of the museum and a Pay and Display car park behind. Other city centre car parks are also within easy walking distance, or you can use Lancaster’s Park and Ride scheme to get into town from the M6.


Group visits & School visits

If you plan to visit us for a self-guided tour with a large group (over 12 people) please contact us in advance. 

If you are a school and wish to visit, please find the relevant information on our Schools Pages. 


Contact us

Lancaster Maritime Museum, Custom House, St George’s Quay, Lancaster, LA1 1RB

Email:  |  Telephone: 01524 382264 

You can also contact us on Facebook.


Room Hire

Welcome Below Deck!

Our ship-themed Education Room is available to hire for meetings, talks and other small events.


  • Theatre style: 30 people
  • Boardroom style: 14 people

Equipment Available

  • Short-throw projector
  • Screen
  • Flipchart/White Board

Catering Available

  • Coffee/Tea & Biscuits: £2.25 per person
  • Croissants & Jam: £1.75 per person
  • Traybakes: £2.00 per person (GF/Vegan available)
  • Buffet Lunches: From £6.00 per person (by pre-order at least one week in advance)

Room Hire Fees

  • Charities/Non-Profits/Education £15 per morning/afternoon session (or part thereof)
  • Other Organisations/Businesses/Individuals £20 per morning/afternoon session.

Email to book.

Friends of the Lancaster Maritime Museum

The Friends hold a Monthly Talks Programme and a reciprocal membership with the Lancaster Engineering Society.

Visit their Facebook page for more information –

Friends of Lancaster Maritime Museum | Facebook

Or complete their Membership Form –

FOLMM Membership Form

Walks With Stories

Join Lancaster Museums as they guide you along with a series of walks through and around the city, helping you to explore Lancaster’s fascinating past!

Click here to find out more.

Lancaster’s role in the Transatlantic slave trade.