My favourite place – Williamson Park


Ella McTigue from local school Ripley St Thomas has written a personal piece about why she loves Williamson Park, with all its attractions, history, and secret places to find.

Welcome to Williamson Park
Williamson park; I expect you’ve heard of it. I also expect that you think you know all about it. ‘Not such an amazing place’, but it is. Trust me.

Throughout all of Lancaster, I think that the best park to visit is certainly this one. For starters, its history is definitely something interesting to look at. Originally a quarry, the park’s unique landscape still continues to go topsy and turvy, exhibiting steep, dangerous cliffs and dense,  luscious forests. It’s even home to an exotic variety of animals (I’m sure you’ve heard of the butterfly house). As well as this, you can blithely go there and relax at the tranquillity of the lake, hearing nothing but the tweet of birds and the dancing sound of the fountain ringing through your ears- if you arrive early enough.

Now, I must mention what the Park is unequivocally known for: the Ashton Memorial. Built by Lord Ashton as an immense memorial for his wife, its domed roof rests beautifully on the skyline and is visible from miles
around. A clique of Portland stone and granite steps magically allows it to separate itself from the muck and beige stone of the more modern buildings reaching the skyline, and lets it be seen as a complex, lit up building
of sophistication.

Williamson Park observatory

A walk around the Park
In my opinion, the nicest places in the Park are the quietest ones. That is why I am bringing to light the old observatory- it is little more than a base of stone now. It’s encompassed in thick, dark trunks, but from there you can still pleasurably see the Ashton Memorial at what I would call one of its most stunning angles.

Another of the places I like going to is the lake, although not where the fountain is- that is (I believe) the busier side of the lake. The water meanders, and once you turn the corner where the bridge is, you will find a section of aqua that you might not even have known was there. Again, if you get there at the crack of dawn, then in the early morning sunlight you can see sleeping ducks resting and snuggling up on the shore.

The last place that I will mention that I enjoy going to at the Park is, of course, the top of the Ashton Memorial. I mean, not the actual top, but going up it and looking out from the balcony across to the bay is a very unique and special view to get. Seeing the sea and Morecambe, as well as the many buildings of Lancaster is, however, incomparable to the view of the Lake District from that hill. There is only one word to describe it: amazing.

Williamson Park L

Events and social spots at the Park
The cafe is wonderful. Hot, breakfast meals to delicious, sweet treats, the Pavilion café will without doubt have something you’ll love! Also adjoined is the entrance to the animal area and the Butterfly House. It is all brilliant there, and I recommend visiting, once it is open again.

There are plenty of walks that you’ll enjoy at the Park, including Fenham Carr, a walk around the lake, and pretty much anywhere in the woods. Williamson Park also performs walking plays that can take you from an old quarry, to a peaceful woodland. Rows and rows of wooden seats are set out for the audience, and despite the fact that I have never witnessed one of these plays myself, I imagine that they must be quite a spectacle! More recently as well, Williamson Park has been playing host to the Highest Point Festival. This started in 2018, when a giant screen was set up so that everyone could watch the Royal Wedding. Since then, the festival has been trying to return every year, and it did manage it the year after it first started, but has now has had to be postponed due to coronavirus, unfortunately.

Williamson Park

The Park
All in all, I think that Williamson Park is great, and I’m glad to be so close to it! So, still think that you’re the one who knows everything about it?