Student City Guide – Lancaster
Lancaster is a fantastic city to experience student life.
As we all know this year is turning out to be a little different to normal but a warm welcome still awaits you in Lancaster and here’s our practical guide to help you make the most of your time studying in our city.
Stay safe in Lancaster – Guidance and Support
Here are some simple actions we all can do to keep on protecting each other when we’re out and about in the city:
- Wash hands – keep washing your hands regularly
- Cover face – wear a face covering in enclosed spaces (this is not a legal requirement but is still recommended)
- Make space – stay at least a metre apart (this is not a legal requirement but is still recommended)
Getting here and around Lancaster
You can help control coronavirus and travel safely by walking and cycling, if you can. Where this is not possible, use public transport or drive.
- View the latest guidance on walking, cycling, and travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Download one of our Visitor Maps to help you navigate the city.
- Explore cycling routes in and around Lancaster on the Sustrans website.
Travelling by Public Transport
Please remember, when travelling by public transport, please only travel with members of your own ‘bubble’ and remember that face coverings are necessary unless you are exempt.
To get around Lancaster there are frequent bus services around the city and into the surrounding areas. Visit the Stagecoach website for routes and timetables.
Lancaster Bus Station is situated on Damside Street in the city centre and is served by Stagecoach and National Express.
Lancaster University campus is about 3 miles from the city centre. Buses run very regularly from the university campus throughout the day and take around 25 minutes to reach the city centre. If you travel regularly you can buy a UniRider discount season ticket, available from campus or online from the Stagecoach website.
The University of Cumbria campus is situated on Bowerham Road, a few minutes’ walk from Lancaster City Centre.
Lancaster Railway Station is situated just outside the city centre on Meeting House Lane. One of the principal stations on the West Coast Main Line, it is served by TransPennine Express, Northern & Virgin.
A 16-25 Railcard is available for approximately £30 a year, offering discounts on local and national rail travel.
You can pre-book your journey with the following operators:
- 32090 Taxis, Lancaster: 01524 32090 / 01524 35666
- 848848 Radio Taxis: 01524 848848
- Coastal Taxis: 01524 60000 / 01524 424424
Driving into Lancaster and Parking:
Living off campus: Be aware that many streets in town require Residents’ Parking Permits which can be obtained from Lancashire County Council. These incur a yearly charge of around £20.
Lancaster and Morecambe offer popular high street stores, interesting boutique shops and traditional markets.
Shop opening times are usually 9am – 5.30pm on Mondays to Saturdays.
On Sundays (and Bank Holidays), due to Sunday Trading laws, most shops, including the larger supermarkets, only open between 10am – 4pm or 11am – 5pm. A few smaller “convenience” stores such as Spar, Tesco Metro and Sainsbury’s Local open longer on Sundays.
Please observe social distancing measures and remember that face coverings are necessary in all shops and stores unless you are exempt.
The city and surrounding area offer a range of boutique shops where you can browse for gifts. clothes, jewellery, hobby and craft items and lots more!
- Browse Lancaster independent shops
- Browse Morecambe independent shops
- Download the LoyalFree app for discounts and offers in local shops, plus recommended themed trails so you explore the city
Local Gifts and Souvenirs:
For a memento of your time here, or a gift for friends and family, browse and buy local from our Visitor Information Centres’ online shops:
- Love Lancaster Gifts and Guides
- Love Morecambe Gifts and Guides
- Support local businesses by buying Gift Vouchers to attractions, activities, spas and eateries to treat yourself or your loved ones.
High Street Stores:
- Wilko’s: Penny Street, Lancaster, LA1 1UA [homeware, toiletries and cleaning items, hardware]
- Home Bargains: Marketgate Shopping Centre, Lancaster, LA1 1JF [homeware, sweets, gifts / toys]
- B&M Bargains: Unit 3, Parliament Street Retail Park, Bulk Road, Lancaster, LA1 1DT [homewares, food, gifts / toys]
- Superdrug: 1 St Nicholas Arcades, Lancaster [toiletries, makeup, pharmacy and medical]
- Rymans: Ashton Walk, St Nicholas Arcades, Lancaster, LA1 1ND [stationery / office supplies]
- Primark: 18 Marketgate Shopping Centre Lancaster, LA1 1JF [clothes, accessories, gifts / homeware]
- Dunelm: situated between Lancaster and Morecambe, Mellishaw Lane, LA3 3FE [soft furnishings and bedding, crockery, household items, small furniture items]
- Waterstones: Marketgate Shopping Ctr, Lancaster, LA1 1AL
- WHSmiths: 1 Market St, Lancaster, LA1 1HZ
There are many large supermarkets in Lancaster and Morecambe as well as the Spar shop and convenience stores on the Lancaster University campus.
- Booths: Hala Rd, Lancaster, LA1 4SG [1.5 miles Lancaster University]
- Aldi: Aldcliffe Road, Lancaster, LA1 1AZ [3 miles from Lanc Uni]
- Sainsbury’s Lancaster: Cable Street, Lancaster, LA1 1HH [3 miles from Lanc Uni]
- Lidl: Caton Rd Kingsway Retail Park Unit 1, Parliament St, Lancaster, LA1 1BB [3 miles from Lanc Uni]
- Asda: Ovangle Road, Lancaster, LA1 5JR [5 miles from Lanc Uni.]
- Sainsbury’s Morecambe: 253 Lancaster Road, Morecambe, LA4 5TJ [6 miles from Lanc Uni.]
- Morrison’s and Aldi: Central Drive, Morecambe, LA4 4DW [on seafront, 7 miles from Lanc Uni.]
- Lancaster Charter Market: Wednesdays and Saturdays 9am – 4.30pm (4pm in winter), Dalton Square, LA1 1PL [international street food and fresh local produce and sweet treats, arts and crafts, gifts, books, clothes and more]
- Assembly Rooms Market: King Street, Lancaster, LA1 1JN. Tues to Sat, 10am – 5.30pm and Sundays, 11am – 4pm [vintage/retro/alternative and upcycled clothing and accessories, arts and crafts, collectables, jewellery, unique gifts and more]
- Festival Market: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm (4.30pm winter) and all Bank Holidays from Easter to August, Central Drive, Morecambe, LA4 4DW [food, homewares, hardware, clothes, toys, gifts, two cafes and more]
- Morecambe Outdoor Market: every Sunday, next to the Festival Market [food, homeware, clothes] lancaster.gov.uk/markets
Exploring the City and Surrounding Area
Many attractions and leisure venues have now reopened, although there are a few that are still unable to do so, or have some restrictions around opening times, pre-booking requirements, and maximum capacities.
We are regularly updating our website listings on our Stay, Eat & Drink, Attractions and Shopping pages but please always check with restaurants, attractions, shops and accommodation providers before visiting by calling ahead or checking their websites/social media channels directly.
Please observe government guidance and local lockdown restrictions regarding group sizes and social distancing measures when visiting an attraction or leisure venue.
Unwind in Lancaster’s outdoor spaces
There are plenty of beautiful outdoor spaces to explore in and around Lancaster. Enjoy the views from Williamson Park, meander along canal towpaths, or simply head down to the quayside to watch the River Lune flow by.
Here are some posts from our blog that you may find helpful. Wherever you visit, please always follow the Countryside Code.
- Lancaster Top Picnic Spots
- 5 of the best walks to get to know Lancaster
- Escape to the Lancaster countryside
- Downloadable walking guides and maps
Discover Morecambe Bay
Morecambe Bay is only a few miles from the campus and easily accessible by bus and train. It has a wealth of wonderful outdoor spaces to explore and enjoy. Here are some posts from our Inspire blog that you may find helpful:
- Top 6 Hill Walks around Morecambe Bay
- Discover Birds of the Bay
- Top places for Morecambe Bay views
- The Bay’s Best Beaches
- Woodland Walks and Picnics around Morecambe Bay
- Free Downloadable walking guides and maps
- Explore More
Need to Know More?
If you have any further queries please get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable Visitor Information Team:
Visit: The Storey, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1TH
Opening Times: Monday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Phone: 01524 582394
We wish you and your families a very warm welcome to Lancaster.