Lancaster is a vibrant and historic city and there is plenty for visitors and locals alike to explore.
Strolling through Lancaster, which dates back to Roman times, is an opportunity to discover its ancient history, whether it be while admiring Georgian architecture, enjoying the views from the Ashton Memorial, or visiting Lancaster Castle, host of Britain’s most famous witch trial was.
The city has a number of museums that house some amazing artifacts and pieces from the past that give us a glimpse into the life of Lancastrians of the past.
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The museums, including the Lancaster City Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Judges Lodgings, take you back in time – and are well worth a visit whether you are a tourist or have lived in the area your entire life.
LancsLive reporter Rebecca Lockwood decided to pay them a visit to see exactly what they have to offer … so she thought.
I have lived in Lancaster for three years now and I knew it was a historic city. I knew it was a historic city, just as anyone would know a city is historic – because it has a castle.
It wasn’t until I ventured into the museums of Lancaster that I realized the rich history behind the cobbled city, and there’s a lot.
Considering I’ve walked past the Lancaster museums pretty much every day for the past 1000+ days, I was pleasantly surprised by what they have to offer.
From Richard Gillow to the Old Judges’ bedroom, the Lancaster museums are well worth a trip.
Lancaster City Museum
The Lancaster City Museum is right in the city center and entry is free. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closes from 12.30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. for extra cleaning.
The Lancaster City Museum is huge and I totally underestimated its capabilities. It has a beautiful gallery, Roman discoveries, a collection of lifelike models, and even an old train.
The museum then continues to the King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum, which has an impressive display of royal relics.
The Lancaster City Museum is also currently running a ‘Follow Your Nose Trail’ which experience has shown to be pretty stinky.
Downstairs at St. George’s Quay is the Maritime Museum, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closes again from 12.30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. for additional cleaning.
The museum guides visitors through Lancaster and Morecambe’s relationship with the sea and the way the ocean has shaped life in the area.
Opened in 1985, the museum was the former Customs House from 1764 designed by Richard Gillow.
The award-winning museum is free for residents and accompanying children. Otherwise it costs £ 3 per adult with a £ 2 discount. You can even sit in a package boat.
The judges’ quarters
The Judges’ Lodgings in Lancaster are one of those buildings where one assumes from the outside that the tour of the museum will take no more than half an hour. Then, when you start moving, you realize that you have entered some kind of maze.
The museum is staffed with attentive volunteers ready to tell you all about the great room you are in.
The volunteers dress in period costumes, which scared me at first, but I was calmed down when someone asked me how I managed to wear a mask with glasses (ah great, no acting).
The top floor is home to the Museum of Childhood, which houses a classroom, multiple bedrooms, and an impressive collection of toys over the centuries.
Afterwards, the guests can play a game of squash outside in the garden, which is great fun with good coordination.
The Cottage Museum across from Lancaster Castle is a short walk from the Judges Lodgings.
Unfortunately, due to its small size, it is still closed due to Covid-19, but it is hoped to reopen soon.
Lancaster City Council describes the museum as “part of a 1739 house that was subdivided around 1820 and set up as the artisan house of the period”.
The museum offers an intimate glimpse into early Victorian life in a tiny and fascinating 18th-century cottage that spans five floors.
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