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The local area guide to living in Lancashire

Lancashire is a county in north west England, just to the south of Cumbria and to the west of Yorkshire. It has a population of just under 1,500,000 Lancastrians, and its county town is Lancaster.

Lancashire was established in the late 12th century, although many of the county's towns originally sprung up around Roman forts. It has played a significant part in history, with its red rose emblem famously the sign used by Henry VII. During the Industrial Revolution it became a significant commercial region, with Manchester and Liverpool developing into large cities as a result. Astonishingly, by the early 19th century more than four fifths of all the cotton manufactured in the world was processed in Lancashire. It was also home to some large collieries and Blackpool, on the coast, became a popular tourist destination for families in the mill towns.

Most of these industries have now all but disappeared, and today the largest private sector employer is the defence industry, with nuclear power also playing a significant role. Culturally, Lancastrians are famous for their distinctive accent (which can vary significantly from town-to-town) as well as being the origin county of the Lancashire hotpot, Lancashire Cheese (which has been given EU Protected Designation of Origin status) and for its music scene - The Beatles famously hailed from Liverpool.

Information about the local residents

Most of the major urban centres of Lancashire are centred around the Fylde coast and along the M65. The further north you go, the less populous the county is and many of its most beautiful natural sites are in this area.

Like much of the north of England, in terms of social grade Lancashire is slightly below average. Based on the occupation of the main household earners, it has slightly fewer people in social grades ABC1 (50.2% versus 54% for the whole of England) and slightly more in C2DE. Education levels are also a little lower, but not by much.

However, the cost of living is lower than it is further south. House prices, in particular, are much less dear - something reflected in home ownership rates. 71% of people own their own home with a mortgage or outright, which compares to 63% for rest of the country. Just 13.7% of households are rented privately.

The mean age is a little higher than that for the rest of the country, at 40.5, and the median age is 41. That compares to 39.3 and 39 respectively.

Lancashire has a relatively large Asian population at more than 70,000, representing 6% of the county's population as a whole.

Nearby schools

Like several other northern counties, Lancashire's school system is largely comprehensive. There are just four state grammar schools of the approximately 80 state schools (not including sixth form colleges), and there are also a further 24 independent school. The schools vary between having no faith and being Church of England or Catholic administrated.

Most of the county's schools do not continue into sixth form, apart from several schools in Fylde and Lancaster. Instead, pupils progress to further education colleges.

There are also four universities in the county. These are the University of Central Lancashire, Edge Hill University, The University of Cumbria's Lancaster campus, and Lancaster University.

Getting around

The M6 is the main artery road of Lancashire. It runs from north to south, passing by Lancaster and Preston.

Other trunk roads include the M55, connecting Preston to Blackpool, the M61, and M65. There is also the M58 in the south from Wigan to Liverpool.

As a former industrial county, rail links are widespread and reliable in Lancashire. The West Coast Main Line offers direct connections to major cities all over the country and has stations at both Lancaster and Preston. There are further minor railways crisscrossing the county with stations in most towns.

Manchester Airport provides air travel to Lancashire's residents, as does Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Leeds Bradford to the east.

Local shops

Lancaster and Preston are the county town and administrative centre respectively. Preston, the larger of the two, is the better shopping destination.

In Preston are three major shopping centres: St George's, Fishergate and Deepdale. Between them, shoppers will find all the top high street brands imaginable alongside a whole host of independent stores, pubs, and places to eat.


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