Coastal, country and city properties abound in the diverse landscape of Lancashire.
From rolling valleys, rugged hills and coastal plains, to busy urban centres and towns. Built on medieval and industrial heritage, Lancashire’s 1,189 square miles has plenty to offer its residents.
What to expect when living in Lancashire
When it comes to affordable homes and happy residents Ribble Valley in Lancashire, takes number two in the rankings, according to a recent collaborative survey by Hamptons International and The Telegraph.
Even though it’s the largest area in the county, Ribble Valley is one of the UK’s least densely populated regions and – home to the Forest of Bowland – it boasts an area of outstanding beauty. It’s also said to have inspired writer J.R.R. Tolkien.
Close to Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, Lancashire also offers plenty of scope for commuters. It’s therefore a popular choice for those who want to combine city working with suburban or country dwelling, and access to plenty of beauty spots in leisure time.
Exploring houses for sale in Lancashire
With 14 boroughs to choose from – including Blackburn, Blackpool, Chorley, Accrington, Ormskirk and the cities of Lancaster and Preston – Lancashire offers a location to suit every requirement when it comes to buying property.
Further away from these main hubs in the suburbs and small towns and villages such as Colne, Helmshore and Goosnargh, you’ll find much larger detached and luxury homes, as well as bungalows, barn conversions, terraces and quaint cottages.
Lancashire also benefits from an attractive coastline, with many popular and thriving resorts such as Morecambe (birthplace of Eric Morecambe who changed his second name to the town) and the iconic Blackpool.
Sea views are of course highly sought-after, and property types generally range from large three-storey Victorian terraces and apartments close to the seafront, to smaller terraces and flats, to semis, detached houses and bungalows away from the busy town centres.
Finding family homes in Lancashire
In financial firm OneFamily’s report looking at the best places to bring up children in England and Wales – taking into account education, safety, childcare costs, local amenities, affordable property and green spaces – Lancashire’s top spot was Longridge.
This medium-sized town lies within the aforementioned Ribble Valley, eight miles away from Preston, 10 miles away from Blackburn and 20 miles away from Blackpool.
Longridge town centre is still largely the same as it was when first built in the 19th century, with its traditional terraced homes of locally-quarried stone. However, sympathetically-built more modern bungalows and semi-detached and detached properties are now on the menu for home-hunters, as well as a range of new-builds.
Local schools include Longridge C of E Primary, Barnacre Road Primary and St Cecilia’s RC High School, all rated ‘good’ in their most recent Ofsted reports.
Clitheroe and Burscough also featured in survey’s Top 20 table. The former is an ancient market town also located in the Ribble Valley, which boasts an imposing Norman castle and a bustling centre with plenty of amenities, independent businesses and green spaces. The latter sits north of Ormskirk close to the Martin Mere nature reserve.
Finding student accommodation in Lancashire
Lancashire is home to four universities: Lancaster University, University of Central Lancashire, Edge Hill University and the Lancaster campus of the University of Cumbria.
For students seeking rental accommodation or investors looking for buy-to-let properties, the city centre, Scotforth, Greaves Road and Fairfield Road are popular areas in Lancaster, while for Preston the key locations are Fulwood, Plungington Road, Deepdale Road and the city centre. In both cases flats and terraced properties are most common.
Lancaster University was ranked ninth in the UK and best in the north west in The Complete University Guide 2017 league table. This is based on student satisfaction, research quality and intensity, student-staff ratio, good honours degrees achieved, graduate prospects and completion.
Things to do in Lancashire
Lancashire is particularly renowned for its landscape, from rambling countryside and remote moorland, to picturesque canals, waterways and coastline.
There are two areas of outstanding natural beauty in the county – the Forest of Bowland and Arnside and Silverdale. The latter is just 29 square miles in size but boasts more than half of the flowering plant species in Britain.
Sixty-two miles of footpaths, lanes and byways traverse the limestone pavements, ancient woodlands, meadows, rich wetlands and coastline, providing lots of walking and cycling opportunities.
Pendle Hill is also a popular destination for tourists and Lancastrians alike, thanks to its brooding atmosphere and close links with the historical Lancashire Witch Trials. There are even driving and walking routes that follow the story of the Pendle Witches.
Indeed, the county is by no means lacking in history, Lancaster being one of the two houses at the centre of the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century. The House of Lancaster was the eventual victor, when Henry Tudor defeated Richard III of the rival House of York at the Battle of Bosworth.
This is when the still-instantly recognisable Tudor Rose emblem was introduced to symbolise the subsequent union of the two houses – the red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York.
Lancashire is also rich in Jacobite history, once home to many prominent Jacobite families. For those interested in the county’s history, you can find stories and related memorabilia at Lancaster Castle, Browsholme Hall near Clitheroe, the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston, and Towneley Hall in Burnley.
The 127-mile-long Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes through Lancashire and offers prime opportunity to take in the county’s countryside views and industrial heritage of at a leisurely pace. It has featured in several recent television programmes, including ITV’s Barging Round Britain with John Sergeant and the BBC’s All Aboard!, which was a two-hour-long, narration-less journey along the canal.
Lancashire is also synonymous with the good old-fashioned seaside holiday. And Blackpool, one of the stalwarts of this tourism trend, continues to offer visitors sea, sand, as much sun as one can expect from the UK – and plenty of hen and stag dos.
The entertainment capital of Lancashire, Blackpool is best known for its Pleasure Beach Resort. This is actually Britain’s number one visitor attraction with its 125 rides, shows and amusements, including the UK’s only Nickelodeon Land – and, of course, the 158-metre-tall Blackpool Tower.
Finding jobs in Lancashire
A centre of coal mining and textile production in the 19th century, Lancashire is still a key manufacturing location, especially for the defence industry. BAE Systems is based in Warton and Salmesbury, Rolls-Royce in Barnoldswick and Ultra Electronics in Preston.
Other major businesses operating in the area and providing job opportunities include Leyland Trucks, Crown Paints, Holland’s Pies and Thwaites Brewery. The Westinghouse Electric Company’s Springfields nuclear processing plant also lies to the west of the Preston city boundary at Salwick.
The Lancashire Enterprise Zone at Salmesbury and Warton is currently under construction, to include a state-of-the-art BAE Systems training facility. It is hoped that the development will create up to 6,000 skilled jobs once completed. A further zone is set to be established at Blackpool Airport.
Tourism and hospitality are also major contributors to the county’s economy, as well as education and retail.
The infrastructure in Lancashire
Lancashire is well-served by the M6 north-south, and the M65 and nearby M62 east-west. The major cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds are all within easy reach, as are the Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and Lake District National Parks.
To combat inevitable traffic congestion, local councils encourage car sharing and the use of public transport, including Park and Ride services.
Northern Rail has an extensive railway network throughout the region, offering connections across the North of England. Regular services also run from Lancaster and Preston to London.
Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds airports are all within a short drive and Blackpool Airport is now offering commercial flights again after a short break.
Best pubs for Sunday lunch in Lancashire
The Eagle+Child in Ramsbottom, on the Lancashire-Greater Manchester border, has received a plethora of awards and accolades in recent years, including Lancashire Life’s Best Food Pub award and a listing in the Independent’s 50 Best Sunday Roasts list.
It also offers a spectacular view across Ramsbottom to Peel Tower, which commemorates the life of politician Sir Robert Peel.
Other favourites include the Smiths Arms in Lea, Preston; the Borough in Lancaster; McHalls Bistro in Blackpool; the Feildens Arms in Blackburn; and the Sparrowhawk in Burnley.