Lancashire is heating up for a sensational summer with an array of festivals, shows and gigs in the line-up.
From world class music events and boutique festivals to award-winning outdoor theatre, some of the best food events and heritage properties and stunning coast and countryside, this is the place to spend the summer.
While some are going to see George Ezra at Lytham Festival others are dressing up as their favourite storybook characters for Leyland Festival.
The county sees 67 million visitors pour in each year, meaning business is booming with an extra £4.13billion for the area.
Rachel McQueen, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: “Tourism in Lancashire is very strong, growing year-on-year for the past seven years.
“We have more than 67 million visitors come to the county each year - outperforming several of our neighbours - and contributing a huge £4.13billion to the local economy. We’re a county that has a lot going on.
“Blackpool has plenty to celebrate in 2018 with the launch of the new ICON rollercoaster, the new Project Elephant Base Camp at Blackpool Zoo and the new Marvel Super Heroes exhibit at Madame Tussauds.
“Lancashire is also really good at events that bring visitors in and encourage them to come back again for a second visit or longer short break.
“Events like the Chorley Flower Show, Lytham Festival and the upcoming Break in the Clouds mini-festival in Gisburn Forest, organised by the team behind Cloudspotting, do a really good job of showing residents and visitors what Lancashire has to offer.
“They are a part of the fantastic and varied programme of events that are all important to encouraging people to explore more of the county.
“We’re hoping this summer will be the best yet for Lancashire and we want to share that with as many residents and visitors as possible.”
This is just a snapshot of the county’s top events – for more ideas go to visitlancashire.com
• July 15: Fleetwood Festival of Transport
Also known as Tram Sunday, this one-day event is a great day out for all the family, and the largest free event of its kind attracting over 60,000 people. Over 200 different classic and vintage vehicles are on display along with fairground rides, stalls selling a wide assortment of goods, live performances and entertainment from Spareparts Arts. And it’s free admission and with free parking spaces for up to 2,000 cars.
• August 18 - 19: Lytham 1940s Wartime Weekend
The 1940s is brought to life with live entertainment, re-enactments, historic vehicles and memorabilia and vintage traders. A fantastic atmosphere where many visitors don traditional 1940s dress and Winston Churchill and George Formby (lookalikes) also put in an appearance. There’ll be music and no doubt some ‘jitterbugging’ to get you well and truly ‘in the mood’.
• August 28: Ride the Lights, Blackpool
Blackpool promenade is closed off to all other traffic for this special cycle event each year. Cycle along Blackpool’s family-friendly, easy to ride seafront for one a sneak preview of this year’s Blackpool Illuminations before the official switch-on. Dress up your bike with lights and decorations for maximum fun.
• August 31 – Sept 2: St Annes International Kite Festival
The skies are filled with jaw-dropping shapes and colours during St Annes International Kite Festival. Attracting kite fliers from across the world this event, which takes place on St Annes beach, is organised by a group of dedicated locals and offers a magical day out for the family.
• September 1 and 2: Vintage by the Sea
This free award-winning festival from former Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway celebrates 20th century design, fashion, vehicles and entertainment. With street theatre, marketplace, crafts, a vintage fairground and pop-up dance all taking place in and around Morecambe’s Art Deco hotel The Midland, on Morecambe’s stunning seafront.
• Saturday, June 16: Leyland Festival
This year’s festival will see youngsters and adults alike dress up in their favourite storybook characters. Visitors can watch the floats parade through town before rolling up at Worden Park.
At the showground there will be stalls, bands and cars and trucks on display.
• July 6 - 8: Adlington Carnival
It’s the party of the year in Adlington. Head down for a host of fun and entertainment at Jubilee Playing Fields.
• June 22 – 23: Break in the Clouds Festival
This special Summer Solstice mini festival, brought to you by the super people from the award-winning Cloudspotting Music and Arts Festival, is an event packed with live music and interactive arts. Break in the Clouds at Gisburn Forest will play host with lots to do including a family theatre game, The Sorrowful Stag, walking and activity trails, laughter yoga and a bounty of award-wining food traders and real ale and cider providers. Weekend tickets include camping for Friday 22 & Saturday 23 June with late check out on Sunday 24th so you can explore one of Lancashire’s most beautiful forests.
Adult weekend camping £50, Teens (13-17) £25, Kids (2-12) £20.
• July 13 – 15: The Beat-Herder Festival
One of the few remaining independent festivals in the UK, Beat-Herder in Sawley, near Clitheroe, was founded 12 years ago. It is a place to dance and party, where different musical tribes congregate as one in Lancashire’s Ribble Valley. Headlining this year: Orbital, Soulwax, Django Django, Patrick Topping, Pete Tong and Denis Sulta with Morcheeba, Boney M and the London Astrobeat Orchestra performing Talking Heads just a few names in this year’s line-up.
• July 18 – 22: Lytham Festival
George Ezra, Emeli Sande, Steps and Pete Tong are just some of the big-name acts signed up to this huge annual event. Organised by two Lytham residents, it attracts visitors in their thousands to the coastal town. Traditionally held on the first weekend of August, organisers have brought this large-scale event two weeks forward to July 18th - 22nd. Expect a fantastic atmosphere.
• August 25 – 26: Burnley Canal Festival
A colourful display of boats as well as free family friendly activities, arts & crafts, music, performances, street food, canoe taster sessions and entertainment. Delighting in the unexpected, this festival will have a mystery quest encouraging all the family to explore some of Burnley’s brilliant canalside. With entry free and many of the activities also free.
• July 1 - October 28: Festival of the Bay
A summer long celebration of Morecambe Bay with walks, talks, tours, workshops, performances, exhibitions and special events, inspired by the Bay’s extraordinary nature, culture, history and landscape.
• July 3 – August 18: The Three Musketeers at Williamson Park
Be part of the UK’s largest outdoor walkabout theatre experience as the story of The Three Musketeers from The Dukes Theatre takes on a journey through the magnificent Williamson Park in Lancaster.
Take a picnic and a rug and go on a swashbuckling adventure as D’Artagnan teams up with the legendary Three Musketeers, in a death-defying quest to save the life of a loving Queen. It will also the first outdoor theatre staging for new artistic director, Sarah Punshon, who joined The Dukes Theatre team last year.
• August 31 - November 3: Blackpool Illuminations and LightPool
The world-famous attraction along the promenade as well as 3D projection shows on the front of Blackpool Tower.
• July 8: The Witch of Samlesbury Tour
Samlesbury Hall is one of Lancashire’s most stunning stately homes. A historic half-timbered black and white medieval house built in 1325 as a family home that’s packed full of stories. Join Janey the witch as she tells the gruesome tales of Samlesbury Hall. A gripping and great tour for all the family.
FUN FOR FOODIES
• June 29 – July 1: Canalside Gin Fest
A fantastic weekend of live entertainment at Guy’s Thatched Hamlet with the chance to taste and enjoy many gins. There will also be an outdoor kitchen dishing up tapas dishes and a BBQ will be canalside throughout the event.
• July 8: The Midland Seafood Festival, The Midland Hotel, Morecambe
A celebration of seafood with stalls, demonstrations, Pimms and cream tea bar, artisan gin bar, champagne and Oyster bar and speciality beers at The Midland Hotel in Morecambe. With live entertainment by The Steven Wren Quartet.
• July 27 - 28: The Plungington Hotel Gin Festival
Set in the secret Walled Garden, there will be over 100 different gins to sample each with its own serving suggestion.
Entertainment will once again be provided with parlour and Edwardian fete, country and lawn games, such as classic croquet, coconut shys, skittle alleys and hoopla.
The Gramophone DJ’s will be returning this year playing a range of good time 78s. Music is scheduled to keep on rolling well into the evening with a fine selection of the best swing, soul, funk and party music.
• August 11: Clitheroe Food Festival
Clitheroe Food Festival is a staple of the county’s foodie calendar as thousands of people pour into the streets of the pretty town to sample the best food and drink. Packed with local producers, this is where you can get a real taste of Lancashire. Meet an array of Lancashire producers including: Brindle Distillery makers of the hugely successful Cuckoo Gin; Choc Amor, artisan chocolatier winner of International Chocolate Awards; Multi award-winning cheesemaker Dewlay; brewer of beers inspired by the Forest of Bowland, Bowland Brewery to name just a few.
• August 25 – 27: Great British Food Festival
This fabulous food event returns to the spectacular Stonyhurst College for a 6th year. The day will be packed with food, drink, music and shopping with a cake off, food tastings, Men V Food and children’s cookery classes as well as appearances from top chefs on the demonstration stage. Historic tours of the college will also be available.
SHOWS AND SPORT
• July 14 - 15: Great Eccleston Show
Some of the best livestock in the country will be in the main ring at this super show, along with horses, sheep, pigs, goats and rare breeds. The tractor pull will take place on both days and the show field will be packed with stalls and produce marquees. The Fylde area is home to many of Britain’s top breeders promising the highest quality displays.
• July 20 – 22: Royal Lancashire Show
Expect top level show jumping at this celebration of farming and the countryside at Salesbury Hall in Ribchester in the heart of the Ribble Valley. The three-day extravaganza showcases the best of livestock, produce and rural activities. This year’s event will also feature a Ladies Day on July 20th. This longstanding show, which for the first time will include a Children’s Village aimed at engaging younger visitors, was revived in 2017 after it hit trouble following years of being hit by poor weather.
• July 28 - 20: Chorley Flower Show
Chorley Flower Show is now an ‘award-winning’ show after scooping ‘Tourism Event of the Year’ at the prestigious Lancashire Tourism Awards.
All your favourite attractions will be returning with a wider variety of horticultural displays and trade stands.
• August 2 - 5: Ricoh Women’s British Open, St Annes
An event that needs little introduction, The Ricoh Women’s British Open is an internationally renowned sporting event that will return to the prestigious Royal Lytham & St Annes course for its fifth time. The world’s female golfing elite will battle to take the top prize at the historic club.
• August 11 and 12: Blackpool Air Show
See classic and modern aeroplanes take to the skies above Blackpool for this popular annual event. Crowds line the promenade at this breathtaking event, which will also feature spectacular wing walking displays and the chance to admire stunning flying machines from the past and present. A great family day out.
• August 25: Chipping Agricultural Show
Journey deep into Lancashire heartland in the beautiful Forest of Bowland to one of the best one-day agricultural and horticultural shows in the north west. Set in the shadows of popular gliding starting point Parlick Fell, the show exists to promote the best of the countryside and rural Lancashire with classes for cattle, sheep, shire horses, Shetlands, light horses and poultry as well as flowers and vegetables.
• ICON ROLLERCOASTER
Feel the G force of a Formula 1 car and experience the exhilaration of the new £16.25 million ICON rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Interacting with five of the other rides at the attraction and zooming through two tunnels, this double launch ride will see thrill seekers propelled forward at high speed with acceleration four times that of a Lamborghini Gallardo.
• INCH PERFECT TRIALS
Join the team in the heart of rural Ribble Valley in Whitewell for an outdoor adventure. The expert coaches host full day, half day or kids training sessions in trial biking that promise breathtaking views of the Forest of Bowland as well as guaranteed thrills. Inch Perfect Trials was founded by young, keen trials rider Matthew Alpe who wanted to showcase the sport to the public. He founded the company after a display at a local agricultural show went down a storm.
• MOUNTING BIKING AT GISBURN FOREST
Glide down the mellow Bottoms Beck or experience the thrills of Hully Gully and Bigfoot slab in this beautiful forest on the borders of the county. As well as fantastic mountain biking there is also the opportunity to take in some of the county’s best views. There is something for everyone in this Forestry Commission managed space.
PERFECT PLACES TO STAY
• SAMLESBURY HALL
Sleep under the stars in the grounds of a stunning historic property at Samlesbury Hall’s new Hamlet of shepherd’s huts. Choose from 28 huts offering a rustic, carefree alternative to a hotel room in the grounds of this beautiful black and white historic building. You won’t have to scrimp as they’re just as luxurious but have a rural edge. Open all year round, they will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. While you’re there you can explore the history of Samlesbury Hall as well as meet the woman, who despite being allergic to a bee sting, runs The Bee Centre in the grounds of the hall. There are also animals to look at as well as lovely food in the hall’s restaurant and at Dottie’s Wafflery – a must-visit for breakfast.
• THE CARTFORD INN
Bed and breakfast gets a revamp at The Cartford Inn, a beautiful pub on the Fylde. Owners Patrick and Julie Beaume have created a dining destination that has attracted the attention of food critics, has received two AA Rosettes and has been named on the prestigious Top 50 Gastropubs list. They have taken their flair for creativity and put this into their wonderful accommodation in the inn as well as their two luxury studio cabins that have views over the lovely Rive Wyre.
• CASTLE VIEW
Merge art and style with a luxurious break at Castle View, owned and run by talented artist Jenny Natusch. This contemporary cottage - with an exquisite hidden bedroom - is the perfect place for two and a romantic break. It a quiet little oasis in the heart of the city in the shadow of Lancaster Castle. You’re able to get away from it all while having the convenience and attractions of historic Lancashire city centre just a short walk away.