Travel

Garstang – a guide for visiting this ancient market town in 2023

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Located in the heart of Lancashire, Garstang is a charming market town that is well worth a visit. With a range of independent shops, cafes, and pubs, as well as stunning countryside walks and a weekly market, Garstang has something to offer for everyone. Additionally, it is conveniently located near other popular Lancashire destinations such as the Forest of Bowland and the city of Lancaster. We wanted to highlight the best things to see and do in Garstand for anyone planning to visit in 2023, let's take a look:

Where is Garstang?

The town is situated along the banks of the River Wyre. It is located between the cities of Preston and Lancaster, approximately 10 miles northwest of Preston and 13 miles southeast of Lancaster. It's also 8 miles north of the town of Fulwood, and of all the capitals of the UK, it is closest to Edinburgh at just over 150 miles away (although it's not much further away from London, at around 200 miles away). We think it's a very well placed town for a visit, regardless of where you're based in the country.

What is there to do during your time in Garstang?

Despite being relatively small, you'll find quite a bit to see and do during your visit to Garstang. The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is right on the doorstep and is fantastic to explore, but the town itself has quite a bit to offer too. Here are some of the highlights:

Millenium Green

Situated on the western bank of the River Wyre, the Millenium Green is a lovely area which has been set aside for wildlife conservation and community events. attracts many birds such as Kingfishers, Sand Martins, Dippers, Tree Creepers, Grey Wagtails and Goosanders. lovely green space that offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It features a wildflower meadow, a pond, and a picnic area, making it an ideal place to enjoy a family day out. Additionally, visitors can explore the various sculptures and artworks dotted throughout the park (like the hand in the picture), as well as follow a walking route such as the circular walk within the Green that takes about 30 minutes. Learn more here - garstangmillenniumgreen.chessck.co.uk
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Visit Brock Bottom

Brock Bottom is a beautiful nature reserve that offers stunning woodland walks, picnic areas, and a picturesque stream. Visitors can take in the tranquil surroundings and appreciate the local flora and fauna, making it a great spot for a peaceful day out. It's definitely recommended that you bring your walking gear with you when you head to Brock Bottom, as well as a good camera as we're sure you'll be taking plenty of photos.

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Garstang Arts Centre

Based in the heart of the town, Garstang Arts Centre is a great place to head to if you're looking to enjoy some wonderful local art. You'll find a number of art exhibitions and events held here throughout the year, as well as classes to encourage community involvement in the arts. You can also enjoy food here at the cafe, which is all homemade and delicious. Learn more here - garstangartssociety.org.uk

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Lancaster Castle

You're only about 20 minutes away from Lancaster Castle during a visit to Garstang, and we think that if you have the time it is well worth a look. It's believed that the castle was founded in the 11th century, and it was used as both a castle and a prison. Visitors can tour the castle's keep, dungeons, and courtroom, which have played a crucial role in Lancashire's history. The castle also offers stunning views of Lancaster and the surrounding countryside. It's an ideal spot for history enthusiasts and those looking to explore the region's rich cultural heritage. Learn more here - lancastercastle.com

Lancaster Castle

If you want to walk or cycle to Lancaster Castle, then we'd highly recommend that you do so as it's a great eco-friendly way to arrive at the castle. You can hire bicycles and e-bikes from a number of places within the Forest of Bowland, including Ribble Valley E-Bikes in Dunsop Bridge. From Garstang, it would only take around an hour to cycle to Lancaster Castle, along National Cycle Route 6 and then the A6. Find more details within this Google Map we created here - google.co.uk

Heritage Trail

The Garstang Heritage Trail is a great route which outlines the history of the town, and following this route is a great way to get to know Garstang. The route will take you past many historic buildings and landmarks which may be of interest. There are three options for walks, all varying in distance, but all starting from the Old Council Offices - the yellow walk (short, should take less than an hour to complete), the light blue walk (medium, allow for 90 minutes), and the red walk (the longest walk, should take no more than 2 hours). You'll spot these blue plaques around the town which can be followed if you want to walk the Heritage Trail, or a map can usually be picked up from the town hall or the old council offices.

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Attend an event

Garstang is host to a number of brilliant events throughout the year, and depending on what time of the year you visit you'll almost certainly find something interesting happening. The Arts and Music Festival is well known and usually takes place over the August bank holiday. This event features lots of local bands and is loads of fun. The Garstang Children's Festival is also great, but the Garstang Scarecrow Festival, which takes place during the summer, is our favourite. The creativity on show is always really impressive and lots of fun. Learn more about that event here - facebook.com

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How to get to Garstang?

Garstang is easily accessible by car via the M6. The town is also served by the Garstang and Catterall railway station, located on the Lancaster to Preston line, and you'll find regular services to and from both cities. Additionally, several bus routes connect Garstang to other towns and villages in the area. You can learn more about those here - bustimes.org/localities/garstang

Hopefully, we've inspired you to visit Garstang. If you enjoyed this guide, check out our other guides about other towns and villages including Holt and Ulverston.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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