Lancashire’s top days out this festive season
Many attractions close down for the festive period, but we’ve compiled a list of 10 days out to enjoy during the Christmas and New Year break.
From visiting nature reserves and historic houses to riding segways - there’s a handful of activities still available across Lancashire for families, couples and friends to enjoy this week.
Here’s some inspiration for days out before it’s time to go back to work and back to school:
WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre
A nature reserve and waterfowl gardens with activities for all the family including an adventure play area, crafts, wild walks and bird feeding.
This season, a new attraction has arrived in the form of giant Lego animals, and there’s special Lego workshops being held too.
Also for the winter, there’s swan feeds everyday at 3pm and 3.30pm; a photo exhibition; otter talks at 11.30am and 2.30pm; and the craft room is open between 1pm and 4pm.
There’s also a cafe and shop, and the centre is open seven days a week, including New Year’s Day.
Address: Fish Lane, Burscough, Lancashire, L40 0TA.
Samlesbury Hall includes a restaurant, coffee lounge, animals, a play trail, guided tours, exhibitions and an ice cream parlour.
It is open for visitors Sunday to Friday from 11am until 4pm, but is closed on Saturdays and occasional Fridays for weddings and private functions - visit www.samlesburyhall.co.uk/contact/opening-hours.
Address: Preston New Road, Samlesbury, Preston, Lancashire, PR5 0UP
Turbary Woods Owl and Bird of Prey Sanctuary
The rescue and rehabilitation centre houses a collection of over 90 birds of prey including eagles, hawks, falcons, owls and vultures.
It’s open all year round from 10.30am to 3.30pm, and flying displays are held daily.
Address: 92 Chain House Lane, Whitestake, Preston, Lancashire, PR4 4LB.
Old Holly Farm
Reindeers are at Old Holly Farm until January 6.
The working farm welcomes families to see the day-to-day life of farm animals and staff, and there’s also a play centre, cafe and farm shop.
Open from 9am to 5pm, apart from New Year’s Day, when it’s closed.
Address: Cabus Nook Lane, Cabus, Garstang, Lancashire, PR3 1AA
The National Trust Elizabethan property is affectionately referred to as the ‘Downton of the North’, having been redesigned in the 1850s by Sir Charles Barry, designer of the Houses of Parliament and Highclere Castle, the filming location for ITV’s Downton Abbey.
Gawthorpe Hall itself has been closed since May 2015 for maintenance works, and will remain shut in January.
However, the gardens will open from New Year’s Day from 8am until 7pm for the rest of the month.
The formal gardens include views of the river and rambles through the woodland with various wildlife.
Gawthorpe Hall is the final stop on ‘The Brontë Way’, a long distance route with strong associations with the writings of Charlotte Brontë and the family.
The Hall also sits within the Stubbins Estate and there is a two-mile circular walk around the estate; details at www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
Address: Burnley Road, Padiham, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 8UA.
Bowland Wild Boar Animal Park
Families can come to face-to-face with animals such as meercats, birds, racoons and of course, boars.
The park is open throughout December and January from 11am until 4pm, apart from New Year’s Day, when it’s closed.
There’s also animal feeding, a cafe, and a kids’ tractor play area.
Address: Chipping, Preston, Lancashire, PR3 2QT.
Lancashire themed trails
There are a number of self-guided routes around Lancashire suitable for the whole family, with murder mystery, spy mission and treasure hunt themes.
They take the form of walks, cycle or driving routes, and include the Preston Treasure Trail, the Pendle Witches murder mystery walk, and the Wray Scarecrows driving and walking trail which tours the Lune Valley.
Visit www.treasuretrails.co.uk/lancashire to find more routes and download the maps.
Brockholes Nature Reserve
The Lancashire Wildlife Trust is creating habitats to encourage lots of different species to visit the site, such as grebes, fish, dragonflies, otters, duck and other birds such as coot, swans and geece.
There’s also a play area.
The Visitor Village is open 10am to 4pm every day apart from Monday, January 4.
Check the website in case of flooding ahead of your visit - www.brockholes.org.
Address: Preston New Road, Preston, Samlesbury, PR5 0AG.
RSPB Leighton Moss and Morecambe Bay Nature Reserve
This popular nature reserve is home to a variety of creatures – from birds and bugs to bats, otters and even red deer.
Visitors can explore nature trails, take a stroll around a sensory garden, and there’s also a gift shop and cafe.
Throughout December, there’s a special ‘Giving Nature a Christmas’ family trail - drop in between 9.30am and 4pm any day.
New Year’s Day hosts a Winter Wonderland Wildlife Walk to blow the cobwebs away from 10.30am until 12.30pm - booking is essential, call 01524 701601.
And the rest of January will cater for the ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’ family trail.
Children can also discover nature by taking part in seasonal activity quizzes or turning detective with the Wildlife Explorer Backpacks, available all year round.
Address: Myers Farm, Storrs Lane, Silverdale, Lancashire, LA5 0SW
Based at a number of locations, including Cuerden Valley Park in Preston and Haigh Country Park in Wigan, people can take part in a 90-minute guided segway tour, with basic training.
Sessions are held every day throughout the festive period, including New Year’s Day, at 11am and 1.30pm.
To book, visit www.ridesegway.co.uk/book.