What I missed about Lancaster when I was away during quarantine
Lancaster is truly where the heart is
The pandemic has hit everyone hard at Lancaster University. For some, that meant staying at home and not returning to Lancaster, and for others, the opposite was true. In my case, the former has been my position since November 2020; that’s right, I have completed the majority of my third and final undergraduate year at Lancaster University from my bedroom in my family home.
Now, I’m not saying this was strictly a bad thing, I didn’t have to be financially independent for the most part, and I didn’t have to make sure I looked somewhat presentable in case someone on my course saw me looking like a cave person. As we all know, however, there’s no feeling like being at Lancaster alongside people you’ve got to know so well over the past few years and be in a position where you can go on a wander for an hour and discover some beautiful new sight that you didn’t know existed beforehand. As I’ve finally made my long due return to Lancaster, I thought it was only right to compose a list of everything I’ve missed in my time away.
Everything about Williamson Park
Williamson Park is one of my favourite places in the world, let alone Lancaster. From the trees to Ashton Memorial, there’s something new to see every single time you visit. I would massively recommend visiting the waterfall, which I didn’t know existed until I went on a walk recently. It may be a long trek uphill for a lot of people, but I have the pleasure of living five minutes away, which means that I’m there every morning, even if I’m hungover, I will take an hour where I tell my body to stop feeling like crap so that I can go for a walk in the park.
The Water Witch and the White Cross
Obviously, we’re still at the pandemic stage where we’re not allowed inside pubs which is why the Water Witch and the White Cross are perfect for when you want to have a few drinks. They’re both located right next to the canal and provide a place to sit and look at the view and, if you’re lucky, have some duck visitors at your table.
Sir Richard Owen
Wetherspoons is a British institution. They’re in pretty much every town you come across. Still, there’s something that hits different about the Sir Richard Owen. From the twelve-mile hike to the toilet to the awkward entry and exit system, the Sir Richard Owen is an experience like no other. Some of my best memories from Lancs nights out are in this building, and I wouldn’t trade them in for the world, so do yourself a favour, ask your flat group chat if they want to go to Spoons and get yourself there now.
Assembly Rooms Emporium
Every time I end up in this shop my bank account dramatically decreases in value but I’m too happy with the clothes I’ve bought to care. If you’ve never been to this store, I would recommend going there right now. It is a vintage dreamland! Plus, it’s only a two-minute walk away from the castle, so you can make a shopping spree out of your day exploring the city.
The castle is one of my favourite parts of the city mainly due to the photo opportunities it provides, or even better the café where you can sit in the courtyard and pretend to be civilised. The only downfall of the castle is that as a history student, I’m reminded of its dark past every time I visit, which isn’t the best thing to be thinking of when you’re sitting down trying to enjoy a cheese toastie.
Now I know this is slightly stupid as something I’ve missed about Lancaster, especially when you consider I also live close to an ALDI in my hometown. Despite this, however, there’s something that’s so liberating about being free to spend your money as and when you like. If you want a cheap bag of crisps or a bottle of vodka at nine pm, then there’s an opportunity for those of us that live in the city. The most beautiful thing about it is that there’s no one there judging you on what you’re buying as the vast majority of people there are also students doing the exact same thing as you.
For many people, including myself, the ducks are the singular best part of Lancaster. If you see a body of water anywhere, then there’s a 99 per cent chance that ducks are near. The best thing about being on campus is the magical duckling season when there’s the amazing surprise of going out on a morning and seeing a family of ducks out and about, living their best lives, a true inspiration to us all.
The squirrels come in at a close second to the ducks. There’s just something so special about looking out your window in the morning and seeing them run around the trees. The only problem with them is that, unlike the ducks, they run faster than the speed of light, meaning the opportunity to take a photo of them is tiny; I’ve only managed to get one in all my time at Lancaster, it’s slightly blurry, and it ran away as soon as I took a step forward. However, I still pride myself on managing to get a photo of one of them.