If you only had one sentence to sum up Lancashire, there's every chance that 'mills', 'witches' and 'Blackpool' would feature. Regrettably, we cannot offer the first two as this is way beyond our jurisdiction as conference venue finders. As for Blackpool, there's every chance you would have come across its merits as a seaside resort. Or at least its reputation as a conference venue of great repute; some of which available for your perusal.
The amount of hotels, guest houses and holiday flats needs little introduction, but the amount of conference venues is exemplary. Blackpool alone has numerous facilities in the Winter Gardens. Then there's the Tower Ballroom, The Grand Theatre, plus a host of major hotels like The Imperial, The Metropole and Hilton Blackpool. If you prefer to host your conference near the Big Dipper and the Big One, why not consider Big Blue on the Pleasure Beach? If you dream in tangerine, the Stanley Matthews Lounge at Bloomfield Road, home of Blackpool F.C. should be top of your list.
Besides the UK's most popular seaside resort, there are more select parts of Lancashire such as Lytham. Lancaster and Preston are both university cities with a wide range of conferencing facilities. The villages along the Wyre valley and the Pendle hills are far from the hurly burly of urban centres, yet only an hour or two away. A fair number of which are close to the M6, M55, M61 and M65 motorways.
Off the last motorway is Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley and Colne - town centres with a proud history from the era of King Cotton. Each of them have hotels with conference venues. All four towns are suitably placed for the Pendle hills and the Forest of Bowland. From Colne, Yorkshire's less than half an hour away.
To the north of Lancashire, the county town and city of Lancaster is a most attractive place and a suitable starting point for exploring the Lake District. Why not visit its historic castle or the maritime museum, a short walk along the River Lune? Or walk up to the Ashton Memorial - truly unmissable. Equally so, why not take a train to Carnforth for its railway station and buffet bar, as featured in 'Brief Encounter'? Also close by are the traditional seaside resorts of Silverdale, Arnside, Morecambe and Heysham. From there, take in the views of the Lake District from Morecambe Bay.
On the other side of the M6 motorway from the oldest city is Preston, Lancashire's newest city and birthplace of the UK's motorway network, Its proximity to the West Coast Main Line and M6 makes Preston an ideal location for conferences. From Manchester city centre, it is up to 45 minutes by train. Further down from Preston is Leyland, a small town which gave its name to the world's most famous bus and truck builders. Its heritage is commemorated by The British Commercial Vehicle Museum, housed in a former Leyland Motors workshop.
Another reflection of post-industrial Lancashire is denoted by two attractions just off the M61 and M65 motorways. One is Botany Bay Shopping Mill, five floors of market style shopping in a former cotton mill. Another one is the Oswaldtwistle Mills shopping village. Again, to a similar formula as the former, though home to the World's Largest Pear Drop. Oswaldtwistle Mills is also a conference venue in its own right.
Throughout the red rose county, there is a number of activities to keep you occupied, from golf to rambling. It is also a football mad county where the modern professional game has its roots. There is quite a number of historical attractions such as Gawthorpe Hall, Lancaster and Clitheroe castles, quirky shops, chain stores and the joys of Blackpool itself.
Enjoy yourself? You probably will. Easy to find? Most definitely, given its excellent road, rail, sea and air connections. Blackpool has its own airport with a number of domestic and international scheduled and chartered flights, whereas Manchester and Liverpool airports are within easy reach. Regular ferries serve Heysham port from the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland, whereas more sailings are a modest drive away in Liverpool and Birkenhead, As a conference venue, Lancashire is too important to miss.