Lancaster has joined the ranks of some of England’s most historic cities as a member of a group dedicated to raising their appeal to the overseas market.
The city has been accepted into the Heritage Cities group of which there are only 11 members including Oxford, Cambridge, Chester, York and Bath.
The focus of the group is to raise the profile of the country’s heritage cities as key destinations for overseas visitors.
Anne Marie Harrison, economic development manager at Lancaster City Council, said: “Lancaster has one of the richest historic environments in the North West and the depth of its heritage is one of the city’s unique selling points. The castle and the history linked to the Lancashire Witches, in particular, were key to our successful submission to join this important group.
“We’re proud Lancaster has become a member of this prestigious group and very much value working with our fellow heritage cities to attract more overseas visitors to our world-renowned destinations.”
Ruth Connor, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire said “Lancaster has been an important destination since Roman times and, through the ages, has developed into a fascinating city with a big story to tell.
“With over 7million visitors a year it is a priority destination for Marketing Lancashire and it’s compact size makes it a perfect short break destination.
“It has an impressive collection of historic attractions, distinctive architecture and links to the Lancashire Witch trials which together, make Lancaster truly deserving of its new Heritage City status.
“Marketing Lancashire is delighted to have led the submission which secured this recognition for the city, which will see Lancaster marketed alongside the likes of York, Chester and Bath, which are incredibly popular destinations with UK as well as overseas visitors.”
Dating back almost 1000 years, Lancaster Castle was the location of the UK’s most famous witch trial which saw 13 people convicted and hung for crimes associated with witchcraft in 1612.
Over 400 years later, visitors can look round the majestic court rooms and find out about the lives and experiences of the Lancashire Witches.
Until 2011, it was a fully functioning HM prison and it now hosts tours and special events. For more information visit www.heritagecities.com.