10 pretty Lancashire villages that you should visit
It's a tough job to select just ten great villages to visit, but we've given it a go. See if you agree with our choices.
Where it is: The village stands in the countryside a couple of miles northeast of Clitheroe, close to the A59. The nearest railway station is at Clitheroe and if you're following a satnav, type in the postcode BB7 4DN.
Famous for: The lack of signs, television aerials and other indicators of modern life. Even if you don't know the village itself, you're likely to know it from its many appearances on television - because Downham remains largely untouched by the 20th century (let alone the 21st) it is often used as a location for filming period dramas.
What to do: Take a walk and enjoy the olde worlde charm of the village, then rest your feet and have a meal and a drink the Assheton Arms. The pub is named in honour of the family who have been lords of the manor for more than 450 years, so raise a glass in their name and give thanks for the village's traditional feel which has helped it become as popular with television and film producers as it always has been with walkers and day-trippers.
Where it is: Whalley stands on the A59 in the Ribble Valley a couple of miles south of Clitheroe. Trains from Clitheroe and Manchester Victoria stop here and if you're following a satnav, use the postcode BB7 6SE.
Famous for: The ruins of a 14th-century Cistercian abbey and the historic parish church of St Mary and All Saints and the huge red brick 48 span viaduct which carries the railway over the river Calder.
What to do: Visit the abbey, a site of religious worship since the 13th century. There is a terrific range of high-quality independent shops, including the fabulously well-stocked Whalley Wine Shop. There are also several pubs and good cafes serving a range of snacks and meals.
Where it is: Croston is in west Lancashire, roughly halfway between Chorley and Southport. Some trains from Preston to Liverpool stop here and the postcode for satnav users is PR26 9HH.
Famous for: Being a picture-perfect village and serial winner in the North West in Bloom awards.
What to do: Go Gallic. The village has a close relationship with its French twin, Azay-le-Rideau in the Loire Valley, and Croston even has its own boules league. They celebrate Bastille Day in July with an event on the village green and there are regular visits between the twins.
Despite the French flavour though, this is a traditional English village with pretty rows of red brick houses, a charming church, a 15th-century packhorse bridge over the babbling river Yarrow and good pubs too.
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Where it is: In the Forest of Bowland about six miles northeast of Preston. Typing PR3 2QL into your satnav should lead you there.
Famous for: Its annual agricultural show, glorious countryside and the building in the longest continual use a shop. Now the Chipping Craft Centre, it was first opened as a shop in 1668.
What to do: Chipping Agricultural Show takes place in August but whenever you visit there's wonderful walks to enjoy, both around the village and on the fells to the north of the village. There are two pubs - The Sun Inn and The Tillotson Arms - a tearoom at Brabin's shop and the Cobbled Corner café which serves a range of hot meals as well as homemade cakes.
Where it is: Formerly in the county palatine before 1974, now part of Cumbria, the village is on the Furness peninsula a couple of miles off the A590 and close to Grange over Sands, where you'll find the nearest railway station. Typing LA11 6QB into your satnav should take you there.
Famous for: The huge abbey, the racecourse, sticky toffee pudding and a growing reputation for fine food stoked by celebrity chef Simon Rogan.
What to do: In May, June, July and August there are race days which are a great day out for all the family, as is Cartmel Agricultural Show in August. Visit the beautiful Priory Church; discover the delights of the Sticky Toffee Pudding shop as well as the other beautiful independent shops and businesses here.
Cartmel is only small but it has four pubs, the Michelin starred L'Enclume restaurant, a tearoom and plenty of beautiful places to have a picnic.
Where it is: The village is tucked away off the A585, about halfway between Blackpool and Garstang and a couple of miles north of junction three on the M55. If you have a satnav, PR3 0ZB should take you to the village square and there are regular bus services from Lancaster and Blackpool.
Famous for: Its annual agricultural show and the tractor pulling event which has become an integral part of the event.
What to do: This is wonderful walking country - nice and flat with lots of good pubs and a choice of places to eat. The village also has classy clothes shops and a bustling market every Wednesday, with a farmers' market taking place on the third Wednesday of each month.
Where it is: Slaidburn stands close to the heart of the Forest of Bowland, Typing BB7 3AE into your satnav should take you there.
Famous for: Some of the most spectacular countryside you'll find anywhere and fabulous wildlife.
What to do: This is arguably the best walking country in Lancashire, so strap on those boots and get out there. Enjoy the views and when you've worked up a thirst, take your pick of the good pubs in the area. There are plenty to choose from, but the Hark to Bounty in Slaidburn is particularly good - a traditional pub with good beer, a very impressive menu and nine bedrooms.
Where it is: In far east Lancashire, mile or so north of junction 13 of the M65 close to Colne and on the A628 between Nelson and Gisburn.
Famous for: Being a frequent winner in the Best Kept Village competition. It won the champion class last year for the third time in four years.
What to do: Enjoy the views across Pendle Water and take a walk to Blacko Tower, a folly which overlooks the village and is also known as Stansfield's Tower after the farmer who is reputed to have built it. Every visit to Blacko should be a reconnaissance mission to pick up tips on how your home town can up its game and start to challenge for the Best Kept honours.
Where it is: The village is on the A5105 a couple of miles north of Morecambe. Typing LA2 6DZ into your satnav should get you there. There is a large free car park overlooking the bay and some on-street parking. By train, you'll need the station just down the coast at Bare
Famous for: The magnificent views across Morecambe Bay.
What to do: Hest Bank is popular with walkers, cyclists and birdwatchers and the views across Morecambe Bay to the Lakeland fells attract a steady stream of photographers and artists. The shops and cafes are mostly grouped near the level crossing, with houses - some of them very grand indeed - lining the roads which slope up the hill to and beyond the Lancaster Canal.
Beside the canal Hest Bank's oldest building, the Hest Bank Inn which dates from the 16th century when it served as a coaching inn for people crossing Morecambe Bay's notoriously treacherous paths. It is still the ideal end to a walk.
Where it is: The village is situated in between Blackburn and Chorley, just off the M65.
Famous for: Thomas Blinkhorn Parke, the son of a cotton magnate created the model village to house the workers of his paper mill.
What to do: Visit the Withnell Fold Nature Reserve just off the A674, is a great place for walking. You can stay for a luxury break at the Oak Royal golf club and hotel, which also serves classic dishes in it Lark Hill restaurant.