Lancashire has become a place of massive historical significance within the UK. From its position as the House of Lancaster in the 15th century War of the Roses, to the major part it played in the industrial revolution. The region is dotted with an array of historic mill towns and those built around collieries, signifying the county’s industrial past.
This is a place where urban bustle and rural beauty combine in perfect synergy. The main towns of Burnley, Blackpool, Blackburn, Lancaster and Preston sit amongst the West Pennine Moors and two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the coastline area of Morecambe Bay containing the villages of Arnside and Silverdale, and the Forest of Bowland.
Of course, Blackpool is well-known for its Pleasure Beach theme park and the illuminations of Blackpool Tower, but the whole region offers a lot more in terms of culture and entertainment. Bryan Forbes much loved film Whistle Down the Wind, staring Hayley Mills (alongside local, Lancashire schoolchildren), was set and filmed in and around Burnley. Lancashire has long been associated with folk music and many festivals are hosted in the region.
Sport is also a big part of the county. Rugby’s Super League is well represented, with teams including Wigan, St Helens and Warrington. Football is also popular – the county is home to Premiership side Burnley and Championship teams Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End. But Lancashire is probably best known for cricket, with Lancashire County Cricket Club being regarded as one of the greatest clubs in the country thanks to its long history of success.
Many well-known northern cuisines originate from Lancashire, including Parkin, Eccles Cakes and (of course) Lancashire Hotpot! And then there’s the cheese. Beacon Fell Traditional, a specific kind of Lancashire Cheese, has been awarded EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status.
Industry in the area has come a long way since the booming days of the industrial revolution. Many large, well-known companies are based in the region, such as Thwaites Brewery in Blackburn, Crown Paints in Darwen and National Savings and Investments (the state-owned savings bank, headquartered in Blackpool, that sells Premium Bonds). Internet giant Amazon has a logistics centre in the area. Manufacturing firms also feature heavily in the county’s economy, one of the biggest local industries by far is defence. BAE Systems Military Air Solutions division is based in Warton, with a manufacturing site in Samlesbury, while BAE Systems Global Combat Systems can be found in Chorley. Other defence firms include Ultra Electronics in Fulwood and Rolls-Royce plc in Barnoldswick adds a splash of luxury.
This variety of businesses and reliable industries helps the county generate an economy worth £23bn – one of the largest outside London. The Lancashire Enterprise Zone was launched in 2012 to help attract investment and further develop the local economy. Over the next decade it is forecast to grow the region’s economy by a whopping £300m.
Lancashire also benefits from excellent transport connections, conveniently linking the county to Scotland, Wales, London and the North of England. Preston railway station will be part of the hugely anticipated HS2 route, while it currently offers train services to London and Edinburgh in less than 2.5 hours. Major roads such as the M6, M61 and M65 run through the region as well for car users.
This combination of a strong economy with a variety of job opportunities, a diverse range of cultural experiences and a mix of town and country landscapes, make Lancashire the perfect place for both residents and investors looking to capitalise on a growing UK region.