An unofficial, unsponsored alternative guide to Preston.
About the time dinosaurs roamed near Fishergate and The Simpsons was good, I along with a few others moved to Preston.
Stuff happened, now it's today.
This is nothing against any thing you've heard of at Freshers - some people just prefer quieter nights out to the big-club scene, or are looking for something a bit different when shopping to the usual high street.
Preston has some absolutely wonderful places, shops and groups - it has a lot of great things tucked away. Some are larger businesses, some are smaller - but anything worth supporting should be shouted about.
To save you some time if you've just moved here, a few of us UCLan Alumni at Rook have put together a quick run down of some of the things you might not hear about on arrival so you can make the most of your time here from the get go!
Places to go:
It won't take you long to find out about Avenham Park - technically Avenham and Miller - this beautifully restored Victorian park is one of Preston's best features. Year round it's a great wander and if you have the time to dedicate to a long walk (bring boots out of summer!), you'll uncover many little parks and forests along the paths of the main parks as it connects to many of the Preston suburb parks, ponds and even the wildlife sanctuary's (just about).
That said, don't wander into farm land and you shouldn't need to leave well worn paths to find the little pockets of interest!
In the main parks themselves you'll find various architectural treasures with information about them, such as the old drinking fountain, canons and Belvedere. Visit the illuminated rockery, explore the bridges, relax in the Japanese garden or just wait for one of Preston's festivals to visit!
Avenham Park can be found off Meadow Street. Simply head on to Fishergate (the long one with River Island, Waterstones and Primark) then head down the cobbled road with Barclay's bank on the corner.
You'll find the recently restored Winkley Square gardens (Well worth a visit for a sunny afternoon's relaxation or lunch break) - and carry on down past the square and you can't miss the large entrance to Avenham fields - enjoy that hill.
Fishwick Nature Reserve is one of the wildlife parks you can reach through the Avenham route - but if you feel like taking the shorter route you can find it off London Road (head to The Range and Aldi shopping park, on the same road, then aim down the hill). Certainly a place to wear boots, but a great nature park.
Likewise, if you want a really long walk - either via Avenham or via New Hall Lane/Cemetery Road, you can find your way make your way to Brockholes nature reserve - which among other bird related things features a floating village.
Food and drink:
First up is The Mystery Tea House, Canon St (Head to Fishergate and it's the road opposite "Office" - straight to the bottom.
Friendly staff, relaxed atmosphere and if you like tea are you in for a treat! Racks of fresh leaf tea like an old apothecary shop line the back wall - and that's before we start talking about the on site freshly cooked food available (with plenty of veggie and vegan options). One of the more popular haunts for creative types as they also have a small array of space for selling local art (and tea wares!). Try the cactus juice, if you fancy something truly different. Otherwise, kick back with a pot of a variety of flavored teas and enjoy a book or a good chat with friends.
Keep note though - they're shut Mondays!
We also have the coffee shop and bakery version at Paluca's on Guild Hall Street.
Speaking of tea, check out Brucciani's on Fishergate (opposite the pound bakery). Deep racing green motif's merge with Art Deco to create a wonderful atmosphere for teas, teacakes, toasts and similar. Great for breakfast or an early lunch.
If you're wanting large meals we recommend Coco's Soul Food on Friargate (down from the roundabout, near Roper Hall), or opposite Adelphi Three Monkeys. Coco's is more of a sit down affair, but damn those portion sizes will see you through the day. Some great iced teas and Australian root beer's available too!
If you're looking to grab something quick, try the Falafel truck outside Home Bargains on the flag market (outside the museum). Friendly folks and a tasty wrap for only a couple of quid!
If you're just after some classic British pub food, nip down Glover's Court (the side street by Waterstones on Fishergate) and find The Wellington - they even do student discounts, I believe. Lovely venue, recently had a bit of an overhaul to unite classic pub with more modern entertainment.
Want something quite different? Try Dice'n'Donuts outside of the trainstation. A small cafe with a huge gaming set up for board games, Tabletop RP, card games and all the rest! Great place to lose a few hours with some classic entertainment.
Along with the bigger clubs you'll have already heard of perhaps you're looking for something a bit different or quieter. Just in case you missed them, do check out these Preston staples, too - Adelphi, Blitz Nightclub and The Ferret. Their Facebook's will have more up to date info about up coming malarchies, but they're all great places with a long history of being student friendly, with a variety of events and themed parties.
Here's a few bars and pubs we've nipped to recently:
The Continental - Live music, beer festivals, food and a wide selection of drinks - and just outside Avenham Park on the other side, overlooking the river. This place is a bit off the town center's beaten track, but it's a large and lovely establishment with a huge garden. Often hosts student theater and galleries, too.
Lofty's Cocktail Emporium - Just up from The Wellington pub, this is perhaps one of the most uniquely decorated venues in Preston - to match their bespoke cocktails. If you go down earlier in the evening, around 10pm, it's a quieter pace, but also free entry. Around 4am it kicks off with louder house music and parties on till 6am. Perfect if you're just looking for a more intimate start to an evening with cocktails.
Roper Hall - This place has changed a lot over the years. Most importantly they have an arcade/games room upstairs, now.
Kuckoo - Another fabulous dedicated cocktail bar; in deep black and red. You'll want to get down early to Fox Street (off Fishergate, next to KFC (Britain's FIRST KFC, at that).
The Black Horse - Next to Wilkinsons in town, this is a beautiful pub, with little rooms and drinking nooks, all stocked with a wide selection of very fine ales. I hear they also have a new rock night on upstairs on Fridays if you fancy an alternative to mainstream night's out.
Swingaroo Vintage Dance - Usually with live swing music, more than happy to help you learn the dances if you're not familiar, just a great crowd. If you like a bit of 30s-50s vintage, check'm out https://www.facebook.com/swingaroo
Shops you might miss:
To wrap up, here's a few of those little hidden treasures! Sadly there's a few less this year than last of the niche markets, but we'll always keep folks posted of anything cool we find. Spread the word, gotta support things you want to see more of!
Bear's Leather Emporium - Perfect for Pagan interests, leather craft and leather repair, paintings and art - you will also find a selection of incenses and crystals. This shop is tucked away on Clayton's Gate, the small cobbled street that leads up next to Roper Hall to the halls behind. Open Weds, Fri and Sat in the afternoons.
Belladonna's Boudoir - Lancaster Road, near St. John's shopping center, for an amazing collection of bespoke clothing, pagan goods and Native American work, further complimenting a selection of incense and crystals. The shop is a treasure trove of unique and spiritual wares - as well as amazing period and Steampunk clothing. It's important to note they recently moved here from Cannon Street, so be careful if googling the address!
Preston Market - Now, the market's undergoing some major changes at the moment, but if you like a rummage, you never know what will turn up Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 6am till about noon. Among always changing second hand stalls you'll find a few stalls dedicated to antiques and collectables of all sorts of nature from Victoriana to militaria and beyond.
That Comic Shop - If you're looking for your comics, Role Plays, card games and all things Marvel, Indie, DC and more related, this shop on Friargate, just down from Roper Hall bar is going to steer you right.
Halewood's Bookshop - Despite there being two of them (a family business), on Friargate, people some how always miss them! The one opposite Roper Hall has a definite love of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works (even having found some of his lost letters!) but the shop is the iconic image of the mysterious book shop, carrying everything from children's poetry to the occult. A great place to check for text books second hand!
Likewise, down the road and opposite Whetherspoons is Halewood's other shop - a little more organized looking, a great place to find great copies of classic literature in collector's editions.
A collaboration of ideas from people associated with Rook Rentals.