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Summer things to do and events in Preston 2023

30 June 2023

People cycling

Places to spend sunny days in Preston.

With summer now upon us, if you're wondering how to spend those long sunny days, then Preston has plenty to offer this season.

Whether you're after a bit of outdoor adventure, keen to explore the city's green spaces or just fancy some chill time catching a few rays with a refreshing beverage or spot of lunch alfresco style, there's plenty to do and see for the whole family.

This year, the city's summer what's on calendar is also thriving with a mash up of exciting events not to be missed. From an eclectic mix a of music and cultural festivals to a colourful weekend programme of events at Preston Markets and much more, there's something for all interests.

So, dig out your favourite seasonal garms, don those shades and head over to the city for some summer fun in the sun.

Outdoor adventures

What better time of year than summer to head off and explore Preston's green open spaces by foot, bike or canoe...

By foot

Winckley Square gardens with people relaxing

With plenty of beautiful parks and nature reserves on the doorstep, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to scenic outdoor spaces to explore in and around the city centre. Or, if you fancy a local hill walk, there are great options in the surrounding area such as Nicky Nook and  Longridge Fell. For those looking for a moderately challenging affair, then Parlick Hill makes a good choice - although fairly short lived expect a steep walk to the summit, where on a clear day you'll be treated to stunning panoramic views over the Lancashire countryside for miles around.

Mini explorers

Child riding a donkey

If you have little ones and are looking to introduce them to fell walking, then Beacon Fell would make a great family day out. Aside from the obvious attraction of the fell itself, the area includes a beautiful woodland to explore, sculpture trail, relaxed picnic areas, a visitor centre and cafe. And, for picnic spot hunters, you can't go wrong with Brock Bottom - a river beauty spot tucked away amongst the trees on the very western edge of the Forest of Bowland AONB.

For animal loving kids, Preston has a number of wildlife attractions, which make a great outdoor day out option over summer. From your traditional animal farm to an interactive wild discovery zoo, birds of prey centre, wild boar park and more, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to visit.

By bike

Family cycling on path

Exploring Preston by bike has never been easier with the opportunity to hire electric, hybrid or mountain bikes from Leisure Lakes Bike Hub, conveniently located at Preston Train Station - making a great starting point for setting out on your two wheeled adventure. Whether you're searching for a gentle cycle route or something more challenging, Preston delivers an array of cycle paths for cyclists of all abilities.

Whatever your abilities are, make sure to plan the infamous Guild Wheel into your trip, the city's landmark 21 mile walking and cycling route. Whether you plan to take on the full route or enjoy specific stretches through its various entry and exit points, it makes an interesting way to enjoy the various different landscapes that make this city what it is - from rambling river and canal sides to ancient woodland, city centre parklandhistoric docklands and attractive nature reserves, it captures it all.

By canoe

People in Canadian Canoe

For something a little different, why not explore the wider rural Preston area from the water - offering a different perspective on landscapes ordinarily visited on land.

For a water adventure along the Lancaster Canal onboard a Canadian canoe, visit Countryside canoes. Based in the village of Bilsborrow, nestled between Preston and Garstang, their 3 seater canoes offer both comfort and stability with the option of day or evening hire. 

Eat and drink al fresco

People at The Rabbit Hole gin garden

Looking for some fine places to dine in a relaxed outdoor settings? For city centre options, sample a slice of the Mediterranean at The Cafe Bar, tucked away from the high street down Winckley Street - one of Preston's charming cobbled side streets. With its own striking Latin European style courtyard, complete with brightly coloured furniture and plethora of plants, it makes the perfect sun-trap in the summer.

For a busier spot, ideal for watching the world go by, The Orchard bar, located at Preston Markets, offers a modern outdoor seating area, great atmosphere and wide selection of craft ales. With regular live music performance held under the picturesque Victorian canopy, this makes a great place to head on those warm summer evenings. For something a little quirkier, take a trip over to 1842 restaurant and bar, where you'll find The Rabbit Hole - Preston's Alice in Wonderland themed gin bar  - perfect for gin lovers.

Or, if it's more of a relaxed spacious beer garden that you're after, then you can't go wrong with The Continental. Located close to the banks of the River Ribble and next to Preston's Victorian Grade II listed Avenham and Miller Parks, it's popular choice for locals and for good reason. 

Summer outdoor events and exhibitions

This summer the city is packed with a colourful mix of events both in the city centre and wider Preston offering up something for everyone to enjoy. 

Summer festivals in Preston

Crowd at a festival

For festival goers, you're in for a treat this season with a sizzling line up of festivals, the city's what's on calendar is brimming with a host of culture and music events which will keep you entertained right through to September. For an overview of what's happening and when see our summer festival guide.

Preston Market summer events

Crowd outside The Orchard

Head over to Preston Markets this summer to enjoy the sun with an amazing line up of free entertainment. From brilliant jive and brass bands to classic film parody pop up puppet performances and Paris Bubbles, there's plenty of fun for all the family this season. What's more, The Orchard Bar will be hosting regular live band evenings on Saturdays throughout the summer months. For all the details visit Preston Markets - summer events 2023.

Lancashire Photography Festival Exhibition

People enjoy photography on the street

The UK's biggest outdoor photography festival launched in Preston this month displaying major projects from several internationally-acclaimed photographers. Taking place until September, the fabulous works of these photographers will be displayed in parks and on walls across the city for you to enjoy over the summer period. 

Preston City Centre annual events 2023

Crowd at RockPrest

It wouldn't feel like summer in Preston without the happening vibe of its annual city centre events. Many of which are outdoor based offering a great opportunity to visit the city centre, have fun in the sun and soak up the lively atmosphere. And, whilst you're there, why not treat yourself to lunch out at one of Preston's many cafes or restaurants and make a day of it.

Other events in and around Preston

For wider events taking place in and around the city take a look at our regularly updated what's on calendar.

More things to do

For other things to do in Preston, particularly on those rainy summer days, see things to do in Preston.

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