We spent 24 hours in Preston through the eyes of a tourist
Written by Skywave Radio News on August 6, 2022
Walk down Fishergate in the middle of the day and you’ll struggle to walk in a straight line. There’s so many people descending down the high street on the daily, I find it hard to believe they all live in Preston.
If they don’t live here, then it could be that they’ve come to wander round the high street shops, or they’re making their way back to the train station after knocking about Preston’s top tourist attractions. According to TripAdvisor, the railway station itself is one of the top ten things to do in the city. Good spot.
I moved from Lancaster to Preston in the last week. My understanding of Preston is much like that of a tourist’s, I use Google Maps to get to Aldi and use the railway station as my start and end point for wherever it is I’m trying to get to. Is the ASDA close to the railway station? No? Leave it out then.
Considering I’ve committed to live in the city on a permanent basis now, I thought I’d seize the opportunity to find its best bits so that when someone next asks what I think of the Harris Museum, I can say ‘massive’ rather than ‘not a clue what you’re talking about’.
After visiting the top spots, it seems you can do the best bits of the city in a day if you’re committed to the cause. Whack on your sunglasses and a bucket hat, this is Preston like you’ve never seen it before, through the eyes of an enthusiastic tourist.
Before finding Avenham Park, it felt like a magical place hidden somewhere among the city centre. Everyone talks about it but no matter how far I walk, I am not stumbling into it.
Thanks to my guide, I found it after walking through Winckley Square which made the whole thing way easier than I imagined. You don’t have to deal with this in Lancaster, you can see the main park from the M6.
Once in Avenham, I’m madly impressed. The park is huge but most importantly it feels regal. As we walk through I can easily picture an episode or two of Bridgerton being filmed with Avenham as the backdrop.
As we loop round, there’s spots to take pictures of the bridges and a huge café with ice cream and drinks. There’s even the ‘Preston’ sign just in case you forget where you are.
Every time I have mentioned Things To Do in Preston people have pointed out the Harris Museum in Market Square. Unfortunately the Harris Museum is temporarily closed to the public to make space for the Harris ‘Your Place’ project, but I went to have a look from the outside anyway.
Just like Avenham Park, there is a sign opposite the Harris Museum which tells you exactly where to stand for the best picture. I didn’t agree with it, but like any eager tourist, I took the picture and posted it to Instagram. Preston loves a photo op.
The Harris Museum is nice to look at, but after a while you do feel the need to carry on walking, especially if you can’t actually get inside it. One day I will find out what is behind the golden gates and I am sure its worth the wait.
Brucciani’s / Fishergate
It’s taken me a hot minute to get used to the weird announcements that blast out near M&S on Fishergate but for the majority of those heading to the city centre, its no big deal. This is where all the shops are and the footfall outside Primark is one to wade through.
Brucciani’s on Fishergate was a top spot I was told to visit by my lifelong Preston tour guide due to its long history on the high street. Brucciani’s was opened in 1932 and after stepping through the doors I found myself in a time capsule.
It gets bonus points for having a framed picture of Princess Diana on the wall and quickly Brucciani’s has become a place I feel the need to bring all my extended family to. The interior is outstanding and after placing my order, I turned to take it all in. You almost expect Tommy Shelby to walk in and demand an Irish whiskey.
The Preston Markets is home to a load of independent sellers as well as the Wallace and Gromit statue, making it a prime spot for that perfect city centre selfie. Inside, the market is full of hubs with counters boasting incredible cakes, fresh fish and fruit and veg.
We stopped here for a mid-week burger from Tipsy Chef which cost just £6 and then I saw the biggest cakes I think I have ever seen from another stall. There’s even a craft beer bar in the corner.
Preston Markets feels like a cool little spot to sit down for a drink or some scran but its also clear how integral it is to local’s weekly shops. It won’t take up your whole day, but I’m glad it took up a portion of mine.
The Railway Station
According to TripAdvisor, Preston Railway Station is among the top 10 things to do in the city centre. Am I totally surprised? No, it is one of the best looking stations in the North West.
I’d be lying if I said I’d never been there before, but I took the opportunity to look at it for exactly what it is. The paintwork inside has the power to make me feel wildly patriotic about Lancashire and its got more than enough platforms to wonder around and stare at trains, if that’s your jam.
In terms of what’s on offer inside, I probably wouldn’t bother spending my hard earned cash there if it wasn’t out of convenience but that’s not to take away from how epic the railway station is. I’m genuinely surprised top train spotter Francis Bourgeois hasn’t shared an ode to it yet.
I’ll do it on his behalf. Preston Railway Station, you make me want to strap a Go-Pro to my head and dance around your very nice paint work. Thanks for having so many platforms and a ‘Kiss and Ride’ in your taxi rank. I don’t know what a Kiss and Ride is, but it sounds fun.