Facts & Figures

Facts & Figures

As befitting a county with a long and fascinating history (and one that continues to thrive and surprise), Lancashire is a facts and figures seeker’s paradise. Read on to discover more about the Red Rose county and why it’s bursting with ‘colour’.

Geography and History

  • Lancashire was established in 1183
  • It has a population of 1,460,893 (2011 Census)
  • The county covers an area of 3,075 sq km – making it one of the largest shire counties
  • It is also surprisingly rural with 80 per cent of the county officially classed as rural
  • Dunsop Bridge in the Ribble Valley is the centre of the British Isles
  • The highest point in the county is Gragareth at 627 metres high or 2057 feet, making it a mountain. It is near Whernside, one of Yorkshire’s `Three Peaks`
  • Preston is one of England’s newest Cities and in 2012 it celebrated the Preston Guild, which only happens every 20 years and is England’s oldest festival
  • The Leeds Liverpool Canal – Britain’s longest – flows through large parts of the county
  • The mill towns of Blackburn and Burnley were the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century
  • You can see Blackburn and Burnley from the famous Pendle Hill. The hill is only 165ft shy of also being called a mountain
  • The largely `undiscovered` Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Beauty covers 802 square km – making it the same size as New York City
  • And the Forest of Bowland is the first protected area in England to be awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas, joining just 30 other protected areas across Europe
  • Bashall Town, near Clitheroe, is England’s smallest town

Did you know?

  • Blackpool Illuminations comprise an amazing one million lamps in various types and styles and cost £2.4 million to stage
  • More multi-million pound lottery winners choose Blackpool as their favourite over any other British destination (source: Camelot)
  • It takes 7 years to paint Blackpool Tower from top to bottom and the tower’s lifts travel 3,500 miles every year
  • In her official biography, by Sarah Bradford, the Queen expressed a desire to retire to the Ribble Valley
  • And Morecambe’s potted shrimps have a Royal seal of approval
  • Miles Standish, the captain of America’s first settlers, the Pilgrim Fathers, came from Chorley
  • Lancaster born scientist Richard Owen created the word `dinosaur`
  • The post office and craft shop in Chipping is the country’s oldest continuously trading shop. A shop has been in existence here since the 1600s
  • Garstang was the world’s first Fairtrade town
  • And in Garstang in October 2007, the world’s biggest hotpot was created to help launch Taste Lancashire 08. It is in the Guinness World Records.

Famous Lancastrians

Among those born in Lancashire:

  • Eric Morecambe (Entertainer)
  • Nick Park (creator of Wallace and Gromit)
  • Andrew Flintoff (Cricketer)
  • Bill Beaumont (Rugby Player)
  • Kathleen Ferrier (Opera Singer)
  • Sir Tom Finney (Football Player)
  • Richard Arkwright (Invented the Spinning Machine)
  • James Hargreaves (Invented the Spinning Jenny)
  • Alfred Wainwright (Walking Books Creator)
  • Jane Horrocks (Actress)
  • Chris Lowe (Pet Shop Boys)
  • Jon Richardson (Comedian)

Famous Lancashire

  • Stonyhurst College and the surrounding Ribble Valley is said to be the inspiration for Tolkien’s Middle-earth from `Lord of the Rings` – his son boarded at the college which he visited regularly
  • Pendle Hill is where George Fox is believed to have had his vision in 1640 prior to founding the Quaker Movement
  • The trial of the Pendle Witches in Lancaster in 1612 is the UK’s most famous witchhunt and in 2012 Lancashire marked its 400th Centenary
  • Squires Gate, now known as Blackpool International Airport, was the UK’s first airport
  • Blackpool’s permanent electric street tramway was the world’s first when it opened in 1885
  • Martin Mere, Lancashire’s largest lake, is said to be the last known home of King Arthur’s sword `Excalibur`
  • Roger Bannister, the first person to break the four minute mile, lived at what is now Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford
  • Sirloin beef is said to get its name after a visit by James 1 to Hoghton Tower near Preston, where he enjoyed a piece of beef so much – that he knighted it

Tourism statistics

  • Tourism is important for Lancashire Tourism supports an improved quality of life, making the county a great place to live, work, invest and visit. Visitor numbers to Lancashire have increased for the 6th consecutive year.
  • Visitor numbers stand at 67.28 million, an increase of 4.5% from the previous year (64.38 million).
  • The economic impact generated by these visitors is valued at £4.13 billion, an increase of 5.3% year on year from £3.92 billion
  • FTE jobs supported total 59, 404 and have increased by 2.6% from 57,904

A key ambition within the Lancashire Visitor Economy Strategy is to increase the ratio of staying to day visitors; in 2016, staying visitors stood at 8.31 million, showing good growth with a year on year increase of 2.9%. This accounts for approximately 12.4% of all visitors with the remaining 87.6% visitors being day visitors.

The number of visitor nights generated by staying visitors was 25.69 million and the average length of stay was 3 nights with the economic impact generated by staying visitors estimated at £2.14 billion, equating to just over half (51%) of all economic impact.

The stats demonstrate how our continued campaign activity both internationally and in UK really do make a difference to help grow the economy during the tough economic climate.

Our website visitlancashire.com attracts over 6 million-page views every year from 2 million unique users and our activities hosting journalists and pushing news through PR channels achieved a potential reach of 847 million in the last 12 months.

Marketing Lancashire has made huge strides in putting the county at the forefront of people’s minds – increasing the value of the economy, creating jobs and increasing visitor numbers.

We are not complacent, but driven to continue to work in partnership to ensure the county’s tourism industry is sustainable, coherent and successful. We will continue to look for innovative ways in which we can raise the profile of Lancashire and ultimately fulfil our objectives.

(updated June 2018)

For more information and inspiration, places to visit and things to do VisitLancashire.com