<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
5 ISSUES FOR £5 Subscribe to Canal Boat today click here

8 cosy pubs you have to visit on the Lancaster Canal

PUBLISHED: 11:12 14 October 2016

What's your favourite cosy pub on the Lancaster Canal? | Molly - Rose Ives, Flickr CC2.0

What's your favourite cosy pub on the Lancaster Canal? | Molly - Rose Ives, Flickr CC2.0


Having only been connected to the national waterway network less than 15 years ago and with no locks along its 40-mile route from Preston to Kendal, the Lancaster is a unique canal in the UK. Like all other waterways, however, there will always be a large choice of snug pubs to eat and drink in the coming colder weather. Here are some of the best…

1) Canal Turn, Carnforth

Originally the canal warden’s house, this rustic and recently refurbished pub sits right on the side of the Lancaster. While large windows and outdoor tables provide a pretty sight in summer, the Turn loses nothing of its warm atmosphere in the colder months, with two log fires blazing away.

The welcome extends to your four-legged friends – the owner’s pug-crosses and the pub’s ‘undoubted bosses’ are always scampering around – and to anyone looking for family-fun entertainment. Darts, bar skittles, foosball, an 80s arcade machine and a rare Victorian billiards table can sap away the hours in the games room.

The affordable menu of locally sourced food is best sampled at the Wednesday steak night, their traditional Sunday roast or by creating your own sandwich.

2) The Plough Inn, Galgate

Ask people on the way out of this lively country pub for their opinion of the food and the first comment will be on the size of the meals. The Plough prides itself on its generous portions – one review was headlined ‘Fish?! More like whale!’ – so patrons are advised to go hungry.

What people also remember about the Plough is the character, as it attracts all sorts, from the tired and muddy coming in from the sports pitches behind the pub to students from Lancaster University to, obviously, the boaters, who can moor at the nearby marina.

If the weather takes a turn for the worse as you’re passing through the village of Galgate, south of Lancaster, this 17th-century coaching inn is the place to get snug by a roaring fire.

3) Th’owd Tithe Barn, Garstang

The Tithe Barn is in a picturesque location, overlooking the canal basin in Garstang, but the pub itself is just as beautiful.

Creepers drape the stone walls outside while wooden beams, old farming equipment strewn about and a charming bar decorated with old cartwheels make the indoors a visual treat.

A fire will be burning on a cold day, which complements a hearty meal and a glass (or several) of one of their many fruit wines nicely.

The Tithe Barn, Garstang The Tithe Barn, Garstang

4) Water Witch, Lancaster

With moorings right outside, the multi-award-winning Water Witch celebrates its connection to the canal – it got its name, after all, from the Lancaster’s most famous packet boat of yesteryear.

There is a sense of heritage and nostalgia once inside the renovated stable blocks, with wooden floors and stone walls, which make a homely setting to enjoy the rich selection of meals. Their fish and chips and ‘build your own deli board’ are particular favourites among the top-quality fare. Real ale drinkers are similarly spoiled for choice.

A short walk along the towpath from Lancaster town centre, the Water Witch is a popular for locals and tourists alike, so it gets busy. As the building is long and narrow though, there are plenty of seats available facing the water.

5) Royal Oak, Garstang

A short walk from the marina into the market town of Garstang and you’ll find this inviting bar, restaurant and hotel. Under the management of Lorraine and Michael Hewitson, the Royal Oak Hotel has a relaxed atmosphere.

On offer are ales from the excellent Robinsons Brewery, a vast selection of wines and a menu of traditional English fare. There are many pubs serving food in the town, but the Royal Oak ranks near the top.

The staff is friendly and helpful and Garstang is surrounded by temptations – the Forest of Bowland, Lancaster, Blackpool and sights of the Lake District – that you may end up spending the night, which means you get to taste their exquisite breakfast too.

The Royal Oak Hotel, Garstang The Royal Oak Hotel, Garstang

6) Hand & Dagger, Preston

Welcoming staff, a beer garden for sunny weather and an open fire in winter, and perhaps the best food you’ll find on the Lancaster, this rural dog-friendly pub is a treasure.

The menu boasts Lytham shrimps, traditional Lancashire hot pot, real pies and award-winning steak. And if you’re there on a Wednesday, why not take part in the quiz and get a free supper?

Situated right next to the canal at Treales, near Kirkham, it is an ideal stopping point – especially if time warming up by the fire is needed – for boaters heading to, or coming from, the Ribble Link.

7) Owd Nells, Bilsborrow

Right next to the Lancaster in Bilsborrow, south of Garstang, is Guys Thatched Hamlet, a collection of attractive thatched buildings where visitors can eat, drink, sleep and be entertained.

At the heart of the complex is Owd Nells – a cosy yet lively tavern offering traditional grub and local brews. Its thick, whitewashed stone walls and low wooden beams on the ceilings take you back to the late 18th century, when the pub was built.

Guys also includes an Italian restaurant, a lodge with more than 60 rooms, ice cream parlour, bowling green and cricket ground, so there is much to enjoy.

8) White Cross, Lancaster

As it has a modern, open-plan style, this isn’t your typical cosy pub, but the White Cross has a lot to offer passing boaters.

The renovated warehouse has large window looking out on the canal, which makes for quite stunning views when lit up in the evenings.

There is also a wide selection of locally sourced food – advertised as from the farm, sea and field – and ales from dozens of regular breweries.


You may also like:

10 canal side pubs to escape the winter weather

Are these the best canal/river-side pubs on the Oxford Canal?

8 reasons why you should visit the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

Top 10 pubs along the River Severn for canal boaters

8 of the best pubs along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Canal Boat visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Canal Boat staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Canal Boat account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Canal Boat

Thursday, March 8, 2018

No more than 20 miles long altogether, the Caldon and its arm to Leek manage to pack in as much interest as many much longer waterways - and some stunning Staffordshire scenery too

Read more
March 2018
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Jane Ainsworth continues her 6000 mile Great Loop. This year she travels from Canada through the Great Lakes to Illinois

Read more
March 2018
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Relocating to the other end of the country and becoming a liveaboard is a big change – but this bespoke 60ft semi-trad is designed to ease the transition

Read more
March 2018
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Advance tickets holders save 15% on the entry price and children aged 16 years and under receive free entry on all three days of the show

Read more
Thursday, March 8, 2018

The parliamentary Bill which would for the first time require boats using the Middle Level Navigations to pay registration charges, has moved a stage closer to becoming law

Read more
Thursday, March 8, 2018

A royal reconnection took place to mark completion of Cotswold Canals restoration from Brimscombe to Stonehouse

Read more
Thursday, February 22, 2018

A simple question on the Narrowboat Owners Group on Facebook has got people sharing their objects lost to the canals

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Scottish Canals have made a deal with three hireboat operators...

Read more
February 2018
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Serious contamination was discovered, delaying the process

Read more
March 2018
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

This boat marks a milestone for Aintree boats. Not only that, the 52ft semi-trad showcases all their craft at a remarkable price

Read more
March 2018

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter