Entry to Williamson Park grounds and the Ashton Memorial is free but there is a fee for the Butterfly House, minibeasts and small animal zoo
- Adult £4
- Child £3 (under-3s free)
- Family (2+2) £13
- Concessions/students £3.50
- Annual Passes available starting at £36
We recently visited Williamson Park in Lancaster and had a fantastic day. There is parking on site but it fills up quickly and is £2 for the whole day. The park is very well laid out for push chairs and is very accessible. Tickets for the park attractions can be purchased at the gift shop, which is a short walk from the car parks.
The first attraction we went to was the mini zoo and gardens, which are perfect for little eyes as the majority of the animals cages are on ground level. The only animals we had to lift the children up to see were the marmosets and ferrets, so you won’t be leaving with aching arms. All the cages and animals were extremely clean and looked well looked after. The aviary was a unique experience as it was like walking straight into their home. When I have seen aviaries in parks before you haven’t been able to go inside so this was definitely something different. The mini beast cave was set up brilliantly with lots to see and explore. The cave houses a great range of insects, fish and small amphibians. There is also chance for you to meet the zoo keepers and hold some of the animals at set times displayed in the gift shop.
On entry to the butterfly house there is a notice stating no pushchairs allowed, due to butterflies landing on the path. However, there isn’t anywhere designated to leave your pushchairs and as it was so wet we had to leave it outside with the rain cover. I would advise wearing a carrier or wrap so you don’t have to leave the pram outside or unattended. Also a carrier means you little one can get closer to the wildlife and experience things close up.
Inside the butterfly house was magically, the butterflies literally flow right up to us. It is a mini tropical paradise, which you wouldn’t believe was in the center of Lancaster. Even though, it is quite small is is packed with things to spot and discover. See if your little ones can spot the dragon, fish and tortoises. There is also a tank filled with butterflies waiting to break out of their chrysalis, which is really interesting to watch.
Beside the Butterfly House is the War Memorial, which is currently closed due to refurbishment. The outside of the building is breathtakingly beautiful and, when stood looking away from the building, offers lovely views of the Morecambe Bay and Lakeland Fells. I didn’t see a ramp to access the War Memorial but this may be installed after the refurbishment.
There is a habitat trial, which can be explored but unfortunately on our visit it was extremely wet so we gave it a miss. There is also an adventure playground which looked extremely well maintained and lots of fun for when our little one is a bit older.
Being the money savers that we are we usually take a picnic but as the weather was so wet we decided we would try the cafe. The cafe was extremely reasonable and stocked locally sourced food. We opted for sausages on ciabatta and they were delicious. It was also refreshing to see the cafe making steps towards being eco-friendly and sustainable. It was lovely to see so many locals in the cafe and they allow dogs too. I spied a couple of posters for late night openings and live music events, which would make a lovely date night.
If your children lovely getting close to nature and enjoy seeing wildlife up close this is an amazing day out. You could easily spend a good few hours here, especially if the weather is nice. Make sure you like Williamson Park’s social media pages to keep up to date with the theme events they offer.
Let me know in the comments if you have found any other hidden gems in Williamson Park or any other parks in the North West of England you would recommend we visit.