Type an address or postcode and start the search for your new home...

Welcome to Lancaster Leisure Park

Posted on Thursday, April 16, 2020

My memories of Lancaster Leisure Park go back to when it was called Hornsea Pottery.  I was a child and visits centred largely around many goes on the Bobsleigh toboggan ride! It was the highlight for me of every family visit. There was also a lot more to this attraction back in the 80’s in addition to the bobsleigh! Have you ever wondered why it was called Hornsea Pottery?
Welcome to Lancaster Leisure Park

Hornsea Pottery was a business founded in 1949 located in Hornsea, East Riding of Yorkshire.  As the name suggests the business produced pottery.   1968 Hornsea Pottery submitted proposals for a pottery factory and visitor centre at the site now known as Lancaster Leisure Park on Wyresdale Road, Lancaster.  By April 1976 the factory was open to the public!

It was a roaring success with fantastic visitor numbers from the outset. Sadly though the recession took its toll around 1981 and its demise continued for a few years. Good news came in 1984 when the Steinberg Group took over the park, injected large amounts of cash and 1986 saw the installation of a giant alpine slide, which was reported to be the largest in England, a wild west themed adventure playground, a model village and clothing retail.  Sadly in 1987 when a couple of Hornsea Pottery ranges did not succeed the factory closed with many job losses. The site was then bought and resurrected by a company based in Stoke, named Ceramic Tablewear Marketing.  They had a 5 year plan and vision for the site.  The plans included a new name for the site – Lancaster Leisure Park.

In 1990 GB Antiques Centre opened at Lancaster Leisure Park and still trades there very successfully today.  In 1995 the Magic Castle kids indoor play area opened.   Allan Blackburn then bought the lease for Lancaster Leisure Park in 1998 – he had a vision to develop the park back into a popular visitor destination.

The bull in a china shop

You may have heard the story about the time a bull escaped from the abattoir located next to the Leisure Park. It happened in March 2003 – and quite literally the animal barged through the Antiques Centre just like a “bull in a china shop!”.  A life sized sculpture of the bull was placed on the roof of GB Antiques and the resulting PR went international!  In 2005 GB Antiques became known as GB Antiques and Furniture Centre thanks to the introduction of a furniture range. 

Momentum was gathering in the development of the Leisure Park with The Timeless Tearoom opening in 2006 followed by a million pound garden centre. Then in 2008 a new business known as Cherry Tree Pots and Giftware opened. Redwood Garden Centre then closed in December 2009. Throughout this time GB Antiques went from strength to strength and in 2010 the Magic Castle closed to facilitate an extension to the GB Antiques Centre, which made it one of the largest antiques and furniture centres in England. June 2010 saw a 20th anniversary party take place for GB Antiques.


The arrival of Lancaster Brewery and Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop

In September 2011 the Lancaster Brewery and Visitor Centre made its appearance on the Leisure Park closely followed by the Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop.
The first food and drink festival, a collaboration between GB Antiques, Countrystyle Meats and Lancaster Brewery was a great success in May 2012 with 8000 visitors attending.

Further expansion on the site occurred in 2013 with the arrival of Giggles Play and Adventure and the Inspiration Gift Shop.

The second Lancaster Food and Drink Festival in 2013 was again a massive success, this time attracting 10,000 visitors over 2 days. Numbers increased again for the 3rd Food and Drink Festival in May 2014 with visitor numbers hitting 12,000!


Pottery Gardens

In March 2015 Miller Homes began the building work for the Pottery Gardens housing development, over 50 new build homes ranging from apartments to 4 bed detached homes. At the same time Cam Photography opened up their business at the Leisure Park, located in what was the Inspiration Gift Shop building. GB Antiques celebrated 25 years in business in August 2015 and Countrystyle Kitchen opened in November 2015.

The Lancaster Food and Drink Festival continues to go from strength to strength in May each year and you can now find all these businesses at Lancaster Leisure Park:

GB Antiques Centre
Lancaster Brewery
Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop
Countrystyle Kitchen
The Original Factory Shop
Giggles Play and Adventure
CAM Portrait Photography (now also offering hair and beauty services)
Turning Point Theatre Arts Studio
Marshalls Self Drive
City of Lancaster Gymnastics Club

You also may or may not know that tucked away next to Lancaster Brewery is the Forest Garden!  It’s a hidden gem! 2 acres of forest garden offer peace and tranquility with many footpaths you can wander along. You can even see the remnants of the bobsleigh track if you look carefully! Inhabiting this greenspace is wildlife such as hedgehogs, deer, birds, frogs and owls to name just a few.

Very importantly too, Fork to Fork, a wonderful charity project that delivers rehab and education for vulnerable young people through horticulture, volunteer in the Forest Garden caring for this beautiful area and learning horticultural skills along the way.

Look out too for the 3 day Christmas Markets held by Lancaster Brewery which take place in November each year at Lancaster Leisure Park. There is a fabulous selection of food, drink, gifts and childrens’ attractions. More info at https://lancasterchristmas.co.uk/

If you haven’t already been to Lancaster Leisure Park it’s well worth a visit. It’s only half a mile from the city centre with plenty of free on site parking.

**Please note sadly due to the Covid-19 Pandemic the Lancaster Food and Drink Festival for 2020 is not going ahead. More info at https://www.lfdf.co.uk/