Student life in Lancaster:

Lonsdale College

One of the largest colleges at Lancaster University and also well known to have very active social and sports opportunities.



Founded in 1964, Lonsdale was the second college to be constructed on the Bailrigg campus at Lancaster University. As one of the largest colleges on campus, the college is named after the Lonsdale region, the valley of the river Lune. Known as the ‘party’ college, Lonsdale places emphasis on its sports and social events throughout the year, including football, netball, quizzes and even debating! Lonsdale college also prides itself on being one of the most academically successful colleges, with a range of support in place for new and existing students.


Lonsdale college was the second college to officially open on campus and was designed in tandem with Bowland college. The college was named after the Lonsdale region meaning the ‘valley of the river Lune’ with the logo featuring a leopard. Opening in 1964, Lonsdale was originally situated in what is now known as Bowland North, following the relocation of Lonsdale college in 2004 alongside Cartmel college, within a new development in Alexandra Park. Originally Lonsdale college was home to the Law and Modern Language department but changed in the early 2000s. Lonsdale maintains the largest JCR membership of all the colleges on campus, with more than 1400 members and has always been known as one of the most social colleges at Lancaster. As one of the first colleges to be formed at Lancaster university, the original role of the college system wasn’t clear. In 1966 the college’s outlined their aims, to include a focus on communal life for students.



Named after the picturesque Lune Valley, it holds a special place in the heart of Lonsdale college. The Lonsdale region and the Lune Valley border the three counties of Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire, beginning just north of Lancaster and as far as the Forest of Bowland and the Yorkshire Dales. The Lune Valley has been a popular destination for artists and writer for centuries, with the poet Thomas Gray referring to the region as having ‘every feature which constitutes a perfect landscape. The Lonsdale region continues to attract tourists and has a number of popular hotspots for walkers, cyclists and even bikers, taking in the unspoilt countryside. The Lune Valley is also ideal for many other outdoor pursuits such as, horse riding, fishing and birdwatching. With many fells situated across its beautiful landscape, there are a variety of places to capture a panoramic view of the unfolding countryside. One of the most popular spots is Gray’s Seat near Caton, with magnificent views across Ingleborough and the Howgill Fells. Many picturesque towns and villages maintain their heritage throughout the valley, such as the historic town of Kirkby Lonsdale, just north of Lancaster. This beautiful town attracts tourists from all of the region, boasting quaint shops, cafes and restaurants, whilst also featuring the popular Devil’s Bridge, attracting motorcyclists from all over the UK along with many families enjoying the views in various picnic spots throughout the region. Views across the River Lune were named after John Ruskin, as he was known to be so impressed by the views. Kirkby Lonsdale has also been named one of the most idyllic places to live in the country as well as being a village with the highest proportion of independent retailers. Many of the villages within the Lune Valley also feature many annual events such as the art trail and scarecrow festival. For avid cyclists, you can follow the cycleway alongside the river, which follows the Lune from Morecambe to Bridlington along the 170-mile Way of the Roses popular cycle route.



Well known as one of the biggest social colleges at Lancaster University, it’s no surprise that Lonsdale college have an action-packed calendar of various sporting and social events. Lonsdale arrange a packed schedule for new students at the start of term, with an opportunity to try new sports and societies, as well as the university run events during Freshers’ Fayre. The college have a wide range of sports teams that compete against the other colleges in the leagues, including football, netball and table tennis. There are opportunities to do try-outs at the start of term, which is a chance to join a college sports team and meet other students within the college. As well as organising a whole host of sports, Lonsdale also run a variety of different social events throughout the year, both on campus and in town. Day trips are regularly available to local towns and cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, giving you the opportunity to visit some well-known museums and galleries during your visit. The fun doesn’t stop there though. As Lonsdale also run comedy nights in the bar, regular movie nights and of course, the long-anticipated Winter Ball. As one of the founding colleges at Lancaster university, Lonsdale compete with Bowland college in the annual Founders competition. Founders sees both colleges take part in a variety of sports, before celebrating together in the bar.

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