holiday inn lancaster hotel review

Holiday Inn Lancaster hotel stay and local

It’s not often we stay in a Holiday Inn, mostly because we want somewhere in city centres, and they rarely have parking. But travelling up to Scotland I decided to stopover on the way up for a break, staying at the Holiday Inn Lancaster on the Caton Road. Of course it also meant a bit of reminiscing again in my old university city. 

holiday inn lancaster hotel review

The Holiday Inn Lancaster is in a perfect location for a way point. It’s under a mile from the M6, and there’s plenty of free parking. It is right by the road, but our room was at the back overlooking the River Lune (via a lot of trees and bushes). So it was much quieter than I’m sure the front must be with regards external noise.  

Our room was a reasonable size. It was a twin room, the pillows weren’t too soft which was good. Everything seemed clean enough apart from we finding 2 dead wasps which I got rid of.

There were lots of plugs around the room which I like. However only one bed had a plug next to it which was a little frustrating.

We had a desk chair and desk, plus a comfy chair and a basic table, although that was too high to use the laptop on comfortably.  The tv worked fine, and there was a hair dryer.  N was disappointed there was no fridge, but I wasn’t surprised about that as hotels rarely do have them now, and we didn’t need it.

bedroom twin at holiday inn lancaster

We did struggle with double locking our door. The chain wouldn’t fit into the holder bit. And the turning lock wouldn’t close either. So that could have been fixed and working. We were the last room on the corridor so we didn’t feel unsafe.

white corridors at holiday inn lancaster

There was the usual kettle, coffee, tea and biscuits. Although no hot chocolate which was a shame. For those wanting non instant, there was a Starbucks coffee bar down in the lobby. 

The bathroom was probably the best thing about the room. It was a good size, all the toiletries you’d need for a stay, and it was clean. We had a shower over the bath, with a folding glass shower screen. The shower itself was really powerful with quite a large shower head. Very nice and just what was needed.

Swimming pool

The pool and gym are available for hotel guests to use. We needed to book the pool because it was a busy time, but because N was the only one swimming they managed to squeeze him into the time we wanted. The pool is really nice. A decent shape so good for proper swimming if you wanted too. It was quite busy, but mostly everyone stayed out of each others way, and some were in and out of it ratherher than ust being in it all the time. N really liked it. He didn’t lock the lockers with his £1 I’d given him, but everything was still there after his swim. And he could dry his swim stuff in the spinner.

The only down side was the jacuzzi was broken while we were there, and they had no towels to provide, so we had to use our own. Some were bringing down their room towels, as presumably they’d not brought others with them.  

The bonus was that there was no quibble about N going in the pool on his own. As long as he was a good swimmer, presumably he looked old enough now, and that I was either sitting by the pool, or in the lobby area overlooking the pool to supervise, they were happy.


Breakfast was better than I first thought it would be on arrival. We were there early – around 7.15, evidently usually this is a quiet slot. But it was packed out with child cyclists and a coach tour party. Some parts of the restaurant got quite tight to move around, but there was plenty of food and it didn’t get too busy around the buffet.

holiday inn lancaster restaurant seating

The Holiday Inn restaurant provide continental but it was a bit of a mish mash set out. Cereals choice was plentiful, there were also mini pastries and muffins, and then either white or brown toast.  

breakfast pastries and toast at holiday inn lancaster

The meats, cheese, fruits, yoghurt and scotch pancakes (cold) were just along from the hot breakfast. There was a lot of choice, but I didn’t fancy cold pancakes.

holiday inn lancaster continental breakfast meats, pancakes and sauces

There were a few hot drink machines, and plenty of juices (although the orange juice tasted watered down).  We also spotted the gluten free items alongside a gluten free use only toaster. Plus there was a kids station with some treat breakfast items like donuts.

The hot food was a usual ‘english’ or ‘scottish’ style breakfast. Grill tomatoes or plum tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, cumberland sausage, and some delicious little potato bites which we loved. There was only scrambled egg, and we had to wait as they’d run out of that.

Everything we ate we liked which is always good. And we ate our fill.

We did a very speedy checkout which was good, and were soon on our way.

Evening walk around Lancaster

While we were staying in Lancaster, we decided to eat out in the city itself. N wanted curry, so we went to the Sultan of Lancaster for our meal.

Parking in the evening (and outside of university terms) is easy. We parked behind the cathedral to have a short walk down into the town. I could easily reminisce about various streets that uni friends lived on in second year off campus, and remembered parties we’d been to. Not forgetting Brookes nightclub which is now Vibe.

Lancaster cathedral spire above trees
old buildings in lancaster
front of Lancaster town hall
looking through stone pillars into Dalton Square Lancaster
queen victoria statue in Dalton Square Lancaster

Our meal was really delicious, but for a restaurant that was less than half full by the time we left, the wait of nearly an hour for our main course was ridiculously long.

food in Sultan of Lancaster restaurant

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped in to walk down to see the River Lune Aquaduct. It was a longer walk than I’d planned for, so we didn’t go all the way down and under it. But it was a nice walk, and I can tick it off my ‘seen’ list.

river lune aquaduct arches

Would we stay again at Holiday Inn Lancaster?

A Holiday Inn isn’t where I’d go if I wanted to treat myself, but it did a good job for a stop over.

Except for my night’s sleep which isn’t the fault of the hotel. The room was fine, but our neighbour turned up with their toddler at 10.20pm, cue toddler crying as soon as they got in the room. Which then turned to screams for a while before they left down the corridor again. Then returned complete with screaming back again. I’m not sure whether it was worse because of the assumed connecting door between the rooms. There was also a big group of people staying together down the corridor which meant late night ‘byes’ and doors slamming. 

Throw in the too warm room – the air con wouldn’t actually come on, and I didn’t sleep very well at all. N of course slept through everything, even my snoring.Then I woke at 4 and 6, but I did the same the night before which was frustrating. 

The location and cost (I used Tesco clubcard rewards to pay for it), are great. If we needed to stop off somewhere again, it’s just off the motorway, and easy to get into Lancaster itself if needed so we’d stay again. If you want to get even better value from stays, join the IHG rewards club, as you’ll get offers and discounts.

Looking for family days out ideas in the area, try my Things to do in Lancashire post.

Have you stayed in Holiday Inns before? How do you find them for families?

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One Comment

  1. I have just been looking at The Holiday Inn website for a night away but ended up going with Premier Inn. Hmmf.
    It sounds like you had a good stay mostly. The pool was a bonus and I do love a hotel breakfast. It sounds like a good one. Such a shame you had to wait so long for your evening meal but it does look so good. x

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