Plan your journey and what to pack
Whether Lancaster is a short road trip or a long haul flight away, here is all the information you need to pack your suitcases and make your way to campus.
How to get to Lancaster
Plan your journey with advice on everything from trains to airport transfers.
Advice on how to get to the University campus is available on our Maps and Travel page. It includes sections on road, air, rail, bus and cycle travel, as well as information about accessibility, parking and electric vehicle charging points. We will also update the 'travel updates' section of this page (below) if we become aware of temporary disruption that may affect your journey. If you are travelling from overseas, find out about how we can help you reach campus in the general guidance and support for international students planning to join Lancaster University. We also have a page that gives you more information on commuting to campus.
We know many of our new students and their supporters will be travelling significant distances during Arrivals Weekend (30 Sept-1 Oct). We hope by giving you advance notice of any potential travel issues, we can help you plan your route and avoid or minimise any delays.
National Highways has announced that it will carry out repair works on the M6 northbound carriageway between junctions 32 and 33 in September and October. Junction 33 is where vehicles would leave the M6 in order to reach the University. During repairs:
- two lanes of northbound traffic on the M6 will be open during the day (6am to 8pm)
- one lane will be open overnight (8pm to 6am)
- lanes that remain in use will be narrower than usual and subject to a 50mph speed limit, reduced to 40mph while driving through the working area.
Updates and more information: For the latest updates, please regularly check the National Highways website. Details of this planned maintenance can be found under ‘M6 Whittingham Lane Bridge and Stewarts Wood Bridge junctions 32 to 33’. We will also update the information on this page as soon as we become aware of any changes.
A rail strike, which is expected to severely impact services to Lancaster train station, is planned by train drivers’ union ASLEF on:
- Saturday 30 September (the first day of Arrivals Weekend at Lancaster)
- Wednesday 4 October.
Updates and more information: If you were planning to travel on those dates, please regularly check the National Rail industrial action page for the latest passenger information.
Alternative transport options
From Manchester Airport
If you are planning to travel from Manchester Airport to Lancaster on Saturday 30 September but you haven’t yet arranged transport, and you need help to travel to campus, please contact the international arrivals team as soon as you are able, and ideally by Monday 25 September. Both new and returning students can contact them at email@example.com to request assistance.
We know many new students who are travelling into Manchester Airport on that day will already have arranged to use the University’s coach service to campus - this service will continue as planned. Please also be aware a Megabus service operates between Manchester Airport and the University campus each day.
From elsewhere within the UK
If you were planning to travel by train during a strike day, you may want to consider the coach network as an alternative. The companies that serve Lancaster are Megabus and Flixbus. If you’re unable to find an alternative form of transport, you may also consider changing your date of travel. If you’re concerned that this affects your scheduled University accommodation moving-in date, please contact the Accommodation Manager for your college.
What to pack
Pack smart and be ready for Lancaster with our essential tips.
Are you planning to live in the University-managed accommodation? Our accommodation is fully furnished but you will need to bring some personal items. Here is a list of what’s provided, and what we recommend you bring.
You can also visit the EcoShop during Welcome Week in Alexandra Square, where you can buy pre-loved student essential household items on a pay-as-you-feel basis. All the money raised will be donated to Green Lancaster, to fund various environmental projects on campus such as tree planting, upcycling or the upkeep of our allotment on campus. At the ECOShop, you’ll be able to find items such as pans, bedding packs, kitchen utensils and room décor items.
What's already here
In your bedroom
All study bedrooms are furnished with carpet or vinyl flooring, and curtains or blinds. They contain a bed, desk and chair, shelving, wardrobe and waste bin. Most rooms have some storage space under the bed and above the wardrobe.
In your kitchen
All communal kitchens contain fridges and freezers, but storage space is relatively limited so keep that in mind when you're doing your shopping. There’s a cooker, microwave, kettle, iron and ironing board provided, and most kitchens have a toaster. We also provide you with a vacuum cleaner, plus a dustpan, brush, mop and bucket.
What you'll need
You will need to provide your own bedding. Many of our single beds are now longer than average, at 2100mm. Make sure any fitted sheets you buy are big enough. All students are advised to use a mattress protector, as any stains would require the mattress to be replaced.
To help you pack light, you can purchase a bedding pack ready for when you arrive. Information about this will be included in the Welcome email from your college.
Whether you bring them with you or buy them on the day you arrive, don’t forget to have a couple of towels ready.
Cutlery, crockery and saucepans
A few pieces of cookware to enable you to cook, eat and store the food you like is all you need. For those keen to pack light, inexpensive kitchen items are easy to find in the city centre.
Your phone, your laptop, a tablet, maybe some speakers, a hair dryer or tongs – the electrical items you rely on can quickly add up. So a good quality bar adapter (the long flat form of plug extension that offers a few more sockets) will be useful, but please don’t use a cube version. You should also check that any electrical items are safe and compatible with the voltage system in the UK. If you’re travelling from overseas, you might want to bring a three-pin plug adapter with you. And don’t forget all the leads and chargers!
While it can get quite hot in the summer, Lancaster can become quite cold and wet over the autumn and winter months so you definitely want to have some warm layers and a good coat at the ready. A decent umbrella will also be a wise investment. Then think about the things you are likely to do once you get here – lectures in the day, plus your favourite sports or hobbies, nights out with your new friends – and pack what you need. Don’t go overboard and bring everything you own. If you want to travel light, there are plenty of shops in the area that sell a range of clothing.
First aid and hygiene supplies
Plasters and painkillers are always good to have ready. If you don’t have them packed, you can pick them up at a campus or local pharmacy. The same goes for face coverings and hand sanitiser.
You should bring proof of funding and identity, as well as railcards, bank cards and money and your NHS and National Insurance numbers. If you are travelling from overseas, visit the International webpages for more details and suggestions.
A rucksack or satchel to carry your books and any electrical devices to and from class is a must-have item.
If you can’t fit them in your luggage, just pick some up in the city centre.
Laundry basket and household cleaning products
Some other things you may want to buy once you get here. Washing up liquid, kitchen/bathroom surface cleaner and a cloth are your cleaning essentials.
And don’t forget your toothbrush!
What may be useful
There are lots of bike paths in Lancaster and the local area as well bike storage on campus, so if you have room to bring your bike, then you’re likely to find it useful. There are bike shops in the city centre and a used bike sale takes place on campus in the first term. New for the 2023-24 year, students can hire a bike for the whole term for as little as £50 subject to availability through the University’s Cycle Hire Scheme.
If you don’t fancy cycling, there are frequent bus services from campus. Find out more about cycling in Lancaster.
If you have one, we would encourage you to bring it.
Sports equipment, musical instruments etc
You may already have an idea of the sports and hobbies you want to explore while at Lancaster. Just bear in mind the limited amount of space you will have in your room to store larger items.
It’s great to bring a few things to make your new place feel familiar. But don’t feel you have to strip your bedroom of all its furnishings and bring them with you. Plant and poster sales typically take place on campus in the first term, so it will be easy to personalise your new space.
If you're still deciding what to pack, and you'd like some advice from someone who's been through a university move-in already, check out this packing blog by student digital ambassador Maria.
Advice for travelling from overseas
Advice for travelling from overseas accordion Accordion
What shouldn’t I bring?
There are very strict rules about what you can bring into the UK without paying duty tax. Some goods such as plants and foods are also restricted by law, and there are strict rules on drugs. If you are not sure what goods you can bring into the UK, you should check with your local British Embassy or High Commission.
You can also check the UK Government web pages.
Checklist of things to think about
- Do you have the correct visa which allows you to enter the UK as a student at Lancaster University?
- Have you looked at the latest advice for travelling from your country to the UK?
- Have you ensured that you can meet all of your costs for fees, accommodation, travel and food?
- Have you got enough money with you to meet immediate costs when you arrive?
- Have you got all the documents together that you need in your hand luggage? Remember your travel documents, letter of acceptance, tuberculosis certificate if applicable and money that you can easily access upon arrival.
- Have you taken photocopies of your passport, visa and any travellers’ cheques?
- Have you gathered together the original documents that you used to apply for your course including academic transcripts or certificates and English Language Certificate? You will need the original documents during registration. If you do not bring the documents with you, the University can only provisionally register you, and you will need to arrange for the documents to be posted to you from your home country.
- Have you noted down the telephone numbers, websites and email addresses that you may need when you arrive, including your UK embassy?
- Have you arranged your travel to Lancaster?
- Have you made arrangements for your onward travel to Lancaster from the airport?
- Have you taken out medical and other insurance if this is required?
- Have you arranged suitable accommodation for your stay at Lancaster University?
- Have you checked your baggage allowance and cabin restrictions with the airline you are flying with?
More information is also available in the general guidance and support for international students planning to join Lancaster University.