Preston is the largest city in the county of Lancashire, and historically was a major port and industrial centre. It is one of the few cities that has an "old northern" culture, with many words of the Lancashire dialect still in use.Preston is in The Duchy of Lancaster and The County Palatine of Lancashire.
Nearby Blackpool Airport has flights to Dublin, Isle of Man, France and Spain, while Liverpool and Manchester airports offer a world-wide service. Manchester Airport's services include London. Local airlines include Jet2 , British Airways , British European , and CityJet .
Preston is a major terminal on the WCML "West Coast Main Line", and services to and from most major cities around the UK are offered by Virgin Trains . The Virgin website sells tickets between any two stations in the National Rail network, so getting to Preston by train should be easy, wherever you are.
Preston is well linked to the motorway network (M6, M61, M62, M60, M65). There are many reasonably priced taxi firms in the city - see By taxi in Get around.
There are two Park & Ride sites in Preston: Preston PortWay which is situated close to Preston Docks, and Walton-le-Dale. For more information consult Preston Bus [www.prestonbus.co.uk].
National Express  offer intercity coaches from most towns and cities in the UK, and many in France and Spain, while Megabus  offers extremely low cost (£1 one way) bus travel to and from London. Other bus companies are available, and can be booked via the UK public transport gateway transportdirect  which is a database of all British Public Transport, and can effectively link any two buildings in the UK with Public Transport using Postcodes
Preston has an extensive local bus network operated by Stagecoach Northwest and JFS (Fishwicks), details of which can be found via transportdirect.
Preston has a number of reliable taxi companies - the largest/most notable of which are:
Preston has several cultural attractions worth visiting, such as the city museum and Minster Church. St Walburge Church, near the university, also has one of the highest church spires in existence. The spire can be seen from all places west and south of the city and from the M65 motorway when travelling west.
As one of the first towns of the industrial revolution, Preston is one of the 'red' cities of Lancashire, where politics has been traditionally dominated by the Labour and Communist parties. The industrial restlessness of Preston's workers led to the city being dubbed 'the next St Petersburg' by Karl Marx, and one of Britain's only general strikes, the General Strike of 1842, began in Preston. Workers demonstrating against poor conditions in the mills and factories were attacked by soldiers, with several dead, in events which became known as the 'Plug Riots'. The Preston Martyrs Monument is an impressive Goya-inspired monument dedicated to those killed in the final confrontation on Lune Street, opposite the old Corn Exchange and near to the train station, Friargate and Fishergate.
Preston has a wide variety of clubs located on the main high street such as Evoque and Wall St. Several Wetherspoons (a cheap, corporate chain of pubs) are here. The more alternative-minded might wish to check out The Warehouse; as a venue, it played host to many international punk, post-punk, new wave and hardcore bands in the eighties; a Joy Division set was recorded and released from The Warehouse in 1980, and Henry Rollins of Black Flag was allegedly beaten up in the venue. It's music is largely mid-00s indie now, but is probably the best bet at an exciting alternative club experience in Preston.
There are plenty of pubs in the centre of Preston that are cheap and cheerful, full of good ales and historical ambience. It would be well worth doing a 'pub crawl' and avoiding any nightclubs in favour of good conversation and inexpensive alcohol.
Preston is the home of the University of Central Lancashire  with over 30,000 students.
Preston has several shopping centers including the Fishergate and the Mall.
There is also a Victorian Shopping Arcade located near the Harris Museum in the centre of Preston called the The Miller Arcade.
Independent boutique shops are near non-existent and shopping is generally restricted to major chains, a few food shops and, like many struggling city centres, betting shops. The Tithebarn development, due to be worth £700m, was shelved and disputes have occurred between the partners involved as to the future for Preston.
The Friargate strip, which approaches UCLAN, is a busy strip of Preston which includes several very good used book shops such as Temple of the Muses and Halewood & Sons - the latter has excellent prices on memoirs, Penguin editions of modernist novels and the classics, old political and history texts, and so on, and you may find yourself rummaging around there for quite a while. It also includes some excellent and cheap old pubs such as the Black Bull and the Dog & Partridge, and towards the bottom of the strip popular student bars Roper Hall, the Adelphi, and a vegan cafe.
A popular restaurant/bar in Preston is The New Continental. Situated underneath the train bridge in Avenham Park on the banks of the river Ribble, the 'Conti' holds many gigs, theatre performances and events such as beer festivals in it's large function room.
Preston has a wide range of restaurants in its city center, and many local pubs serve meals as well.
A popular and tasty local delicacy is butter pie, which is made with potatoes, onions and butter. Originally created for Catholic workers to eat on days when they had to abstain from meat, it can be found in many fish and chip shops in the city.
The back alleys along the main high street, though once run-down, have recently had a new lease of life and several deli's, coffee shops, restaurants and clothing shops exist along them - it is worth walking around the cobbled streets to find something you like, as there are probably too much establishments to individually list.
Preston is relatively safe compared with larger cities like London or Manchester, but it is still wise to use common sense. If you are alone, avoid wandering around the City centre and other dark quiet areas at late unsociable hours. If approached by someone who is drunk, avoid conversation or eye contact and keep walking. Avoid residential areas adjacent to the city centre, after dark, unless you know where you are going. If in doubt, go by taxi. Narrow alleyways should be avoided at night; the ones off Fishergate leading to pubs and clubs are safe, but do not linger.
A number of outlying housing estates have a reputation for anti-social behaviour, not entirely undeserved; you will have little cause to visit those areas unless you are visiting a resident. Many residents, particularly the older generation, are supportive of initiatives to reduce anti-social behaviour, and will usually be happy to answer any concerns you may have.
Preston Police are available on +44 1772 203-203 for non-emergencies, in Emergencies Only dial 999 or 112 from any phone for fire, police, or ambulance