PRESTON ROCKS: City best place for a night out in Lancashire

Evoque Nightclub, Preston

Evoque Nightclub, Preston

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Preston city centre is officially still the best place to go for a night out in Lancashire!

The city has been awarded a Purple Flag for the fifth year in a row.

At a time when some of our neighbouring boroughs are experiencing an unfortunate period of decline and closures, Preston has encountered a significant profile-raising with four new venues opening in the past 12 months alone.

BID manager Mark Whittle

The award – similar to the Blue Flags for beaches and Green Flags for parks – recognises areas that provide a safe, vibrant and inclusive night time experience.

It has only been given to two other areas in the North West. The Purple Flag was first brought to the city by the Preston City Centre Business Improvement District in 2011, and the BID team has successfully gone through the rigorous assessment process each year since then.

Awarding the Purple Flag, judges said Preston had “a strong Purple Flag programme demonstrating good practice, development and management of the evening and night-time economy (ENTE)” and “a particularly great media presence for the city centre ENTE and activities focusing on keeping the Purple Flag profile in the limelight”.

BID manager Mark Whittle said: “At a time when some of our neighbouring boroughs are experiencing an unfortunate period of decline and closures, Preston has encountered a significant profile-raising with four new venues opening in the past 12 months alone.

“There has been a surge in positivity around the city’s evening and night time economy and the general atmosphere is great.

“And it isn’t just about alcohol, Preston offers the whole package so there really is something for everyone. They will be welcomed, safe and looked after.”

The rigorous application process includes the submission of a formal application which evidences the offering within a town or city applying for Purple Flag and is followed up by a formal assessment from industry experts, including senior police officials.

BID organisers highlighted the city’s thriving early evening and late-night economy, which is boosted by a wide variety of nightclubs and bars and laid-back cocktail lounges.

The city centre also has a lively and accessible entertainment scene and is home to two comedy clubs, the Guild Hall and a number of smaller independent entertainment venues.

Some of the biggest national acts have recently performed in Preston, including Ellie Goulding, Ed Sheeran, John Bishop and Jake Bugg and there will soon be a glittering array of soul legends at David Gest’s show at the Guild Hall and a home-coming show from Andrew Flintoff.