Transits of Venus: New Views of the Solar System and Galaxy International Astronomical Union

Local Information

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Getting to Preston
About Preston
Tourism Before and After the Conference

Travelling to Preston

Preston is England's `Queen's Jubilee 2002 City'. It is a small, ancient city situated near the geographical centre of Great Britain and on the edge of breathtakingly beautiful countryside. Preston has a major rail junction with fast direct trains to London, Edinburgh, Manchester and most other major cities. It is on the M6 north-south motorway with fast road connections throughout the country. It is just one hour away by road or train from Manchester International Airport, the UK's third largest airport serving many international destinations.

Overseas visitors are recommended to arrive at Manchester Airport, which has an integral rail station. There are two direct trains per hour from 07:00 to 22:00 (except Sundays one per hour) and one every two hours during the night every night. Alternatively, take a taxi or a hire car from Manchester Airport. All major car hire companies are represented at the airport. The journey time to Preston by rail or road is approximately one hour.

From London, the direct trains run every hour during most of the day, are operated by Virgin Trains departing from Euston Station, and take 3 hours. Train tickets are much cheaper if booked well in advance. Driving time by private car on the motorway from London to Preston (M1 then M6) is about 4.5 hours. There are also buses from Victoria Coach Station London, to Preston bus station.

By Car

For directions in how to get to Preston please refer to Routes to Preston. For a road map in how to get to Preston, use the RAC Route Planner, just enter your postcode and ours, which is PR1 2HE and away you go.

By Bus

Preston's Bus Central Station is a few minutes walk from the town centre and 15-20 minuets' walk from Roeburn Hall and the University campus. Taxis take about 5 minutes and cost about 3 UK Pounds.

Stage Coach website.
For local bus timetables: Preston Bus

By Rail

To find out train times, please use the The Trainline. Preston's Railway Station is situated a few minutes walk from the town centre. There are always plenty of taxis waiting outside the station. For general rail enquiries Tel: .

The rail station is about 15 minutes walk from Roeburn Hall and the University campus.Taxis take about 5 minutes and cost about 3 UK Pounds.

By Air

If you are flying, we recommend you use Manchester Airport as there is easy access to the railway. A return ticket to Preston from Manchester Airport costs approx. 12 UK Pounds for a return (without a railcard), see The Trainline for time tables. At Preston's railway station there are always plenty of taxis waiting outside the station. For general rail enquiries Tel: .

Taxi Numbers


Maps and information in how to get to Preston can be found at the Universities Visitors Guide.
For maps of the University Campus please see: Map of the University.
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About Preston

Preston is the commercial, administrative and cultural capital of Lancashire and is home to the University of Central Lancashire which now attracts nearly 35,000 students.

Preston a (contraction of "Priests Town") is known to date from early Saxon times and boasts an impressive history, namely when it was deemed the chief place in the Hundred Amounderness when the Doomsday book was compiled in 1080, the battle of 1648 when Cromwell defeated royalist forces and a siege in 1715 when Jacobite rebels found the way to the south barred by English troops.

Country Side

It has a rich history dating back to 1179 and today is a major, bustling centre of commerce, shopping, entertainment and, of course, learning. Preston was granted city status in March 2002.

Situated in the heart of the colourful county of Lancashire, Preston is the gateway to Lancashire's beautiful breathtaking landscape, namely the Ribble Valley, Beacon Fell Country Park, Cuerden Valley, the Forest of Bowland and the magnificent Lake District. All of which provide excellent opportunities for many outdoor activities such as mountain biking, sailing, climbing or the more sedate pursuit of walking. The city is the sub regional capital and an ideal touring base for nearby attractions such as Blackpool, Lancaster and further a field, the Lake District.

Work on an historical new regional waterway link began in 2001. The millennium Ribble Link has its origins more that 200 years ago when an ambitious scheme to build a canal from Wigan to Kendal was proposed. Construction began in 1792, but its dramatic planned aqueduct over the Ribble was never completed, and the northern Lancaster section remained isolated from the inland network - until now! Opened on July 12th 2003, the Ribble Link formed a 4.5km linear water park, providing opportunities for angling, rambling, cycling and boating as well as newly commissioned sculpture trail. The Link will also perfectly complement Preston's 'Riversway' docklands redevelopment offering a marina, shopping and leisure facilities.

Ribble Link

Harris Museum

The town's major attraction is the magnificent Harris Museum, a Greek Revival architecture building built in 1893. Inside you will find impressive collections of art and sculpture as well as new and innovative exhibitions annually attracting 180,000 visitors.

The new National Football Museum is based at the Deepdale Stadium, home of Preston North End Football Club.


There are plenty of pubs and restaurants in the town centre: check out Prestonscene, the definitive guide to student life in Preston for details.

The weather in Preston in early June is temperate. Daytime temperatures are likely to be in the range 15-25 C, with overnight minima of 5-15 C. The total rainfall in Preston is about 1 m per year spread throughout the year with an average of 75 mm in June, so light rain is always possible. There will be live links during the transit at Alston Observatory from other observing sites in case of cloud at the time of the transit. Of course, in November 1639 Horrocks had to contend with this too; England is much cloudier in November than in June, and Horrocks successfully observed the transit. Let history be your guide!

To find out what the is like in Preston, use this link to the .


Tourism Before and After the Conference

Situated in the heart of Lancashire, Preston is the gateway to the county's beautiful countryside and historical sights, and to the most stunning scenery in England. Preston is ideally situated for day trips to the Lake District National Park mountains (the jewel in the crown of the English countryside, only 1 hour away), to the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District National Parks, and to the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which is on Preston's doorstep. The majestic scenery of Scotland is only 2-3 hours' journey away, and the dramatically beautiful city of Edinburgh only 3 hours by train.

We strongly recommend sampling this splendour, perhaps by sharing a hire car after the conference to tour the area for a few days -- or a week or two. Tourist advice is available from the LOC and from Preston Tourist Information Centre, and will also be available at the conference registration desk.

Two-thirds of Preston city area is given over to green parks and open spaces, and there is a thriving Marina Docklands modern development surrounding the largest single dock basin in Europe. The City was the home of the `teetotal' temperance movement, the birthplace of Richard Arkwright and of Nick Park, the home of Benjamin Franklin and now also home to the National Football Museum. Amongst other claims to fame, it boasts the tallest church spire in England, and in 2000 the first new canal for recreation and navigation to built in the country for over a century. Outside Preston, especially to the east and north, are numerous lovely stone villages, fells for hill walking, many traditional English pubs, and a large number of attractive historical sites.

Preston is an ancient Craft Guild town with a history going back to 1179 and a spectacular Guild Merchant celebration every 20 years from then to this day. There was a Roman settlement at Penwortham, now a village contained within the city. The Battle of Preston during the English Civil War in 1648 decided the fate of King Charles I and the overthrow of the Monarchy. 750 buildings within the city are listed as being of important historical or architectural interest.

Immediately following the Conference, Preston is holding an International City Festival (June 11-20) with a Jazz Festival, Proms in the Park, Shakespeare in the Park, the Riversway Water Festival, Business Fair and Multi-Cultural Dance Festival.


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