Preston Guild is held in Preston. The chief industry of Preston was formerly the making of cotton cloth. The Preston bypass (road around the city) was built in the 1950s. Among the important buildings in Preston are the Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Public Library, and the county council's headquarters. Preston railway station is an importance junction on the west coast main line; the M6 motorway connects Preston to Cumbria (northwards) and Cheshire (southwards).
Preston is home to the University of Central Lancashire, established in 1828 and originally being called The Institution For The Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It is one of the largest universities in the UK, having around 38,000 staff and students.