Cumbria Travel Guide

Carlisle Cathedral, Cumbria

Overview and Attractions

The Cumbria Travel Guide outlines local attractions, entertainment, places of interest and contains useful tourist information for visitors. The area guide features travel information on local transport and travel, entertainment, events, facts & figures, maps and accommodation.

The county is located in north England and provides visitors with a great tourist destination offering a mix of natural scenic beauty, wonderful landscapes and the great outdoors.

Situated close to the England Scotland border; Cumbria is England’s second largest county and happens to be the least populated too, making it a haven for those wanting to wonder around this majestic landscape with an unrivalled sense of freedom.

The best known attraction in the county is the wonderful Lake District National Park that includes a number of attractions.

The Lake District area covers approximately 900 square miles and has a number of lakes, valleys and some great villages brimming with their own distinct character. You will find the highest mountains in England here along with the deepest lake.

There is history galore too with ancient stone circles and barrows, the Roman forts remains and the legacy of important industries in the past such as coal mining. It adds up to a visitor’s dream, with so many places to go and things to see indeed deciding what to see can be tricky!

Cumbria has a rich heritage and this is shown in the many castles, abbeys and historic houses in the area, add to this steam railways and old mills and you have an area rich in history and culture. In the past 1,000 years the area has been a swamp, desert and sea before emerging in its present state.

It is thought that the Ice Age is responsible for creating the Lake District, with its huge valleys and creating lakes such as Windermere and Coniston. These areas now are a haven for sailors, water sports enthusiasts and anglers among others.

An area of outstanding natural beauty, the Lake District is blessed with natural scenery few places come close to. It has some famous lakes such as Lake Windermere located in a landscape of rolling hills and mountains. The area is a hikers dream with many hiking trails and great walks.

Visitors can do as much or as little as you please, you can serenely go around the many charming Lakeland towns and villages, explore the areas history at its castles and historical houses, there are a variety of attractions and you could enjoy fun for all the family at one of the numerous events taking place around the year.

The city of Carlisle is located in the north of Cumbria, 10 miles south of the border with Scotland. Carlisle is the county town for Cumbria and the largest settlement, the city has a long history dating back 2,000 years.

The city had historical and strategic importance based on its proximity to Scotland, during the industrial revolution the city grew as a mill town.

The city centre includes a choice of shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and amenities making Carlisle a popular base for visitors when touring Cumbria and the Scottish Borders.

Local attractions include historic Carlisle Cathedral, Carlisle Castle, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, St Cuthbert’s Church, Guildhall Museum, Carlisle Citadel, Walby Farm Park and A World in Miniature Museum, offering visitors plenty of things to see and do in the historic city.

Barrow-in-Furness is a town and seaport located in the south of Cumbria. The Victorian town has a rich heritage and history; the town developed helped by its iron ore and coal supplies, back in the 19th century the town grew rapidly into a major ship building town.

The town centre includes a choice of shopping facilities including high street names and speciality stores, whilst the Market Hall includes over 80 stalls were visitors can find a bargain.

The town is a popular destination for those that enjoy nightlife with a choice of waterside restaurants and eateries along with a number of cafes, bars and clubs.

Local attractions include the Dock Museum where visitors can learn about the history of the town and its industrial past including shipbuilding, steelworks and railways. Barrow Park includes a boating lake, mini railway, playgrounds and a leisure centre.

Historic attractions close by include the 12th century Furness Abbey and Piel Castle. The South Lakes Wild Animal Park is a conservation zoo located a few miles from Barrow-in-Furness.

Kendal is a market town located 45 miles from Carlisle, it is the third largest settlement in Cumbria after Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness. Historically the town was a centre for woollen textiles, carpet manufacture and shoe making.

The town is well known for being the home of Kendal Mint Cake and is a popular tourist hub, the local buildings made from grey limestone have earned the town the nickname of the ‘Auld Grey Town'.

Local attractions include Kendal Museum with collections of local archaeology, geology, history and natural history both from the UK and worldwide.

The ruins of Kendal Castle estimated to date back to the late 12th century, Castle Howe and Albert Hall Art Gallery located inside a Grade I listed building with a number of renowned collections housed inside.

The Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry explores the history of the Lake District and its people through the centuries. Kendal has a mix of shopping facilities including markets along with a mix of traditional shops and contemporary shopping areas. There are a number of eateries, traditional pubs and a choice of restaurants.

The local countryside around Kendal is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, discovering its beauty is best done by walking around and discovering the area.

There are the historical villages of Bourbon and Kirkby Lonsdale, with both having a number of historic sites to explore. The villages of Natland and Sedwick are located in the scenic countryside close by both of which have plenty of charm and character.

The town of Penrith is located 20 miles from Carlisle close to the Lake District National Park boundary.

The location of the town close to transport links makes it a convenient place for visitors to base themselves when visiting the Eden Valley, Pennine Hills and northern Lakes. The market town is known for its distinctive red sandstone and local markets.

There are a number of family run, specialist and independent shops in the town. Local attractions include Penrith & Eden Museum charting the history and culture of the Penrith and Eden areas over the years; the ruins of Penrith Castle and the 13th century Broughton Castle.

The Penrith area has the Lakes’ most popular walk, the walk up Helvellyn peak that is a great favourite for those wanting to explore and walking enthusiasts. Penrith town has Penrith Castle, dating back to the 14th century and was built as a defence against raids from the Scottish, it is surrounded by parklands.

Lake Windermere is one of the best known natural attractions in the Lake District and is the largest of the lakes in the area. There are a number of boat trips available to see the lake where visitors can take a closer took at the outstanding natural beauty of both the lake and the surrounding countryside.

The Lake District was designated as a national park back in 1951 and famous poets such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey helped to inspire the public to discover the great value of the region.

The region’s landscape also inspired writer Beatrix Potter who bought a farm, Hill Top back in 1905 and later bought Castle Cottage that would be her home for the next 30 years.

Hill Top is a 17th century farm house full of character and old world charm located in Ambleside. This is where she wrote many of her famous children’s stories. The house has been maintained and contains many of the famous writer’s personal belongings.

The location of Cumbria close to the England Scotland border means it makes a great place to see Cumbria and Scotland in one trip.

The county is synonymous with the Lake District and its many attractions, the county offers plenty for visitors in the surrounding areas that are worth visiting too and there are many charming small villages and towns to explore.

Very few places in the UK offer the landscapes in Cumbria and its natural beauty; these ensure the area is extremely popular with tourists.

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