Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Towns and Villages of Cumbria and the Lake District

There is more to Cumbria than its world-famous natural environment. There are many towns and villages to explore, whether nestled in valleys, on the side of a lake or along the coastline.

From the cosmopolitan city of Carlisle, gateway to Hadrian's Wall Country, and Keswick in the north to the charming market towns of Ulverston and Kirkby Lonsdale and the maritime town of Barrow-in-Furness in the south; from the historical market town of Cockermouth and the harbour town of Whitehaven along the west coast to the pretty towns of Penrith and Appleby in the Eden Valley to the east. And in the central Lakes you will find the ever-popular Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere. Each place has its own story to tell and a character to discover.


This great border city and capital of Cumbria sits on 2000 years of human occupation. Overlying this rich heritage is a vibrant town center of modern shops, pavement cafes and leisure facilities that rivals most other cities in the north of England. The majestic Cathedral is within a few minutes walk of the spacious pedestrianised Greenmarket – a focal point for street entertainment, Farmers’ Markets and Christmas celebrations.


Ambleside is ideally located in the center of the Lake District. The town is situated at the North end of Windermere Lake and at the foot of the poular scenic route over Kirkstone Pass. It's location and idyllic scenery make it an ideal base for visitors to explore the national park.

The maritime port of Whitehaven was once the third largest in the UK with trade links all over the world. The wealth of Georgian architecture led to Whitehaven being listed as a ‘gem town' and voted one of the top 10 seaside resorts in the UK. Today the town's harbour enhanced by nautical sculptures, dramatic lighting effects and a brand new marina, is the focus for spectacular maritime events.


It's central location makes Keswick the perfect place to stay when planning to explore the Lake District. The town is surrounded famous Lakeland hills such has Grizedale Pike, Skiddaw and Catbells. There are walks to suit all abilities from the doorstep. The forest of Whinlatter is close by and ideal for walking, mountain biking and the high wire adventure GoApe.  Make a visit to the Pencil Museum, take a cruise on the lake and see the latest production at Theatre by the Lake. At certain times of the year you may also get a glimpse of the nesting Osprey from Dodd Wood.


This festival capital of Furness combines special events with an assortment of specialist shops, cosy pubs, traditional markets and cultural hotspots. Add in the colorfully rendered houses, cobbled streets and inviting side alleys and there's enough of interest to keep you enthralled for days. Surrounding the town is the gently rolling farmland of the Furness Peninsula while the coastline provides beautiful vistas over Morecambe Bay.

Kirkby Lonsdale

The picturesque market town of Kirkby Lonsdale on the banks of the River Lune is ideally located on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and within easy reach of the Lake District; its attractive setting epitomised by the glorious view up the Lune Valley from Ruskin’s View. The center is a pleasing mix of elegant eighteenth-century buildings and stone cottages huddled around cobbled courtyards and narrow alleyways with evocative names such as Salt Pie Lane and Jingling Lane. Traditional butchers, bakers and ‘the best independent cheese shop in the UK’ (2007) jostle alongside designer jewellery, fashion and home d├ęcor outlets.

Barrow - in - Furness
Barrow-in-Furness is a large industrial town which grew from a tiny 19th Century hamlet to the biggest iron and steel centre in the world, and a major ship-building force, in just 40 years. The railway was introduced to carry iron-ore, slate and lime-stone to the new deep water port. Its prosperity grew with the development of the steel and ship-building industries. The monks of Furness Abbey smelted iron with wood in the 13th Century.


This handsome Georgian town on the edge of the Lake District has been identified as one of 51 ‘gem towns' in Britain, recommended for preservation as part of our national heritage. This attractive town with its broad, tree-lined main thoroughfare boasts a healthy mix of service shops (butchers, bakers, ironmongers, etc), alongside cafes, pubs and high quality art and craft galleries. Good roads provide fast and easy access to Bassenthwaite Lake and Keswick, and to Maryport and the sandy coastline towards Allonby. Cockermouth was the birthplace and childhood home of William Wordsworth, his former home now imaginatively presented to the visitor.


Located at an intersection of routes between Scotland and England and a cross-Pennines road, Penrith has reaped the benefits of good communication routes for centuries.Today, with easy access from the M6, A66 and with a mainline railway service, the town is a perfect base for exploring the northern Lakes, beautiful Eden Valley and rolling Pennine hills. This distinctive red sandstone town, with its popular markets and specialist, family-run shops, has become the regional center for trade, industry and services in the Eden Valley.


The ancient market town and royal borough of Appleby, in the heart of the Eden Valley, is the focal point for many outlying villages and hamlets. Its traditional shops and indoor market provide for every requirement, whilst the riverside is perfect for a casual stroll or picnic.


The ‘Auld Grey Town' of Kendal, handsomely built in limestone, is the focal hub for shopping and culture in Lakeland. Historically, Kendal was one of the most important woollen textile centers in the country, producing ‘Kendal Green' and other ‘Kendal cottons' - its numerous yards were once filled with workshops processing cloth, leather and foodstuffs. Kendal was also a center for shoe making, carpet and snuff manufacture, and synonymous with the production of Kendal Mint Cake; an essential prerequisite for today's explorers and mountaineers.


Windermere is the perfect Lakeland destination all year round. With the shores of the lake so close, you are never short of fantastic scenery or leisure activities. Several local viewpoints offer panoramic views of both the lake and more distant mountains. Bowness-on-Windermere is one of the most popular holiday locations in the Lake District. With immediate access to Windermere Lake, it is an excellent base for water activities, including boating and leisurely water attractions. Away from the lake is a host of historic attractions and heritage sites, as well as many other visitor attractions.


Grasmere, cradled in a vale in the heart of the Lake District, is crowned with magnificent fells and mountains all around. It is sheltered by Helm Crag, otherwise known as ‘the Lion and the Lamb' one of Wainwright's favorite hills. The pictureseque village has a lovely choice of accommodation and restaurants. It is also home to Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum. Just along the valley is the Vale of Rydal. You can take a walk along Loughrigg Terrace or the Coffin Trail, overlooking Rydal.

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