Tourist Information in Cumbria
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Cumbria & The Lake District Tourist Information

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Very few places in Britain can hope to compete with the undeniable beauty and romance offered by the county of Cumbria.

England's second largest county – and its least populated – has a sense of wonder unequalled elsewhere thanks to its inspirational landscape, which can smile, brood or blaze depending on the season.

Much of its appeal stems from the magnificent Lake District National Park and a range of steely mountains that stand guard over a veritable treasure trove of crowd-pleasing attractions.
This dazzling region covering almost 900 square miles contains no less than 16 'great' lakes as well as tarns, glacier-gouged valleys, chocolate-box villages – and even some marvellous beaches. It also boasts England's five highest mountains and the country's deepest lake.

Dotted across the land, both high and low, are ancient stone circles and barrows, the remains of Roman forts and the remnants of once-important industries such as lead mining and charcoal burning. There are lots of castles, too, not to mention historic houses and abbeys, steam railways, old mills and Carlisle's medieval cathedral.

Cumbria is bounded by the Solway Firth in the north and the Irish Sea to the west. The county borders Northumberland, Yorkshire, and Durham and includes part of the northern Pennines. It was created in 1974 out of the former counties of Westmorland, Cumberland and part of Lancashire. In past millennia it has been a sea, a swamp and a desert and, geologically speaking, only emerged in its present form comparatively recently.

It was left to men such as Thomas Gray and John Gilpin to describe its full glory and put it on the traveller's map. Then the poets William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey inspired the British public to discover its true value.

Cumbria & Lake District Animation

Wordsworth, who was born at Cockermouth and educated at Hawkshead, made his home at Dove Cottage in Grasmere, while his friends Coleridge and Southey moved to Great Hall at Keswick. Although the three 'Lake Poets' unashamedly championed the region, they lived to regret their passion – the arrival of the railways sparked an invasion of their personal paradise.

The Ice Age created the Lake District, grubbing out huge valleys and creating lakes such as Windermere, Coniston and Ullswater. Today these vast expanses are playgrounds for anglers, sailors and many other water users. The District was designated as a national park in 1951 but until the 18th century it was comparatively unvisited because such scenic splendour was not seen as an 'ideal' for tourists.

London-born art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) also became a 'local', living at Brantwood, near Coniston Water while the children's author Arthur Ransome also settled here and penned his book 'Swallows and Amazons'.

The region's landscape also seduced city-born writer Beatrix Potter who bought a farm, Hill Top, in 1905 with money from her famous children's books. Four years later she also bought nearby Castle Cottage – her home for the next 30 years. Her success stemmed from a meeting with Cannon H. Rawnsley of Wray Church whom she met during a holiday to Ambleside as a teenager. It was the Cannon who persuaded Beatrix that her first book was worthy of a wider audience. It was called "The Tale of Peter Rabbit". Such was the influence of the Cannon – a co-founder of the National Trust – and the lure of the Lakes that on her death she left the sum of £200,000, 14 farms and 4,000 acres to the National Trust.

One of Lakeland's boasts is that it contains the mountains of Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Skiddaw, all standing over 3,000ft and forming the so-called Three Peaks Challenge.

It was on the slopes of Skiddaw that a legendary hunting man went in search of foxes. His name, John Peel (1776-1854), is remembered in a famous song and his resting place lies at Caldbeck.

... and if you are looking for an unusual way to explore the wonderful scenery, how about this? View the Lake District from the back of a Clydesdale or Shire Horse. Fantastic riding on well-schooled horses which can take you to places high in the fells, on the beach or on farm rides in the valley... all spectacularly beautiful. For more info... Cumbrian Heavy Horses

Beyond the Lakes, Cumbria has an intriguing coastline and here you will find the industrial town of Whitehaven, the bird-watching haven of St. Bees Head and the seminal, modern edifice that is the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant.

Historically, the county's must-see visitor attractions include Carlisle Cathedral – founded in 1122 by King Henry I – and 12th century Cartmel Priory near Grange-over-Sands, one of the finest ecclesiastical buildings in the north of England. Most popular castles include Appleby Castle, which has a 12th century Norman keep – but don't ignore Birdoswald Roman Fort, one of the finest Roman forts along Hadrian's Wall.


Lakes Boat - Chris Hewetson
Lake District View - Malcolm Winder
View from Langdale Fell - Kevin Sheldon
Ashness Bridge - Malcolm Winder
Cumbrian Heavy Horses offer rides on Shire Horses and Clydesdales through the beautiful Lake District scenery.


Tourist Information Centres

Tourist Information Centre, Alston Town Hall, Front St, Alston, Cumbria, CA9 3RF
Tel: 01434 382244   Fax: 01434 382255

Tourist Information Centre, Central Buildings, Market Cross, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9BS
Tel: 015394 32582    Fax: 015394 34901

Moot Hall, Boroughgate, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, CA16 6XD
Tel: 01768 351177

Forum 28, Duke St, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA14 1HU
Tel: 01229 870156   Fax: 01229 432289

BOWNESS (in Season)
Tourist Information Centre, Glebe Road, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3HJ
Tel: 01539 442895

BRAMPTON (in Season)
Tourist Information Centre, Moot Hall, Market Place, Brampton, Cumbria, CA8 1RW
Tel: 01697 73433

Carlisle Visitor Centre, Old Town Hall, Green Market, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA3 8JH
Tel: 01228 512444   Fax: 01228 511758

Tourist Information, Town Hall, Market St, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9NP
Tel: 01900 822634   Fax: 01900 822603

Ruskin Avenue, Coniston, Cumbria, LA21 8EH
Tel: 015394 41533   Fax: 015394 41802

EGREMONT (in Season)
Victoria Hall, Main St, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, LA11 6PT
Tel: 01539 534026

Rykneld Square, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S40 1SB
Tel: 01246 345777 / 8

GRASMERE (in Season)
Redbank Rd, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9SW
Tel: 01539 435245    Fax: 01539 435057

HAWKSHEAD (in Season)
Main Street, Hawkshead, LA22 ONS
Tel: 015394 36946    Fax: 015394 36945

Tourist Information Centre, Town Hall, Highgate, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4DL
Tel: 01539 725758

Moot Hall, Market Square, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5JR
Tel: 01768 772645    Fax: 01768 775043

Killington Lake Services, M6 South, Nr Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 0NW
Tel: 01539 620138    Fax: 01539 621071

Tourist Information Centre, 24 Main St, Kirby Lonsdale, Cumbria, LA6 2AE
Tel: 01524 271437

Market St, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4QN
Tel: 01768 371199

Memorial Hall Community Centre, Longtown, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA6 5SD
Tel: 01228 791876

1 Senhouse St, Maryport, Cumbria, CA15 7AP
Tel: 01900 813738

Robinsons School, Middlegate, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 7PT
Tel: 01768 867466

Finkle St, Pooley Bridge, Cumbria, CA10 2NW
Tel: 01768 486530

Redhills, Nr Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 0DQ
Tel: 01768 860034

72 Main St, Sedbergh, Cumbria, LA10 5AD
Tel: 01539 620125

Sellafield Visitors Centre, Seascale, Cumbria, CA20 1PG
Tel: 01946 776510    Fax: 01946 727021

Tourist Information Centre, 10 Criffel St, Silloth, Nr Wigton, Cumbria, CA7 4BT
Tel: 01697 331944

ULLSWATER (in Season)
Main Car Park, Glenridding, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 0PA
Tel: 01768 482414

Coronation Hall, County Square, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 7LZ
Tel: 01229 587120

Tourist Information Centre, Market Hall, Market Place, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 7JG
Tel: 01946 852939

Tourist Information Centre, Finkle St, Workington, Cumbria, CA14 2BD
Tel: 01900 606699


Useful links

John Dawson's Lake District Walks -

Car Parking in Cumbria & The Lake District -