Discover a real Cumbrian town on the edge of the Lake District
There’s history, literature, culture, shopping and more in Cockermouth. With family friendly places to visit, everything within an easy walk, and plenty to catch your eye around town, it’s a great place to visit.
It’s also the perfect gateway to the Western Lake District and the Solway coast, so it’s worth planning your trip so you’ve got time to head out of town too. You’ve got fells, lakes, forests and beaches on your doorstep if you choose to stay in Cockermouth.
Cockermouth is the birthplace of the poet William Wordsworth, so you’ll see his face around town, not least at the National Trust-owned Wordsworth House and Garden. If you like history, seek out the mini museum in Banks Hardware store in Market Place or take the Civic Trust’s town trail. For more recent history, look for the flood markers on the town centre businesses which show how high the waters reached when the Rivers Cocker and Derwent burst their banks in 2009.
Tours are also on offer at Jennings Brewery, and they finish with samples of their ales. Or head out of town to the Lakes Distillery, a short drive away, and find out how whisky is being made here for the first time in hundreds of years.
Cockermouth Castle is owned by Lord and Lady Egremont and is usually closed to visitors, but this historic building is open on a handful of days around the time of Georgian Fair and the Midsummer Festival. They are two events not to be missed, as is September’s Taste Cumbria Festival which is a foodies’ paradise with celebrity chefs, cookery demonstrations and a wealth of stalls, and Woolfest, which attracts international visitors who love crafts and this most natural of products.
There’s always something going on in Cockermouth. The town’s arts venue is the Kirkgate Centre, with its mix of music, comedy, theatre and exhibitions. Its Monday night cinema shows everything from subtitled arts films to recent blockbusters, while its Film Club has themed seasons. Many of the Main Street pubs have live music at weekends, and you get ad hoc events in some of the cafes, bistros and at Wordsworth House and Garden. There are lots of creative places to browse, and high-end art is on show at Castlegate Gallery, which has a national reputation.
While you’re in the area, explore the coast – there are fabulous beaches, lovely harbours and loads of history, or head inland to the amazing valleys of Buttermere and Ennerdale. Nearby Whinlatter Forest Park has Go Ape aerial assault course and a brilliant adventure playground trail, as well as great mountain biking and walks.