Once known for its industry, West Cumbria has an independent, industrial streak that sets it apart from the rest of the county. Smaller and less crowded than Keswick or Ambleside, Wordsworth’s birthplace, Cockermouth is rich in indie shops and galleries such as Percy House, the town’s oldest building (dating to 1390) which today houses a contemporary craft shop. Cockermouth is also the place to head for to get a taste of Cumbria – literally. The town hosts the annual Taste Cumbria Food Festival (Sept), and is home to pubs such as The Bitter End (which sources local meat and has its own micro-brewery).
There are B&Bs a-plenty, but Six Castlegate is worth a mention – a Grade II-listed Georgian affair in the old part of town, and not too far from Castlegate House Gallery which specialises in 20th-century British art. Serving the community and visitors is the Kirkgate Centre; small but perfectly formed for film, theatre and music events.
The west coast of Cumbria is little-visited, perhaps thanks to the industrial ports that once dotted the shoreline. Whitehaven was one of them, but today its redeveloped waterfront houses the £2.2m maritime-themed museum, The Beacon, as well as breezy eateries such as Zest. Nearby, Egremont’s Lowes Court Gallery is testament to a thriving craft scene, and Florence Mine, once an iron ore mine, is now a multi-purpose creative space; a gallery, studio, theatre and cinema in one.
Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.
Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.
Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.