Cockermouth and West Cumbria

Creative Tourist

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.

Our top picks

The World of Beatrix Potter

The World of Beatrix Potter, Crag Brow, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3BX - Visit now

The World of Beatrix Potter™ is a vibrant family Attraction bringing to life Beatrix Potter’s enchanting stories in a magical recreation of the beautiful Lake District countryside. The exhibition features favourite characters from the famous books, an award-winning outdoor Peter Rabbit Garden, a superb character-themed family-friendly café and world-famous gift shop ensuring all generations of visitors can experience a little bit of Beatrix Potter magic.

Courtesy of The World of Beatrix Potter

Percy House Gallery

Percy House Gallery, 38-42 Market Place, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9NG - Visit now

An art gallery nestled in a building that simply oozes local history.  The perfect setting for a contemporary art gallery which majors in painting, photography and craft from local Cumbrian artists and makers.

Percy House Gallery.

Winder Hall

Winder Hall, Low Lorton, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9UP - Visit now

Just a few miles outside Cockermouth lies Winder Hall, a historic and atmospheric country house complete with roaring fires and wood panelling and set in its own grounds. Contemporary bedrooms overlook the gardens (and resident red squirrels), while a new summer house features a rather luxurious Nordic sauna and hot tub.

Castlegate House Gallery

Castlegate House Gallery, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9HA - Visit now

Twentieth century British and contemporary art is on offer here at Castlegate House Gallery. Its new owners are obsessive collectors and passionate about what they sell here  – with fine British ceramics and contemporary studio pottery amidst the paintings. A changing programme of temporary exhibitions keeps it fresh. Well worth dropping by.

Castle Bar

Castle Bar, 14 Market Place, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9NQ - Visit now

In the heart of the old market,  this beautiful 16th century building and old coaching inn is now home to a snazzy wine and food joint, with a lovely terraced beer garden.

Where to go in Cumbria

Cumbria
Theatre
The Coro

Nestled in the heart of Ulverston, a rural market town on the fringes of the Lake District, stands The Coro —an esteemed historic hub for arts, culture, and entertainment

Cumbria
Shop
Sam Read Bookseller

Award-winning small bookshop in the Lake District. Est. by Sam Read in 1887. Run by Will Smith and Polly Atkin.

Cumbria
Restaurant
1863 Restaurant

For over 150 years, 1863 has been integral to the village of Ullswater. Now, reimagined for the 21st century as a glamorous Michelin location.

Cumbria
Gallery
Red Barn Gallery

Red Barn Gallery is paramount in the Art World of the North West. Internationally renown works are put aside new artists, and the displays never ‘stand still’.

Cumbria
Restaurant
La Casita

La Casita serves the most authentic tapas in Penrith – the only thing not-so-Spanish about La Casita is their high quality fresh Cumbrian ingredients.

Cumbria
Restaurant
Grants of CastleGate

This modern bistro and bar, open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday, serves up classic British pub fare reimagined to its most indulgent.

Cumbria
Museum
Dent Village Heritage Centre & Museum

Dent Village Heritage Centre & Museum displays important, yet lesser known, histories. The centre itself has been built entirely through local labour, with the displays covering histories from vampires to slavery.

Cumbria
Museum
The Puzzling Place

Interactive optical illusion, for each visitor to immerse themselves in. This specialty museum in Keswick will baffle, surprise and amuse.

Cumbria Visitor Guides

Tasting Menus in The North

Looking for the finest luxury multi-course restaurants in Manchester? Look no further. We've picked out the very best tasting menus in the city - just make sure you have deep pockets.

Stately Homes in the North

The North of England is blessed with countless stunning stately homes, many dating back decades and even centuries. Here are some of the very best.

Literary places in Cumbria
Literary places in Cumbria

It was good enough for Wordsworth and Wainwright... From Kendal in the south to Carlisle in the north, we sniff out the best bookish shenanigans in Cumbria.

Walks in Penrith
Walks in Penrith

A selection of some of most rewarding and beautiful walks in Penrith, full of chances to catch open air and natural attraction.

Walks in Kendal

A round-up of the best walks in Kendal, including the town centre, official tours and the surrounding area by Creative Tourist.

Museums in Cumbria

Cumbria is studded with fantastic museums - read our picks of the best here.

Art Galleries in Cumbria

Ranging from impressive, nationally-significant collections in Grade listed buildings, to historic houses that now have a particular focus on local, contemporary artists, here's our guide to Cumbria's collection of art galleries.

Restaurants in Cumbria

Cumbria is far from short of good places to eat – here’s our guide to restaurants to put on your map of the area.

Music Venues in Cumbria

When the sun goes down and you've had your fair share of Cumbria's great outdoors, head to the area's music venues to catch folk and jazz sessions, as well as regular performances by touring musicians.

Pillock at Contact
Spotlight on

Fringe Theatre in Manchester and the North

Check out our top picks of shows previewing in the North West before heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later in the summer.

Take me there

Culture Guides

Rebecca Watson author photo
Literature Events in Manchester and the North

In between working out, then working through, your holiday reading pile this summer, find inspiration for your next bookish acquisitions from our selection of live events and exhibitions.