Things to do in Eden Valley, Cumbria

Creative Tourist

Sustainability is a theme that resonates throughout the Eden Valley, which stretches from Sedbergh to Penrith. A country drive through its lanes, dotted with galleries, churches, tea shops and rural villages, feels like a closely-guarded secret. Appleby-in-Westmorland is the Eden Valley’s principal staging post, a charming old market town that has hung on to its traditional butchers and bakers (and possibly candlestick-makers). It also hosts an annual horse fair (June) said to date back to 1750.

Bringing creative edge to it all is Eden Arts, an organisation that puts on all manner of quality cultural events in venues ranging from village halls to stately homes. Theirs is the inspired Picnic Cinema (Aug-Sep), screenings of classic films staged in outdoor locations such as Lytham Hall and Muncaster Castle. Eden Arts is also responsible for C-Art, which sees artists’ studios open right across the county, and the Winter Droving (Nov) party in Penrith.

Our top picks

Thacka Beck Nature Reserve

Thacka Beck Nature Reserve, Near Penrith, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 9BQ - Visit now

Thacka Beck Nature Reserve is within easy walking distance of Penrith town centre, offering a quick retreat for local residents. The wildlife here is abundant, given the rich and suitable environment, and walkers can delight in spotting the animation and life that springs up here constantly.

Thacka Back Nature Reserve

Brougham Castle

Brougham Castle, Moor Lane, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2AA - Visit now

From defensive keep to family home, to characteristic ruin, Brougham Castle sits on the River Eamont in the Eden Valley, a proud reminder of strength in a turbulent bygone age. Brougham Castle is one of the area’s finest, where you can see defensive features such as the moat, the tracks for the portcullis, and the arrow loops to fire down on invaders.

Brougham Castle
Creative Tourist

Appleby Town Centre

Appleby Town Centre, Appleby Tourist Information Centre - Moot Hall, Boroughgate, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, CA16 6XE - Visit now

Appleby is a small market town in the Eden Valley, characterised by its rural location and historic buildings. Appleby-in-Westmorland, pays tribute to the county it used to be a part of, before the modern-day county of Cumbria was formed. It’s a town that holds on to its traditions. You won’t find high street shops here, but instead a collection of smaller independent gift shops, groceries, cafes and businesses, which give Appleby its boutique feel.

Appleby Town Centre
Creative Tourist

Sleddale Hall

Sleddale Hall, Sleddale Hall, Cumbria, CA10 3NE - Visit now

Sleddale Hall is a farmhouse on the north side of the Wet Sleddale featured as “Crow Crag”, Uncle Monty’s Lake District country cottage in the cult film Withnail and I.

Mike Hall / CC0

Acorn Bank

Acorn Bank, Temple Sowerby,, Penrith,, Cumbria, CA10 1SP - Visit now

Seven miles east of Penrith, Acorn Bank nestles at the foot of the Pennines, with Cross Fell rising up behind it, and the lush green valley stretching out in front. Explore rich fragrant gardens, wander through the woodland, and sit back and relax with views right across the Eden Valley.

Acorn Bank

Appleby Castle

Appleby Castle, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, CA16 6XH - Visit now

Appleby-in-Westmorland houses the beautiful Appleby Castle, a traditional motte-and-bailey castle with a Norman keep that’s almost a thousand years old. So whether you’re looking for a retreat from busy life, or a jumping-off-point to explore Appleby-in-Westmorland and the surrounding Eden Valley, Appleby Castle allows you to do it in luxury

Appleby Castle - Chris Hills

J&J Graham

J&J Graham, 6-7 Market Square, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 7BS - Visit now

Right in the heart of the town centre, J&J Graham is a Penrith icon. Even from the outside, J&J Graham promises as tasteful and sophisticated shopping experience, a far cry from the supermarket rush. Whether you’re looking for fresh, local meats and cheeses to put together a picnic, or more wide-ranging groceries for rustling up a gourmet meal, J&J Graham is the perfect place to start.

J&J Graham of Penrith

Where to go in Cumbria

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

Sam Read Bookseller

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

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.

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’.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Theatres in Cumbria
Theatres in Cumbria

For striking performances in the truly beautiful setting of the Lake District - check out our pick of theatres in Cumbria.

Pillock at Contact
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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.

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Culture Guides