Unique Places in Cumbria

  • St. Paul's Church, Rusland, Lake District
    St. Paul's Church, Rusland, Lake...
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  • Arthur Ransome's grave
    Arthur Ransome's grave
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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Cumbria

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    England' s Smallest Church

    by into-thin-air Written Dec 30, 2003

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    The church at Wasdale Head, Saint Olafs is arguably the Smallest church in England ( depending on how you measure size !!, -- ( floor area, cubic volume or seating capacity ??? )
    Said to be built using timber from a Viking Long-Boat and set in the Beautiful location of Wasdale Head, under England's Highest Mountain and next to England's Deepest lake, Wastwater and don't forget the home of the World's Biggest Liar ( a competition held annually in a local pub !! )
    The inscription on the simple stained glass window inside the church reads " Lift up thine eyes "
    I couldn't put in Better !!!

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Religious Travel

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    Wastwater -- England's Deepest Lake

    by into-thin-air Written Dec 30, 2003

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    The deepest lake in England is Wastwater, set on the western side of the Lake District National Park and quite difficult to get to because of the distance from the M6 Motorway ( approximately 50 miles either coming from the north. south or east !! )
    Never-the-less for those who put in the effort to get there will be rewarded with some of the Best views in the entire Lake District and also will have the advantage of getting away from the more popular and therefor crowded tourist stops of Keswick and Windermere.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Hutton Roof Crags

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    This is one of Britain's best examples of limestone pavement, to be found not far from Kirkby Lonsdale.
    Hutton Roof Crags Nature Reserve is now an area of special scientific interest and is a wonderful place for walking and very popular with rock climbers. We have seen climbers scaling the cliffs here with old mattresses placed at the base of the cliffs to break any falls! Never seen this before.
    There are footpaths up to the crags from behind the church and from the village itself. The views from the top are panoramic on a good day, Morecambe Bay to the west, The Lake District hills to the north and the Pennines to the east.
    The limestone pavement is most impressive, watch yourself as some of the grikes, (the gaps between the blocks) are deep and i wouldn't like to get a foot stuck, never mind anything else.!

    The village boasts a Wesleyan Chapel, built around 1850 and pretty St. John's church (1881), built from local sandstone on the site of a 13thC. church.

    Hutton Roof is off the beaten track being such a small village but the crags can be seen from the main road. To reach them, take a minor road off the A65 from Kirkby Lonsdale.

    Related to:
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel

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    Cumbria's Only Model Village

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    This is a wonderful little secret, Lakeland Miniature Village. It's situated in Flookburgh, near Grange-over-Sands and really is a delight. It only just seems to be making a name for itself recently, although it has been open a number of years.
    Edward Robinson is the sole builder, his lifetime's work, consisting of a collection of miniature slate buildings, some replicas of lakeland buildings. All are intricately made with wonderful details.

    Admission charge.
    Open dawn til dusk.

    Coach House,
    Winder Lane,
    Flookburgh,
    Grange-over-Sands,
    Cumbria
    LA11 7LE

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Architecture

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    Hodbarrow Nature Reserve

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    This is situated at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary, close to Millom and north of Barrow-in-Furness.
    Hodbarrow was an area of iron ore mines, mined from 1855 to 1969. In the early 1900's the mining company built a sea-wall surrounding the workings, protecting them from the ravages of the sea and replaced the stone lighthouse there with a metal lighthouse, in 1905. This still stands today and has recently been re-fettled when Millom was awarded £20,000 lottery money and it underwent major works.
    When the mines finally closed in 1969 they were allowed to be flooded, when the pumps were switched off , thus forming today's lagoon. This is popular with water sports enthusiasts and fishermen. There are a number of pools which are a haven for wildlife and the whole area belongs to the RSPB. Nature lovers can take an easy walk around the site, including along the old sea wall. Wild orchids grow in profusion and the natterjack toad is a regular inhabitant.
    There are a couple of ruined windmills and even what looks like petrified trees in the water.
    There is a beautiful beach right at the end of the most apalling track, where we have free camped on numerous occasions, in the van.
    If you walk along the sea wall, you come to the bird hides with the latest spottings listed, and the lighthouse. Continue on and this brings you out at a large static caravan site and from here there is another sandy, shallow beach. Proceed further and you'll get to Haverigg's pretty beach with it's own cafe.
    A great place to visit and it's all free.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Birdwatching

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    Egremont Castle

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    If you have found your way to Egremont then take a look at it's castle.
    Built around 1130 it was the seat of the Baron of Copeland. Built from red sandstone, surrounded today by houses, it sits above the river Ehen, in a little green oasis. It is on public land and is accessible at all times. No gates or walls to bar your way.
    Being fairly close to Scotland, it was raided frequently until the early 1300's and by the late 16thc. had fallen into ruins.
    The most noticeable parts today are the ruined walls of the Great Hall, and the gatehouse.
    It's little known as I don't suppose many tourists hit the high spots of Egremont, in the north of the county.

    6 miles southeast of Whitehaven.

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

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    Eskdale to Boot via Miterdale & Burnmoor Tarn

    by into-thin-air Written Jun 2, 2008

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    Starting point Eskdale Green Ratty Railway Station
    Height gain, approximately 800 feet
    Highest point - Burnmoor Tarn 253m (830 feet).
    Walking time approximately 4 hours + ½ hour on train
    Distance approximately 7 miles

    Leave your car in the car-park at Eskdale Green Ratty Railway Station and walk through the “Randlehow” lane back to Eskdale Green centre, Go east along the road to the telephone box and turn left for Giggle Ally, Don’t miss “The Japanese Garden” built in 1914, designed by the famous Thomas Mawson.
    Then after visiting that continue along the lane crossing a low ridge until you come to a T junction, You are now in Miterdale, turn right here and follow the lane to and through Low Place Farm.
    Once through the farmyard keep heading up the valley on a good path, you go through woodland then eventually out onto the open fell, keep following the river which is now really a stream and when it swings to the left. You continue over a small rise and can see Burnmoor Tarn in front of you. Head towards the tarn, you will see an old hunting lodge on the bank of the tarn, head for this.
    Once at the lodge, you will see a grassy lane heading south, pick this up and follow it, This is the old “Corpse Road” from Wasdale Head to Boot, Wasdale Head chapel didn’t have a graveyard and up until about 100 years ago and corpses were brought across Burnmoor for burial in Boot. Thankfully now the only traffic on it are walkers !!
    Follow the Corpse Road down to Boot and go into the village.
    You can get food and a drink at one of the two pubs in the village, There is an old watermill that is well worth a visit too.
    Then it is a short walk down the road to Dalegarth Ratty Railway Terminus where you can also get a snack before your train back to Eskdale Green to retrieve your car.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Backpacking
    • National/State Park

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    Walking over Muncaster Fell by the Old Road

    by into-thin-air Written Jun 1, 2008

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    Walking over Muncaster Fell by the Old Road

    Starting Point - Irton Road Station in Eskdale
    Distance, approximately 6 ½ miles
    Walking time 3 / 3 ½ hours + ½ hour return to Eskdale on the train
    Height gain approximately 650 feet
    Highest point - Trig-Point on the summit of Muncaster Fell. Elevation: 231 M (699 FT)

    Leave your car at Irton Road Station in Eskdale, Walk back up to the lane and cross the train tracks on the bridge, follow the lane until it ends at a cottage, go through the gate and onto the fell, the path soon swings around to the right and you start to gain height. After about 1 /1½ hours walking you come to the Trig-Point on the summit of Muncaster Fell.
    From here you follow the path down past the tarn (to the right) and onto a lane that descends to the A595, follow the road north for about ¼ of a mile, past the entrance to Muncaster Castle and then take the next left through the farm, swing left, then right on a lane, past the back entrance to the castle and follow the lane to the right. Down through a wooded valley to a T-junction, here turn right and walk past the Old Roman Bath-House, after about another ¼ of a mile there is another path to the left, take this and it brings you directly into the Ratty Railway station at Ravenglass.
    There is an excellent café in at the Station, buy your tickets at the ticket office, then order yourselves something to eat whilst awaiting your train.
    Then let the scenery rush past you for a very pleasant ½ hour trip back to Irton Road Station in Eskdale to retrieve your car

    An Excellent choice for a family day out in Lakeland !!

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Backpacking
    • National/State Park

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    Suggestions for combining walks with La'l Ratty

    by into-thin-air Updated Jun 2, 2008

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    I have already mentioned “The La’l Ratty" (Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway) in my Things to do tips.
    However you can combine several walks on the Lakeland Fells with a trip on this delightful little train thus making a full and varied day out.
    The next few tips are to give you some ideas of which walks that you can do !!

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Ulverston Canal and Canal Foot

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    This is a 1.5 mile length of canal, running from Ulverston to the sea lock at Canal Foot in Morecambe Bay. It opened in 1796 purely as a means of the town having a port and was used originally for cargo ships arriving in Morecambe Bay.
    Later, in 1835, cruises were taken from here to Liverpool and later again, the canal was used to transport materials for the building of the Furness Railway Line which opened in 1846.
    As we all know, with the coming of the railways, use of canals gradually declined. Commercial ventures ceased during the First World War and by 1945 the canal as a transport system was abandoned. Ulverston Council, I think, are now in charge.
    Today you can walk the length of it to Canal Foot and stop there for a picnic or enjoy a meal in the pub, the Bay Horse. It's a pleasant place to while away a little time or enjoy a walk.
    There are lovely views (on a good day) around the bay here and you can walk along the coast. Levens Viaduct, crossing Cartmel Sands in Morecambe Bay, can be clearly seen.
    Fishing is popular both on the canal and in the bay.
    Swimming is strictly warned against, due to strong currents and sinking sands.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Fishing
    • Beaches

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    Barbondale

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    This is a great route, following the river, from just north of Kirkby Lonsdale to Dentdale. A lovely moorland route which is popular with motorcyclists. It's also a great place to simply sit by the river and enjoy the tinkling sound of water as you relax on a perfect summer's day.Make sure you take a picnic or BBQ as the children won't want to leave. Plenty of river damming and paddling to be had.

    There are plenty of grassy places to pull off the road and park.

    Actually, I remember the last time we were here, it was late September and we found lots of interesting fungi which we were trying to identify with my new fungi book. It was a beautiful day and Philip ended up practically fully immersed in the river it was so warm!!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Mungrisdale Area

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    The last weekend in October 2009 found us out and about in the motorhome in a stunning area north of Penrith and Keswick. This, despite it's proximity to both, is untouched by mass tourism and offers the most beautiful scenery imaginable.

    We took in Mungrisdale, Mosedale, Greystoke Forest and many of the tiny villages around here.

    We stayed on a Camping Club CL. (five vans only) out in the wilds, on the edge of Greystoke Forest which provided us with spectacular views of Blencathra, High Pike, Bowscale, and Bannerdale (when the weather permitted!!)

    We toured the pretty country roads on the motorbike, exploring Mosedale and it's quarries, Mungrisdale, where we called for a pint at the Mill Inn and were entranced with the wild fell ponies roaming freely on the commons and fells around.

    Our visit was in October and we hardly saw another vehicle on the minor roads. We were surprised everywhere was so quiet as it was half term for the schools. Come summer, I imagine it is a different picture as the walking possibilities are endless.

    On Sunday morning we awoke after a night of constant rain, to the fields and roads flooded and we felt quite smug we had been lucky to enjoy the previous couple of days in relatively dry conditions.

    All in all, an excellent weekend away.

    For more info, please look at my Mungrisdale page.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Camping
    • Motorcycle

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    Hampsfell Hospice From Grange-over-Sands

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    This is a walk from Grange over Sands, up to the limestone pavement overlooking Morecambe Bay. There is a refuge on the tops, with superb views.

    Over the Easter break I at long last walked up to Hampsfell Hospice, a place I hadn't visited since my early teens. I had been meaning to do this walk for months so on a bright Easter Day, I dragged my sister along (she actually drove us up the steepest part) and were we glad we made the effort. The air was freezing cold but the sun shone through, spectacularly enhancing the snow topped mountains, showing them at their very best.

    Hampsfell Hospice is a refuge for travellers, built in 1846 by the then vicar of nearby Cartmel. You can rest out of the wind, inside, where there are plaques with verse on the walls. Interestingly and I can't find out why, there is a Greek inscription over the doorway which reads: Rosy fingered dawn.

    Climb the external steps to reach the viewing platform. Here is a guide of the mountain ranges to be seen, and on a clear day, as we had, wow! The Old Man of Coniston, the Langdales and Helvellyn are all clearly seen. Look the other way and Morecambe Bay spreads out before you. Spectacular!

    The surrounding area is a geological delight, being limestone pavement with all it's clints and grikes. Tread carefully.....

    The walk takes around 30 mins, depending where you set off from. Numerous footpaths from Grange and Cartmel lead to the Hospice.

    Go on a clear day!

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Take a hike - short walks around Ulverston

    by PippaFoxen Written Jun 10, 2006

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    There are several easy and beautiful circular walks around Ulverston. Visit Tourist Infomation on County Square, inside the Coronation Hall. Ask for the "Country Walks in South Lakeland". Ulverston is No. 4 in a 4 part series covering Grange, Kirby Lonsdale and Kendal.

    Each walk has its own glossy sheet with a map on one side and detailed instructions on the other. Ulverston Canal to Next Ness is a flat, easy 4.5 mile walk and has an optional detour over Hoad Hill. Rosside and Swarthmoor takes you out into the countryside and past Swarthmoor Hall, home of Quakerism. Newland Bottom and the Cumbria Way is a lovely walk through farm land, though I have sometimes turned back when faced with a field full of cows! The walk over Birkgrigg Common to Great Urswick is 6 miles and passes a stone circle. It's the longest walk, made even more pleasant by taking a break at one of the Urswick village pubs about half way.

    If you don't want to walk too far, but are fed up of the shops, take any of the little streets and ginnells off King Street and Market Street. The oldest part of Ulverston stretches out behind Market Street on the side with the Co-op and The Piel Castle pub.

    You can wander up and down the curious little alleys, seemingly lost, but never far from the centre. The size and layout of the streets will remind you that this is really a 16th Century market town, designed for horses and carts, not cars, and the some of the tiny cottages are postcard pretty.

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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Park up at the lay-bys

    by Durfun Updated Apr 16, 2006

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    Once you pass Pooley Bridge, keep alert & on the lookout for lay-bys where you can slip your car in to enjoy the views.

    There is a waterfall (Aira Force) on the right, further up. If you look in your Guidebook, you can track yourself, that way you can park up in the right lay-by.

    Though the Aira-Force site has a car park, it is usually jam-packed, & reversing/getting out can be a absolute nightmare.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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Cumbria Off The Beaten Path

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