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Why Cumbria

Lifestyle

Cumbria has outstanding natural beauty, England's tallest mountains, deepest lakes and two national parks.

As England's second largest county, Cumbria offers a tapestry of urban and rural life which visitors can't help but fall in love with. Anecdotal feedback strongly suggests that many businesses and investors move to Cumbria after visiting the County as a tourist, drawn by the prospect of experiencing Cumbria’s natural beauty and rich cultural offer on a permanent basis and far from the stresses and strains of city living.

While house prices vary depending on location – homes are traditionally more expensive within national park boundaries than those outside – the overall cost of living is generally low. Those relocating to Cumbria will also discover good primary and secondary education for their children. At age 11, Cumbria's educational attainment ranks in the top 5 per cent in England.

Cumbria is also one of the safest places to live and raise a family with one of the nation's lowest levels of crime. For useful statistics visit the Cumbria Intelligence Observatory, which has a wealth of statistics on everything from education and housing and health and population. Better still book a holiday and see for yourself www.golakes.co.uk 0has everything you need to know.

Why Cumbria – Lifestyle

History

Cumbria came into existence as a county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, although its use as a territorial name dates back centuries.

At the end of the Roman Britain period (c.410AD) the inhabitants of Cumbria were Old Welsh speaking native "Romano-Britons" probably descended from the Brigantes tribe. The names "Cumbria" and "Cumberland" are derived from the name these people gave to themselves, and still do in Wales; Cymru (pronounced cum-ri) which means 'compatriots' in Old Welsh.

During the dark ages Cumbria formed the core of the Brythonic kingdom of Rheged, and by the end of the 7th Century most of Cumbria was incorporated into the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. Large parts of Cumbria were ruled by Scotland at the time of Norman Conquest of England in 1066 and were excluded from the Domesday Book. In 1092 Cumbria was invaded by William Rufus and reincorporated within England; divided into the counties of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire (the exclave of Furness). In 1974 these counties, and Sedbergh Rural District, were reunited as Cumbria although local newspapers continue to preserve the historic names.

Please use the links above to find more information on the some of the Cumbrian historic sites

Architecture

Cumbria is home to some stunning historic architecture.

Please us the map to the left to find out more about some of the more notable sites in Cumbria.

Click on maps markers to load the information in this panel.

Carlisle Castle

Near the ruins of Hadrian's Wall the castle is over 900 years old and has been the scene of many historical episodes in British history. Given the proximity of Carlisle to the border between England and Scotland, it has been the centre of many wars and invasions. Today the castle is managed by English Heritage and is open to the public. The castle until recently was the administrative headquarters of the former King's Own Royal Border Regiment now county headquarters to the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment and a museum to the regiment is within the castle walls.

English Heritage - Carlisle Castle

Carlisle Castle

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery situated on the outskirts of the English town of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. The abbey dates back to 1123 and was once the second wealthiest and most powerful monastery in the country, behind only Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire.

English Heritage - Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Dalton Castle

Dalton Castle is a 14th-century peel tower situated in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, and in the ownership of the National Trust. It was constructed by the monks of Furness Abbey for the protection of the nearby market town, and was the building from which the Abbot administered the area and dispensed justice.

National Trust - Dalton Castle

Dalton Castle

Muncaster Castle

Muncaster is located in the heart of the Western Lake District and, uniquely, is in the only coastal village of the Lake District National Park, Ravenglass.

Muncaster Castle

Muncaster Castle

Levens Hall

The first dwelling at Levens was a medieval pele tower, built by the de Redman family of Yealand Redmayne. The Bellingham family, who were wealthy landowners, chose Levens as their main residence in the 1590s and incorporated the fortified tower into a gentleman's residence. The stately home is now world renowned for its gardens and the grounds are a venue to all manner of festivals including the Lakes chilli fest.

Levens Hall & Gardens

Levens Hall

Holker Hall

Holker Hall is a country house with a celebrated garden situated on the Cartmel Peninsula. Before the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 the land on which Holker stands belonged to Cartmel Priory.

Holker Hall

Holker Hall

Carlisle Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, otherwise called Carlisle Cathedral, is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Carlisle. It was founded as an Augustinian monastery and became a cathedral in 1133.

Carlisle Cathedral

Cartmel Priory

is a priory founded in 1190 by William Marshal, later 1st Earl of Pembroke for the Augustinian Canons and dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint Michael. It was first colonised by a Prior and twelve monks from Bradenstoke Priory in Wiltshire.

Cartmel Priory

Cartmel Priory

Shap Abbey

was a monastic religious house of the Premonstratensian order on the western bank of the River Lowther in the civil parish of Shap Rural, around 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the village of Shap, in the Eden District of Cumbria. The site is in the care of English Heritage and managed on its behalf by the Lake District National Park.

English Heritage - Shap Abbey

Shap Abbey

Calder Abbey

At the Dissolution Henry VIII gave the abbey to Sir Thomas Leigh, who pulled off the roof and sold it and anything else he could and reduced the church to a ruin. Ownership passed through many secular hands, in which it still remains.

Much of the cloister buildings remain either incorporated into Calder Abbey House, now a largely early-nineteenth century structure that is still a private residence, or in adjoining ruins, such as the chapter house.

Visit Cumbria - Calder Abbey

Calder Abbey

Holme Cultram Abbey

Holme Cultram Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in 1150 in what is now the village of Abbeytown but at the time of foundation was in territory in the possession of David I of Scotland, who together with his son, Henry, founded it in 1150. The mother-house was Melrose Abbey, of the filiation of Cîteaux.

Visit Cumbria - Holme Cultram Abbey

Holme Cultram Abbey

St Bees Priory

St Bees Priory is the parish church of St Bees. The Benedictine Priory was founded by William le Meschin, Lord of Egremont on an earlier religious site, and was dedicated by Archbishop Thurstan of York sometime between 1120 and 1135. The Priory was dissolved in 1539, and since then has been the parish church of St Bees.

St Bees Priory

St Bee's Priory

Isel Hall

Isel Hall is an Elizabethan Range with a fortified Pele Tower, dominating the landscape in its setting above the River Derwent. Standing on a steep slope above the winding River Derwent and two miles from Bassenthwaite Lake, Isel Hall is a spectacular building.

Visit Cumbria - Isel Hall

Isel Hall

Roman Sites

In Roman times Cumbria was a valuable strategic location, Hadrians wall ran through the north of the county. Which was used to keep out the barbaric tribes of Scotland.

Use the map on the left using the markers to find out more about these sites.

Birdoswald Fort

Birdoswald Roman Fort, was a fort, towards the western end of Hadrian's Wall, in the Roman province of Britannia. Today the site is occupied by a former farm called Birdoswald. As of 2005[update], it is the only site on Hadrian's Wall at which significant occupation in the post-Roman period has been proven, and it is subject to a long-term archaeological programme under the directorship of Tony Wilmott.

English Heritage - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Birdoswald Fort

Wigton Fort

Wigton Fort played a pinnacle role in the communication network of the north west. The fort known as Old Carlisle is situated just off the A595. The site's structure is still visible although no stone work can be seen as it is now covered by grass

Visit Cumbria - Wigton Fort

Wigton Roman Fort

Crosscanonby Milefortlet

Crosscanonby Milefortlet is now the only element of Hadrian's coastal defences of the north west frontier to have been wholly excavated. The site consists of a viewing platform over the exposed excavation.

Visit Cumbria - Crosscanonby Milefortlet

Crosscanonby Milefortlet

Senhouse Roman Museum

The Senhouse Roman Museum contains sculpture and inscriptions from the Roman Fort at Maryport, (Alauna), which lies next to the museum. The collection, begun by John Senhouse of Netherhall in the 1570's is the oldest in Britain.

Senhouse Roman Museum

Senhouse Roman Museum

Ravenglass Bath House

Remains of a Roman bath house associated with the fort of Glannaventa across the lane. Though there is little to see of the fort, plenty of the bath house remains to explore. The walls stand to over 12 feet in height, making the bath house one of the tallest surviving Roman sites in northern England. The bath house is thought to date to the period between the 2nd and 4th centuries AD. The fort was established in about 130 AD to guard the important harbour at Ravenglass.

English Heritage - Ravenglass Bath House

Ravenglass Bath House Remains

Hardknott Fort

Hardknott sits at 260m above sea level, projecting south west from the mass of Hardknott Fell. The fort was built in the second century AD under the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Its primary role was the guarding, policing and patrol of the road, defending it from invasion by Scots and Brigantes. It is believed to have been destroyed by local tribesman around 197AD and therefore was only used for a relatively short time compared to its sister forts at Ravenglass and Ambleside, which were occupied until well into the 4th century.

English Lakes - Hard Knott Fort

Hardknott Fort

Galava Fort

was an oblong enclosure of about 300 × 420 feet, nearly 3 acres. Round it ran a wall of roughly coursed stone 4 feet thick, with a clay ramp behind and a ditch in front. Turrets stood at its corners. Four gates gave access to it; three of them were single and narrow, while the fourth, the east gate, was double and was flanked by two guard-chambers.

Visit Cumbria - Galava Fort

Galava Fort

Plumpton Fort

At Castlesteads or Old Penrith just north of Plumpton are the remains of a Roman Fort known as Voreda.

Visit Cumbria - Plumpton Fort

Stone Circles

There are many stone circles in Cumbria which date back to the era of the Rheged Kingdom.

To find out more about these popular tourist attractions please select a marker on the map for more information on that location.

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle near Keswick in England is one of the most visually impressive prehistoric monuments in Britain and is the most visited stone circle in Cumbria.

Mysterious Britain - Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerig Stone Circle

Long Meg & Her Daughters

also known as Maughanby Circle, is a Bronze Age stone circle near Penrith and is the largest stone circle in the north of England.

Mysterious Britain - Long Meg & Her Daughters

Long Meg & Her Daughters

Swinside Stone Circle

The stone circle situated on Swinside Fell which is part of Black Combe is a near-perfect circle just under 29 metres in diameter. The circle is also known as Sunkenkirk, after a legend that the Devil made the stones sink into the ground to prevent them being used to build a church's foundation

Mysterious Britain - Swinside Stone Circle

Swinside Stone Circle

Mayburgh Henge

Mayburgh Henge is just outside the village of Eamont Bridge close to the confluence of the Rivers Eamont and Lowther around 1 mile south of Penrith, just a few hundred yards from the M6 motorway.

The site consists of a single circular bank built using cobble stones from the nearby rivers. The bank is up to 15 feet (6.5 metres) high, and 50 metres across its base with a diameter of around 383 feet (117 metres). Contained within it is a single monolith 9 feet (2.8 metres) high.

Megalithic - Mayburgh Henge

Mayburgh Henge

Druids Circle

The Druid's Circle lies on the south-east side of Birkrigg Common about 0.5km from the coast, overlooking the village of Bardsea.

It consists of two stone rings. Only about 30 concentric stone circles exist in the UK, the best example being Stonehenge, with no others in Cumbria

Megalithic - Druids Circle

Druids Circle

Elva Plain Stone Circle

is one of the most northerly of the Cumbrian stone circles, being nearly four miles east of the town of Cockermouth. Although the land it lies on is private, access can be made over a public footpath from the minor road. The Elva Plain Stone Circle is also situated close to the River Derwent, and therefore on a possible routeway from the Irish Sea into the central Lakes.

Visit Cumbria - Elva Plain Stone Circle

Elva Plain Stone Circle

Grey Croft Stone Circle

The present circle of 10 standing stones, 80' diameter, was restored in 1949. The stone circle is on private land belonging to Seascale How Farm, but can be seen from a nearby footpath.

The Modern Antiquarian - Grey Croft Stone Circle

Greycroft Stone Circle

Museums

Cumbria has some of the richest history in the world and there are many museums in which just some of it is displayed.

Use the map to find out some more information on these exhibitions of Cumbrian history clicking the markers to display the information in this panel

World of Beatrix Potter

The World of Beatrix Potter is a museum dedicated to the Childrens story writer, her history, and her books. The museum is based in Bowness-on-Windermere.

For more information about the museum please visit www.hop-skip-jump.com

Beatrix Potter

Rheged Centre

The Rheged centre opened in 2000 and is part of Westmorland, a local family business which has grown out of their farm at Tebay. It was designed to celebrate Cumbria and it strives to showcase its excellent food producers, craftspeople, landscape and heritage.

For more information about the museum please visit www.rheged.com

Rheged Centre

National Park Visitors Centre

There's lots on offer at the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole. Celebrating the spirit of adventure with an exciting and inspiring programme of activities for all the family.

For more information about the museum please visit www.lakedistrict.gov.uk

National Park Visitors Centre Brockhole

The Beacon

The interactive Beacon is awash with the history of Copeland. You'll be amazed at the area's rich past and you won't believe what a great time everyone has exploring the Beacon's five floors!

For more information about the museum please visit www.thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk

The Beacon

The Dock Museum

The Dock Museum hosts a vast array on the history of the ship building history of Barrow and the Furness Area.

For more information about the museum please visit www.dockmuseum.org.uk

the Dock Museum

Tullie House

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery is Carlisle's finest visitor attraction, and houses considerable collections of fine and decorative art, human history and natural sciences. It also boasts a wide range of exhibitions and events, brought together in one impressive museum and art gallery.

For more information about the museum please visit www.tulliehouse.co.uk

Tullie House

Millom Folk Museum

The museum houses many documents and photographs giving details of a bygone age in the Millom area.

For more information about the museum please visit www.millomfolkmuseum.co.uk

Millom Folk Museum

Cumberland Pencil Museum

Enter the museum through a replica of the Seathwaite mine where graphite was first discovered 350 years ago. Through words, pictures and carefully restored machinery you can trace the history of pencil making and see how Derwent Fine Art Pencils are made today.

For more information about the museum please visit www.pencilmuseum.co.uk

Cumberland Pencil Museum

Museum of Natural History and Archaeology

Founded in 1796, Kendal Museum's fascinating collections include local archaeology, history, geology and natural history from around the globe. The museum also hosts exhibitions, displays and offers a range of activities, talks and courses for young and old alike.

For more information about the museum please visit www.kendalmuseum.org.uk

Kendal Museum

Lakeland Motor Museum

The diverse collection formerly displayed at Holker Hall has been presented afresh, together with many new additions, in new state-of-the-art premises at Backbarrow, close to Newby Bridge at the Southern tip of Lake Windermere.

For more information about the museum please visit www.lakelandmotormuseum.co.uk

Lakeland Motor Museum

Solway Aviation Museum

Solway Aviation Museum is home to a collection of aircraft, aviation artefact's and displays reflecting Britain's position as a world leader in aircraft design and innovation at the dawn of the jet age.

For more information about the museum please visit www.solway-aviation-museum.co.uk

Solway Aviation Museum

Laurel and Hardy Museum

The Museum started life as one man's collection stemming from his lifelong love of 'the boys'. Starting out as a few scrapbooks of photos, the collection grew over time until it filled one small room with pictures covering all the walls and even the ceiling.

Opened on the 19th of April 2009 to coincide with the unveiling of the statue in the town centre, there's still plenty to read; now presented in a much more accessible way for the casual fan, while still retaining plenty of depth for your favourite Son of the Desert.

For more information about the museum please visit www.laurel-and-hardy.co.uk

Laurel and Hardy Museum

Railways

Cumbria has had a close relationship with railways in the past as during the industrial revolution Cumbria was a county full of heavy industry in which rail links were the infrastructure for which these goods were transported.

Marked on the map are some of the historic railways which are still in use today as visitor attractions, please click the markers on the map to display the information in this panel.

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway opened on May 24th 1875, its purpose being to ferry iron ore from workings near Boot to the coast at Ravenglass.

www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

South Tynedale Railway

The South Tynedale Railway is a new narrow gauge railway, built to British two feet gauge or 610 mm metric equivalent, which runs from Alston in Cumbria, into Northumberland, in Northern England. It has been constructed by volunteers on the formation of a former standard gauge branch line from the historic Newcastle and Carlisle Railway.

South Tynedale Railway

South Tynedale Railway

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

The lakeside and haverthwaite railway is a historic branch line of the old Furness railway. The railway runs a seasonal service to and from lake Windermere on traditional steam trains.

www.lakesiderailway.co.uk

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway