Cumbria is one of the Northernmost counties of England, bordering Scotland. It consists of the former counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, and a small part of what was Lancashire.
It has a long coastline, and includes the very famous and beautiful Lake District, as well as a little of the Pennines.
The county town is Carlisle, which was founded by the Romans and for hundreds of years acted as a stronghold against the Scots. It has a Norman castle and cathedral, and the remains of the old town walls.
Ambleside is a popular tourist centre on the shores of Windermere. The church has a memorial window to the local poet William Wordsworth, who was Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland.
Appleby was the county town of Westmorland, and has been famous for three hundred years for the Appleby Horse Fair. The town council meets in the two storied Moot Hall.
Barrow-in-Furness grew prosperous in the 19th century due largely to shipbuilding, and it incorporates a seaside resort. The monks of Furness Abbey were the earliest guides across the sands of Morecambe Bay.
Kendal is an old weaving town, and the castle was the birthplace of Catherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s wives. Today it is an attractive town with many interesting courtyards, and a flourishing shoemaking industry, while revelling in the title “Gateway to the Lakes”.
Keswick is the largest town within the Lake District, close to Derwentwater. It has a Pencil Museum, reflecting what was a huge industry here. It is still a very busy market town.
Kirkby Stephen is often used as a staging point between the Lake District and the North East. The ancient Pendragon Castle is nearby.
Penrith was the capital of Cumbria in the 10th century. Its 14th century castle was enlarged for the Duke of Gloucester, later Richard III, when he was in charge of the North. Just outside the town is Rheged, a very popular tourist attraction.
Whitehaven is an old fishing port, which in the 18th century was busier than Liverpool. It was also a coalmining town, and some of the mines extend for four miles below the sea. The town was attacked by John Paul Jones during the American War of Independence.
Workington, at the mouth of the Derwent, has a well known sailing club. There is a curious annual football game, played between Uppies and Downies.
Bassenthwaite Lake; Coniston Water; Derwentwater; Grasmere; Rydal Water; Thirlmere; Ullswater; and Windermere are some of the many beautiful lakes. The Lake District also contains England’s highest mountain, Sca Fell Pike, as well as Helvellyn; Sca Fell; and Skiddaw.