Showcasing Alston Moor

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(Credit: Ashgill Force by Sarka-jo Cole)

Despite the imposing and, in winter, sometimes treacherous physical divide of the Hartside pass over the Pennines, Alston Moor still lies within the county of Cumbria also encompassing some of Northumbria and County Durham.

After Hartside, the landscape opens into rolling moorland, offering tranquillity and an abundance of wildlife found nowhere else in Cumbria. It differs, not only in geological and visual impact but also by providing solitude and character in quaint villages such as Garrigill and Nenthead and, what it boasts to be the highest market town in England, Alston.

The origins of the conurbations lie in their lead mining heritage, with further evidence visibly dotted across the landscape and less visible in their intertwining underground networks. Whilst the mines are long since closed for extraction, Nenthead mines offer open days and informative tours for visitors and the rivers of the South Tyne and Nent cascade off the moors producing some beautiful waterfalls, the most famous of which, Ashgill Force, is a short walk from Garrigill.

(Credit: Ashgill Force by Sarka-jo Cole)

Alston itself boasts numerous pubs and accommodation options with a partially cobbled main street and pretty independent shops and cafes, art galleries and a cane workshop whose owner is famous for her award winning Stokoe House marmalades. Alston also hosts a volunteer lead, narrow gauge railway that runs throughout the summer and an adjacent path along the course of the South Tyne into Northumbria to meet the impressive Victorian structure of Lambley Viaduct and then continues north to meet Hadrians Wall at Haltwhistle.

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Showcasing Wigton

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by Mayor of Wigton, Christopher Scott

Credit: Photographer Elliot Moore

Nestled in the beautiful countryside of Cumbria, Wigton is a quaint market town with a rich history and a strong sense of community. Living in Wigton offers a unique blend of rural charm and modern amenities, making it an attractive place for individuals and families looking for a peaceful yet vibrant place to call home.

One of the defining features of Wigton is its historical significance. The town dates back to Roman times, with evidence of a Roman fort and settlement in the area. Over the centuries, Wigton has grown and evolved, becoming a thriving market town with a bustling high street and a range of shops, cafes, and restaurants. The town’s history is evident in its architecture, with many buildings dating back to the Victorian era, including the impressive St Mary’s Church, Highmoor Mansion and the Moore Memorial Fountain.

Credit: Photographer Elliot Moore

One of the things that sets Wigton apart is its strong sense of community. The town is home to a close-knit population who take pride in their local heritage and traditions. Residents often come together for various community events, from fairs and festivals to charity fundraisers and sports tournaments. This sense of camaraderie fosters a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere that makes newcomers feel right at home.

Wigton also boasts a wide range of amenities and services to cater to its residents’ needs. From local shops and markets to cafes and restaurants, there is no shortage of options for shopping and dining out. The town also has good schools, healthcare facilities, and recreational activities, ensuring that residents have everything they need right on their doorstep.

In terms of transportation, Wigton is well-connected to the rest of Cumbria and beyond. The town has good road and rail links, making it easy to travel to nearby city of Carlisle, the Solway Coast and the Lake District. For those who prefer to explore on foot or by bike, there are plenty of scenic walking and cycling routes to enjoy in the surrounding countryside.

As the Mayor of Wigton, I am truly honoured to serve the wonderful community in this role. Wigton is a vibrant town filled with history, culture, and a strong sense of community spirit. From the moment I took office, I have been overwhelmed by the warmth and support of the residents of Wigton. One of the greatest privileges of being Mayor is the opportunity to work closely with local organisations, businesses, and residents to help make Wigton an even better place to live, work, and play. From participating in community events and celebrations to meeting with local leaders to discuss important issues facing our town, every day brings new and exciting challenges. I am constantly amazed by the dedication and passion of the people of Wigton. Whether it’s volunteers who give their time to help those in need, local businesses that support community projects, or residents who take pride in their town and work hard to make it a better place, the sense of community in Wigton is truly inspiring.

One of the things I love most about being Mayor is the opportunity to be a voice for the people of Wigton. Whether it’s advocating for improvements to local services, supporting initiatives to promote economic development, or working to protect and preserve our town’s unique heritage, I am committed to representing the interests and concerns of all residents. I am humbled by the trust and confidence that the people of Wigton have placed in me, and I am dedicated to serving the town with honesty, integrity, and a genuine desire to make a positive difference. Being Mayor of Wigton is not just a title or a position – it is a responsibility and a privilege that I take very seriously.

Overall, living in Wigton offers a peaceful and idyllic lifestyle in a stunning natural setting. With its strong sense of community, range of amenities, and easy access to the great outdoors, it’s no wonder that residents of Wigton feel proud to call this charming town home.

Credit: Photographer Elliot Moore

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Showcasing Hawkshead

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Written by David Rippin, University lecturer and landscape photographer, Hawkshead

The Church of St Michael and All Angels, on an early winter’s evening. The hills of the Fairfield horseshoe are visible in the distance. (Credit: Photo Rippin)

Just a few miles south of busy and bustling Ambleside lies the village of Hawkshead – an oasis of calm, steeped in history and stunning Lakeland beauty, with so much to recommend it. Despite its small size, there is plenty to see and do, with something for everyone.

Spectacular night skies are visible from within and around Hawkshead. (Credit: Photo Rippin)

Hawkshead began as a medieval market town and is famous for its cobbled streets and classic whitewashed Lake District cottages. In the village centre on a small hill, stands the striking 17th Century Church of St Michael and All Angels. This is a wonderful spot to survey the village and the wider area. Hawkshead is also famous for its association with both William Wordsworth, who attended the Grammar School, and Beatrix Potter, who lived at nearby Hill Top.

The village is richly served by coffee shops, cafes, bars and bistros, as well as numerous shops, including the famous Hawkshead Relish, the only Grasmere Gingerbread shop outside of Grasmere, a delicatessen and our very own chocolate factory.

The village sits beside the beautiful and adventure-filled Grizedale Forest, while to the south lies the serene Esthwaite Water, a prime fishing spot and home to ospreys.

One of the many patches of glorious woodland to be found around Hawkshead. (Credit: Photo Rippin)

A myriad of footpaths begin in Hawkshead. The spectacular Tarn Hows is just a 45 minute walk, or a short drive away, and a fantastic bridleway leads cyclists and walkers alike to the glorious Wray Castle on the shores of Windermere. To the east of the village lies the summit of Latterbarrow, and the undulating terrain of Claife Heights.

With its 360-degree views, the Coniston Range, the Fairfield Horseshoe and the Langdale Pikes are all visible. The views from here are magical and varying throughout the year, and being just a stone’s throw from the village, are another reason why Hawkshead is truly the place to be, all year round.

The village of Hawkshead from the south. (Credit: Photo Rippin)

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Showcasing Cockermouth

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Written by Suzanne Elsworth, Elsworth Communications, Cockermouth

(Credit: Alec Valentine)

Eat, drink, shop, explore – that’s the strapline Cockermouth folks use to promote the town, and it’s the perfect place to do all of that. It’s packed with independent businesses, from the most practical or beautiful of retailers, to great restaurants, cafes, takeaways, quirky bars and proper pubs.

You can eat your way around the globe here – from Cumbria to China, Thailand to Turkey, and all the bits in between. If you love to cook, find the butchers, the fishmonger, the bakeries or the deli, as well as supermarkets for those all important staples.

The shopping is special – from toys and shoes, to clothes and homewares, as well as things for the garden and loads of unique gifts.

(Credit: Tracy Hadwin)

There are all the professional services you need for everyday life, whether that’s estate agents and solicitors, financial assistance or car repairs, loads of experts like architects, IT specialists and more.

Cockermouth is the birthplace of William Wordsworth – the National Trust opens his former house to the public Wordsworth House and Garden | Lake District | National Trust – and it’s the home of the biggest Taste Cumbria food festival.

Located just on the edge of the Lake District, the town’s biggest fans say they wouldn’t live anywhere else. And why would you move when you can be at the beach or on a lakeshore in 15 minutes or up a fell in five? It’s an ideal gateway to the Cumbrian coast, and to discover the quieter side of the Lakes, with hotels, B&Bs and self catering accommodation galore.

Come and discover Cockermouth. Maybe you’ll never want to leave…

(Credit: John Lowther)

Check out the Elsworth Communications website Professional Copywriter in Cumbria | Suzanne Elsworth (

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Showcasing Ulverston

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Written by Zoe Arnold-Bennett, Shed One Distillery, Ulverston

Ulverston, the l’al town with a big heart.

(Credit Ford Park_Pepperpot_Zoe Arnold-Bennett)

Can you see the Pepperpot? Then you must be in Ulverston! The Sir John Barrow memorial, sitting atop Hoad hill is one the most recognisable symbols of the town. If the flag is flying, you can climb the 112 steps up the spiral staircase to the lantern chamber. The views are magnificent across Morecambe Bay, the Lake District fells and the Pennines. Look down to Ulverston canal, the straightest canal in Britain. At 1.3 miles long, it’s perfect for a stroll. OAfter admiring the flora and fauna, relax at canal foot and enjoy more stunning views and a refreshment from the pub.

(Credit -permission sought and received)

Wander into our market town, via alleyways and ginnels, to the famous cobbles. Here’s where many of our festivals take place. Another Fine Fest, a music and comedy weekend in honour of Ulverston born Stan Laurel. Retro Rendezvous with its nod to all things vintage. The Lantern Festival, Flag Festival and Printfest. Our Dickensian Festival is one of the most popular in the country with stalls and performers, and many visitors come dressed in their Victorian/Steampunk finery.

Among the variety of independent businesses, you’ll find The Laurel and Hardy Museum which attracts fans from around the world. For a cinema with history and still has an ice cream interval during the main film, visit the art deco Roxy, opened in 1937.

(Credit -permission sought and received)

A short drive or longer walk from Ulverston centre is Swarthmoor Hall. An historic house set in beautiful gardens with a crocus meadow, the cradle of the Quaker movement.

It’s all going on in Ulverston!

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Showcasing Keswick

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Written by Paul Roper, Sunnyside Guest House, Keswick

(Credit: Paul Roper, Sunnyside Guest House, Keswick)

Keswick is located in the heart of the northern Lake District. For nearly 200 years Keswick has attracted visitors from far and wide, initially by writers, poets and artists who were inspired by the surrounding mountains and the beauty of Derwentwater then followed by those who were inspired by those works of art. Today visitors are still attracted by the same beauty and majestic scenery, although Keswick is equally regarded as the adventure capital, a destination for those seeking outdoor activities but it offers so much more than that.

Keswick attracts thousands of visitors, of all ages and from all over the world every year who want enjoy getting away from it all in a unique landscape. From leisurely walks with stunning views to a boat trip on Derwentwater and Keswick is blessed with many amazing things to see and do including the award-winning, program packed Theatre by the Lake and the beautiful Alhambra cinema. And no visit to Keswick is complete without visiting the Pencil Museum and the Keswick Museum.

(Credit: Paul Roper, Sunnyside Guest House, Keswick)

For foodies Keswick has a great selection of cafes and restaurants that offer delicious food and drink – you’ll be spoilt for choice. For those who like a wonderful shopping experience Keswick is full of interesting independent shops plus a vibrant market around the famous Moot Hall on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Keswick is situated close to the shores of Derwentwater which is commonly referred to as “The Queen of the Lakes” and it’s easy to see why, majestically surrounded by mountains and fells such as Catbells, Skiddaw and Walla Crag. At only 3 miles long, 1mile wide and 75ft deep at its deepest it’s one of the smaller lakes and is enjoyed by many rowers, motorboats and wild water swimmers. Derwentwater attracts photographers in all weathers and is an iconic view that symbolises The Lake District. Even if you’ve never visited it the landscape will still be recognisable to you as its been used as the backdrop for many famous films including Swallows and Amazons (2016) and Star Wars ep. VII The Force Awakens (2015).

(Credit: Paul Roper, Sunnyside Guest House, Keswick)

For those who want to explore the famous Cumbrian Mountains, Keswick is the ideal base. Surrounded by beautiful smaller fells such Latrigg, Catbells and Walla Crag, which are achievable by most of the family, within walking distance of Skiddaw and Blencathra and a short distance from Helvellyn and the Scafells – Keswick has something for everyone and all abilities.

(Credit: Paul Roper, Sunnyside Guest House, Keswick)

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Showcasing Kendal

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Written by Jonny Gios, Showcase Cumbria Contributor

(Credit: Jonny Gios Photography)

Kendal is situated in South Cumbria and known as the Gateway to the Lake District but it’s also a destination in itself! I think that our town will surprise you – and you’ll pack so many unique experiences into one visit, you’ll want to come back! From indulgent shopping to incredible food and drink, adventurous activities to leisurely strolls with wonderful views all around. There are so many great places to meet for coffee or lunch that are independent and different. Down many of Kendal’s famous yards there are more local shops / cafés that are hidden gems.

We even made the Times in 2023 as one of the coolest places to live in the UK. We also have one of the best FE colleges in the UK!

John Cunliffe who lived in Kendal based the Postman Pat books and later the TV series on the former post office at Greenside. The adventures featured nearby Kentmere and Longsleddale.

Scout Scar is a 5-minute journey in the car to what the locals call the ‘mushroom’ which is a lookout point that takes in views of Blackpool, Heysham and the Lake District. Seeing almost 30 miles on clear days! It’s also been known to see the Northern Lights on camera from Scout Scar!!

(Credit: Jonny Gios Photography)

Although Kendal is having a lot of work done along the River Kent by the EA the river is full of life! We often see our ‘3 otters’ playing and fishing along the river, Kingfishers, Herons, Cormorants are all very common along with salmon and white clawed crayfish. It’s a delight to see so much wildlife in our Kendal. We have a wonderful community and Kendal is packed with festivals and many local support groups that benefit locals and tourists alike!

When do you plan to visit?

(Credit: Jonny Gios Photography)

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