Cockermouth is a small, pretty town on the western edges of the Lake District. With narrow alleys, cobbled streets and colourful buildings, it is well known for its connections to William Wordsworth and for the Jennings Brewery. Less busy than nearby Keswick, it offers a great alternative just a short distance from the fells and lakes.Read our guide for 10 things to do during your stay in the town. And, if you haven’t booked your holiday yet, take a look at all of our self-catering cottages in Cockermouth. Cockermouth is also easy to reach from our cottages in Bassenthwaite, Loweswater and Keswick.
1. Wordsworth House
The Lake District’s most famous son, William Wordsworth was actually born just outside the national park, in the town of Cockermouth. His childhood home, Wordsworth House, is now owned by the National Trust and its doors are open for you to step back in time and learn about life in the 18th century. There are also regular events throughout the year, as well as temporary exhibitions.
2. Jennings Brewery
Beer fans must have a visit to the Jennings Brewery on their itinerary! Tours take place throughout the year, offering a fascinating insight into the history of the brewery. At the end, you’ll even get to taste three half pints of any Jennings beer and receive a 10% discount on anything you buy from the shop!
You can also take a look at our Guide to the Lake District's Breweries.
3. Vibrant evenings
Whether you want to head out to an open mic night at Wild Zucchinis (you choose whether you take part or sit back and listen!), catch a show or film at Kirkgate Arts Centre, or just enjoy a drink or a meal at one of the many pubs and restaurants, you can be sure that you’ll have plenty to do in the evenings.
4. Eat, eat, eat
Foodies will be in heaven in Cockermouth, with a wide choice of eateries to choose from. There are many highly rated cafés in the town as well as restaurants serving a wide selection of delicious food. Whether you’re an all-out vegan or a meat-lover, you have a choice of tasty treats. There are also wonderful butchers and bakers and plenty of foodie events throughout the year.
Read more about some of the wonderful eateries in Cockermouth.
5. Gentle Walks
Cockermouth sits on the point where the River Derwent and the River Cocker meet. You can enjoy gentle strolls alongside the water or in the memorial gardens (where there is also a fantastic children’s play park). If you’re looking for something more strenuous, the likes of Skiddaw, Whinlatter Forest and Catbells are all just a short drive away!
For easy walks, you might like to read about some 1-hour walks in the Lake District.
6. Isel Hall
Something of a hidden gem, Isel Hall is an ancient residence to the northeast of Cockermouth. Sitting high on a steep hill above the River Derwent, it commands fantastic views. The building itself is fascinating, particularly the pele tower, grand hall, and façade.
7. Hidden treasures
Cockermouth is a wonderful place for hunting out treasures! As well as lots of independent shops selling everything from books to food and art to clothes, there is a great choice of antique stores. You could spend a whole morning hunting through these magical places, keeping an eye out for something really special!
8. The Shores of Bassenthwaite Lake
Bassenthwaite Lake is just a short drive from Cockermouth and provides a huge amount to do around the shores. Wildlife-spotters will want to head to one of the two nature reserves or to the Lake District Wildlife Park. If you’re a fan of your history, seek out Mirehouse, or enjoy a tour and tipple at the Lakes Distillery (discounts available for guests with Sally’s Cottages). There's also the lovely little St Bega's Church or the woodland walks of Dodd Wood.
9. Whinlatter Forest
Whinlatter Forest is the only true mountain forest in England and offers plenty to do for the whole family. You can simply enjoy walks in the woods, get that adrenaline pumping on the world-famous mountain bike trails, observe rare Ospreys fishing on Bassenthwaite Lake, or climb through the canopy on a Go Ape! adventure.
Love the forest? See our guide to Forest Holidays in the Lake District.
10. Head to the coast
Twenty minutes in the car will see you on the quiet west coast of Cumbria, a hidden gem that is well worth a visit. From the historic town of Maryport, you can head north to join the stunning Solway Coast with its long sandy beaches, dunes, breathtaking sunsets and – of course – delicious fish ‘n’ chips!
For even more ideas of what to do, you might enjoy: