Cumbria is generally thought of as a mountainous region – the Lake District and all its hills and sheep and lakes. The Lake District National Park takes up 885 square miles of Cumbria, stretching as far as the coastline between Drigg and Silecroft. In fact, the entire coastline covers over 120 miles in length between Levens near Kendal, all the way up to Bowness-on Solway on the Scottish Border, making it a significant part of the county.
The entire western edge of Cumbria is taken up by coastline, mostly outside of the National Park. The coastline has a fascinating history, from the Roman occupation to the industrial revolution and manufacturing.
Cumbria’s beautiful and diverse coastline is within easy reach of many of our Lake District cottages. Cockermouth and Ennerdale are within a 20 minute drive of the beaches and coastal cliffs. We even have cottages in Ravenglass, right on the seafront. Even places like Keswick and Ullswater are not too far away, taking around 30-40 minutes to reach towns like Maryport, which has a Roman history museum and a fascinating aquarium.
There is so much to explore along the magnificent coastline, it is difficult to know where to start. A great way to explore would be to hop on the train at Maryport. The railway follows the sea all the way down to the southern peninsulas at Millom and Barrow. It can be difficult to decide which window to look out of - the shimmering sea on one side and the dramatic Lake District fells on the other. As the trains run on a regular timetable, it is easy to jump on and off where you please and start exploring.
There are several Victorian seaside resorts that still draw tourists today. Seascale, St Bees, Allonby, and Silloth all have lovely beaches and seaside cafes. Allonby in particular has a fine ice cream parlour most often with a queue outside!
As you might expect, the coast draws nature lovers to its unique setting. To the north there are bird sanctuaries, wetlands and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As you travel further south there are sandy and shingled beaches and dramatic cliffs, particularly at St Bees.
Being in the west, Cumbria and the Lake District enjoy dramatic sunsets. As you get closer to the coast, they can be stunningly beautiful. The Solway in particular enjoys some of the longest sunsets due to its northerly position.