Things to do nearby Church House Barn
Newton Arlosh is a beautiful little village in the middle of a Natural Nature Reserve and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, just a few miles from the coast and the Irish Sea. There is a village pub – the ever popular Joiners Arms, known for its good food and convivial atmosphere – and a 700 year old church, noted for its Pele Tower (and narrow church door – they say that when there is a wedding, the first of the bridal pair to get through the door will be the boss in the marriage!) It's the perfect starting point to explore this beautiful part of the world. There is also a children's playground. The pub in the neighbouring village (Kirkbride) offers a free taxi service home if you fancy a glass of wine (or two) with your meal!
Silloth is a seaside town built at the coming of the railway as a holiday resort. The Victorian designers made a beautiful job, keeping the housing back from the sea, leaving a magnificent green facing the Solway for all to enjoy. Hidden within it are gardens, copses, an adventure playground, a ‘pagoda’ viewing out to Scotland and a mini-casino for kids.
Dads and lads and everyone else in your group will love the two rather specialised museums. ‘Soldiers in Silloth’ has a collection of over 10,000 toy soldiers, models of forts, the battle of Waterloo and so on, while the Motorcycle Museum showcases scores of vintage bikes from the humble BSA to Isle of Man TT champions.
If there are golfers in your party the chances are they will already know and want to play on Silloth Golf Course – regularly voted among the top 100 courses IN THE WORLD. So famous it is even signed from the M6. Enough said!
Now something for everybody – cycle hire! There is a splendid cycle path all the way from Silloth to Maryport and cycles for all sizes to hire in Allonby – halfway along the route - at Solway Cycle Hire. Not doing electric bikes yet as the coastal paths are level and easy. Allonby itself has fantastic beaches, part pebble-part sandy and faces west, making it the perfect spot to admire stunning sunsets as the sun dips below the sea. Don’t forget to take a camera on your evening stroll!
If a car tour is to your taste then you could take a tour through 2000 years of history. Start off inland to Abbeytown for the first stop at Holme Cultram Abbey, which was built in the 12th century, a former Cistercian Abbey, founded by monks from Melrose Abbey. Then head north passing airstrips and hangars left over from WWII, making for Bowness on Solway. This unpretentious little village has two historic claims to fame. It marks the real end of Hadrian’s Wall, which extended this far to prevent incursion over the narrow part of the Solway Firth: and it still shows the remains of the end of the railway bridge which crossed from here to Scotland in Victorian times. Trains didn’t run on a Sunday – and the pubs in Scotland, but not in England, were closed on a Sunday. Many an Annan man walked the mile-long bridge for a pint in the King’s Arms – perhaps it’s lunchtime now?
Turning west soon brings you to Port Carlisle and more history. There is a ruined harbour marking the end of a great canal which allowed sea-going ships access to Carlisle and in particular Carrs flour works. Alas, the coming of the railway and opening of Silloth harbour made it redundant. On to Burgh by Sands and some 14th century history. You can either park and walk out on the marsh to the rather fine obelisk marking the spot where King Edward 1st (Longshanks) died on 7th July 1307 – or you can just view the statue to him in the village by the Greyhound Inn.
It’s a bit of a drive round the end of the Solway Firth to Gretna, site of the famous Blacksmith’s Shop where thousands of runaway lovers have been married, but if you’ve got this far do press on a short distance to Eastriggs and The Devil’s Porridge Museum, commemorating the work of hundreds of young women who mixed the cordite for shells and bombs in WWI. Arthur Conan Doyle coined the name having seen the girls stirring the potent brew.
Turning for home Carlisle may take your fancy, either for shopping or its own history…
County town of Cumbria and ancient bastion against the Scots, Carlisle city centre offers fine shopping and lovely bijou cafes and restaurants. Its three major attractions are all historical – the castle, the cathedral and Tullie House Museum. The castle dates back to 1093 – less than 30 years after William conquered England and boasts an impressive history. Tullie House museum explores Carlisle’s story right from Roman times when of course it was a major site on Hadrian’s Wall, and is great for kids and adults alike. The Cathedral looks distinctly odd as you enter – there is no nave! It was dismantled in the Civil War to provide stone to reinforce the castle – leaving it the second smallest cathedral in the country, after St. Asaph.
If you want to get out and walk to your heart’s content, the whole northwest Lake District is your oyster! The quiet fells above Ennerdale will get you away from the crowds as will the rolling grassy hills in the area known as ‘Back O’ Skiddaw.’ Or how about giving Skiddaw itself a go? It is one of only four fells in the Lakes that is over 3,000ft high and on a clear day it offers views stretching from Scotland, round to the Pennines and across the fells. The route up over Long Side and Carlside is beautiful when the heather is out and provides a more interesting approach than the tourist trail from Keswick. For gentler walks try Loweswater or Rannerdale in May for stunning displays of bluebells. For autumn colours you cannot beat the woods around Derwentwater.
The lovely Georgian town of Cockermouth, birthplace of William Wordsworth, is only half an hour away. You will find the Romantic poet’s childhood home, now owned by the National Trust, presented as it would have been in 1770. There are local amenities, including a supermarket and a range of independent shops, lovely riverside areas to explore, and pretty back streets to wander through. The town also boasts the Jennings brewery, which offers tours and those all-important tastings!