Situated between the Irish Sea and the Eskdale and Wasdale valleys, Gosforth is Viking country. Or at least it used to be. Towards the end of the 8th century the Vikings arrived from the north, scattering the farmers who had tended the land for centuries and claiming the land for their own. They stayed for 300 years.
Now a bustling Cumbrian village, Gosforth has many reminders of its Viking past. In the churchyard of St Mary’s is the tallest Viking cross in England, the Gosforth or Wheel Head Cross, which has stood there since the year 940, marking the triumph of Christianity over pagan gods. St Mary’s also has a number of other Viking relics including 2 hogback tomb lids inside the church.
Walking and Cycling
Gosforth and its surrounding area have hundreds of foothpaths and bridleways. Within half an hour you can be at the foot of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. Walks do not come much more challenging than this! Closer to Gosforth, there are family walks and gentle strolls.
There are lots of cycle routes near to Gosforth. One particularly good route is a ride from Gosforth to Wastwater, England’s deepest lake, in nearby Wasdale around the lake and back again, a 10 mile ride through beautiful scenery.
Castles and Steam Trains
A few miles away is Muncaster Castle, Gardens and Hawk & Owl Centre, home to the Pennington family for over 800 years and with lots going on all year round. The gardens are renowned for their stunning rhododendrons in the summer. There is a plant centre at the castle with many specimens for sale.
The coast, and the old fishing village of Ravenglass is 10 minutes west of Gosforth, with its Roman bath-house, beach, and the famous Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway - a popular miniature railway that travels seven scenic miles to the beautiful and tranquil Eskdale valley.
In the Village
Gosforth has 4 pubs, all serving good food and real ales. Three of them are clustered together in the centre of the village, the Globe, the Lion and Lamb and the Wheatsheaf. A little further away is the Horse & Groom.
The Gosforth Hall Hotel was voted CAMRA Pub of 2007 for West Cumbria and has an excellent restaurant. The Red Admiral, just outside the village, specializes in pizza. The Bower House Inn just a few miles from Gosforth at the start of the Eskdale Valley has Wi-fi access available to the public.
The Lakeland Habit is a café offering a wide range of snacks.
Gosforth has a number of craft and gift shops, including Gosforth Pottery, which is a working pottery plus shop.
Sea and sand
Gosforth is just a 10-minute drive from the lovely village of Seascale on the Cumbrian coast. This is a real hidden delight with its long pebbled beaches, stretches of sand when the tide is out, Roman history, and a beautifully situated golf course. Seascale train station is also a handy addition if you want to explore the coast up north to Carlisle or south to Ravenglass, or event to Barrow for links to the rest of the UK!
- Have a look at our Review of Outdoor Activities in the Lake District.
- Have a look at things to do Down on the Farm in Gosforth and beyond.
- Visit our Lake District shows
- Cumbrian Wildlife
- Click here for Dog Friendly pubs in the Lake District and pet friendly cottages.
- Churches in the Lake District
- The World's Biggest Liar Contest - held at the Santon Bridge Inn (5 minutes drive from Gosforth).
- Read our introduction to Sally's Cottages in the Lake District.