Things to do in Cockermouth holiday cottages

Things to do in Cockermouth

Kim 05 April 2024

Cockermouth lies on the north-western edge of the Lake District National Park. This pretty market town is an ideal place to stay for making the most of your trip to the park – it’s just 10 minutes by car to Bassenthwaite Lake, less than 20 minutes in the car to the beautiful beaches of the Solway Coast, and under half an hour’s drive to Keswick.

It has been designated a ‘gem’ town, one of only 51 towns across Great Britain chosen by the Council for British Archaeology in 1964 as a particularly picturesque and historic place worthy of preservation.

From here, you can experience all the region has to offer. Check out our cottages in Cockermouth for your perfect place to stay.

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Things to do in Cockermouth

Walks in Cockermouth

Cockermouth Castle from Cockermouth Memorial Gardens

Because of its location, with ease of access to the fells, the peaks, the beaches and the lakes, Cockermouth makes an ideal base for walkers, whether you’re gently meandering while you explore or you’re striding with a purpose to the top of the nearest summit.

Our favourite walk in the town is the idyllic stroll along the River Derwent to Papcastle. This short wander takes in the views across the countryside to the Western Lake District fells of Loweswater and Crummock Water. There is a good pet-friendly village pub in Papcastle and the village was founded on the site of a Roman settlement so you'll find plenty of history to explore too.

If you’re up for a long-distance hike, then the historic John Dalton Way will take you through the villages and countryside west of Cockermouth, ending up on the coast at Seascale. At 28 miles long, it’s not for the faint-hearted and will take a couple of days to complete, but for experienced and ardent walkers it’s worth the shoe leather. You could, of course, opt to complete just one of the walk’s five shorter sections

If you have a four-legged pal, then there are plenty of dog-friendly walks to enjoy. Try out the old railway path, which takes in woodland, rivers and open countryside. It’s easy to follow and relatively flat underfoot.

Wordsworth House

Wordsworth House with blue sky behind

Celebrated poet William Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth and is perhaps the town’s most famous son. Visit Wordsworth House and Garden, his childhood home, and see it as it was when he lived there. Exhibitions and hands-on displays welcome visitors, while guides recount tales of 18th-century life in the house. Wander into the garden and discover the terrace walk where Wordsworth played as a child, the early inspiration for his poetry.

Children’s activities

A path in Cockermouth Memorial Gardens on a blue-sky day

Cockermouth is a family-friendly place with lots of things for children to do. The leisure pool has a climbing wall and a sports hall. Along the banks of the River Cocker, you'll find the Memorial Gardens with a riverside walk and a modern children's play area. There is another play area in Harris Park along with a tennis court and a bowling green.

A short drive out of town, you’ll find Wellington Farm, which has a delightful woodland area with lots of surprises that kids will adore. Plus, a small animal paddock features Highland cattle, llamas, alpacas, pigs, sheep, donkeys horses and rabbits.


A young woman on the back of a man smiling at the camera at a festival

Throughout the year, Cockermouth is host to a number of festivals and these popular events reflect the warm and welcoming nature of the town. The family-friendly events include the Christmas lights switch on in December and the Taste Cumbria food festivals in September. Each June, there is the vibrant Cockermouth Live, a neighbourhood festival of music and family fun.

Things to do in Cockermouth when it’s raining

The Bridge Gallery in Cockermouth

Bad weather doesn’t have to stop the fun or mar your visit, as there’s plenty to do in Cockermouth when it’s raining. You could explore art galleries, such as Castlegate House Gallery, which is opposite Cockermouth Castle, Skylark Studio on South Street or The Bridge Gallery on Market Place. Alternatively, make your way to The Kirkgate Centre, the town’s main art venue and home to live music, comedy and theatre, as well as the Cockermouth Film Club.

Watch the world go by while enjoying a cup of tea or coffee in one of the town’s cafes – Fika with its Scandinavian vibe is popular for both its coffee and food, but there are many others to choose from too.

For something a little different, seek out J. B. Banks & Son Ironmongers, an iconic shop in Cockermouth. It sells traditional ironmongery goods in a unique setting. The shop is several hundred years old and houses a small museum dedicated to heritage ironmongery, tools and hand machinery. It's free to visit the museum and you can see locks dating back to the Tudor period, an ancient well and all manner of curiosity items.

Cockermouth food and drink 

Restaurants and cafes in Cockermouth

Close up of a pizza at Fermento Pizza

You’ll find a great selection of restaurants, cafes, takeaways and bars in Cockermouth, many serving dishes prepared with local produce. Cockermouth’s restaurants include Aspava, for Turkish cuisine, and Fermento and Tarantella for authentic Italian cooking. Or, for something a little more fiery, The Spice Club serves a selection of popular Indian dishes.

If you’re walking by the lake, why not stop off at Bassenthwaite Lake Station, home to a cafe in the restored station building? Or, more excitingly, you can sit in a full-size replica steam train while you sip your tea, imagining yourself in an Agatha Christie whodunnit.

Pubs in Cockermouth

The Bitter End pub in Cockermouth

Traditional Cockermouth pubs include The Bush Inn on Main Street, which serves a selection of real ales and wines, as well as good old pub grub, The Bitter End at Kirgkate, which offers a varied menu, including vegetarian and vegan dishes, and The Castle Bar on Market Place, which features in the CAMRA Good Pub Guide, and there are many others.

Slightly further afield, you’ll find The Pheasant Inn near the Western shore of Bassenthwaite Lake and The Wheatsheaf Inn at Lorton, 4 miles away. What’s lovely about the Lake District, including Cockermouth, is that many of the pubs are dog friendly, which means after a long day’s walking, your dog can relax with you!

Cockermouth markets

A market stall selling chutneys and preserves

During your visit to the town, don’t miss out on the chance to pick up tasty local produce at the market that takes place every week; Cockermouth Country Market, held one Friday and Saturday each month, is also a great place to visit to find locally made cakes, breads and preserves.

Shopping in Cockermouth

Shop front of Bryson's Bakery in Cockermouth

Head to Main Street in the centre of Cockermouth to find an array of shops to explore. Along with Station Street, Market Place, Old Kings Arms Lane and South Street, this is the heart of the town’s commercial district and home to a great selection of retailers. There are no soulless shopping centres with the familiar names that pepper high streets around the country. What you will find instead is a treasure trove of independents and specialists, each ready to welcome you into the store to browse and buy. 

Check out Desire or No 15 for ladies' fashion, Ice Peak in Market Place for outdoor gear and sportswear,  The Linden Tree for accessories and gifts, or The Toy Shop for gifts for children. Take a peek at the past in Cockermouth Antiques on Station Street or discover the work of local artists and craftspeople at Percy House Gallery. The Lakes Home Centre covers everything homewares and, if you’re feeling peckish, why not stop off at delicatessen Shills of Cockermouth to sample local cheeses, fresh produce and more?

The main street has several food shops including a great fishmonger, two bakeries, a long-established butcher and a wonderful delicatessen. Read our guide to shopping in Cockermouth for more. 

Cockermouth holiday cottages

If you’re looking for accommodation in the Cockermouth area then why not take a look at our beautiful holiday cottages and find the perfect base for your next relaxing break? Browse our full collection by clicking the button below and you'll soon be enjoying everything Cockermouth has to offer.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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