Cumbria

Places to visit, attractions, heritage and things of interest in Cumbria, England.

The Castles of the Lune Valley

The Lune Valley in Lancashire

North-West England’s River Lune meanders around 50 miles from the Cumbrian fells to Lancaster.  It seems attractive and tranquil, a mixture of woodland, meadows and beckoning hills, punctuated by attractive stone-built villages.  Yet, once upon a time, it must have been a very different, possibly even violent, place – because it possesses an apparently disproportionate […]

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Ravenglass to Eskdale and return

La'al Ratty

A meeting of the Ways and Means Committee decided that a visit to Ravenglass and its steam railway was required. Dissent would not be brooked.  Reports of riding the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway were examined.  Indeed, a stationary lurking locomotive had even been spotted a couple of times, at Ravenglass and Eskdale (respectively).  But the

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Why hadn’t I heard of Holme Cultram?

Holme Cultram Abbey feature on A Bit About Britain

“Do you want to go into the church?”  The neatly dressed middle-aged lady beamed at us. It was a little late in the day and it seemed she was just about to lock up. “Well, if it’s not too much trouble…”. Visiting Holme Cultram was one of those happy accidents.  I had never heard of

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A walk in Smardale Gill

Some years ago, we spent a happy couple of days with good friends in the Eden district of Cumbria.  For many, Cumbria means the Lake District – which is, of course, a wonderful place; but there is more to the county than that.  Eden, named for the river that flows north through it to the

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Cat Bells

Cat Bells, Catbells

Motivated by Jo Williams’ suggestions for five easy walks in the Lake District, a bright April morning found the ABAB team resolutely heading in the direction of the northern English Lakes, with the ultimate destination being Cat Bells.  Look elsewhere for furry friend gadgets.  Cat Bells, or Catbells, is, for the benefit of the uninformed,

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Helvellyn, England’s third mountain

Helvellyn

England, unlike Wales, is not a mountainous country.  Indeed, it is fair to say that other countries, with the possible exception of Holland, have mountains that come in larger sizes than England’s.  But England does have some fairly serious lumps of rock and Helvellyn is one of them.  At 3,117 feet (950 metres), it is

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5 easy walks in the Lake District

Lake District, Keswick, Derwent Water

A Bit About Britain is delighted to welcome Jo Williams, traveller and blogger at Lost Wanders, and Jack Russell expert, as a guest writer introducing readers to five easy walks in the Lake District. 5 easy walks in the Lake District Get out of London and England has some amazing countryside waiting to be explored.

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Race relations and the place names of North West England

Lake District

I have recently wondered if there is a particular lesson for us in the old place names of North West England.  Now, the interpretation of place names can be a complicated, uncertain, business and it should be stressed that I am no toponymist.  That said, a lack of knowledge doesn’t deter anyone these days, and

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Clifton, England’s last battle?

Jacobite Gardens, Rebel Tree, Clifton

18 December 1745, and a rebel Jacobite army arrives at the tiny village of Clifton, right at the top of the old county of Westmoreland in the north-west of England.  Maybe four and a half thousand armed men, trudging back to Scotland along rutted, wintry, roads with horses, artillery and baggage.  In November, Bonnie Prince

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The castle at Penrith

Penrith Castle

Penrith Castle doesn’t encourage the casual visitor, unless arriving by train.  The railway station is conveniently opposite the castle (probably built on the top of its medieval outbuildings), but anyone driving into town who isn’t a committed castle collector could be excused for not bothering over much.  A busy road runs into downtown Penrith alongside

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Touching the lost past of Ninekirks

Ninekirks, St Ninian's, near Penrith

It’s hard to beat soaking up the atmosphere of an elegant historic house, or imagining life being restored to the grim ruins of a once-mighty castle. But there’s also a special kind of magic getting off the well-beaten tourist track to explore some less obvious aspect of our past, an attraction that isn’t widely advertised,

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The chuffing romance of Haverthwaite

Heritage railways, Britain

Imagine a simpler, hate-free, monochrome world, where you know your doctor, civil servants are both civil and servile, politicians benign and dogs only ever bark happily.  You are secure in the womb of grim, factory-stained, buildings.  There’s a footbridge over a railway and a train is coming.  You gaily dash to cross just as the

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