Described by The I newspaper in 2019 as “England’s most forgotten coastline”, it’s a common mistake for visitors to Cumbria to overlook more than 150 miles of stunning shores and beaches.
While lakes are more commonly associated with Cumbria than the sea, The Lake District Coast gives visitors plenty of good reasons to see the county differently, reinforcing the message that it’s not just all about the lakes and mountains.
From the town of Haverigg on the southern tip of the beautiful Copeland district up to the Solway Coast, there’s plenty to discover everywhere in between. From seaside towns like Ravenglass and St Bees, to fantastic beaches, scenic estuaries, historic harbours, marine nature reserves and imposing clifftops, a visit to The Lake District Coast will remain with you long after you leave.
Start your Lake District Coast Experience in the southeast of our region, where the dramatic Morecambe Bay meets Cumbria’s south coast – also known as ‘The Lake District Peninsulas’.
Offering wooded estuaries, sea-washed turf and fine views over the Kent estuary, take a trip along the coast by train at sunset, passing through an official area of outstanding natural beauty at Arnside and Silverdale along the way.
Take in the famously peaceful seaside town of Grange-over-Sands with its Edwardian promenade and art deco Lido, flanked by a rail journey whisking you over no less than two estuary viaducts for an unbeatable photo opportunity.
The South West
Work your way ‘around the corner’ of the South Cumbrian coast, taking-in the famous festival town of Ulverston and the shipbuilding town of Barrow, before heading north along the Lake District Coast.
The birthplace of comic actor Stan Laurel and overlooked by the famous Sir John Barrow monument at the top of Hoad Hill, the cobbled streets of Ulverston are just a short stroll from the railway station. The town also acts as a gateway to the Furness peninsula, which stretches out towards the Isle of Man, isolated by the Irish Sea on three sides.
At the peninsula’s tip, explore Piel Island – a vehicle-free zone, complete with its very own ruined castle and very own king, who will happily serve you a beer after an exciting crossing by modest “ferry”. Boasting two nature reserves, Walney Island is re-establishing itself as a destination for bird-watchers and those seeking some peace and tranquility, while Sandscale Haws nature reserve and the Roanhead sand dunes lie quietly on the peninsula’s north western side.
From Furness, head up to the Lake District coastal town of Ravenglass, proceeding past Silecroft’s sandy beaches before stepping over the Esk estuary at Muncaster and up to the heritage site of St Bees Head, where daunting cliffs await the intrepid explorer. In short, this is where two World Heritage Sites collide.
The estuary at Ravenglass sees three rivers converge, while two UNESCO World Heritage Sites meet – Hadrian’s Wall, and The Lake District National Park.
Now a quiet and pretty seaside village, Ravenglass’ history paints a different picture. Once a strategic Roman port, the town supplied the occupying forces along the Empire’s northern frontier. Look closely and you can find some of Britain’s tallest remaining Roman structures here.
Also home to the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, fans of sustainable travel can take a 45 minute train ride to the foot of England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. The famous Muncaster Castle is here too, which to the best of our knowledge is the only castle in the UK which still employs a full time Jester…
With fine beaches as far as the eye can see, this stretch of The Lake District Coast also boasts a special site of scientific interest: The dune reserves at Drigg, as well as the impressive red sandstone cliffs of St Bees.
You’ve seen the beauty of both the land and seascapes of the Lake District Coast; and now it’s time to get a taste of Cumbrian life, thanks to insights offered in quick succession by the towns of Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport, before reaching the beautiful Solway estuary.
North of St Bees sees a change in emphasis, with the Georgian port and modern marina town of Whitehaven, the former industrial waterfront of Workington and the ancient port of Maryport, dotted along the coast, one after the other.
From here, the coast reverts to wilder loneliness with the working port and holiday destination of Silloth guiding the traveller into the Solway Estuary, from where views across to the Southern Uplands of Scotland can be enjoyed. Turning inland, the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site stretches eastwards towards the Pennines, bringing our journey along the Lake District Coast to a memorable end.