Take a train trip along the fantastic Cumbrian Coastline, from Carnforth to Carlisle, with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other it's quite breathtaking. We've highlighted the main attractions, but there's much more to see and do along the way. This itinerary gives you an idea for a full day or one week, you choose!
Grange over Sands would be an ideal first stop. On the shores of Morecambe Bay with it's lovely promenade, Grange is a pretty resort with an Edwardian flavour and a mild climate. It also has some of the finest parks and gardens on the Cumbrian coast - the ornamental gardens has a lake with many water birds. An abudance of individual shops to have a look around.
If you decide to spend longer here make sure you visit Holker Hall. The Hall, Gardens and Lakeland Motor Museum comprise of three spectacular attractions in one perfect setting. But that is not all. Holker Hall also boasts a delightful Cumbrian Café too and foodhall to purchase local Cumbrian produce before you carry on with your journey north.
Grange-over-Sands is Lakeland's Riviera. Cradled between the hills and the sea it has one of the mildest climates in the North of England. Last year the town was listed 2nd in a list of top ten seaside towns.
Victorian stately home, set in 25 acres of stunning gardens and ancient deer park. Holker has its own cafe, gift shop and food hall, and hosts an annual programme of special events.
Ulverston is a delightful market town, with its olde worlde pubs, wide selection of cafes, restaurants and accommodation, fascinating ginnels and cobbled streets that hold many surprises. The town has lots of events and festivals throughout the year. The world famous Laurel and Hardy Museum is in the town centre. A collection of memorabilia, including personal items, letter, furniture and photographs. There is also a small cinema which shows Laurel and Hardy films throughout the day.
This quirky market town, renowned for its year round programme of colourful festivals, has many claims to fame, including being the birthplace of Stan Laurel and home of the world famous Laurel and Hardy Museum.
Next stop - Ravenglass. This is the only coastal town within the Lake District National Park. From here you can catch another famous train - Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. This steam engine it is the oldest working gauge locomotive and it takes you through the grandeur of the Eskdale valley to foothills of England's highest mountains. Don't forget to visit Muncaster Castle, home to the Pennington family for 800 years, is a genuine treasure trove of art, antiques and ghosts, with it's fantastic gardens to discover, there's an amazing owl centre too, plus lots of events throughout the year, you could spend a full day here!
Further up the coast is Whitehaven. The Dark Spirit of Whitehaven - Set in the original 1785 shop, courtyards, cellars and bonded warehouses of the Jefferson family, The Rum Story has been authentically designed to provide all-weather family entertainment, if this doesn't take your fancy why not just have a stroll around the regenerated harbour and shops or you could pop into the new and interactive Beacon. Situated on the harbourside, you will be amazed at the area's rich past and it's packed into 5 floors!
Whitehaven is a must for the discerning visitor. Once one of the busiest ports in England, its businesses were major players in the rum and ship building market. The Beacon visitor attraction let's you into the town's best kept secrets.
Heading to the City of Carlise you will pass quaint villages and beaufiful unspoilt scenery. You could stop at the quait fishing village of Maryport, with it's own Aquarium and Roman Fort, it's an ideal stopover. There's lots to do in Carlisle, so give yourself a good 2 days to visit all the historic sites. A must is taking a bus ride to Birdoswald Visior Centre. A Roman fort, turret and milecastle can all be seen on this excellent stretch of Hadrian's Wall. A great way to end your Cumbrian tour.
Maryport is a very pleasant town to discover on foot - built on a grid pattern in the 18thC, it is very easy to find your way around. Start at the harbour, recently refurbished to a high standard where pleasure craft are berthed.
Birdoswald stands high above a meander in the River Irthing, in one of the most picturesque settings on Hadrian's Wall. A Roman fort, turret and milecastle can all be seen on this excellent stretch of the Wall.
Grange-over-Sands at Grange over Sands
Genteel Grange-over-Sands is an excellent example of a prosperous, Edwardian seaside resort. Steeped in elegance and charm, this is the perfect place to indulge in a very English pastime - a leisurely stroll along the fine promenade, a walk in the Ornamental Gardens and afternoon tea in one of the many fine cafes. Looking over Morecambe Bay's sands to the south, the town is more sheltered than much of the Lake District. Once an important headquarters for the walk across the tidal sands from Hest Bank to Lancaster, the crossing is now a tourist attraction rather than a necessary travelling shortcut. Now, as then, a guide is required to cross the sands. The tide changes swiftly, and there are many areas of quicksand. To enhance Grange for seaside worshippers, a mile-long promenade, stretching from Blawith Point to the Victorian railway station, was built in 1904. Next to it are the Ornamental Gardens with rare trees and plants. Waterfowl enjoy the artificial lakes. Specialist shops abound. Higginsons, a butcher shop, won a "best butchers in Britain" award. There are a large range of eating establishments where local specialties such as Cumberland sausage, Holker venison, Morecambe Bay shrimps, and Flookburgh flukes are on offer.
Last year the town was listed second in a list of top ten seaside towns, described as the perfect old fashioned resort, full of life and character. Traditional in its own way, just how you remembered life to be like when you were growing up. Not as much sand these days, but showing lots of quiet Cumbrian class.
More recently in Spring 2008, this Victorian/Edwardian resort was placed fifth in Coast Magazine's survey of Britain's Best Coastal Towns. The town is noted for its relaxed, friendly atmosphere, its mild climate, ornamental gardens, traffic-free promenade overlooking the scenically delightful extremities of Morecambe Bay, and several award-winning shops and tourism attractions. Its famous small railway station was recently named the best in Europe, and l'Enclume restaurant at the picturesque neighbouring village of Cartmel came 13th in a recent listing of Britain's top 50 culinary venues: one of the many choice places to eat in South Lakeland.