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Stan Laurel’s birthplace, Ulverston:
Another fine town you’ve got to go to

With today’s UK-wide release of the new film ‘Stan & Ollie’, based on the legendary comedy duo Laurel & Hardy starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly, there’s never been a better time to pay a visit to Stan Laurel’s birthplace: The market town of Ulverston, on the edge of The Lake District – a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ulverston artwork, Another Fine Fest' (photo credit, Graham Wynne)Ulverston artwork, Another Fine Fest' (photo credit, Graham Wynne)

 

Stan was born in the South Cumbria town on 16 June 1890. 129 years on, the legend of Stan and Ollie lives on through actor and comic Steve Coogan, who takes on the role of the iconic funny man.

Commenting to reporters during a recent visit to the Laurel & Hardy Museum, actor Steve Coogan says, "We came to the Laurel & Hardy museum [in Ulverston] to do some research and dip our toe in the water before going off and shooting the movie. It's been great to have the opportunity to come to Ulverston. Seeing as Stan was born here, we saw it as a great chance to come here and say thanks to people."

Here are our top suggestions of how to enjoy a visit to Ulverston, on a trip inspired by Stan:

The Laurel and Hardy Museum

Ulverston Street art on the Laurel & Hardy Museum and Roxy Cinema
No visit to Ulverston is complete without taking a look inside the Laurel & Hardy museum. Dedicated to the town’s most famous son and his comedy partner, it opened in 1983 before moving to larger premises in 2009 - making this year the current site’s 10th anniversary.
 
Meanwhile, less than a five-minute walk from the museum, visitors can find the humble beginnings of Stan Laurel’s life – his birthplace on Argyle Street, at a house marked by a special plaque commemorating the arrival of the comedy genius into the world.

The Laurel and Hardy Statue

Laurel and Hardy StatueLess than sixty seconds’ walk from the museum proudly stands a life-size statue of Stan and Ollie, cast in bronze by the same man who created the world-famous statue of Eric Morecambe. Located immediately outside the town’s theatre, the Coronation Hall, it’s rare to pass by the statue without seeing visitors gleefully posing for photographs alongside it.

Ulverston Town Centre & Another Fine Fest

Town Centre, Another Fine Fest (photo credit Graham Wynne)

Ulverston holds the world record for the largest foam pie fight, at an annual event inspired by Stan. The annual ‘Another Fine Fest’’ returns this year, on June 15 and 16 in the town centre, with previous Guinness-approved world record attempts including the world’s largest game of musical statues, the largest gathering of people wearing conical party hats; and the biggest crowd wearing odd socks. With more fun set for this year, in the words of the organisers, “We just need you to join us again, celebrating the spirit of Stan-our-man, comedy legend, mischief-maker and jester of joy. We can't wait to paint the town several shades of every colour once again this June!”

Live music, live graffiti & window art, street theatre, a circus, comedy, magic, workshops & more will all feature, with full details on the event’s social media channels.

After getting your Stan & Ollie “fix”, the rest of the town centre is well worth taking the time to explore. Cobbled streets, quaint alleyways and plenty of welcoming cafes and pubs await explorers and ale enthusiasts alike. Why not call in for a pint of ale at the Stan Laurel Inn, named in honour of the man himself?

Canal & Coastal Walk

Ulverston CoastUlverston isn’t only the home of Stan Laurel, but the country’s deepest, widest and shortest canal. Linking the edge of the town centre with the northern Morecambe Bay coastline, the now disused canal is the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful stroll, culminating in stunning views across the Ulverston Channel and picturesque railway viaduct linking the town with Cark & Cartmel. Why not take a walk, cycle or drive along the A5087 Coast Road to discover some of South Cumbria and the Furness Peninsula’s finest hidden coastal gems? From the villages of Bardsea and Baycliff, to long stretches of shingled beach walks and woodland, with plenty of easy stop-off points there’s plenty to explore along this beautiful stretch of South Cumbria’s shoreline.

Hoad Hill & the Sir John Barrow monument

Hoad MonumentEnjoy stunning views of both the Morecambe Bay coastline and the town of Ulverston itself, by taking a walk up Hoad Hill. Easily accessible from the town centre, looming large above the town, Hoad Hill is topped by the Sir John Barrow monument – referred to by many locally as ‘Hoad Monument’. Built in memory of Sir John Barrow – who served in the Admiralty, in 1850 and fully restored in 2010, its design is based on the Eddystone Lighthouse in Devon, close to the border with Cornwall.

Birkrigg Common

Birkrigg Common

Further spectacular views can be enjoyed from Birkrigg Common to the south of Ulverston, which rises above the coastal village of Bardsea. From rocky outcrops to endless bracken and even a stone circle, it’s a family favourite and ideal for giving your dog a good stretch of the legs.

With so much more to see and do in and around Ulverston in 2019, what are you waiting for? We have more information about a holiday in Ulverston here

by Peter Storry

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