Cockermouth - A pretty market town
Cockermouth is a pretty market town with a tree-lined Main Street. You will find a range of interesting independent shops including butchers, bakers and a bookshop.
Two rivers flow through the town, the River Derwent and its tributary, the River Cocker, hence the town’s name. You can see the Cocker joining the Derwent at Brewery Bridge from the confluence area viewpoint.
For a fascinating insight into the history and heritage of Cockermouth watch this short film produced by the Cockermouth and District Civic Trust.
Cockermouth festivals and events
First of all, Cockermouth is noted for its Taste Cumbria Cockermouth festival, a major food event held every September and December. Likewise, visitors enjoy its range of events. Northbound, is a free summer music festival and the Malcolm Wilson Rally starts in the town every March. Two stages of the 2018 Ovo Energy Tour of Britain visited the town on 5 and 6 September 2018. Thousands of people come along to support their favourite racers.
Birthplace of Wordsworth
The town is probably best known as the birthplace of William and Dorothy Wordsworth. Their father’s grave can been seen in the town’s All Saint’s churchyard. Their home, Wordsworth House, is now in the care of the National Trust and provides a fascinating insight into how the future poet and his family lived in the 18th century.
2020 marks the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s birth. Cockermouth is marking the occasion with a Daffodil Day on the 4 April that is going to be bigger and better than ever, with Wordsworth House hosting a special anniversary exhibition exploring how William was shaped by his wild, outdoor upbringing.
Another reason to visit is Jennings Brewery. They brew ales in the traditional way, little changed from when the Jennings Brothers established their brewery back in the 19th century. Also, don’t forget the Brewery at the Bitter End Pub, one of the smallest breweries in the area.
Cockermouth Golf Club is one of the finest 18 hole courses in Cumbria. Established in 1896, James Braid, a world renowned designer, created the PGA rated course, which is both a challenging test of golf and enjoyable for players of all abilities.
Art and culture
Another must visit is the Kirkgate Centre with its eclectic mix of performance, music and film. Castlegate House Gallery is also a culture pick, specialising as it does in 20th century and contemporary British art.
Cockermouth is noteworthy for its independent shops. You can browse the books in the bookshop, try some tasty local food, or delight in the fun to be had at the toy shop. Cash in the attic? The town also has a wealth of antique shops.
Because of its location, Cockermouth is an ideal base for exploring the lakes and fells, as well as the Solway coast.
Finally, for walkers, the John Dalton Way is a 45km route commemorating the local lad who went on to formulate atomic theory. He was born in the hamlet of Eaglesfield in 1766. The walk takes you through the lovely villages and countryside between Cockermouth and the coast.
Accessed from High Sand Lane or Jenning’s Brewery this quiet, tranquil space is an oasis of calm in the heart of the town centre. A perfect space to have a picnic and appreciate the stunning views. Find out more about how the beautiful Viewpoint artwork was created.
Many people entering Cockermouth Leisure Centre car park may not notice the mound in the grounds and those that do, may not realise its historical significance. In fact, it is classed as an Ancient Monument by Historic England as a ‘motte’. Motte castles are medieval fortifications introduced into England by the Normans. They consisted of an earth or rubble mound with a wooden tower on top surrounded by a defensive wall or fence. It is thought that Tute Hill would have been constructed in the early 12th century and would have been superseded fairly quickly by the present Cockermouth Castle.
There is a wealth of choice of accommodation in Cockermouth. Choose from a great selection of the best quality hotels, such as the famous Trout Hotel, or one of the many B&B’s and self-catering cottages.
Cockermouth has a well-deserved reputation for great food and drink. It has Traditional Cumbrian pubs such as the Bitter End and cafes that include the Coffee Kitchen, Wild Zucchini’s and the Moon and Sixpence. If you’re looking for something a bit more exotic Cockermouth offers Indian (Spice Club), Chinese / Thai (Bamboo) and even Turkish (Aspava). The Quince and Medlar shouldn’t be missed if you’re looking for a fantastic, fine dining vegetarian option.
Cockermouth sits rights on the edge of the Lake District National Park. It is only a short trip away from the stunning Buttermere, Loweswater and Whinlatter Forest Park. The town itself offers a wide range of independent shops as well as great cafes, bars and restaurants. Wordsworth House, the birthplace of the famous poet William Wordsworth, is a must-see. It’s great starting point for a stroll along the banks of the River Derwent through Memorial Gardens.
Cockermouth offers a packed annual events calendar. The Malcolm Wilson Rally starts from the town centre every Spring, with other great events including Northbound Music Festival, Cockermouth Live and Woolfest. Festive events in the town include Taste Cumbria Christmas, Christmas lights switch-on day and the eye-catching annual lantern parade.
How to find Cockermouth:
Taste Cumbria Cockermouth, every September and December
The premier Lake District food and drink festival