The Lakes, Solway Coast and Hadrian's Wall
A day in... the Lake District National Park
Why not start your day with a bit of a paddle? It’s something the weather can’t spoil – if your feet are wet or you’re brave enough for a wild swim it doesn’t matter if it’s raining!
You’re blessed with lakes to visit here in Allerdale. From the shallow beaches at the northern end of Bassenthwaite Lake, to the iconic landscape of Buttermere, the stony shores of Crummock Water which are great for stone skimming competitions, or the ever-popular Derwentwater where you can hire canoes and rowing boats or even try something a little different like paddleboarding. There’s also the very beautiful Thirlmere, though it’s a reservoir so swimming isn’t allowed. How about a walk there instead?
Some of our more remote areas within the Lake District National Park don’t have huge car parks so please check before you travel here to see how busy they are.
Approach to Crummock Water
Being in and around water will give you a hearty appetite so what do you fancy for lunch?
The two obvious places to head to are Cockermouth and Keswick and they’re both attractive places to visit in their own right. Cockermouth is filled with independent businesses and there are some great places to get some tasty food, including lovely bakeries and delicatessens. Allerdale Council runs a twice weekly market in Keswick, which is always well worth a visit, before you explore the shops which give this town the title of Cumbria’s ‘adventure capital’ – there’s outdoor gear galore.
And speaking of the great outdoors, perhaps you fancy a walk to work off that lunch? You can find two of Cumbria’s best value fells in Allerdale – by that we mean huge views for little effort!
Castle Crag is at the southern end of Derwentwater and gives you a stunning view of the lake and Keswick beyond. Or why not head away north of Bassenthwaite Lake and away from the crowds to a hill loved by the locals? Binsey is a little smasher of a peak – you can see Scotland and the Isle of Man from the top on a clear day.
Those who fancy a day-long hike have some great summits to tackle here too. Skiddaw, Catbells, Haystacks and ‘Britain’s Favourite Walk’ Helvellyn all sit within the Allerdale boundaries. Check out our walking guide.
The Horse and Farrier Inn, Threlkeld
Our top tip for a safe visit is to do your research. You may need to reserve a space in advance to have a look at venues’ websites and social media before you set out. If you really want to spoil yourself, book a room at The Cottage in the Wood, Allerdale’s Michelin-starred venue in lovely Whinlatter Forest. Or you could try some fabulous home cooking at our wealth of pubs and restaurants, many of which are offering takeaways if they’re not ready to open their doors to diners just yet. From Mediterranean flavours and tastes of India and Asia, to traditional English fare with a strong emphasis on Cumbrian ingredients, there’s something to tempt every palate.
Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel with a view of one of our famous lakes, or want to go camping, glamping or caravanning, or if you fancy a B&B serving a fabulous full English breakfast, we have the lot here in Allerdale. The VisitEngland Covid Secure accreditation will give you lots of reassurance.
The Kings Head Hotel, Thirlmere
A day at... the Solway Coast
The Solway Coast, Silloth
You can explore miles and miles of coastline in Allerdale – from Workington in the south up to Silloth in the north, a gateway to the area around Hadrian’s Wall. Whether cycling, walking or just a bit of beachcombing, there are endless West Cumbrian beaches to explore.
For a fabulous socially-distanced stroll, try the wide promenade which runs out of Maryport, past the town’s golf course. It’s very accessible and leads up to the off-road cyclepath which will take you all the way to Allonby, a place made famous by artists including LS Lowry, Percy Kelly and Sheila Fell. You can find a couple of great ice-cream shops and loads of picnic opportunities up there too.
That cycle path, to be known as the Solway Coaster, is due to be expanded all the way to Silloth. It’s a safe route for all the family, whether you’re on foot, two wheels or need an accessible route. You can find more cycling routes in the area here or on the Solway Coast website.
Prefer two feet rather than two wheels? You can walk for miles in sight of the sea. Have a look at a few ideas here.
If you’re travelling from the north, Silloth is an ideal starting point. You can still see its history as a genteel Victorian resort, with its expanse of village green and wide cobbled streets.It’s at the heart of the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – a haven for nature-lovers. You could visit one of the many nature reserves to learn about the flora and fauna which thrive here – Mawbray Banks is a great one if you want a quiet place to relax in the dunes, perhaps with a picnic?
Hadrian’s Cycleway, Maryport
Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport
There’s tons of history around here too. The Romans built fortlets right along to the coast to help protect Hadrian’s Wall to the north. Why not see if you can find Milefortlet 21 north of Maryport? There are some great local museums highlighting this exciting part of the West Cumbrian coast’s past – they were making preparations to reopen as we write.
For more history, find the remains of what was once was once a pretty impressive monastery at Abbeytown too. The monks made saltpans on the sea shore to collect the salt they needed to preserve meat and fish. You can still see the shapes there today.
If you’re in need of supplies after all that exploring, it’s only a short hop inland to Aspatria and Wigton for shops selling the basics as well as nice gifts and more, or travel south to Workington where there are lots of high street names selling everything you need.
If you’d rather see the entire coast undercover, you could let the train take the strain. The Cumbrian Coast railway line is a beautiful route and you can extend your trip up to Carlisle or down to Barrow and Lancaster.
St. John the Evangelist’s Church, Newton Arlosh
The Captain Nelson Public House, Maryport
Fish and chips and a sunset – could there be a better way to end a day at the seaside? You’ll find somewhere to buy a tasty catch all the way along the Allerdale coast. Or you could head to one of the towns and try one of the restaurants, or find a village pub serving very local food.
This is a big farming area, as well as being a great place to find seafood, so homegrown meat and veg will be on loads of menus. Saltmarsh lamb is just one of the specialities.
Caravan parks are definitely one of the big draws on the coast, for tourers or static lodges. Some are quiet field sites, while others have lots of facilities ideal for entertaining the family. You can also stay in seafront hotels and guest houses or find some excellent self catering and farmstay properties.
The Golf Hotel, Silloth
A day along... Hadrian's Wall
Start (or finish) of Hadrian’s Wall Path, Bowness on Solway
There is loads of history in Allerdale, not least the western end of the world-famous Hadrian’s Wall.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is well worth a visit – and not just for the remains of this impressive structure which date back to 122AD. There’s loads of nature here too, spreading throughout the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
But back to the Wall. You could start your adventure in Bowness on Solway where much of the architecture is made up of stones taken from the wall as it was dismantled over the centuries. The Norman church of St Michael is just one of the buildings which uses pieces of the Wall, as is nearby Drumburgh Castle.
Bowness is also the place where the Hadrian’s Wall path starts, before winding its way over 84 miles or 135 kilometres to the northeast coast. Why not take a walk in the direction of Carlisle and see which bits of the structure can still be spotted. Or, if you prefer cycling to walking, you could try the Hadrian’s Cycleway which runs all the way through Allerdale up this impressive coastline. Plan carefully though – if you want to do the whole thing, right over to Newcastle, it’s 170 miles!
Do you want to see more Roman remains? Then you could venture south down the coast to Maryport, stopping off at Milefortlet 21 – one of a host of defences scattered down the seashore, built to protect Emperor Hadrian’s engineering triumph. This is a lovely spot to stop for a picnic too.
Maryport is also a great place to stop for lunch, with hot food and picnic ingredients readily available from its independent shops, cafes and supermarkets. It’s also home to the Senhouse Roman Museum which was preparing to reopen to visitors.
Interpretation Panel, Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport
‘All roads lead to Rome’, Bowness on Solway
When you’ve finished walking in the footsteps of the Roman soldiers, you could explore some of the very pretty villages around this area and see some of the unusual houses and barns they have. Aside from buildings made with stones taken from Hadrian’s Wall, this area also features clay dabbins, timber-framed structures packed with earth and clay which were once found on both sides of the Solway Firth. They date back to the 1500s and have almost completely disappeared on the Scottish side of the border so this is a special chance to seek them out.
When you’ve tired of your trip through the past, perhaps a nature walk is in order? The birdlife of the Solway Coast is renowned, the beaches are lovely and largely deserted, and the views across the Firth to Scotland are beautiful, whatever the weather.
Wigton is just south of Hadrian’s Wall. It’s a pretty market town where you could book into a restaurant for dinner or order a takeaway. There is also a great choice of country pubs in the villages around here with lots of local flavours on the menu.
Some of the farms also have cafes for a lighter snack. For proper fish and chips, Silloth is always a great destination. Eat them on the coast and watch the sun go down.
Fish and Chips in Silloth
The Kings Arms, Bowness on Solway
The caravan parks and hotels of Silloth are really handy for Hadrian’s Wall, or you could head into another of the nearby towns for guest houses of all shapes and sizes. Throughout the villages and down the coast, there’s plenty of self catering accommodation available too, from country cottages to town houses, as well as glamping huts and homes with sea views.
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