Birthplace of William Wordsworth and home to such extraordinarily beautiful scenery that it provided the backdrop for famous films such as Star Wars and Snow White, Cumbria is one of the most loved and most visited counties in England. The Lake District National Park with its atmospheric and alluring landscapes and lakes is by far the biggest draw, but there’s also plenty to explore further afield too. From gorgeous unspoiled coastline and beaches to impossibly picturesque English villages filled with whitewashed inns and charming tearooms here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Cumbria, England…
Lake District National Park – one of the most famously beautiful areas to visit in the country
The Lake District National Park is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cumbria as well as the most famous. Known as England’s largest national park, and newest UNESCO World Heritage Site. Expect to see truly breathtaking scenery such as deep valleys, scenic roads, sparkling lakes, rolling hills, as well as impossibly pretty market towns and villages as well as plenty of interesting shops, traditional pubs, quaint cafes, and charming tearooms. This area is popular for a reason!
Explore throughout Windermere and Ambleside, Coniston, and the Landale Valley. Don’t forget to bring along the camera because you are going to want to capture every minute of this trip. Plan your visit out beforehand and stay at one of the best hotels with the best scenic view.
Windermere – the most popular tourist attraction in the Lake District
Located on the north end of the Lake District National Park is beautiful Windermere the largest and busiest lake in the park. This popular and very scenic area to visit in Cumbria is surrounded by gorgeous mountain peaks and pretty villages. Go into town and explore all the shops, you’ll also find nice souvenir shops as well as charming places to eat and drink.
You won’t need to worry about getting bored on your Lake District trip, take a canoe out on the lake, go for an adventurous walk or visit the house of the famous children’s author Beatrix Potter. A must-see place to visit in Cumbria!
Keswick – a quaint little Lake District town surrounded by magnificent mountains
Keswick is another gorgeous destination that you should visit in the Lake District National Park. Built in 1276, Keswick is a beautiful market town and now a major tourist hub filled to the brim with shops, restaurants, and all the attractions to learn about the history of the town. The town of Keswick has an enriching history that goes back to 553 AD when Crosthwaite, the first church was constructed. Although arguably it’s the biggest draw is that it’s surrounded by stunning mountains as well as beautiful lakes (of course)!
Go on a tour with a guide or look into all the outside activities you can do. For all you theatre lovers, experience a show at the Theatre by the Lake where shows are put on for audiences amongst stunning surroundings. Before you leave Keswick, you should take a walk around Borrowdale, a popular area for hikers to go for a nature walk, visit the ‘Pencil Museum,’ check out the Keswick Museum & Art Gallery, gaze in wonder at the ancient Castlerigg Stone Circle and take in the wonderful views of the large Derwent Water lake located here.
Ambleside – pretty gateway to the beautiful Lake District National Park
In your travels to Lake District National Park, take the opportunity to explore lovely Ambleside, which is one of the gateways areas to the park. The pretty market town turned Cumbrian tourist hotspot is home to beautiful surrounding scenery and sits at the head of the most popular lake to visit Lake Windermere.
Make sure you really take advantage of the local beauty spots here like Scandale, Farming Valley, or take an afternoon walk through Todd Crag to witness the best view of Lake Windermere that you will see in the Lake District – wonderful!
Kendal – another pretty gateway to the Lake District National Park
Kendal is another one of the most popular places to visit in Cumbria and is seen as the Southern gateway to the Lake District, the bustling historic market town has also plenty to offer visitors as well as being a great place to base yourself to explore the beautiful surrounding scenery.
Kendal is actually quite the cultural hub so there’s plenty of events and art galleries here. Select an evening to stroll through the Antique Trail, go to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, and for all you book lovers out there seek out the Kendal Mountain Literature Festival.
During the day you should take time to explore all the breathtaking mountains, lakes, walking trails, and adventurous outdoor activities and golf. Other highlights of Kendal include the ruined 12th century Kendal castle, fine restaurants, and shopping arcades.
North Pennines – second largest designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England
For those searching for the most picturesque landscapes to discover in Cumbria, don’t miss the wonderful North Pennines! This area was named as an Area of Outstanding Beauty in 1988 and is a gorgeous place filled with meadows, moors, and stunning hills Cumbrian countryside.
While exploring expect to discover unique treasures and seriously stunning views and beauty spots. Make sure you include a visit to Cow Green, the cobblestone market town of Alston, and the small village of Brough.
Bike riders are in for the most fantastic ride of their lives when they cycle through the Sea to Sea Cycle Route which passes through here. Although be warned it’s pretty steep in some places, but this will be a journey you won’t forget in a hurry!
Penrith – an attractive town which is home to an ancient ruined castle
The former capital of Cumbria today it’s a charming historic town known for its great shopping, traditional pubs, and lovely arcades. It’s the central hub for the scenic Eden Valley and once here you really need to explore your surroundings.
There are lots of beautiful walks/hikes you can do with your family or four-legged friend as well as other attractions. Visit the Penrith Beacon, go for a balloon ride over Ullswater, and then finish your day with a relaxing evening at the North Lakes Hotel and Spa.
You’ll also have to pay a visit to the medieval Penrith Castle. After that take a walk through the town, go on a boat trip around the lake in Ullswater, and observe the 12 feet high stones to the north of Penrith – bliss!
St Bees Beach – a coastal village which is home to a very beautiful beach
Located on the western side of Cumbria, St. Bees Beach is a beautiful and quiet beach to discover in this county. Relax on the sand, go for a walk along the sandy four-mile beach, or pack a picnic.
Learn about the exciting history which includes a tale about a shipwreck. Take a selfie on the cliffside, and find the statue of St. Bega and explore the surrounding dramatic rolling Cumbrian countryside, Another plus for this stunning place to visit in Cumbria is that dogs are allowed on the beach all year round.
Solway Coast – one of the most scenic places to visit in Cumbria
This is a place designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Solway Firth also forms part of the border that separates England and Scotland.
Definitely one of the best places to visit in Cumbria, the coast stretches on for miles, 118 sq KM to be approximate. Walk along the scenic pathways located along the Solway Coast, go for a cycle instead or just relax on one of the unspoiled sandy beaches. Highlights include White Port Bay, Saint Ninian’s Cave, Sandyhills Beach, and Rascarrel Bay.
Locals work very hard to keep Solway Coast clean so always be sure to take your rubbish home with you.
Carlisle – a historic cathedral city and the county town of Cumbria
The largest city in England and the main cultural and commercial city for north Cumbria, Carlisle is well worth a visit if you’re travelling around Cumbria. Located not too far from the Scottish border, the city has a 2,000-year-old history and offers a number of great attractions today including Tullie House, originally a 17th-century private house, that has been changed into a museum, the Guildhall Museum, the Citadel, and the very beautiful medieval Carlisle cathedral as well as plenty of interesting shops, cafes, pubs and places to eat.
Also, make sure you visit Carlisle Castle which is open to all members of the public. The castle has a fascinating history dating back 900-years ago!
Holker Hall and Gardens – a fine and elegant historic attraction to visit in Cumbria
During your visit to Cumbria take a trip to Holker Hall which is located near Grange-of-Sands. The gardens are particularly beautiful and are actually 200 acres of immaculately kept gardens and fine woodlands, with a deer park too.
Aside from the Holker Hall gardens, go for a tour through Holker Hall. The estate is gorgeous filled with elegant furniture, lavish rooms, an extraordinary library filled with books, along with many historical facts about the hall.
Hadrians Wall – a famous World Heritage Site
Whist in Cumbria definitely try and explore Hadrians Wall which is located 56 miles from Cumbria. The former Roman defense wall is free to walk and will take you through some truly extraordinary Cumbrian countryside. The sunsets here are also pretty special so make sure you bring your camera as well as your hiking boots and wet weather gear!
I would recommend taking a formal tour to find about the wall’s incredible history, the tour also features six of the best historical sites that are worth visiting in the area.
Haverigg Beach – beautiful unspoiled beach to explore in Cumbria
Cumbria isn’t particularly known for its beaches but it’s home to some really beautiful ones. Haverigg Beach located near Barrow in Furness one of them. Here you can walk along or relax on the sandy beach by the crashing waves and also pay a visit to the nearby restored historic lighthouse sitting on a hill. Backed by sand dunes it’s a lovely place with a Blue Flag status and dogs are also allowed on the beach all year round and there is a beach cafe too.
Located nearby is also the small seaside village of Haverigg and some lovely coastal walks.
Wordsworth House – one of the most interesting attractions in Cumbria
The Wordsworth House is a very pretty Georgian townhouse built in the mid 18th century which is famous for being where William Wordsworth was born in 1770. It’s listed as a Grade I building and is open to the public – as a writer’s house museum – every year from the months of March to October. It’s now owned by the National Trust and is beautifully preserved.
During your visit to Wordsworth House, you can make fun crafts, take part in the Wordsworth@250 Young People’s Poetry Competition, or listen to some interesting podcasts about the rich history of both the house and the owner.
Cockermouth – a small bustling market town which was the birthplace of William Wordsworth
Cockermouth is a pretty ancient market town in Cumbria and the gateway to the largely unexplored Western Lake District. It’s most famous for being the birthplace of the romantic poet William Wordsworth (Above I mentioned the house where he was born which is definitely worth a visit).
It’s also home some lovely markets, interesting specialty shops, a brewery art galleries, beautiful surrounding lakes, and the ancient Cockermouth Castle. Beneath the castle walls, there are some charming medieval and Georgian streets. A lovely place to visit in the wonderful county of Cumbria, enjoy!