Cockermouth - small town, huge community spirit
Cockermouth lies to the north of the Lorton valley just 6 miles from High Swinside. It is an attractive market town not overwhelmed by the more tourist atmosphere of Keswick and Ambleside. With its original medieval street plan and lovely Georgian architecture it was one of 51 towns in Britain recommended for preservation by the state as part of our national heritage. The town owes its existence to the confluence of the rivers Cocker and Derwent, this being the lowest point historically that the Derwent could be bridged. However, this riverside position has also given the town’s residents and independent shopkeepers no end of recent heartache. Three times in the last decade the rivers have flooded in a big way, and you can follow the 2009 Cockermouth Flood Trail and look for stickers on the shops that tell how unbelievably high the water reached. Amazingly, the community has been able to pull together yet again since the most recent floods with huge resilience and Cumbrian spirit. Only five days after Storm Desmond the Taste Cumbria Food Festival went ahead as planned and was a greater success than ever. Shops are reopening quicker this time, and all the town’s main attractions plan to be ready by Easter –Wordsworth House, the Kirkgate Centre, Jennings Brewery, the fascinating JB Banks heritage museum, and Percy House Gallery… So if you're planning a visit to Cockermouth during your stay, you won't be disappointed!

There is an excellent introductory video about Cockermouth on the Visit Cumbria website.
  • Attractive Georgian architecture
  • A town trail for history and interest
  • William Wordsworths birthplace
  • Lots of quality independent shops
  • Jennings real ale is brewed here
  • Heritage museum & traditional ironmongers
  • See whats on at the Kirkgate Centre
  • Georgian Fair & other events
Explore Cockermouth
Wander through the centre of Cockermouth with its medieval street layout and its attractive Georgian architecture in Market Place, St Helens Street, and Castlegate. Tree-lined Kirkgate is a lovely example of unspoilt classical 17th and 18th century terraced architecture with its listed buildings, cobbled paving, and curving lanes running steeply down to the River Cocker. Thirteenth century Market Place is now a pedestrian-friendly central historical focus reflecting events of the town’s 800 year history. Find the History Wall in Old Kings Arms Lane, off Main Street... wander beside the Cocker and Derwent rivers...
Many quality independent shops
In addition to a Sainsburys and Co-Op, Cockermouth has a large number of high quality small independent shops – mostly in Main Street, Market Place, and Station Street. There are good butchers stocking local meat, bakers, greengrocers, a really excellent fishmonger (Fyne Fish), a very good deli and wine merchants. There are interesting antique and gift shops, the Percy House Gallery, a toy shop, a pottery shop, the New Book Shop, and JB Banks - a very traditional ironmongers the like of which you rarely find anymore...
Walk the Town Trail
A fascinating walk through the history of Cockermouth - this walk mirrors some of the work done by local historian Bernard Bradbury whose book is the recognised bible of Cockermouths historic townscape. Small cast iron plaques numbered 1-19 were created by the children of Cockermouth School to help guide you on the trail. You can get an information leaflet with the map from Tourist Information telling you the significance of the different plaques.

Tourist Information: opening hours: 10am-4pm Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm Sat & B/Holidays.
4 Kings Arms Lane (next to Boots the Chemist), CA13 9LS, Phone: 01900 822634
Download the Cockermouth App
This is a free guide to Cockermouth featuring local history, places of interest, public transport and walks - and including the town History Wall you see here in Kings Arms Lane. With a business directory, suggestions for fun family days out, a weather forecast and locations offering free wi-fi this is a definitive guide to Cockermouth all within one App on your phone!

You can download the App for free via Apple and Android
Wordsworth House – a real treat
Wordsworth House and Garden was the childhood home of the romantic poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. The house is presented by the National Trust as it would have been when they lived there – with real food on the kitchen and dining room tables, and a fire burning in the working kitchen. Their bedroom is full of toys and dressing up clothes and in the garden are 18th century vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers. On certain days there are volunteers dressed up to play members of the household and its like stepping back in time. (National Trust shop & tea room too)

Main Street, CA13 9RX Phone: 01900824805
See: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wordsworth-house
Take a tour of Jennings Brewery
Jennings are back to brewing since the floods and hope to offer their tours again from Easter. Jennings started brewing in the Lorton Valley in 1828, but moved to Cockermouth in 1874 and built a brewery at the confluence of the two rivers. Here they used pure water from the castle well and continued with traditional methods that give Jennings real ales their distinctive flavour. Their hugely popular brewery tours finish with a chance to sample the famous Jennings Bitter, Cocker Hoop, Cumberland Ale, or strong Sneck Lifter.

Tours cost £9.00 for adults, and £4.50 for children over 12 (no younger please). You can book online or call 01900 820362 www.jenningsbrewery.co.uk/tours
A show or exhibition at the Kirkgate?
The Kirkgate Centre is an inspiring community arts facility established in a converted Victorian primary school and run with great energy by a charitable trust and 120 volunteers. It offers a range of activities and events including drama, films, dance, comedy, workshops and exhibitions. It also delivers Arts Out West - the West Cumbria rural touring arts programme which helps local people to stage arts events in village halls. The Kirkgate Centre has volunteering at its heart and aims to create a warm and relaxed environment in which to showcase high quality arts for everyone in the community.

For whats on see: www.thekirkgate.com
Kirkgate, CA13 6JP Phone: 01900 826448
See Derventio finds at the Town Hall
After the 2009 floods locals started finding pottery and Roman material in a field near the Roman fort of Derventio close to Papcastle. This sparked a geophysical survey, and subsequent excavations discovered a site of national significance including a large mill with monumental masonry, a Roman wooden mill race, and an extensive bath house complex.

Although now backfilled and grassed over to protect it from future floods, you can see the exhibition of what they found at Cockermouth Town Hall till the end of 2016, and read about the excavation and finds on Derventio website
Banks ironmongers & museum
JB Banks in Market Place is an utterly fascinating shop – a rare traditional ironmongers with everything from key cutting to screws, tools, fixings, pokers, door stops, cast iron pans, beautifully reconditioned 2nd hand tools… Behind the shop is a Heritage Museum where wonderful old items have been brought together from the John Banks original tin smithy, an old cobblers next door and dusty storage rooms: antique signs, tin workers tools, old carriage lamps, photographs, clogs, irons, a massive work bench, anvils, car memorabilia…

Entry is free (there is a visitors book and donation box).
Open Mon-Sat 9.30am-4.30pm
Market Place, CA13 9NH Phone: 01900 822281
Fairs, festivals & other events
As well as the fantastic Taste Cumbria Food Festival, Cockermouth excels in quirky annual events run by enthusiasts and volunteers. The list includes The Cockermouth Weekender, CockRock, WoolFest, the Agricultural Show, Beer Festival and Midsummer Festival, not forgetting the Malcolm Wilson car rally, the Christmas lights switch-on, an amazing annual firework display, and the biannual Georgian Fair. There are heritage days, with tours of the town and castle, as well as numerous events at the Kirkgate Centre and Wordsworth House and Gardens.

Explore Cockermouth
Wander through the centre of Cockermouth with its medieval street layout and its attractive Georgian architecture in Market Place, St Helens Street, and Castlegate. Tree-lined Kirkgate is a lovely example of unspoilt classical 17th and 18th century terraced architecture with its listed buildings, cobbled paving, and curving lanes running steeply down to the River Cocker. Thirteenth century Market Place is now a pedestrian-friendly central historical focus reflecting events of the town’s 800 year history. Find the History Wall in Old Kings Arms Lane, off Main Street... wander beside the Cocker and Derwent rivers...

Many quality independent shops
In addition to a Sainsburys and Co-Op, Cockermouth has a large number of high quality small independent shops – mostly in Main Street, Market Place, and Station Street. There are good butchers stocking local meat, bakers, greengrocers, a really excellent fishmonger (Fyne Fish), a very good deli and wine merchants. There are interesting antique and gift shops, the Percy House Gallery, a toy shop, a pottery shop, the New Book Shop, and JB Banks - a very traditional ironmongers the like of which you rarely find anymore...

Walk the Town Trail
A fascinating walk through the history of Cockermouth - this walk mirrors some of the work done by local historian Bernard Bradbury whose book is the recognised bible of Cockermouths historic townscape. Small cast iron plaques numbered 1-19 were created by the children of Cockermouth School to help guide you on the trail. You can get an information leaflet with the map from Tourist Information telling you the significance of the different plaques.

Tourist Information: opening hours: 10am-4pm Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm Sat & B/Holidays.
4 Kings Arms Lane (next to Boots the Chemist), CA13 9LS, Phone: 01900 822634

Download the Cockermouth App
This is a free guide to Cockermouth featuring local history, places of interest, public transport and walks - and including the town History Wall you see here in Kings Arms Lane. With a business directory, suggestions for fun family days out, a weather forecast and locations offering free wi-fi this is a definitive guide to Cockermouth all within one App on your phone!

You can download the App for free via Apple and Android

Wordsworth House – a real treat
Wordsworth House and Garden was the childhood home of the romantic poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. The house is presented by the National Trust as it would have been when they lived there – with real food on the kitchen and dining room tables, and a fire burning in the working kitchen. Their bedroom is full of toys and dressing up clothes and in the garden are 18th century vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers. On certain days there are volunteers dressed up to play members of the household and its like stepping back in time. (National Trust shop & tea room too)

Main Street, CA13 9RX Phone: 01900824805
See: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wordsworth-house

Take a tour of Jennings Brewery
Jennings are back to brewing since the floods and hope to offer their tours again from Easter. Jennings started brewing in the Lorton Valley in 1828, but moved to Cockermouth in 1874 and built a brewery at the confluence of the two rivers. Here they used pure water from the castle well and continued with traditional methods that give Jennings real ales their distinctive flavour. Their hugely popular brewery tours finish with a chance to sample the famous Jennings Bitter, Cocker Hoop, Cumberland Ale, or strong Sneck Lifter.

Tours cost £9.00 for adults, and £4.50 for children over 12 (no younger please). You can book online or call 01900 820362 www.jenningsbrewery.co.uk/tours

A show or exhibition at the Kirkgate?
The Kirkgate Centre is an inspiring community arts facility established in a converted Victorian primary school and run with great energy by a charitable trust and 120 volunteers. It offers a range of activities and events including drama, films, dance, comedy, workshops and exhibitions. It also delivers Arts Out West - the West Cumbria rural touring arts programme which helps local people to stage arts events in village halls. The Kirkgate Centre has volunteering at its heart and aims to create a warm and relaxed environment in which to showcase high quality arts for everyone in the community.

For whats on see: www.thekirkgate.com
Kirkgate, CA13 6JP Phone: 01900 826448

See Derventio finds at the Town Hall
After the 2009 floods locals started finding pottery and Roman material in a field near the Roman fort of Derventio close to Papcastle. This sparked a geophysical survey, and subsequent excavations discovered a site of national significance including a large mill with monumental masonry, a Roman wooden mill race, and an extensive bath house complex.

Although now backfilled and grassed over to protect it from future floods, you can see the exhibition of what they found at Cockermouth Town Hall till the end of 2016, and read about the excavation and finds on Derventio website

Banks ironmongers & museum
JB Banks in Market Place is an utterly fascinating shop – a rare traditional ironmongers with everything from key cutting to screws, tools, fixings, pokers, door stops, cast iron pans, beautifully reconditioned 2nd hand tools… Behind the shop is a Heritage Museum where wonderful old items have been brought together from the John Banks original tin smithy, an old cobblers next door and dusty storage rooms: antique signs, tin workers tools, old carriage lamps, photographs, clogs, irons, a massive work bench, anvils, car memorabilia…

Entry is free (there is a visitors book and donation box).
Open Mon-Sat 9.30am-4.30pm
Market Place, CA13 9NH Phone: 01900 822281

Fairs, festivals & other events
As well as the fantastic Taste Cumbria Food Festival, Cockermouth excels in quirky annual events run by enthusiasts and volunteers. The list includes The Cockermouth Weekender, CockRock, WoolFest, the Agricultural Show, Beer Festival and Midsummer Festival, not forgetting the Malcolm Wilson car rally, the Christmas lights switch-on, an amazing annual firework display, and the biannual Georgian Fair. There are heritage days, with tours of the town and castle, as well as numerous events at the Kirkgate Centre and Wordsworth House and Gardens.