I have recently found out that 2021 has been named Cumbria’s Year Of The Coast ! Many people flock to the lovely Lake District , yet the county also has over 100 miles of diverse coastline to explore. Known for its secluded beaches, coastal walks & wildlife and dramatic sunsets, Cumbria’s coastline is very much a hidden gem.
So I thought I would share some of my own moments by the sea as well as note down a few places I would like to visit next time I’m in the area. Happily my August Summer holiday will be split between two seaside settlements this year. We have our usual weekend away with friends booked in Ravenglass plus the four following nights further South of the county in Arnside. Happy days. 🙂
Allonby. A former fishing village, Allonby was also a popular Victorian sea bathing resort. It retains some interesting old buildings including the handsome Reading Rooms built by Alfred Waterhouse , who went on to design London’s Natural History Museum & Strangeways Prison. Charles Dickens and fellow writer Wilkie Collins stayed two nights at The Ship Hotel on their 1857 walking tour of Cumberland, after Collins badly sprained his ankle in the Lakeland fells. Today the village is popular with painters who love the light and Solway sunsets. The beach is a mixture of dunes, shingle & sand , perfect for walking the pooch. A great place to indulge in Fish & Chips is the local chippy ‘The Cod Father’. Where to stay ~ the former home of artist Percy Kelly is a beautifully renovated holiday cottage. Percy Kelly’s Cottage.
Arnside. The views over Morecambe Bay toward the Lake District are stunning from the charming seaside resort of Arnside. Pretty shops, tea rooms and pubs line the sea front. A Victorian promenade and small pier adorn the village and the beach is sandy but tidal, so visitors must beware of changing tides. Organized Cross Bay walks are a popular hiking route from Arnside to nearby Kent Bank. Every few weeks a siren sounds in the village, warning of a natural phenomenon called a tidal bore , a fast incoming wave that sweeps across the estuary. Where to Stay ~ enjoy scenic views over the bay from Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub with rooms.
Baycliff. Our first holiday with Hugo was in a beachside cottage at Baycliff, a small former fishing and farming community that looks over Morecambe Bay. Baycliff has a pretty village green and two pubs. A vast beach of shingle and sand offers ample opportunity for walks and bird watching , a two mile stroll east brings ice cream ( or coffee and cake ) rewards if you drop by Bardsea’s Chill & Grill . Also nearby is Ulverstons Buddhists Temple for World Peace whose gardens, woodland trails, beach, cafe and gift shop are open to everyone. Where to stay ~ practically on the beach if you can at the nautically inspired Driftwood Cottage.
St Bees. Alfred Wainwright recommends that walkers dip their boots in the North Sea at St Bees , the starting point of his Coast To Coast Walking Route. 182 miles later and those aching feet can seek solace in the sea at Robins Hood Bay. For me a wander along St Bees sandy beach or atop it’s red sandstone cliffs is quite enough. RSPB St Bees Head is home to colonies of seabirds including guillemot and razorbill. And the 11th century priory in the village dedicated to St Mary and St Bega features some colourful stained glass windows. Where to Stay ~ Former Railway waiting room transformed into comfortable self catering accommodation. The Station House.
Bowness-on-Solway. Bowness is a small coastal village which was once the site of a sea facing Roman fort called Maia. Situated on the Western edge of Hadrian’s Wall ( no longer visible), the settlement is the start/finish of another long distance walking route, the Hadrian’s Wall Path. There are a couple of pubs , a cafe and free range chickens were wandering along the village road when we visited last year. The Scottish coastline is clearly seen over the Solway Firth and nature lovers have The Solway Wetlands Centre and RSPB Campfield Marsh to explore. Where to stay ~ Glamp in luxury in a fully equipped wooden pod at Wallsend Guest House & Glamping.
Grange Over Sands. It was the railway that brought well heeled Victorians to Grange, turning it from a small fishing village to a genteel holiday resort. With its pretty gardens along the promenade and vast views over Morecambe Bay ,the town is a lovely place to visit. Over time the sands have shifted and it is salt marsh meadows that now seperate Grange over Sands from the sea. There are a good selection of independent shops and businesses in town, a park with an ornamental duck pond and the Save Grange Lido group continues its campaign for the restoration of the 1930s marshside art deco lido. Where to stay ~ relax in style whilst taking in the views. Bay Villa bed & Breakfast.
Haverigg. Situated at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary, Haveriggs golden sandy beaches have Blue Flag Status. The village has a recently opened Wake Board & Water Park , guaranteed fun for all ages! And RSPB Hodbarrow Lagoon is within walking distance. Look out for the 7 tonne sculpture ‘ Escape To Light’ by Josefina de Vasconcellos , situated by the Haverigg Inshore Rescue Station. Where To Stay ~ Family & dog friendly camping and glamping options at Harbour Lights Campsite .
Maryport. A seaside resort with a rich maritime history and once the location of a Roman port, Maryport enjoys access to a vast sand & shingle beach and all the amenities of a typical coastal town. The Lake District Coast Aquarium is based here as well as the Senhouse Roman Museum on the promenade. Bob over to the village of Mawbray to stock up on local cheeses from The Cheese Shed. Where To Stay ~ Ann’s Hill Lodge & Cottage in nearby Bridekirk for a romantic getaway.
Ravenglass. The charming and sleepy estuary village of Ravenglass is the perfect place to chill with an ice cream ( if you can find the almost hidden Ice cream Hut ) on the rocky shore. Ravenglass is the only Cumbrian coastal settlement to be included in the Lake District National Park. Wast water, England’s deepest lake is 20 minutes drive away. Discover more of Lakeland by venturing on the The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway whose steam trains take visitors on a seven mile journey through the spectacular Eskdale countryside. Travellers can hunt for waterfalls, secluded tarns and enjoy a pint at the Woolpack Inn, recently voted Cumbria’s best pub. Where to stay ~ the railway station in Ravenglass has sympathetically restored two Pullman Coaches into quirky self catering accommodation.
Silecroft. Silecroft it seems, is all about the beach! When the tide is out a vast expanse of shingle and sand appears, making it popular with horse riders, dog walkers and kite flyers. Both Murthwaite Green trekking centre and Cumbrian Heavy Horses offer beach riding , the formers horses appear galloping along the sands in the opening credits of Country file. The slopes of Black Combe Fell offer a scenic backdrop to Silecrofts seascape and rare Natterjack toads breed in the area. The beach has free parking, toilets and a shoreside cafe and there is a pub and store in the village. Where to stay ~ admire Silecroft Sunsets from a beautiful beach side cabin with hot tub .
Silloth. With its wide tree lined streets and attractive town green, Silloth-on-Solway is a classic example of a Victorian seaside resort. Victorians would come here to enjoy the mild climate and invigorating sea air, visitors today can enjoy those too as well as a lively year long programme of events held on the green. The town benefits from a sandy stretch of beach with dunes , a terraced promenade and amusent arcades. Other attractions in Silloth include a Vintage Motorcycle Museum and the unique Big Fella Sculpture by artist Ray Lonsdale. Where to stay ~ the Greenview Guest House overlooks the bay and has an in-house bistro.
Walney Island & Piel Island. At eleven miles long and one mile wide Walney Island is the eighth largest island in England. It is seperated from the industrial port town of Barrow in Furness by Jubilee Bridge. The North and Southern tips of the island are nature Reserves, South Walney Reserve is home to Cumbrias only Grey Seal colony. Kite Surfing is a popular passtime at Earnse Bay which has a large shallow sandy beach. Piel Island is a much smaller island with its own castle and pub. An ongoing island tradition dating back to the 18th century proclaims that each pub landlord becomes ‘ King Of Piel Island’. The Ship Inn has recently reopened and a ferry runs from Roa Island during the summer months. Where to stay ~ Wild camping is available on Piel Island. Or cosy up nextdoor to a lighthouse in The Hide on Walney.
Whitehaven. Whitehaven is a Georgian port town and has more than 250 listed buildings. It’s early fortune came from sea mining, coal transportation to Ireland and also the trading of rum, spices and slaves from Africa. This colourful and somewhat dubious history is recorded in The Beacon Museum and The Rum Story . There is an attractive harbour and beach in the town, from where it is possible to take a cliff top walk to St Bees. Where to stay ~ Fine dining & boutique rooms Georgian Townhouse Hotel .
Hopefully my post has given you a taste of what the beautiful Cumbrian Coast has to offer…..
Thank you to my lovely photograph contributers.
Silloth Scenes ~ A Garley, Wren enjoying Silecroft Beach ~ B Hudson, Maryports Golden Sands ~ A Ball, Seven go to Eskmeals Nature Reserve ~ F Middleton, Ravenglass sunset ~ J Blackburn.
A holiday happened! We have not long since returned from a week by the sea. A few years ago we visited the North Norfolk Coast and hoped that one day we would go back. Happily we managed to do just that last week. It was great to get away to such a beautiful part of England. The sea air was a tonic! Below are a few places we visited, often by using the very handy Coasthopper Bus service.
Brancaster & Brancaster Staithe.
These two adjoining fishing villages were our base for exploring. Both are in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the National Trust looks after the beaches here. Hugo loved the vast stretches of sand and I was forever scanning the saltmarsh for interesting waterbirds. My favourite breakfast spot was marshside at the White Horse pub, from where you can watch skeins of geese taking off. We found our own secret seal colony when walking on the beach too. 💗
We spent an afternoon on the seafront in the traditional seaside town of Sheringham. With its pops of colour on the promenade ( vibrant murals and rainbow painted beach huts) its a smiley seaside resort. The sandy beach after the huts is dog friendly. 🐾
A mile inland from the coast is one of a number of villages called Burnham. This Burnham is full of trendy shops & eateries, looking over a village green. I did remark to Wil that it looks the kind of place where you might find ‘ Made in Chelsea’ being filmed. And researching this post did provide me with the information that the villages nick name is ‘ Chelsea on Sea’ . Fancy that!
Cley Next The Sea.
Keen birders will have heard about Cley. The marshland between the village and the sea is a renowned Nature Reserve, home to many rare species of birdlife including Pied Avocet, Bittern and Bearded Tit. There is also an impressive 18th Century Windmill ( presently a lovely looking b & b ) and various shops, cafes and galleries. Cley does have a shingle beach, from where you can walk to nearby Salthouse. 🦆
Just up the coast from Cley Next The Sea, Salthouse is perhaps it’s quieter counterpart, yet still boasting miles of wildlife packed salt marsh and shingle beach. We spent a lovely afternoon here enjoying some slightly warmer temperatures and fresh tasty seafood. We can recommend the Dun Cow for lunch and I loved the book & gift selection in The Salthouse Store. 🐚
Wells Next The Sea.
If like me you can’t get enough of Beach Huts then the charming seaside town of Wells Next The Sea is a must visit. After perusing the quaint gift shops on Staithe Street take a quay side walk to Wells beautiful golden sandy beach. It’s made all the lovelier by a pine forest backdrop and stunning array of colourful huts. I was memorised. The beach like many in North Norfolk welcomes four legged friends. 🦀
Hunstanton & Old Hunstanton.
On our previous visit to the North Norfolk Coast we stayed in the family friendly resort of Hunstanton, known as ‘ Sunny Hunny’ to optimistic holiday makers. We just had to revisit and walk along the beach to neighboring Old Hunstanton.
Of course there are lots more places to explore in North Norfolk and what’s above are only a small selection.
We loved the big skies and the stunning variety of coastline. I think Hugo did too. 🙂
Have you ever visited North Norfolk? 🦀
Back in January a group of friends booked a holiday cottage on the Cumbrian coast. Little did we know then what a strange turn of events would unfold in 2020. A global pandemic would envelop the world, like something out of a Sci Fi film. We were definitely thankful that we had arranged our mini break for August in Ravenglass….and happily for us , it could still go ahead. Fortunately this little corner of the Lake District is relatively quiet and social distancing was easy. We also had amazing weather, which always helps. 😎
Sunshine & Sunsets. So it was that 6 adults, 2 children and 2 dogs spent a happy 3 nights in lovely Ravenglass. Friday was enjoyed mostly on the beach in front of the cottage and admiring an incredible sunset from the balcony. One friend brought a Water Bottle Rocket 🚀 whose launches into the sky gave us endless entertainment on the sand.
A Ratty Trip , Walk To Eel Tarn & Wild Swimming. You can’t visit Ravenglass in the Summer without a ride on The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Affectionately known as La’al Ratty, this narrow steam gauge railway takes passengers into the seriously scenic Eskdale Valley. We booked return tickets to Dalegarth Station near Boot, from where there are plentiful beautiful riverside and fell walks. Face coverings were advised though not enforced on the platform and inside covered carriages.
Our plan was to walk to a remote tarn for some wild swimming. However as stunning as the hike was, Eel Tarn itself wasn’t really suitable for water pursuits. Surrounded by boggy marsh, only Hugo the Labrador managed to spring in there for a cooling off doggy paddle. However the kids had discovered a promising looking waterfall pool in Whillan Beck , which we managed to visit later.
Saturday was a really hot day so the cool clear water in the beck was just perfect for swimming in. We had it all to ourselves too. As we left a local family arrived, the father had been coming to the waterfall for 40 years. To us it was an accidental ( and totally wonderful) discovery.
Eskmeals Nature Reserve. Having visited Ravenglass several times now, I hadn’t actually realised that the dunes I had seen on the other side of the estuary are part of Eskmeals Nature Reserve . We decided to visit here on Sunday for a walk. The dunes are home to rare natterjack toads ( we didn’t see any though) and many species of wildflower. There is parking by the viaduct at nearby Waberthwaite. Look out for a yellow flag. If it is flying the adjoining MOD land is in use.
A Few More Images From Ravenglass.
As we were leaving Ravenglass on Monday morning a man was setting up his sea plane for a 40 minute journey to a lochside cafe near Dumfries for a coffee. Can’t be bad!
Have you ever visited any places mentioned in this post?
I have been craving ‘ a sea fix ‘ for some time now. Today was finally the day that I got my fix. We headed to Heysham on the Lancashire coast and parked at Heysham Nature Reserve behind the power station. After typing Heysham Nature Reserve into Google maps it told me that we had visited the reserve two years ago. Scary that it remembered. 😜
Heysham Nature Reserve is still open , however the car park and facilities are currently closed. We managed to find a spot near the entrance and Hugo had an off lead wander. At some point we ended up on the rocky shore in front of the power station. Un surprisingly it was easy to social distance beside a nuclear power station. 😊
We walked as far as the striking rust coloured South Pier lighthouse and retraced our steps back to the car.
It was around 11-30 and already cracking the flags at nearby Half Moon Bay when we parked the car on the small car park there. In fact it was getting a bit too hot for Hugo. After a short walk along the cliffs as far as the St Patrick’s chapel remains, we called it a day. Looking back on my post from two years ago, we had a hot weather visit then too! No beautiful new sculptures at that time though. Fab to see the recent editions. 😊
Goodbye beautiful Lancashire coast. Until next time. ❤️
Monday was one of those bright cold days, perfect for a trip to the coast. It’s been a long time since we visited Lytham so we headed for the Lancashire seaside town, parking not far from the windmill on the Green. The Windmill is open to the public in the Summer , so we could only admire it’s sails set against a winter blue sky.
After a walk along the marshy grass and pebbled beach ( Hugo racing round like a demented dog) we found a cute cafe on Clifton Street in town called Bijou for lunch.
It is the Clifton family that resided in Lytham’s grandest residence , the Grade 1 listed Georgian built Lytham Hall on the outskirts of town. After lunch we headed there as I had heard it’s grounds and cafe are popular with dogs and their owners. It’s a bit of a walk from Lytham, but there is a car park if you’d prefer to drive.
The snowdrops are just starting to bloom in the gardens and grounds. In February there are so many that popular Snowdrop Walks are held every weekend throughout the month. The Hall and cafe and gardens have a friendly community vibe with a gardening club, book and antique sales, park runs and guided house tours. I think it’s somewhere we will return. 🙂
So that’s my idea of a happy January day. Sea Air, Blue Skies and Snowdrops. 🙂
I haven’t done a Sunday Sevens for a while, so maybe it’s time to recap my week with 7 ( or more) pics from the last 7 days.
Last Sunday we were up at the caravan and because it was sunny I managed to persuade Wil that it was the perfect day to drive to the seaside . We are about an hour away from Allonby on the Solway Coast. What a lovely little place! I must admit the trip was partly inspired by fellow blogger Eunice’s very informative post about the village, which she visited over the Summer. I love that Allonby and it’s surroundings have inspired so many artists over the years and writers Charles Dickens & Wilkie Collins stopped here on their tour of Cumberland. For us it was just the perfect place for a stroll on the beach with Hugo. 🙂
I’ve managed to cross a couple of items off my 40 Things To Do Before I’m 50 Bucket List this week. Well kind of! One is to go to the remote farm in Yorkshire where Amanda Owen ( the Yorkshire Shepherdess) lives. She makes cream teas for the walkers that pass through. However she was actually doing a talk in nearby Longridge on Wed eve, so I got to see her there. She’s very down to earth , very funny and pretty awe inspiring. I got my book signed. I’m very chuffed!
Also on my bucket list is Eat Dutch Pancakes in Amsterdam. Well at the moment we are in Amsterdam! Having a bit of chill time so I thought I would upload some photos.
It’s my first time in the Dutch capital and I love it. 😀
Observations ~ Everyone rides bicycles, sometimes wearing flipflops or high heals, often carrying baskets of shopping, boxes, dogs, babies, etc
~ It’s a miracle that I didn’t get run over by a bicycle.
~The canals are full of noisy coots. These are small black water birds with white bills that build nests in boats and under canal bridges.
~The local drink is Jenever , a liqueur made from Dutch juniper berries. The term ‘Dutch Courage’ comes from soldiers taking a flask of this to war, for courage. I didn’t like it!
~ The outdoor markets are amazing. So many cheeses, mushrooms, stunning cut flowers etc
~ The Red Light District actually has a church in it ( The Oude Kerk) and the architecture there does make it an attractive place to visit.
~The rooftop on the Science Museum is a fantastic outside space with a free exhibition called Energetica .
~ There are lots of crooked houses….even if your not stoned. 😉
Thanks to Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for devising Sunday Sevens. X
Hi it’s the end of another month ( 2019 is going crazy fast! ) , So I thought I would join in with Kate’s/Hawthorns Scavenger hunt. Her words for May are Seat, View, Starts with a P, Transport, Lunch & My own choice.
Seat. I am recently back from a few days in the seaside village of Ravenglass. Wil & I are lucky enough to have friends whose family have a holiday cottage right on the sea front. And we can rent it for mates rates. So happy days. 😎 Anyway there is a balcony where we spent most late afternoons admiring the sea views and pretending we were in the South of France. You could be fooled ~ apart from my knees are wrapped in a blanket. 🙂
View. The view from said balcony is fantastic, looking out over the estuary. The sunsets in Ravenglass are also to die for.
Starts With P. P is for Sea Pinks. These pretty in pink flowers cover the cliffs of St Bees head , a little further up the coast. Sea Pinks are also called Thrift. Pinks apparently do well in rock gardens and have appeared on the British threepence coin from 1937 to 1952.
Transport. The best way to get around in Ravenglass ? Well I can recommend the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway , a narrow gauge railway set in 7 miles of stunning scenery. My kind of transport.
Lunch. Here’s a recipe I found which was a hit with my other half. It could be lunch or tea.
200g Chick Peas, 200g Chorizo diced, 200g yellow cherry tomatoes halved, 2 tomatoes chopped, 1 red pepper cut in strips, 2 cloves garlic crushed, handful of frozen onions ( I use these because chopping onions always makes me cry) & a little olive oil.
Fry onion & garlic in a little olive oil for 5 minutes.
Add chunks of chorizo & fry for a couple of minutes on a high heat, before adding the pepper strips and lowering the heat again. Cook for 5 minutes then add the chick peas & tomatoes. Stir thoroughly and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on the pan.
Serve with crusty bread.
My Own Choice. Our very own handsome Hugo conquered his third Wainwright last week, Crag Fell looks over Ennerdale Water. I did too….about 20 minutes later!
Head over to Kate’s blog to see more Scavenger hunters.
The month of January can be a wee bit meh. The sparkle and celebrations of Christmas are over and done with, so what is to be done ? Possibly go back to the gym, join weight watchers ( my depressing January thing once upon a time) or go into full on hibernation? I say do none of those things. Embrace the winter months. Get out and explore. Snuggle up with a good book or two. Engross yourself in a riveting boxset. Make hearty stews. Drink winter warming brews. This month sounds so much better already. 🙂
I’m presently loving The Marvelous Mrs Maisel on Amazon Prime. I can really get lost in the retro fifties glamor, the whimsical storylines and the laugh out loud moments.
Midge Maisel is a well to do Jewish New York house wife whose life falls apart when her husband leaves her for his secretary. Reeling, Midge accidentally finds therapy in stand-up comedy, almost unheard of for women in those days. This show is a visual treat with fabulous characters and is written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of Gilmore Girls. I definitely recommend. ❤️
I’ve signed up to do the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch , which I had fun participating in last year. If you have any feathered visitors in your yard or garden or even in your local park, it is definitely a great help to take an hour out of your time to just sit and observe who turns up. The Big Birdwatch is on over the last weekend of January. Make sure you fill up the feeders beforehand. Then put the kettle on, relax and watch. You can sign up here.
I’ve also signed up to do the #walk1000miles challenge again. There’s a fantastic Facebook page with a wonderful community of experienced and inexperienced walkers. Lots of walks ideas on there and motivational stories too. Just think, by the end of January there will be an extra hour of daylight, so more time to enjoy the outdoors. I’m certainly looking forward to that!
I always think January is a good time to organize a mini break. Though that might be partly because it’s my other halves birthday. 🙂 Seriously though, what better way to combat the winter blues than a couple of nights away. Out of season breaks are usually less expensive and I was beyond pleased when I found Hubs By Premier Inn in Edinburgh. I’ll tell you if staying in such a bijou room is a good experience, later in the month!
If it’s cold outside, and it often is in January , head for the warmth. A great article in this month’s the Simple things magazine has some toasty suggestions including….
Winter Swim in one of the heated open air pools or lido’s that are open out of season. outdoorswimmingsociety.com
Admire tropical growing palms, ferns and flowers in the warmth of an ornate Glass House.
Book a break at Sherwood Center Parcs and experience a treetop sauna.
After a brisk walk on the beach, grab a blanket, buy some fish n chips and eat them on the prom in a wind shelter.
Google pubs near you with a roaring fire. Nothing beats a tipple of your choice in front of a crackling open fire.
My own suggestions ~ wrap up warm in a beach hut, relax in a Turkish baths, head to an independent cinema that serves hot drinks whilst you watch a movie and/or drink coffee with cats in your local cat cafe.
What are your January plans?
Hi there Scavenger Hunters and those of you just dropping in for a nosy. 😄 It’s Kate/ Hawthorn’s last Scavenger Hunt of 2018, so I thought I’d better make an effort and join in. Though I did find some of the prompts pretty tough this time around. Still I do like a challenge, so here goes….
Post/Mailbox. I’m still loving Postcrossing, which is a fun way of sending and receiving postcards from all around the world. These three are off to Italy, USA and Japan. I have already popped them in the post box.
Decay. Bracket Fungi , according to Wikipedia are an ‘ important agent of wood decay, playing a significant role in nutrient cycling and carbon dioxide production of forest ecosystems’. Go bracket fungi! This one was snapped a couple of weeks ago in Ravenglass.
Second hand. I love this book called Sketches of Bird Life by C. F. Tunnicliffe. It originally belonged to Wils Dad and having been handed down, now lives with us. His drawings are beautiful , and you may recognise his style. Tunnicliffe illustrated the wildlife Ladybird Books. 🙂
Strand. Here are my two god-daughters on the shores strand-line in Ravenglass. Hugo is also there, splashing in the water. We loved our time away in this coastal Cumbrian village. You can read about our weekend Here.
Fold. Sorry, its those ‘Festival Sheep’ again. I ended up using the word ‘fold’ in the context of ‘a flock of sheep’ and these are a colourful meadow full near Ravenglass. The farmer marks the ewes that have been impregnated by a ram. I think the different colours mean different fathers and also the number of lambs expected per mother.
My Own Choice. Definitely making my own mouth water here. Wil took me out for tea on my Birthday to Bowland Beer Hall. This was dessert. Yummy! Who else loves Churros with chocolate sauce??
Thanks for dropping by. 🙂