Cities, towns and villages
- 1 Carlisle – The administrative centre and only city.
- 2 Alston – Market town in the Pennines.
- 3 Ambleside – in the Lake District National Park.
- 4 Appleby-in-Westmorland – Former county town, market town in the Eden Valley
- 5 Bowness-on-Windermere – in the Lake District National Park.
- 6 Barrow-in-Furness – Coastal shipbuilding town.
- 7 Brampton – Market town in the North East.
- 8 Cockermouth – Market town in the North West.
- 9 Grange-over-Sands – Lake District Peninsulas
- 10 Kendal – Gateway to the Lake District from the South.
- 11 Keswick – in the Lake District National Park.
- 12 Kirkby Lonsdale – at the southern edge of the county.
- 13 Penrith – Gateway to the Lake District from the North.
- 14 Sedbergh – in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
- 15 Ulverston – Market town in the South West.
- 16 Whitehaven – Coastal town and port.
- 17 Windermere – town near to the large lake of the same name. Also in the Lake District National Park
- 18 Workington – Coastal town and port.
- 19 Cartmel – in the South.
- 20 Coniston – Village in the Lake District National Park
- 21 Eskdale Green – a small village in the western lakes.
- 22 Grasmere – and lake of the same name.
- 23 Hawkshead – Village to the north of Esthwaite Water
- 24 Ravenglass – Coastal village in the Lake District National Park
- 25 Seascale – Village on the Irish Sea coastline south of Sellafield.
- 26 St Bees – Coastal village on the Irish Sea with Norman Priory and Elizabethan school. Start of the Coast to Coast walk, and site of the only Heritage Coast in North West England.
- 1 Lake District National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage area of sharply glaciated dales and mountains.
- Hadrian's Wall was built by the Romans from 122 AD to defend their northern frontier. It stretches 80 miles from Bowness-on-Solway through Carlisle and Brampton, clear over to Tyneside. A hiking trail follows its route, but the Cumbria sections are no more than earthworks through farmland. The best of it, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is further east between Greenhead and Hexham in Northumberland.
- Pennines – the northern section of the spine of hills that divides Northern England.
- 2 Eden Valley is the wide valley between the Lake District and the Pennines.
- 3 Yorkshire Dales National Park has been extended, so part of the park is now in Cumbria.
- 4 Arnside and Silverdale is a small Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the border of Cumbria and Lancashire.
This modern county was formed in local government reforms in the 1970s, and comprises the traditional counties of Cumberland (to the north and the west), Westmorland (to the east), and parts of Lancashire (to the south). Geographically, it is dominated by the Lake District at its centre, England's only true mountain range that presents a natural barrier to travel across the county.
To the west of the county, the towns of Workington and Whitehaven lie on a disused coalfield, which in the last twenty years has led to relatively high unemployment and low property values. Farther south, along the coast, are the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant and the shipbuilding town of Barrow-in-Furness.
To the east lies the Eden Valley and the western slopes of the Pennine Hills.
To the north is a low-lying plain containing the border city of Carlisle before the Solway Firth forms the natural border with Scotland.
Isolated by its geography, the inhabitants developed a strong regional accent and language commonly called 'Westmerian' after the former county name of Westmorland. The region's main language was Cumbric (Cwmbraích in Cumbric) until about 1100 AD, which was a Brythonic Celtic language very similar to Welsh and, to an extent, Lowland Scots Gaelic (Gàidhealig). Today, Cumbric no longer exists as a spoken language but has been reconstructed in various forms in the past with limited success at taking off. Norse also became a main language after Cumbric, to be eventually replaced by English although Cumbrian English still preserves a large number of Scandinavian words as well as a few Celtic ones.
Motorway M6 from the North and South.
For the Lake District: Kendal is the main town to the South East (convenient for Windermere, Coniston etc.), Penrith is to the East, and Carlisle is to the North.
For Barrow and the West coast: Take A590 from junction 36 of the M6.
The motorway also provides access to the West side of the Pennines, and, from Carlisle, to Hadrian's Wall and to the North East corner of England.
Cumbria is traversed North-South by the high speed West Coast Main Line. It skirts the eastern edge of the Lake district with stations at Oxenholme, Penrith and Carlisle. Fastest journey times from London are three hours to Carlisle.
Windermere station is most conveniently located for the Southern Lakes. The train from here travels to Oxenholme station on the main West Coast line. The Leeds-Settle-Carlisle line also links Cumbria to Yorkshire, as does the line from Leeds to Barrow via Hellifield.
The South and West Lakes is accessed by one of the most scenic railways in the country. Starting from Carnforth the line travels across the Lake District peninsulas by a series of impressive viaducts to Barrow in Furness. The Cumbria Coast line then travels via Millom to Whitehaven, and re-joins the West Coast Main line at Carlisle. At Foxfield the old market town of Broughton in Furness and the Duddon valley is accessible. From Millom northwards some of the most interesting of the western valleys can be seen and accessed from such as Drigg, Seascale and Ravenglass stations. Further north the line literally runs along the beach at Braystones and after a superb serpentine section next to the Irish Sea it passes through St Bees with its Heritage Coast and ancient priory, and thence to Whitehaven. The line then follows the coast to Maryport and thence to Carlisle via Aspatria and Wigton.
- Cumbria's Living Heritage. A collection of houses, gardens, museums and cultural attractions in and around Cumbria and the Lake District.
- Walking: the Lake District has some busy hill and lakeside paths, but the rest of the county has many good public footpaths that offer quieter walks.
- Boat trips can be made on scheduled services on several lakes, and you can also hire a rowing boat for an hour or day in lakeside towns like Keswick.
- Westmoreland County Show is held in early September at Crooklands 7 miles south of Kendal.
- Cumberland Sausages. One of the most famous traditional Cumbrian foods has to be the coiled Cumberland Sausage. The uniqueness of the Cumberland Sausage is that it is sold in a coils rather than by links. The sausage is also more heavily spiced than regular sausages.
- Kendal Mint Cake. A small mint confection that is commonly used by hikers and mountaineers for energy.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding. A date sponge cake with a toffee sauce on top, often served hot with custard.
- Grasmere Gingerbread.
Damson Gin: the Lyth Valley is famous in Cumbria for damsons. Many pubs offer a locally made 'damson gin', which is particularly popular as a pre-dinner drink around Christmas.
There is a huge range of accommodation available in Cumbria. See the individual city/town articles for listings.
A relatively quiet and rural county. As is usual in England, it's best to be wary around the centre of larger towns (such as Barrow-in-Furness, Workington and Carlisle) on weekend nights as they're prone to binge drinking culture.
- To the east, Northumberland and County Durham
- To the south is Lancashire and North Yorkshire
- To the north is Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland