Lake District Attractions
North Cumbria beyond the Lakes

Featuring the best attractions in the Lake District and Cumbria including public transport connections between them

Whitehaven harbour
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The Lake District and Cumbria are home to some of the best scenery and visitor attractions in the country. Outside of the Lake District National Park, North Cumbria has plenty of historic attractions, a picturesque coastline and various popular towns which can provide accomodation and onward travel connections to the Lakes.

There are various bus and train services through the area which will transport you to all of the popular attractions described below. Each attraction includes a brief description, photograph, link to website (where available) and any facilities such as shops, cafes and toilets. Public transport services that stop nearby (within 1 mile) are listed and the location of each stop in relation to the attraction is described. Further information on each transport service, including timetable, approximate route and other attractions visited on route, can be found by following the mode link.

Most of the towns listed have extensive bus services but only those that have Lake District connections are included.

Attractions - North Cumbria beyond the Lakes

Towns & villages


Penrith, Market Square Penrith is a busy market town on the eastern edge of the Lake District. It is an important hub for Eastern Cumbria being at the junction of the M6 and the A66, as well as having a railway station on the main west coast line. The location makes it a busy thoroughfare for traffic, but despite this the town centre retains a certain amount of charm and is worth exploring.

The old town centre buildings are mostly local red sandstone which epitomises many of the buildings in this area. There are plenty of old streets and shops to explore within the town and Penrith Museum, housed within the Tourist Information Centre, will tell you more about the area and its history. The attractive St Andrewís Church is just off the market square and up the hill from there, opposite the railway station, is the 14th century Penrith Castle which is now in ruins but the remains are interesting and free entry.

All buses stop at the bus station and most also at the railway station. Both are within the town centre. Only bus services that visit Lake District attractions are included.

106, 508, 888, X4, X5 West coast main line


Carlisle centre Capital of Cumbria and the only city within the county, historic Carlisle is an interesting place to explore with a turbulent past. A settlement was established in Roman times at this important crossing of the River Eden and Hadrian's Wall. During the Middle Ages, the border settlement frequently passed from English to Scottish rule as the two countries fought for control.

The impressive Carlisle Castle is over 900 years old and has been the focal point of many historic battles. It is now open to the public and includes the Cumbria Museum of Military Life. Across the road is the interesting Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery which tells more of the local history. Further towards the city centre are some wonderful attractions including Carlisle Cathedral, Guildhall Museum, St Cuthbertís Church and the old West Walls. The city centre itself has some attractive buildings and a good pedestrianized shopping area.

Buses stop at the bus station in the city centre, a short walk from the railway station. Only bus services that visit Lake District attractions are included.

73, 554 West coast main line, Cumbrian coast line, Settle to Carlisle line, Newcastle to Carlisle line


Wordsworth House, Cockermouth Cockermouth is an ancient market town, formerly a Roman settlement at an important road and river crossing. The nearby Roman Fort of Papcastle is testament to the Roman activity in the area. The Rivers Derwent and Cocker meet in the town and between them drain a huge area of the northern Lake District. The attractive town was devastated by flood waters in 2009 and 2015 when several feet of flood water flowed along the main street. Since then the town has largely been restored and improved and is well worth exploring.

The pretty main street has a number of interesting shops and Georgian buildings including Wordsworth House where the famous poet William Wordsworth was born in 1770 and spent much of his childhood. The National Trust property is open most days March-October apart from Fridays. At the other end of the main street is the popular Jennings Brewery which also offers tours to visitors. Overlooking the Brewery is Cockermouth Castle, some of which dates from the 12th century but is privately owned and rarely open to the public. Other attractions include Castlegate House Gallery, Market Place and some pleasant riverside walks.

Buses stop on Main Street in the town centre. Only bus services that visit Lake District attractions are included.

541, X4, X5


Workington, Portland Square Workington, like many other local towns, grew up largely around the coal industry and had a significant boom around the 18th century. There were dozens of coal mines in the area, some extended out to sea underground and the town also became a centre for steel making. Although it eventually became a significant port, the old town was on higher ground slightly inland. This old town area, slightly east of the shopping centre, is an interesting place to explore and includes the attractive Portland Square, the striking St Johnís Church and the Helena Thompson Museum which reflects the history of the area. Curwen Park contains the impressive ruins of Workington Hall which was the home of the Curwen family who helped develop the area during the boom years. For some retail therapy, the town centre has plenty to offer including Washington Square shopping centre which has a number of popular high street stores.

Buses stop at the bus station in the town centre. The railway station is on the western edge of the town centre. Only bus services that visit Lake District attractions are included.

541, X4, X5 Cumbrian coast line


St Nicholas church, Whitehaven Whitehaven is an attractive coastal town with an interesting history and a number of attractions for visitors. The town grew up in the 17th & 18th centuries with the boom of local coal mining and the port soon became one of the most important in the country for coal export. The Georgian town was largely planned and built during this boom and the grid patterned streets were quite unique at the time. The coal mines eventually closed and the port became redundant but the harbour area has been redeveloped in recent times as a marina and tourist attraction and is worth exploring.

The Beacon museum is on the harbour side and tells the history of the local area. In the town itself the Rum Story attraction tells the darker history of the area and nearby is St Nicholasí Church which was largely destroyed by fire in 1971 but the tower and pretty gardens are open to the public. Buried here is Mildred Gale, the grandmother of first US President George Washington, who briefly lived and died in the town. Up the nearby hill is St Jamesí Church which has a beautiful Georgian interior.

The railway station is on the northern edge of the town centre. Buses stop near the railway station.

541 Cumbrian coast line


Maryport Maryport is another West Cumbrian town that largely developed during the 18th century due to the local coal boom. Like Whitehaven, the town was developed with a grid patterned street design centred on the busy harbour and on Fleming Square which remains an attractive cobbled square surrounded by Georgian architecture. The industry is long gone but the pleasant harbour area has been redeveloped in recent years and is worth exploring. You can learn about the interesting history of the area at The Maritime Museum and nearby is The Lake District Coast Aquarium which is a good family attraction. The Wave entertainment centre has various attractions and a cafe.

Long before the coal boom, the town was also a Roman settlement with defences which extended from Hadrian's Wall down the west coast. On the hill at the northern end of the town are the remains of a Roman Fort adjacent to the Senhouse Roman Museum which contains interesting Roman artefacts. The Roman Fort area has some wonderful views across the harbour and out to sea towards southern Scotland, as does the promenade below which provides a good walk along the sea front.

The railway station is on the eastern edge of the town centre. Bus services do not visit Lake District attactions from Maryport so are not included.

Cumbrian coast line

Historic places

King Arthur's Round Table

King Arthur's Round Table Despite the name, the prehistoric henge of King Arthur's Round Table has nothing to do with the legendary King Arthur, preceding his time by a few thousand years. There isnít much to see now apart from the circular ditches which are interesting but unfortunately not quite complete due to the adjacent road covering part of it. It is believed there was at one time a stone circle but that has long gone. The site is in the village of Eamont Bridge, just over 1 mile south of Penrith town centre. The Beehive Inn and Crown Inn pubs are adjacent but no other facilities.

Buses stop adjacent to the attraction. Only bus services that visit Lake District attractions are included.

106, 508

Mayburgh henge

Mayburgh Henge The prehistoric Mayburgh Henge is probably related to nearby King Arthur's Round Table, with both estimated to be about 4000 years old. However, this is significantly more impressive. It is estimated that over 5 million cobbles from the local river were used in the construction and it is mind boggling to imagine how much effort was involved. The outer bank is several metres high and approx 100m diameter and provides good views of the surrounding area. A single upright stone exists in the centre of the arena which is all that remains of the original standing stones. Free access but no facilities on site.

Buses stop nearby at King Arthur's Round Table. Only bus services that visit Lake District attractions are included.

106, 508

Other places


Rheged Visitor Centre Rheged is an interesting visitor centre with a good selection of attractions for the whole family. It claims to be Europeís largest grass covered building and the clever design certainly hides it from the surrounding countryside. There are various different shops, childrens play areas, cinemas, exhibitions on the local area and events. Entry is free for visitors, with cafes and toilet facilities inside. Open daily.

Buses stop outside the building in the car park, not all X4/X5 services stop here.

X4, X5