The UK is definitely one of the most beautiful parts of the world – once you get your head past the idea of beautiful meaning everlasting sunshine! Amidst all of that beauty is so much minutiae, so many places with so many interesting things to see and do. How could anyone ever consider not exploring this glorious isle? You could opt for camping, hotel, air b‘n’b – but we think the best way to experience the area is to have a home-from-home. Static caravans, Cumbria, time and an open heart – a perfect combination.
High on the list of places you simply must visit is the county of Cumbria – equal part wild and wonderful. Most people will immediately respond with “the Lake District” if you mention Cumbria – and that’s understandable as this UNESCO World Heritage Site really is one of the most wonderful regions.
First of all, though, a bit about our own Cumbrian treasure – Willow Tree Holiday Park, a static caravan site neighbouring the picturesque seaside town of Grange-over-Sands. It’s located in the old fishing village Flookburgh and there are scenic locations right at its doorstep, including the coastline and the Coniston and Windermere lakes. Daly Parks always has static caravans for sale, Grange-over-Sands is a wonderful place to start looking for that holiday home or your ideal retirement home.
Using Willow Tree Holiday Park as your base, where else in Cumbria could you visit? For the purposes of this blog we’re looking elsewhere than the Lake District, as there’s so much other stuff worthy of your time. We’ll present you with a bit of background on several towns, plus some trivia which may also pique your interest.
- Morecambe Bay: A beautiful coastal area capped off by the seaside town Morecambe, which traditionally drew many visitors from Yorkshire, and was a popular spot for retirement. It was immortalised on film in Alan Bennett’s wry and poignant 1975 TV comedy play Sunset Across The Bay. It was actually the birthplace of one of Bennett’s most regular actors, Dame Thora Hird, as well as boxer Tyson Fury, fashion designer Wayne Hemingway and one John Eric Bartholemew – the comedian otherwise known as Eric Morecambe (of Morecambe & Wise fame) who took his stage name in tribute to his hometown. There’s a statue of him down near the sands, unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999. Keep your eye on Morecambe in the near future – the Eden Project has planning permission for a new northern seafront version of its original Cornwall eco-project.
- Ulverston: Just a couple of miles from Morecambe Bay is Ulverston. On the 16th June 1890 Argyle Street in the small market town saw the birth of comedy performer, writer and film director Arthur Jefferson – or, as he is more widely known, Stan Laurel. As part of legendary comedy duo Laurel & Hardy, Stan became probably the most influential British comedian of all time, as well as the funniest. Ulverston contains a charming museum dedicated to his work alongside Oliver Hardy, based at the Roxy Cinema in the town centre. Other notable celebrities to have originated from around Ulverston include Christine McVie, a member of rock band Fleetwood Mac, and (bizarrely) iconic American rock ‘n’ roll originator Bill Haley’s mum Maude!
- Cockermouth: Named one of 51 ‘gem towns’ in the UK by the Council for British Archaeology, and the historic buildings there are well worth seeing. Much of the architectural core remains unchanged since the basic medieval layout was filled in the 18th and 19th centuries. Cockermouth was the birthplace of former Romantic poet (and Poet Laureate) William Wordsworth, and you can visit the museum at his former home , and also the birthplace of Fletcher Christian (leader of the actual mutiny on the Bounty). Since 2003 the town has been home to cricketer Ben Stokes, the current Test match captain of England.
- Kendal: Famous for its mint cake, a local delicacy high in glucose, and which was used on numerous mountaineering and polar expeditions! There’s more to Kendal than mint cake, of course – including the fantastic Kendal Museum, the beautiful Holy Trinity Church (including the Parr Chapel and prayers handwritten by Catherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives) and the impressive 13th-century Kendal Castle. The town has more than its fair share of celebrity connections too, being the birthplace of rock band Marillion’s frontman Steve Hogarth, best-selling thriller author Desmond Bagley, and guidebook legend Alfred Wainwright, whose 50-or-so books are charming reference works for anyone who loves the UK’s great outdoors.
- Carlisle: Located around 10 miles south of the Scottish border, Carlisle is the largest settlement in Cumbria. It has been an important railway and mill town, though was originally established to serve the forts on Hadrian’s Wall. It is now home to a variety of excellent museums and heritage centres. It was birthplace to broadcaster Melvyn Bragg and transport magnate Eddie Stobart, amongst other notables, and famous faces to have lived there include writer Hunter Davies, Top Gear’s Richard Hammond, Richard Madeley of Richard & Judy fame and Bill Shankly, the legendary manager of Liverpool Football Club.
- Other towns: Around thirty miles south-west of Carlisle is Maryport, once a command and supply base for the western coastal defences of Hadrian’s Wall. There are substantial remains of the Roman fort in the town, which is great for those who are interested in seeing evidence of their ancient history. Thomas Ismay, founder of the White star Line shipping company (which created The Titanic) was born in the town. It’s also the location of the famous Maryport Blues Festival each summer, a musical gathering which has attracted such stellar names as Van Morrison, Chuck Berry and Buddy Guy in the past. The relatively unassuming market town of Egremont is a nice spot five miles south of Whitehaven and five miles north of Seascale (the village which is home to iconic nuclear power plant Sellafield). Egremont hosts the annual World Gurning Championships as art of the historic Crab Fair (which has run since 1267). Francis Dunnery, frontman of prog rock band It Bites and guitarist for Led Zeppelin rocker Robert Plant, was born in the town.
In addition to the places mentioned here, there are literally hundreds of more rural walks, hikes or rambles you could go on (always adhering to the rule of sticking to public land, of course), and there are wonderful views almost every direction you look, no matter which spot you are in. The ideal way to enjoy the area is to take your time rather than trying to cram everything in to a one week break. Invest your time, attention and money in this beautiful part of the country. Google ‘residential static caravans for sale, Cumbria’ and you’re off to a good start.
Cumbria really is an exceptional place to visit and Willow Tree Holiday Park is ideally placed for you to make the most of the jewel in England’s crown. But, with Carlisle being so near to the border into Scotland, you could always just nip over to get married in Gretna Green and then visit lovely towns such as Lockerbie, Dumfries and Kirkcudbright!