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A Tourist Guide to Cumbria's Charm

submitted on 16 March 2024 by
A Tourist Guide to Cumbrias Charm


When you think of Cumbria, most people's minds immediately gravitate towards the Lake District, home to picturesque lakes, quaint villages, and more outdoor activities than you can shake a walking stick at. However, while the Lakes may be the crowned jewel in Cumbria's sparkling tourist tiara, there's far more to this spectacular county than meets the eye. For those in search of unique experiences and hidden gems, this guide will take you off the beaten path and open your eyes to a Cumbria you never knew existed.

Swing by Swinside Stone Circle

Forget Stonehenge: Cumbria's got its own prehistoric stone circle that's guaranteed to tickle your Neolithic fancy. Tucked away in the western Lake District, the Swinside Stone Circle is a 5,000-year-old marvel featuring 55 stones arranged in a perfect circle. The best part? The stunning views of the surrounding fells and the Irish Sea make it an ideal spot for a picnic or a leisurely stroll, all without the hordes of tourists that flock to its more famous cousin down south.

Delve into the Smallest Church in England

If you're a fan of small things (who isn't?), then you'll love St. Olaf's Church, located just outside of Wasdale Head in the Lake District. This charming 16th-century church holds the title of the smallest church in England, measuring a mere 10 meters by 4 meters. But don't let its size fool you: what it lacks in stature, it more than makes up for in charm and historical significance. Pay a visit to this pint-sized place of worship and you'll be rewarded with a fascinating glimpse into the past, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Wasdale Valley.

Paddle Through the Secret Lake District

Yes, we know we promised to steer clear of the Lake District, but the truth is, there are still plenty of hidden gems to be found within its boundaries. Case in point: the lesser-known lakes that are just as stunning as their more famous counterparts, but without the crowds. So why not rent a kayak or canoe and explore the beauty of lakes like Buttermere, Crummock Water, or Ennerdale Water? You'll be rewarded with peaceful paddles, serene scenery, and the satisfaction of knowing you've discovered a little slice of heaven that most visitors never get to experience.

Unearth the Subterranean Wonders of Cathedral Quarry

Okay, now we're really getting off the beaten path. Cathedral Quarry is a hidden gem within a hidden gem, situated in the quiet hamlet of Little Langdale in the Lake District. Once an active slate quarry, this fascinating site is now a popular destination for those in the know, thanks to its stunning underground cathedral-like main chamber that boasts an impressive 40-foot pillar. Be sure to bring a torch with you, as the quarry can be a bit dark and spooky – but that just adds to the fun, right?

Channel Your Inner Bond at the Lakeland Motor Museum

For those who prefer horsepower over hiking boots, the Lakeland Motor Museum is a must-visit attraction. Located in the southern Lake District, this impressive collection showcases over 30,000 exhibits spanning 100 years of motoring history. From vintage vehicles to classic motorcycles, there's something for everyone here – including a special exhibition dedicated to none other than James Bond himself. That's right, you can get up close and personal with some of the most iconic Bond cars, gadgets, and memorabilia, ensuring your Cumbria holiday has that extra touch of 007 glamour.

Indulge in Sticky Toffee Pudding at its Birthplace

No visit to Cumbria would be complete without indulging in the county's most famous export: sticky toffee pudding. This decadent dessert is said to have originated in Cumbria, and while there are many establishments that claim to serve the "original" sticky toffee pudding, there's one place that stands out from the rest. The Cartmel Village Shop, located in the picturesque village of Cartmel, boasts the tagline "Home of Sticky Toffee" and has been serving up this delicious dish since 1990. Grab a spoon and dig in – your taste buds will thank you.

A Final Word

So there you have it: a guide to the hidden gems of Cumbria that will take you on an unforgettable journey through the county's lesser-known delights. Whether you're a history buff, a thrill-seeker, or simply someone in search of a unique and memorable holiday experience, these attractions are sure to leave a lasting impression. So pack your bags, lace up your walking boots, and prepare to discover the wonders that lie just off the beaten path in Cumbria.

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