Cumbria is the most north westerly county in England and borders South West Scotland, and the counties of Northumberland, County Durham, North Yorkshire and Lancashire. Cumbria also contains the Lake District National Park, the largest national park in Britain and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mountains and lakes of the Lake District were formed in the last ice age but the Lake District only contains one lake – Bassenthwaite Lake. The other lakes are a mixture of “meres” (Windermere, Grasmere and Buttermere, for example) or “waters” (such as Derwent Water, Ullswater and Coniston Water).
Romans and Vikings have all settled in the Lake District and Cumbria. The Vikings gave the region many of the area’s place names such as thwaite (a clearing), fell (a mountain with grazing), force (waterfall) and gill (ravine). The Vikings also introduced Herdwick Sheep to Cumbria and sheep farming remains common throughout the county to this day. The Lake District has been a natural resource for metals and minerals, and has been mined since Roman times. Slate is still mined at the top of Honister Pass at Honister Slate Mine, and locally mined graphite helped establish the pencil manufacturing and Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick.
One of the Lake District’s most famous residents was the poet William Wordsworth. He was born and spent his early childhood at Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, and as an adult at Dove Cottage in Grasmere. As well as his famous poems about the Lake District Wordsworth also wrote a Guide to the Lakes in 1835. Another famous Lake District resident was Beatrix Potter, famous for her children’s books. You can visit The World Of Beatrix Potter attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere to see her stories come to life. More recently we have Alfred Wainwright who’s Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells remains popular amongst walkers and tourists too.
Just outside the Lake District National Park you will find the coast of Cumbria and the Lakeland Peninsulas. In the south is Barrow-in-Furness, synonymous with naval ship building. As you head up the coast you come to Muncaster Castle by the coastal town of Ravenglass, which is home to the La’al Ratty narrow gauge railway and was used as naval base by the Romans. Along the coast of West Cumbria are the industrial towns of Egremont, Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport. The village of St Bees is the most westerly point of Cumbria over looking the Irish Sea, with views towards the Isle of Man and beyond. In the north west of Cumbria is the Solway Coast where you will find views across the Solway Firth to Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland. In the north of the county, about ten miles from the Scottish border, is the border city of Carlisle.
Cumbria is a county seeped in history and the landscape of the Lake District was formed in the last ice age. With spectacular scenery and views there is no better place for a wedding than the largest National Park in the UK.