Our specific focus is on the area around the historical county town of Lancaster and further north toward the Southern Lake district.
Nearest airport of arrival is Manchester and from here you can either take a direct train along the west coast line (which terminates at Barrow-in-Furness) to Lancaster and the beautiful villages beyond or hire a car for the best freedom of movement.
Lancaster is a historic Town situated on the beautiful River Lune .It is dominated by its hilltop castle that dates back 1000 years. The castle was a court and prison for centuries and outside London, more people were hanged here than anywhere else in England, earning Lancaster the name of ‘the hanging town’. Its most famous cases were those of the Pendle witch trials in 1612. Since 2013, the castle has been open to tourists.
In the 15th century the house of Lancaster provided three kings of England—Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI. The traditional emblem for the House of Lancaster is a red rose, the red rose of Lancaster, similar to that of the House of York, which is a white rose. These two royal houses battled in a civil war over rival claims to the throne during the Wars of the Roses.1455-1487. A civil war that the house of Lancaster won and resulted in the crowning of Henry 7th and the start of the Tudor period of English history.
Lancaster is today a bustling market and university town (in top 1% of world universities) with historic buildings and a lovely pedestrian centre well worth a visit.
Walks around Silverdale village
Just 10 minutes north of Lancaster by train or a 20 minute drive is the beautiful village of Silverdale.
Situated on Morecambe bay the area of Silverdale and Arnside has been categorized as a AONB area (area of outstanding Natural beauty). The Village has endless walking trails through forest and woodland and along the coast.
Areas of interest are the Leighton moss nature reserve and Leighton Hall the Historic Home of the renowned historical furniture makers- the Gillow family which dates back 750 years. The hall is open to visitors May- Sept.
Explore the village by foot. A favorite walk is along the coast to Jenny brown’s point continuing to the coffee shop and craft gallery -The wolf house gallery- and then along the coast to the neighbouring seaside village of Arnside. Arnside is situated on the estuary of the River Kent ….enjoy a beer at one of the lovely pubs overlooking the sands.
When the tide is due to come in a siren sounds to warn all people to clear the sands as the current travels much faster than a man can run and can be dangerous.
Arnside is situated on the west coast train line and this part of the route is considered one of England’s most beautiful train journeys as from here you can cross the sands by train to the next stop in the southern lake district to the village of Grange over sands. Take a stop at this pretty village and then continue on to the station of Cark in Cartmel.
From Cark in cartmel station it is a short walk to the impressive Holker Hall, a stately home owned by the Cavendish family. Visit the house and the magnificent gardens.
From here you can walk approximately 2 km one of the most beautiful villages in England Cartmel. Apart from its impressive priory which dates from 1190 Cartmel has an array of 16th – 18th century buildings. The focal point is the square with its stone cross.
Here you will find several excellent pubs with rooms as well as the Village shop which sells the famous Cartmel Sticky toffee pudding.
Cartmel is also famous for its small racecourse , Seven race days are held each year, starting on the Whit Holiday weekend at the end of May and ending on the August Bank Holiday weekend in August. A day at the races is a real typical British day out. The atmosphere is unique and the village comes alive with stalls selling street food and other products. A bus is available on race days from Cark in cartmel station to Cartmel .
Other places in the area which are a must to visit are
Levens Hall: Levens Hall has been occupied since about 1350 but the present building and interior is of the Elizabethan period. The gardens are equally impressive in particular the topiary garden which is the finest, oldest and most extensive topiary garden in the world. There are over 100 pieces here, each clipped to an unusual and individual design.
There are many tales of ghosts at Levens, as you might expect from a house that has seen centuries of history and many different owners. Amongst them the gypsy woman who is said to have died cursing the house, claiming that no male heir would inherit until the River Kent ceased to flow and a white fawn was born in the Park.
Strangely, the estate passed through the female line for four generations until the birth of Alan Desmond Bagot in 1896 when the river did indeed freeze over and a white fawn was born in the park. A grey lady still haunts the drive near the river and has often been seen by visitors.
Also there is the ghost of a little black dog has been seen chasing visitors up the main staircase.
Sizergh Castle: A historic stately home dating from the 15th century with lovely gardens Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII and a relative of the Strickland family who owned the castle for centuries, is thought to have lived here after her first husband died in 1533.
Kirkby Lonsdale- pretty village: Kirkby Lonsdale bustles with activity, with a weekly market, many local events and traditional shops. The centre is a mix of elegant 18th-century buildings and stone cottages huddled around cobbled courtyards and narrow alleyways. There are fabulous restaurants and places to stay.
Don’t miss walking through the churchyard to see The view of the River Lune which is known as Ruskin’s View; it was praised by John Ruskin the influential Victorian art critic as “One of the loveliest views in England” and painted by J.M.W. Turner.
The town is also noted for the beautiful Devil’s Bridge which at one time carried the Skipton to Kendal road over the River Lune. It dates from around 1370. The bridge was probably built by the monks of St Mary’s Abbey, York. Legend holds that the Devil appeared to an old woman, promising to build a bridge in exchange for the first soul to cross over it. When the bridge was finished, the woman threw bread over the bridge and her dog chased after it, thereby outwitting the Devil.
It is a wonderful place for a walk and a riverside picnic. The section of river underneath Devil’s Bridge is popular with scuba divers because of the relatively easy access and its deep rock pools (about 16 feet during a low swell) and good visibility. The bridge is also popular for illegal “tombstoning” (bridge diving) and at least one death has been recorded.
“The Switzerland of England”
If you want to see more in the area beautiful English countryside surrounds you everywhere in this part of northern England.
The Forest of Bowland is situated south east of Lancaster. This ancient forest where wild boar and wolves once roamed forms part of the Ribble Valley, straddling northeast Lancashire and north-west Yorkshire.
Nicknamed “the Switzerland of England” it was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1964. It is popular with walkers and cyclists but is not overrun with tourists.
It is one of the Queen’s favourite places in the world as she considers it the perfect antidote to the hurly-burly of public life. She once told a friend: “Philip, and I would like to retire there…” Unfortunately she has also made it clear that she will never retire so it remains for her a fantasy.
Wherever you go in North Lancashire and Cumbria is lovely. It will not be the excitement of a trip to the big city but an opportunity to visit to an unspoilt corner of traditional England and indulge yourself in nature and history meet friendly people and visit cozy pubs and above all see stunning English countryside at its best.
Rent a cottage or stay in bed and breakfast or country inns.
Try local delicacies..Morecambe bay shrimps, Salmon from the Lune river, Cumbrian lamb, English lakes homemade ice cream and Cartmel sticky toffee pudding.