Congrats to Cumbria… yet another ‘World Heritage Site’ awarded!
If you’re wondering which county to visit this summer, we think UNESCO may just have decided for you…
Cumbria has at many strings to its bow but it’s most famous for both the Lake District (South Cumbria) and Hadrian’s Wall (North Cumbria). The Lakes are currently abuzz following the announcement just a couple of days ago, that it has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO. Hadrian’s Wall was handed this title in 1987 and it’s well deserved accolade for this North Western beauty spot to also receive! For those of you travelling on a budget, some friendly hostels can offer you a home-from-home base when exploring each one. Thorney How, the perfect base to enjoy the Lake District, can be found in a picturesque village called Grasmere. Carlisle City Hostel is just a stone’s throw from Hadrian’s Wall, as is Greenhead Hostel, further east. All these hostels know how to give a warm welcome to those visiting from across the globe.
An inspiration to the wonderful world of Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter’s fantastical critters, The Lakes draw over 18 million visitors a year with its quaint olde worlde villages, stunning mountain vistas and, of course… plenty of beautiful lakes. Grasmere is probably The Lakes most popular village, thanks to William Wordsworth who lived here for all of his life. It’s named after nearby Grasmere Lake which is just a short walk away – a gorgeous spot to rent rowing boats and pootle about on a sunny day. And if you happen to be visiting late August, don’t miss Grasmere Sports Day which is one of the oldest traditional events in the Lake District!
Thorney How can be found nestled here, and is a 350 year old farmhouse with a 16 bedded separate bunkhouse set beside the main residence. “We are very happy to be custodians of this Grade 2 listed building and are taking very careful steps to ensure that it remains in good condition,” say owner, Taylor Nuttall. The recently revamped website shows off their beautiful location and gives full details of their accommodation. Helm Crag sits just behind Thorney How offering breathtaking views across Grasmere valley. This is one of the post popular walks to do from the hostel. You can also rent bikes for the day which is a great way to enjoy the views whilst getting fit! Hiking in The Lakes is probably the most popular way to experience them and you can choose from many trails of varying lengths and challenges. The stunning landscapes inspire many an artist and each year from the end of July to the beginning of September you can enjoy the Lake Artists Society Summer Exhibition at Grasmere Village Hall. It hosts around 300 exhibits by local artists and sculptors.
Once you’ve spent some time getting acquainted with The Lakes, you may be ready to continue north and base yourself in Carlisle for a while. Perfectly positioned between two of Carlisle’s historical masterpieces (the cathedral and castle), Carlisle City Hostel, which opened in July 2013, can be found in a four-storey townhouse. Offering cosy rooms and a friendly vibe, you’ll be happy to hang out exploring the town before visiting Hadrian’s Wall. The city’s cathedral is smaller than most but houses magnificent structural feats. 50 feet of transcendent stained glass and a painted ceiling reminiscent of Islamic decoration in Granada’s stunning Alhambra palace, brings Moorish decadence to this Gothic constitution. And the atmosphere is magical… choirs have sung within it for nearly 900 years!
Nearby, standing sturdy and simple, Carlisle Castle juxtaposes this rich architecture with sandstone walls and dank dungeons. It oozes with rich history and battle stories and is well worth a visit. If you have some extra pennies visit Tullie House, an award winning Jacobean museum and art gallery opposite the hostel. And in the evening, stop by The Old Fire Station which was transformed back in 2015. It boasts four main spaces including, cafe-bar, an auditorium for live music, comedy, theatre and exhibitions accommodating around 250 seated or 350 standing. If you’re around between 21st-23rd July you can enjoy the ‘Foodies Fest‘ found in the city centre, which will be full of tasty Northern fare amongst other goodies.
The Roman Masterpiece…
Britain’s greatest Roman monument, Hadrian’s Wall, necklaces the Anglo-Scottish border, linking forts and turrets between east and west. It’s an amazing feat of engineering which took the Romans around 2 years to build… and then UNESCO over 15 years to define where the hiking path was going to be! Walking its entirety would take 5 days but the 3 days from Carlisle to Corbridge have been said to be the most amazing. And walking West to East means the prevailing wind is behind you… although we obviously are hoping you are blessed with ‘wall to wall’ sunshine for your visit! Several forts and a lot of the old wall are in tact along way with the Birdoswald Roman Fort commanding stunning views over the Irthing valley to the Lake District Fells.
Stay a few nights at Greenhead Hostel, a converted Methodist Chapel in the village of Greenhead on Hadrian’s Wall. It has recently been taken over by a new team who are keen to welcome you. The nearby Roman Army Museum is well worth a look too, giving you a fabulous insight into the Roman’s life during this time. Don’t miss the iconic Sycamore Pass which is about another 3 hours walk on. Here you’ll find a lone Sycamore tree standing proudly at around 60ft high with a claim to fame… it featured in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner!
Cumbria must be one very proud county, and rightly so… with all this tucked up its sleeve, no wonder it’s on the bucket list of even more of the UK’s visitors this summer!
For full details of how to book your stay at these 3 hostels, visit their websites: