Tucked away in the picturesque countryside of north west England is Cockermouth, the ‘Gateway to the Lake District’.
In search of a quiet country life? Cockermouth ticks all the boxes. Sitting on the borders of the Lake District, it offers medieval streets and period architecture, traditional old pubs, antiques shops, galleries, artisan restaurants and even its own brewery – all set against the dramatic backdrop of the Cumbrian Fells.
But the average house price in Cockermouth is a sizeable £250,000 – much higher than the Cumbrian county average of £192,000. You can check the most up-to-date house prices here.
Find out about other areas bordering on the Lake District National Park by reading our guide on Penrith.
Living in Cockermouth: what to expect
Cockermouth is a wonderful example of a traditional English town. Its architectural quirks are bordered by the ancient castle and mountains of Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Skiddaw.
Its accessibility to the surrounding Lakeland mountains puts it down as a hotspot for those who love the outdoors. And there’s indoor activities too at Cockermouth Leisure Centre.
There’s no shortage of pubs and restaurants, either. A whole host of traditional pubs serve real ale and Sunday roasts, while tea rooms dish up homemade cakes and Wellington Jersey ice cream.
All three of the town’s primary schools were graded ‘good’ by Ofsted at their latest inspections.
Where to start your property search
When looking for property, bear in mind that Cockermouth has experienced some flooding in recent years. Check out the Environment Agency’s Flood Map here.
Town centre: Cockermouth offers plenty of traditional and modern property styles. The town centre is medieval but has been remodelled in a Georgian style, with many Victorian infill features. Many buildings are made from slate and stone with thick walls and iconic green slate roofs sourced from Skiddaw.
The tree-framed Kirkgate area offers 17th- and 18th-century terraced housing set on cobbled streets and curving lanes that run to the River Cocker.
Attractive Georgian properties can be found at Kirkgate, but also near Market Place, St Helen’s Street and at the end of Castlegate Drive.
For more stone properties, take a look at the Old Centre of town. It straddles the River Cocker and is filled with stone town houses, cottages and terraces that reflect a mix of medieval, Georgian and Victorian architecture.
South of the town you’ll find attractive white-rendered properties near Lamplugh Road. In the east, look for similar properties between the becks beyond Lorton Road.
Twentieth-century estates can be seen to the north east of the town. Take a look at Oaktree Crescent for spacious semis and detached homes, or search along Castlegate Drive for modest bungalows.
Newer estates are also cropping up in the town. The Strawberry Grange development has three-, four- and five-bedroom executive homes. House fronts range from white render to stone and all benefit from turfed gardens.
Suburbs: Half a mile north of Cockermouth stands the neighbouring village of Papcastle, an ancient Roman town. Character cottages and grand barn conversions can all be found here.
In Brigham, choose from stone detached homes that boast coveted views of the countryside on Hotchberry Road, or opt for an attractive two-bedroom cottage on High Rigg. Twentieth-century semi-detached family homes are also available in the High Rigg area.
Quirky character cottages can be found on roads such as Moores Terrace in Eaglesfield, or you can opt for a grand converted barn on the edge of the village. Cottages can also be found in Bothel, along with more sizeable detached homes.
Getting around Cockermouth
By car: The nearest motorway is the M6, Junction 40 at Penrith, which is 30 miles away via the A66. Use it to travel to Carlisle and Penrith in under 45 minutes. Newcastle and Manchester can be reached in two hours, and London in six hours.
Cockermouth has no rail connections, so a car is also necessary to make the 20-minute trip to Keswick in the heart of the National Park.
By bus: Local bus services leave from Main Street and connect to the coastal towns of Workington, Keswick, Newcastle, Whitehaven, Penrith and Carlisle. Coaches are also available for journeys to major cities, including London and Birmingham.
By air: The nearest major airports are Blackpool, Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley, all of which are within 100 miles of Cockermouth. Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool and Edinburgh airports are also fairly accessible.
By bicycle: The Reivers Route passes through Cockermouth on its 173-mile coast-to-coast tour from Tynemouth to Whitehaven. The Sea to Sea Route from Workington to Tyneside also passes through the area.
Things to do in Cockermouth
History: An ancient, Grade I-listed castle dominates the centre of Cockermouth. It was originally built by the Normans in 1134 by recycling Roman settlement stones. It’s now a well-preserved feature of the town. The dungeons are still intact and are open to the public during the annual town festival.
Deep in the National Park is Dove Cottage, the childhood home of romantic poet William Wordsworth. Journey to the edge of Grasmere to learn more about his upbringing and family life. The house is presented by the National Trust exactly as it was when the Wordsworth family lived there in the 1770s.
Cultural: The Kirkgate Centre is the local theatre, arts, comedy, world cinema, international music and heritage venue. Along with other community events, it hosts quiz nights and an annual beer festival.
Every year Cockermouth hosts Cockermouth LIVE!, a music festival that showcases local artists. There are also more agricultural events such as Woolfest, which celebrates British wool and wool crafts.
Every March, Cockermouth plays hosts to the start and finish of the Malcolm Wilson Rally. And every September Taste Cumbria Cockermouth Food Festival comes to town, filling Main Street with more than 80 producers, stalls and live demonstrations.
Outdoors: Nestled between the western coast of England and the Lake District National Park, Cockermouth gives residents access to unrivalled outdoor space and activities. Whinlatter Forest Visitor Centre and Go Ape! are under 15 minutes away by car, with walks across the fells and forests available for all abilities.
Enjoy easy access to the Solway Coast, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that stretches from northern Rockcliffe to Maryport in the south. This coast has literally been shaped by the elements and offers family walks, historical sites and plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities.
Keen golfers can tee-off at the James Braid-designed 18-hole Cockermouth Golf Club at Embleton. On a clear day you can see both the Isle of Man and Scottish mountains across the Solway.
Harris Park has a children’s play area, tennis courts and bowling green, with a scenic terrace walk that provides excellent views of the town in winter when the trees are bare.
Shopping: Cockermouth comes with a variety of independent shops and boutiques, including a butcher, baker and greengrocer. The local fishmonger, Fyne Fish, hosts a Sushi School and is one of the only Cumbrian delis serving freshly made sashimi.
The main streets also offer quality wine merchants, or for those favouring fine beer there’s the ales of the local brewery, Jennings, served in most local pubs.
In addition to its local Sainsbury’s and Co-op, Cockermouth offers residents a more intimate shopping experience, with popular independent shops located around Main Street, Market Place and Station Road.
Plenty of antiques shops are also open to sell residents a bit of history. Cockermouth Antiques & Craft Market, Collector’s Corner Antiques and the local live auction house, Mitchell’s Antiques, can be found on Station Road.
Food and drink: Grab a coffee at Market Place, where you’ll also find The Bakery. It’s run by the Coffee Kitchen start-up, which serves artisan bread, homemade cakes and speciality coffee as well as hosting local foodie events throughout the year.
The Bitter End is a local pub, bistro and microbrewery with a traditional English menu and relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant is located in the 16th-century Castle Bar and offers impressive gastropub cuisine.
Standing beside the ancient castle walls is Jennings Brewery, which has been supplying the town with quality beers since 1874. Its famous brews include Cocker Hoop, Cumberland Ale, the strong Sneck Lifter and the classic Jennings Bitter.
Hardware shop JB Banks and Son has been trading for 180 years and has its own museum tucked away at the back of the store. Here you can see exhibits of traditional ironmongery including antique signs, tin workers’ tools and anvils.
4 reasons to live in Cockermouth
On the doorstep of the Cumbrian countryside and Solway Coast
Traditional pubs and tea rooms
Convenient connections to Carlisle, Penrith and Keswick
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Are you craving a life among the Cumbrian mountains? Share your reasons in the comments below…