Surrounded by natural beauty and filled with affordable housing, Workington has plenty going for it when it comes to property.
Workington and its surrounding countryside is tucked between the Cumbrian coast to the west and the Lake District National Park to the east. The Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is just 30 miles away.
The town expanded during the 18th century thanks to coal mining and steel working, but it suffered from the decline of its traditional industries. However, regeneration over the last few years has given the town a new lease of life.
Also in its favour are the house prices. The current average is £147,000, which is an eye-catching drop from the average of £200,000 across Cumbria as a whole. You can take a look at the latest prices here.
Living in Workington: what to expect
As a former industrial town, Workington has a wide selection of 19th- and 20th-century terraces that radiate from the centre. But big improvements to the town have helped it to move away from its industrial past.
In the early 2000s, ambitious regeneration programmes rejuvenated the town centre. The crumbling 1960/70s shopping arcade was knocked down and replaced with a £50 million Washington Square Shopping Centre complex, and the streetscape was improved with new artwork, paving and seating. As a result, the town continues to be the shopping hub of the local area.
Escaping to areas of natural beauty is also easy. A short drive brings you to the mountains and lakes of the Lake District and the nearby coast offers miles of scenic walks.
Where to start your property search
The property market in Workington is primarily made up of Victorian and 1920s-1950s properties, with the spacious terraces and semis of the latter era being popular choices for family homes.
Most of Workington’s oldest houses can be found in the centre of the town, particularly in the terraced streets that emanate from Vulcan Park and the train station. Here first-time buyers, buy-to-let investors and couples will find plenty of low-cost, period housing, including refurbished properties and those in need of modernisation.
Also, keep an eye out for the three-storey townhouse terraces that frequently come to market, such as those on Harrington Road. These properties boast large hallways, four bedrooms and elegant bay windows.
Listed buildings are occasionally available in the town centre. And for something really special, look out for apartments in the converted Ladies Walk Brewery, which was originally built in the mid-19th century.
For large homes from the early-20th century, try heading to Calva Brow near Barepot or Stainburn Road in the Stainburn area. Both are to the north east of the town and have imposing detached properties, many of which are set back from the road behind trees.
The town also has an abundance of post-war housing from the 1940s and 1950s, including bungalows, terraces and semi-detached properties. Try Mitchell Avenue and Hillcrest in the Northside area of town, and Douglas Road, Grasmere Avenue, Wastwater Avenue, Newlands Lane, Mossbay Road and Elterwater Avenue in the Clay Flatts area to the south.
Newer properties are cropping up too. The recently built Honister Park development on Infirmary Road offers one- and two-bedroom apartments and two-, three- and four-bedroom townhouses, all of which are located close to the town centre.
Getting around Workington
By rail: Workington train station is located in the north-west corner of the town and is managed by Northern Rail. Regular services are available to Carlisle, with a journey time of less than one hour, and Lancaster, which takes two hours. Stops include Barrow-in-Furness, Sellafield and Whitehaven.
By car: Workington has several major A roads that connect the town with the motorway network. The A595 and A596 travel north east to Carlisle, where the M6 heads north to join the A74(M) to Glasgow. The A66 traverses the National Park from the east of the town to join the M6 at Penrith for southbound journeys to Preston, Birmingham and on to London.
Sellafield, the location of the nuclear power plant that is a major employer for residents, can be accessed via the A595 south with a journey time of just 30 minutes.
By air: The closest scheduled passenger airport is Newcastle International, which is almost 90 miles away (two hours) by car. The airport serves 80 direct destinations to domestic, European and some international countries. Airlines include easyJet, Flybe, Ryanair, Thomson and Thomas Cook.
Things to do in Workington
History: To get a feel for the coal-mining heritage of Workington, visit the 19th-century Jane Pit on Mossbay Road. A scheduled ancient monument, the pit is said to be the best surviving example of ornate, castellated colliery architecture. It also features a rare steam engine house, which shows the transition from horse-powered to steam-powered winding.
The mine was built by Henry Curwen and the remains of his 14th-century family home – once one of the finest manor houses in the region – can also still be seen. Workington Hall, which once provided shelter to a fleeing Mary Queen of Scots, is now frequently used as a stage for operas and plays.
Workington has several historic churches. St Michael’s Church has stood on its present site since the 7th century, but the most recent iteration of the building dates from 1770. St John’s Church was built in 1823 to commemorate the battle of Waterloo and the Roman Catholic church of Our Lady & St Michael’s was designed by the renowned architect EW Pugin.
Culture: The Carnegie Theatre & Arts Centre can seat 325 audience members, who book tickets to see rock concerts, plays, comedy, jazz, folk music and children’s shows. It also offers a range of interactive workshops, classes and activities, which are available to all age groups.
The Theatre Royal Workington is another arts venue in the town. It’s home to the Workington Playgoers, who aim to produce up to five productions a year, It’s also the base of the Second Star youth theatre group, which produces extra performances. The theatre is always open for new theatrical talent, both on and off stage.
Outdoors: With the Cumbrian coast and the Lake District National Park right on residents’ doorsteps, locals are by no means short of opportunities for outdoor adventure.
The National Park is the largest in England, and within its boundaries are 12 of the biggest lakes in the country and 3,105km of rights of way. It also has the dramatic Scafell Pike mountain, a favourite with walkers.
Workington is also one of two start points for the gruelling Sea to Sea Cycle Route (the other being at nearby Whitehaven). Heading out along a former railway line from the town towards Cockermouth, the route continues through the northern Lake District, over the Pennines, and on to Sunderland or Tynemouth on the North Sea.
Shopping: You can find plenty of shops, markets, restaurants and pubs in Workington. Many are located along the main streets of Oxford Street, Washington Street, Pow Street and Finkle Street in the town centre.
The biggest high-street names can be found in the Washington Square Shopping Centre, which also has a multi-storey car park. Outlets include H&M, JD, Laura Ashley, Costa Coffee, River Island and WH Smith.
Food and drink: Traditional British food is served up at Oily’s Pub, which makes the most of local Cumbrian ingredients. Choose from a ‘slab pie’ with either steak or chicken and leek, and finish up with a sticky pudding.
More pub favourites can be found in The Brewery House. This pub also has an indulgent dessert menu as well as a wide selection of ales for attractive prices.
For food with a bit of spice, head to Paprika. This Indian restaurant has a cocktail bar and lounge as well as appetising specials such as naga murgh and khodu gost.
The Helena Thompson Museum on Park End Road is packed with local history, as well as displays of pottery, silver, glass, furniture, costumes and jewellery.
5 reasons to live in Workington
Plenty of spacious semi-detached family homes
Lots of amenities, including a modern shopping centre
Well positioned between the Cumbrian coast and the Lake District
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