The dramatic and beautiful remains of Furness Abbey in Barrow-in-Furness are now a tourist attraction and museum. Here’s a complete guide.
How To Get To Furness Abbey
Furness Abbey is located to the north of Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.
It’s just over 2 miles to the Abbey from Barrow-in-Furness town or 8 miles from the town of Ulveston.
The Abbey address is Manor Road, Barrow-in-Furness LA13 0PJ and it is well sign posted on surrounding roads.
However, apparently this post code may take you to the Abbey Hotel so just take either Rating Lane or Abbey Approach at the sides of the hotel to reach the Abbey.
There is free parking located next to Visitor Centre entrance with space for 20-30 cars.
Also, there is additional free parking at Abbey Mill cafe, located at the far end of the site.
There are regular trains into Barrow-in-Furness and then a short taxi ride or walk would get you to the Abbey.
Stagecoach in Cumbria, services 6 and X6, will take you to within within 3⁄4 mile of Furness Abbey.
Furness Abbey Entrance Fee
Child (5-17 years): £4.60
Family (1 adult, up to 3 children): £12.30
Family (2 adults, up to 3 children): £20.00
As Furness Abbey is managed by the charity English Heritage, there is the option of making a small donation when you pay for your ticket.
This helps the charity to look after over 400 historic places in their care.
Furness Abbey Opening Times
Monday – Friday: 10am – 5pm.
Saturday & Sunday: 10am – 4pm.
Last admission 30 mins before closing time.
Closed: 24 – 26 December & 1 January.
Best Time To Visit Furness Abbey + Tips
This is a popular tourist attraction in Ulverston and some of the sites can get busy, especially on Bank Holidays.
The busiest times are usually between 11am and 2pm, so if you prefer it quieter you may wish to visit outside of these hours.
You can book your advance ticket online up to 8.45am on the day you want to visit. This way you will save money and guarantee admittance, as walk up entry is subject to availability.
There is not a lot of information as you walk around so I would purchase a guide book if you are interested in learning more about the ruins.
Toilets are available on site.
Dogs are welcome here.
What To Pack
Furness Abbey History
Founded in 1123 by Stephen, Count of Boulogne, later to become the King of England, the Abbey is built entirely out of local sandstone.
It passed in 1147 to the Cistercians (a catholic order of monks) who gradually enlarged the original ornate church and by the 15th century it had become the second most richest and powerful Cistercian abbey in England.
The monks of the abbey were powerful landowners who occasionally became involved in the conflicts between the Scottish and English.
When Robert Bruce invaded England in 1322 the Abbot paid to lodge him rather than risk losing the wealth of the abbey.
There is said to be a tunnel running under the Abbey to both Piel Castle and Dalton Castle, which allowed the monks to receive supplies and keep watch over the local settlements.
The Abbey was disestablished and destroyed in 1537 during the English Reformation under the orders of Henry VIII.
What To Expect At Furness Abbey
Managed by the charity English Heritage, Furness Abbey is home to some of the finest monastic ruins in England. It’s also one of the most interesting things to do in Ulverston.
The impressive remains of the Abbey are quite extensive and include much of the east end and west tower of the church, the ornately decorated chapter house and the cloister buildings.
Walking through the ruins it’s amazing to realise that you are walking in the steps of monks who worshipped and lived here between the 12th and early 16th centuries.
This is a lovely, peaceful place to visit with a large, mainly outdoor, area to explore. Also the lighting on the red sandstone of the Abbey ruins makes for some great photo opportunities.
On a nice day it would be an ideal place to spend a few hours and maybe have a picnic on the benches provided outside the Visitor Centre.
Alternatively, Abbey Mill Coffee Shop is located within the grounds of Furness Abbey and offers a selection of breakfast and lunch options. As well as locally roasted coffee and English Lakes ice-cream.
English Heritage operates a small Visitor Centre at Furness Abbey which includes a small museum with a number of stone carvings and effigies, as well as a gift shop.
From the excitement of Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, to the history at the Abbey, next up was time for some peace and quiet at South Walney Nature Reserve.
Where To Stay In The Lake District
Luxury – Lakes Hotel & Spa
This luxurious hotel is perfectly situated with views of Lake Windermere, a short stroll from the village of Bowness-on-Windermere.
The hotel can arrange collection from Windemere station which is just 10 minutes away.
Lakes Hotel & Spa has some of the best on-site facilities in the area, half of the rooms with hot tubs on private balconies. There’s also an on-site spa, a stylish restaurant and a cocktail bar. As well as bike hire, wakesurfing and paddleboading.
There are many walks that you can take straight from the hotel gates, and there are even boats that travel the length of Windermere, making it easy to visit surrounding areas.
Mid-Budget – The George Hotel by Best Western
This traditional hotel stands in the very centre of the bustling market town of Penrith.
Free parking and free Wi-Fi is available at the property. Meals are available to enjoy in the intimate, candlelit Devonshire restaurant which boasts a beautiful open fire.
The wood panelling and old local wall prints combine to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, where many generations of loyal visitors have returned time after time.
Budget – Albany House
Located in Penrith, Albany House offers bed-and-breakfast accommodation with free WiFi access throughout.
Guests benefit from free public parking facilities near the accommodation. The property also boasts a 4 gold-star rating from the AA, along with breakfast awards.
Rooms at Albany House B&B come with a flat-screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities and either an en-suite or external bathroom.
Breakfast is available between 8:00 and 9:00 every morning in the common breakfast room.
For more places to stay in the Lake District, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.
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