A pretty market town and civil parish in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria, Ulverston has some real hidden gems. Here’s some info on the 11 best things to do in Ulverston.
1. Muncaster Castle
Historic Muncaster Castle sits majestically in the beautiful Western Lake District Fells and has something to offer everyone, young and old.
This privately owned castle, which has been lived in by many generations of the Pennington family for the last 800 years, exudes history and is full of treasures and tales including hauntings!
The 77 acres of woodland gardens surrounding Muncaster Castle are famous for collections of spectacular Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellia and many exotic and unusual plants from all over the world.
Also in the gardens there is an amazing Hawk and Owl Centre that offers regular, breathtaking ‘Owl’ and ‘Birds of Prey’ flying displays.
I would recommend a visit to Muncaster Castle for a great family day out. With something on offer for everyone this is definitely one of the best things to do in Ulverston.
2. Grange Over Sands
Grange Over Sands is a picturesque seaside town located on the north side of Morecambe Bay with spectacular views out across the bay.
Known for being ‘the jewel on the bay’, Grange Over Sands was a fashionable seaside resort in the 19th century. Hence it boasts many elegant Victorian and Edwardian buildings, ornamental gardens and shopping arcades.
Sadly, there is no longer a beach at Grange Over Sands due to the earlier planting of a salt marsh. However, there is a lovely mile long promenade running alongside the wide expanse of salt marsh.
Also known for its microclimate, Grange Over Sands enjoys lots of sunny and warm weather. This is said to be due to it being south-facing and quite sheltered.
This elegant, old fashioned and friendly little town is well worth a visit.
3. Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding
The famous Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding originated in the village of Cartmel near Grange Over Sands, some 30 years ago.
To this day, the Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding Company remains a small family run business.
As demand quickly grew for this delicious pudding, production had to move to a bigger kitchen. However, the family proudly state that it is ‘still handmade in small batches, by a passionate and dedicated team’.
Their customers now include farm shops, delicatessens and speciality food retailers throughout the country, as well as Waitrose supermarket.
All the puddings are made from natural ingredients and the award winning Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding remains number one with pudding lovers.
Trying a Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding was definitely one of the best things to do in Ulverston for me!
4. Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway is a narrow gauge railway that takes you on a spectacular 7 mile journey.
Starting at Ravenglass, the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park, you have expansive views out over the coastal estuary.
This is followed by spectacular woodland and hill scenery as you travel through the Eskdale Valley to Dalegarth.
The journey also includes seven request stops that allow for walks in the scenic countryside between the stops.
Facilities at Ravenglass station include the interesting little Railway Museum and the Turntable cafe.
This was one of Alfred Wainwright’s favourite journeys and immortalised in his ‘Walks from Ratty’ and ‘Britain’s Favourite View’. Therefore, it has to be on the list of best things to do in Ulverston.
5. Black Combe
Black Combe is one of the Lake District’s most famous southerly peaks that uniquely rises dramatically up from the sea shore.
With a summit at 2000 feet, it offers amazing, panoramic views. On a clear day it’s actually possible to see across as far as Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
It’s a steady climb up, that’s pretty steep in places. Furthermore, the path up winds around the mountain, deceptively making you think you have reached the summit when you actually have a bit further to go!
However, it’s worth persevering as the views are great on the way up and absolutely breathtaking at the summit. Making this, definitely, one of the best things to do in Ulverston.
6. Silecroft Beach
Situated on the edge of the Lake District National Park this lovely, gently shelving beach is overlooked by the famous Black Combe Peak.
Don’t be fooled by the shingle beach when the tide is in, as once the tide goes out, a vast area of sand with shallow water opens up.
Stretching over 3 miles, this large expanse of child friendly beach allows plenty of space for everyone, including dogs and horses.
So, with miles of sand to build sand castles and walk the dog, rock pools to explore, deep water for swimming at high tide, and shallow water for paddling at low tide, this really is an all-round beach.
There’s a large free car park right next to the beach with public toilets. As well as a recently opened cafe and ice cream van.
I would definitely recommend Silecroft Beach as an ideal spot for a great beach day, especially for families.
7. Furness Abbey
Managed by the charity English Heritage, Furness Abbey in Barrow-in-Furness is home to some of the finest monastic ruins in England.
The remains of the Abbey are quite extensive and include much of the east end and west tower of the church. Along with the ornately decorated chapter house and the cloister buildings.
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.
This is a lovely, peaceful place to visit with a large, mainly outdoor, area to explore. On a nice day it would be a great spot to have a picnic in the grounds or on the benches provided near 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.
8. South Walney Nature Reserve
South Walney Nature Reserve is located on Walney Island, close to Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.
Along with stunning views across Morecambe bay, this peaceful Nature Reserve is said to be one of the finest bird watching sites in Cumbria.
With a choice of different coloured trails to follow and 8 bird hides to visit, you can explore and examine all the wonderful flora and fauna, so don’t forget your binoculars!
As well as all the different species of birds, South Walney Nature Reserve is also home to the only Grey Seal colony in Cumbria. These seals can be seen playing in the water at high tide all year round.
This is an absolute paradise for keen bird watchers, with the added bonus of beautiful views, cute Grey Seals and some unusual and beautiful plant life.
9. Shed 1 Gin
Producers of award-winning craft gin, Shed 1 Gin in Ulverston offer amazing gin, along with tasting tours and much more.
Located in the corner of an old cattle yard, Shed 1 Gin Distillery has a lovely warm and inviting feel. The team, including owners Andy and Zoe, are very knowledgeable, friendly and welcoming.
They offer amazing gin experiences including Distillery Tour and Tasting, Make Your Own Distilled Gin and Afternoon G&Teas. (These all need to be booked in advance.)
However, if you just wish to purchase some of their unique Gin, their Shop and Bar is open to the public on most Fridays & Saturdays 11am-5pm.
Although I don’t drink, I would highly recommend this little gem if looking for a really friendly, interesting experience with some delicious and uniquely flavoured food and drink.
This has to one of the best things to do in Ulverston and a must for all gin lovers!
10. Sizergh Castle
Sizergh Castle is one of the Lake District’s finest stately homes and gardens. Still lived in by the Strickland family, the house is full of items collected by 26 generations of the family.
With many rooms open for you to visit, you can see stunning Elizabethan oak-panelled interiors with intricately carved chimneypieces. Along with some beautiful period furniture and centuries old artwork.
Step out into the gardens and there is plenty to enjoy. Including a lake, colourful herbaceous borders, an orchard and a mouthwatering kitchen garden.
A really fun children’s Wild Play Trail is housed in the woodland. As well as there being a bird hide at Park End Moss and different signposted trails into the surrounding countryside.
In addition there is licensed cafe selling delicious meals and snacks using seasonal produce from the kitchen garden. Along with a well stocked gift shop.
With something for all the family, young and old, Sizergh Castle is definitely one of the best things to do in Ulverston.
Finally, camping has to be one of the best things to do in Ulverston.
You will be spoilt for choice, with every sort of camping on offer at the many camp sites in this beautiful area. From working farm campsites to luxury yurts with hot tubs and glamping pods, everyone is catered for.
With different scenic settings, from coastal views to lakes, forests and peaks, this is a stunning area to enjoy, whatever type of camping you like.
We camped out in the campervan and used the new Vanlife – Lake District Cumbria scheme where you can find designated spots to stay for 24 hours for free!
One of which was outside Furness Abbey. Just make sure to sign up and secure your spot in advance as space are limited.
Where To Stay In The Lake District
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.
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.
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.