In the 1950s and 1960s there was talk of flattening Whitehaven's Georgian heritage and starting all over again. Fortunately wiser counsel prevailed and, apart from a few exceptions, the 18th century town centre is reasonably intact. 

This alone would make a trip to Whitehaven worthwhile but added to its architectural appeal is an attractive harbour, a great history and close proximity to some of Cumbria’s finest scenery. 

15 miles (24km) to the south east is the village of Gosforth, northern gateway to Wasdale, Wastwater and Eskdale; four miles (6.4km) to the south west is St Bees Head, the start of the Coast to Coast walk to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire.

Whitehaven’s wealth was built on the mining and export of local coal, and the import of spices, rum and tobacco. In the 18th century it was the third busiest harbour in England with 200 ships sailing in and out each week.

These days it’s home to a 420 berth marina and the beginning of the 140 mile (225km) C2C cycle route to Sunderland or Newcastle.

Attractions

Information

Whitehaven websites: www.visit-whitehaven.co.uk / www.whitehaven.org.uk

Colourful Coast (Whitehaven to St Bees) website: www.colourfulcoast.org.uk

Egremont Tourist Information Centre, Lowes Court Gallery, 12 Main Street, Egremont CA22 2DW: 01946 820693, www.lowescourt.co.uk 

Train. Whitehaven and St Bees are both on the Cumbrian Coast Line (www.cumbriancoastline.co.uk)

Rosehill Theatre, Moresby, near Whitehaven CA28 6SE: 01946 692422, www.rosehilltheatre.co.uk

Florence Arts Centre, Florence Mine, Egremont CA22 2NR: 01946 824946, www.florencemine.com 

Whitehaven News. Weekly newspaper, published on Thursday. Covers Whitehaven and area.

Stay connected

Keep up to date with all the latest news from the LAKE DISTRICT travel guide.