Barrow has one of the most remarkable recent histories of any place in the north of England and that alone makes it worth a visit. Once a great centre for iron and steel making, it later became a shipbuilder to the world, the planned town laid out on a grid iron pattern, like Whitehaven in the 18th century, to accommodate the swelling population. 

Maritime industry still dominates, only today it is the construction of the Astute class nuclear-powered submarines at BAE Systems. The company’s vast Devonshire Dock Hall dominates the skyline, dwarfing the red-brick town hall which was built at the height of Barrow’s fortunes in the 1880s. 

North of Barrow is Millom, once bustling with iron mining and steel making, the birthplace of poet Norman Nicholson. West of Barrow is Walney Island and its two nature reserves, and north east of the town is Dalton-in-Furness, its 14th century castle built by the monks of powerful Furness Abbey. The ruins of the abbey and the Dock Museum are Barrow’s two main attractions.

Attractions

Information

Barrow council website: www.barrowbc.gov.uk/visitors

Train. Barrow is at the western end of the Furness Line (www.furnessline.co.uk) from Carnforth and the southern end of the Cumbrian Coast Line (www.cumbriancoastline.co.uk) from Carlisle.

The Forum, Duke Street, Barrow LA14 1HH: 01229 820000. Arts and entertainment venue.

The Mail. Evening newspaper, published six days a week (not Sundays). Covers Furness and parts of south Cumbria

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