Silloth and area

It was barns called ‘sea laithes’, used by nearby Holme Cultram Abbey to store grain, that gave Silloth its name and it was a competition in the 1850s for the town’s design, held by the Carlisle and Silloth Bay Railway and Dock Company, that gave the place its wide, cobbled streets and well proportioned buildings. 

From late Victorian times until the railway line closed in 1964, Silloth was the holiday destination of choice for thousands of people from Carlisle, keen to take the sea air, walk along the promenade and gaze at the wonderful sunsets.

These days Silloth is considerably quieter but for sea air, sunsets, Solway brown shrimps and a good view of Scotland the town is hard to beat.

A large green overlooks the sea and there are 18 greens on Silloth’s golf course, reckoned by many to be the best in Cumbria. This was home turf for Cecil Leitch who was British ladies’ amateur golf champion four times early last century.

Another well known figure associated with Silloth was the great contralto Kathleen Ferrier (1912-53) who for a short time was married to a Silloth bank manager, Bert Wilson. Success in both the singing and the piano categories at the Carlisle Festival in 1937 led to her becoming a professional singer.

In 1942 she moved to London where her career really took off. A competition is held in her memory every April at the Wigmore Hall in London.

Head south from Silloth along the coast road, the B5300, and after about four miles (6.4km) you’ll see a sign to The Gincase, a tea room and farm park which has  a variety of animals and mix of activities for young people.      

Further south on the B5300 is Allonby, a Victorian seaside resort still popular today. Seawater baths were opened here in 1835 (no longer in use) while Alfred Waterhouse, the architect of Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London, designed the Allonby Reading Room, now a family home.

Less than two miles (3.2km) away towards Maryport is Mile Fortlet 21. There’s not much to see but it’s a reminder of the presence of the Romans all down the coast between Bowness-on-Solway and Ravenglass. The Crosscanonby salt pans, their salt once used for preserving meat and fish, are close by. 

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