In the Furness Peninsula SANDY KITCHING explores an area offering rolling fells topped with limestone pavements, secluded beaches and nature reserves.


For centuries Cartmel has been a focal point for drovers’ tracks and trade routes between Lancashire and the Lake District. Offering stunning views of the south Lakeland fells, Cartmel has grown up around the 12th Century medieval Priory Church.

This Gold winner of Cumbria in Bloom from 2014 - 2016, this quaint little village is home to Cartmel Races where you can watch National Hunt racing in its most original format. With its party crowds and funfair, Cartmel rekindles the social gathering tradition of the original steeple-to-steeple chases (

Although steeped in history, Cartmel is not trapped in time and the village offers today's visitors many modern surprises in the form of fine quality attractions, luxury gift shops and a choice of accommodation. Be sure to stock up on Sticky Toffee Pudding at Cartmel Village Shop and Unsworth’s Yard houses a micro-brewery and Cartmel Cheeses. Celebrities and food lovers flock to Simon Rogan’s Michelin-starred restaurant L’Enclume, offering award winning food at the forefront of British dining. The 465-year-old Cavendish Arms is also popular serving fine food and offering accommodation.

The mix of high quality shops include Perfect English gifts and antiques, beautiful furniture made locally by The Rusland Movement, antiquarian books, a new vintage shop and Rogan’s new L’Enclume memorabilia shop.

Take a whizz round Cartmel Park on one of the award-winning Lakeland Segway experiences or hire an electric bike ( You can even book to take a romantic carriage ride around the village and through the surrounding countryside, drawn by magnificent black Friesian horses. Experienced riders can book a hack on the fells or on the expansive sands of Morecambe Bay as part of ‘The Friesian Experience’ (

Cartmel is known throughout the land as a fine food destination and now it boasts a busy outdoor Food Market every third Friday in the month selling a wide variety of local and regional produce including cakes, chocolates, wild boar and fish and game from the Cartmel valley (

At nearby Cark-in-Cartmel is the delightful family home of Lord and Lady Cavendish. You can tour the house without the restriction of ropes and barriers and see the distinguished library, elegant drawing room, and ornate dining room. Holker is set in beautifully romantic gardens and you can explore the acres of parkland where ancient Menil deer graze and roam (


This elegant seaside resort was christened the 'Lakeland Riviera', by early tourists thanks to the temperate climate and warm breezes carried in by the Gulf Stream. The original mile-long Edwardian promenade, bordered by flowers and shrubs, provides a perfect place for peaceful walks through ornamental gardens beside a duck pond that’s a haven for rare breeds of wildfowl.

Take in the views across the treacherous sands of Morecambe Bay where only Salt Marsh lamb and Cedric Robinson MBE, the Official Queen's Guide to the Sands, dare to tread!

Gastronomic delights abound in this area due to its proximity to both the land and sea. Morecambe Bay shrimps, a delicacy on many a great British menu, come from the small coastal village of Flookburgh.


Ulverston is the birthplace of the legendary comedian Stan Laurel, celebrated the world over for his comedy duo act with Oliver Hardy. A statue of the comedic pair now stands outside the Coronation Hall and there’s a small Laurel and Hardy Museum housed in the independent Roxy Cinema. The Coronation Hall in Ulverston attracts leading names on the comedy circuit, theatre productions and classical performances (

Another Ulverston icon is the Hoad Monument, which was erected in 1850 in commemoration of Sir John Barrow and reveals spectacular views across Morecambe Bay.

Down its pretty cobbled streets Ulverston offers an eclectic mix of shops, attractions, unique boutiques, charming pubs and cafes. The town has a fascinating history and it featured in the Doomsday Book as belonging to a Saxon Chief in 1086.

Ulverston marks the beginning of the 70-mile footpath known as the Cumbria Way, which ends in Carlisle, and exploring the coast road from Ulverston to Barrow is a wonderful way to spend a sunny day, with many quaint villages such as Bardsea along the way.

The Buddhist Centre at Conishead Priory has 70 acres of woodlands and gardens, which are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna and visitors are welcome to wander along the many woodland paths which lead to the dramatic coastline (


There’s a lot more to Barrow-in-Furness than just industry and submarine building. This vibrant town has a wealth of cultural attractions and Barrow’s maritime heritage is brought to life at The Dock Museum, which was built over the original Victorian Graving Dock (

The area is steeped in history and myths and you can visit the magnificent sandstone ruins of the Abbey of St Mary of Furnesia, which was one of the richest Cistercian monasteries in England (


Much of the coast is internationally designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and in summer the salt marshes of the Walney Channel are awash with the colourful pink and pale purple flowers of sea lavender and sea aster.

Barrow has two National Nature Reserves (NNRs) on its doorstep, where more than 130 species of bird have been recorded.

Between Walney Island and Barrow is the tiny Piel Island, on which is Piel Castle, built by the monks of Furness Abbey to protect their harbour from the Scots. Piel Island may be diminutive in size, covering only 50 acres, yet it is one of Cumbria’s most beautiful places. This SSSI has nature reserves, pristine beaches and a popular pub with rooms and camping, The Ship Inn (

At Roa Island you can hop on the Piel Island Ferry to go the short distance across the estuary to Piel. You can book in advance to take a special boat trip to watch the seals basking on Walney Island with jolly skipper John Cleasby (Tel: 07798794550).

This is the windiest area in England so it’s no surprise that it has become a kite-surfers’ paradise, and it’s a great sport to watch. Earnse Bay is Barrow's most popular beach where national kite-surfing championships take place. Check the weather forecast at: