Cumbria is one of the bigger counties in England and quite insular, in a little world of its own. Bordered by Scotland to the North, Lancashire to the South and Northumberland to the East, Cumbria is a prime location for exploring the north of England (much like Geordies, we like to think of ourselves as the "Proper" Northerners).
Main towns and Cities
"the Border City" situated just twenty minutes drive from Scotland is the only city in the whole of Cumbria. It is small by the rest of the countries standards but its population is ever-expanding now that the new University of Cumbria has opened its doors. With decent shops and good transport links to the other main towns in Cumbria, it's a good place to stay if you are new to the region.
A catch-all term for the towns of Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport and the surrounding area. Distinguished from the rest of Cumbria by its sleepy seaside towns and unusual accent, West Cumbria is the poorer part of the county and unfortunately this shows in the lack of attractions here. However, Workington is increasingly catching Carlisle up in the shopping stakes as it refurbishes its city centre and the area's main advantage is the quiet coast. You can walk for miles along the rugged coastline without seeing another soul, not a dingy arcade or fish and chip shop in sight. Head south to St Bees for one of the nicest seaside towns in the county.
Silloth and Allonby
Speaking of the seaside, Silloth is as close to a "Resort" as you will get in Cumbria: its has a caravan park, a very small arcade and a couple of fish and chip shops. It's a charming little town and if you head out towards Allonby and pick any one of the small car parks alongside the sand dunes, you can almost guarantee having your own private stretch of beach!
Windermere and Ambleside
Beatrix potter country, these are beautiful towns and if you can look past the tourist tat you can have a wonderful couple of days here. However, inevitably it gets very busy here, particularly in the summer months and is best avoided at all costs on a Bank Holiday Monday!
Keswick again is a very touristy little town but charming and picturesque nonetheless. Built almost entirely of the blue Borrowdale Slate, it almost resembles a swiss or French mountain village. You must visit the Old Friar's sweet shop when you are here; near to the town hall, it is a haven for chocolate and sweetie lovers! Take a walk down to the shore of Derwent water where you can take a ride on a launch or hire a rowing boat or take a gentle stroll to Friar's crag (Flat all the way and suitable for disabled people) for a lovelyview over the lake.
In general, I would say Cumbria is slightly behind the times but I mean this in a good way! There is charm and beauty aplenty here, all the facilities you need set against a nigh-perfect landscape