The thriving market town of Cockermouth, is just outside the Lake District National park on its North West fringe. With medieval and Georgian streets beneath the castle walls it is only a 15min drive from Kestrel Lodge campsite.
This pretty little town boasts a wide range of independent specialist shops selling various goods and helps the town to retain an old world charm and character that many towns have lost with the takeover of high street chains. Such as JB Banks and Son Ltd – the original Ironmonger established in 1836 this traditional hardware shop sells everything you would expect a local hardware shop to stock but still retains a wealth of original features.
You can also visit to browse the antiques that they have accumulated over the years in the upstairs museum, and in the rear of the shop is the old tin smith and plumbers workshop that was used from 1829 – 1950. Entry is free of charge. You can also buy ‘four candles’ or ‘fork handles’ although you may need to be of a certain age to appreciate this!
Cockermouth has several banks (HSBC, Santander, Natwest, Barclay's) a post office, Boots pharmacy, Aldi, and Sainsburys if you need to stock up. As you would expect from a quirky traditional town like Cockermouth there is also two butchers boasting locally sourced meat and a green grocers.
And for those who like a little more action with your purchases Mitchells Auction Company is based at the top of Station Road, established in 1873 they hold a household auction every Thursday from 10am. Go along to purchase or just take the weight off your feet and watch the action unfold.
But of course, Cockermouth isn’t about more than just shopping; it has sizeable but partly ruined Castle which was formerly the home of the late Pamela, The Dowager Lady Egremont. The castle, with its preserved dungeons, is only opened to the public once a year during the annual town festival. The lovely Harris Park just on the outskirts of the town which boasts riverside walks, a children’s play area, and views over the historic town and the mountains of the Lake District.
And let’s not forget Wordsworth House, the birthplace of William Wordsworth. It is well worth a visit and has been restored following extensive damage during the November 2009 floods, and features a working eighteenth century kitchen and children's bedroom with toys and clothes of the times. And for those of you who want more active pursuits there’s always the leisure centre with a 25m pool and a climbing wall among other things.
Jennings Brewery is another good family day out especially on those rainy days. It offers regular public tours and occasional carriage rides pulled by a shire horse.
There are also plenty of cafes, pubs, and restaurants so you are sure to find something that will tempt you if you want a meal out or some liquid refreshments.