Penrith: Beyond the Lakes

Penrith: Beyond the Lakes

The ancient market town of Penrith is known as the gateway to the Eden Valley and North Pennines.

Penrith has a little more of an industrial feeling thanks its sibling towns.

Being outside the national park means it is often overlooked by visitors and has retained its old character over the years.

The town has one of the oldest Market Charters in the county having been granted such by Henry III in 1223.

This means that Penrith’s Market will celebrate its 800th this year.

Over the centuries, Penrith has served as the market town for farms and villages in the area.

The town has many other attractions, not least its many charming old inns and alleyways.

The clock tower in the town centre is known as the Musgrave Monument.

Penrith: Beyond the Lakes

It was erected as a tribute to Sir George and Lady Musgrave after their eldest son, Philip, died in Madrid in 1859 aged just 26.

The Musgroves were an old Penrith family who owned Musgrave Hall on Middlegate.

Before the Norman conquest the town was the capital of the old Cumbria, closely allied to the Scottish Strathclyde.

There is a flavour of bygone days around the crimson-bricked streets.

The buildings are impressive and look as if they were meant to last (presumably to deter the Scots).

With its easy access from the north and south the Romans arrived and nearly a thousand years later, sporadic raids by the Scots.

Penrith has a long and often violent history.

Once part of Scotland, the town was seized for England by Edward I in 1295.

For the next fifteen years, the border skirmishes continued.

The defensive pele tower of 1397-9 grew into a sizeable castle, now a ruin, opposite the railway station.

Penrith: Beyond the Lakes

The castle was constructed in the late 1390s by Ralph Neville, Warden of the West March. Penrith Castle was to serve as a base of operations.

However, the castle was more of a luxurious domestic complex than a border fortress.

Despite its historic and strategic importance, Penrith has remained a small, friendly town.

Being just outside the national park, it is often overlooked and somewhat untouched by tourism’s worst excesses.

Even so, there are some independent shops and Brunswick Yard is worth browsing, if you are looking for antique ceramics, books, or glassware.

For a while, William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived in Penrith as youngsters, attending a school near St Andrew’s church. This is where William met Mary Hutchinson, his future wife.

Penrith agricultural show returns this year, which dates back to 1834.

The show brings together the local farming community and is held at Brougham Hall Farm.

The travel time to Penrith from Lothlorien in Kents Bank, Grange-over-Sands is 40 minutes by car.

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June 3rd
(4 nights)

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