Moving to Cumbria: what you need to know

The county of Cumbria is one the most beautiful parts of the UK. It’s also one of the largest counties in the Britain, spanning 2613 square miles and divided into 6 districts. Despite spanning over such a large part of the English countryside, the population of the county is just half a million, meaning this is a generally rural county.

The county town is Carlisle, which sits in the City of Carlisle district to the north of the county. Nestled into the north west of England, Cumbria is bordered by 4 English counties and the Scottish counties of Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.

Cumbria is a county of exceptional natural beauty, with much of the county comprising of the Lake District National Park. The Lake District is the only UK National Park with UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It’s also home to Lake Windermere, which is the largest lake in England, and Scafell Pike which is the highest point in England.


The history of Cumbria

There is a wealth of ancient history to be discovered in Cumbria: notably the county is home to a large number of preserved field monuments, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall passes through the county.

Up until the 19th century the land that is now Cumbria was embroiled in the battles between the Scottish and the English, with the borders between the two countries changing over time. So Cumbria has been part of both Scotland and England over the course of history.

Much of the county’s modern history is tied into the sites of natural beauty: Cumbria encompasses the Yorkshire Dales, and the Lake District. The only built up areas of the county are Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness, the rest of the county is very rural. With so much green space, historically the county has been known for its agriculture, ship building and textiles production.

The county also has a rich relationship with the arts. The poets William Wordsworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived amongst, and were inspired by, the lakes. And world-famous children’s author Beatrix Potter lived in the region, and on her death bequeathed her large amount of land to the National Trust.


Cumbria: highlights and culture

This is one location in the UK where you are guaranteed a relaxing and leisurely pace of life. Cumbria is not a metropolitan county, so this is the ideal destination for those looking to slow things down and get back to nature and outdoor pursuits.

Much of the culture of Cumbria is entrenched in outdoor pursuits: from long walks, horseback riding, and sailing on the lakes, life here is leisurely. As one of the most sparsely populated counties in the UK, you can enjoy a sense of solitude and completely private properties. It is no surprise that the quiet serenity continues to draw artists, writers and photographers from around the world.

There are two more urban areas – Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness – where you can enjoy a slightly busier pace of life and access to city amenities. And of course, the county is speckled with exciting things to do: think museums, castles, zoos and aquariums.

If you’ve not decided where in Cumbria is the right location for you, let our specialist area orientation service guide you. We hand pick areas we think best suit your needs, and then you spend a day exploring them with our local expert. It’s just another way we make moving easier.


Things to do in Cumbria

Here are our favourite things to do in Cumbria:
• Visit Sizergh Castle, near Windermere – home to the Strickland family for over 750 years, this National Trust building continues to be a working home. The castle and gardens are a great place to spend a leisurely day.
• Taste all the local delicacies! Cumbria is home to such wonderful treats as Sticky Toffee Pudding, Kendall Mint Cake and Rum Butter. Spend a weekend travelling between your nearest towns, trying local dishes as you go.
• Give sailing a go – or kayaking, or canoeing, or wakeboarding. With the lakes on your doorstep, there’s no better excuse to try a new water sport. And everyone should try a refreshing open water swim.
• Join a trip around Lake Windermere and discover the history of the infamous lake and the villages and towns surrounding it.
• Go to Appleby Horse Fair – a lively annual event held in the town of Appleby. Expect to see hundreds of horse and carts, wagons, and people roaming the streets on horseback.
• Walk along Hadrian’s Wall, soaking up history and admiring the views. And remember to pack a camera, the views along the wall are second to none.
• The county is packed with incredible places to eat. But we think everyone should try Michelin starred L’Enclume L’Enclume at least once. In the historic village of Cartmel, Simon Rogan’s incredible dining experience showcases the very best of Cumbria.
• Sip your way through 100 plus beers at the Boot Beer Festival, held every June in Eskdale.


Where to live in Cumbria

Choosing a place to live can be hard, so at Santa Fe we start with finding out what’s important to you, then matching you with locations that meet your needs. In Cumbria, due to the sparsity of the population and the rural setting of most homes, it’s important to find somewhere that has the amenities and features that are important to you.

No-matter where you move to in Cumbria, house prices are very competitive compared to the rest of the UK. For example, the average detached Cumbrian house sells for around £325,000 (accurate as of March 2019).

Here are our favourite relocation spots in Cumbria:
• Ulverston – this ‘festival town’ is a lively place to move to, hosting multiple festivals year-round.
• Barrow-in-Furness – one of two of the built-up areas of Cumbria, this is perfect for those looking to have more amenities on their doorstep and a less rural setting.
• Millom – this very historical town is just 6 miles from Barrow-in-Furness and was even mentioned in the Domesday Book.

If you still need more guidance, speak to one of our local experts who can guide you through a personalised home search. We make moving home easy for you.


Family life and education in Cumbria

Cumbria has a mix of state and private schools for under 16’s. Due to the remoteness of some villages, some rural primary schools are very small. There are a selection of four colleges for further education for those aged 16-19: Carlisle College, Barrow Sixth Form College, Kendal College, and the Lakes College West Cumbria. For those interested in higher education, the county is also home to the University of Cumbria.

Our team of experts can help advise you of the best schools that meet your criteria, as well as availability and guidance through the admissions process. We can take the stress of a school search away.


Travel information

Despite the rural location of most towns and villages, once you get onto the M6 motorway Cumbrians enjoy good links to some of the UK’s largest northern cities and towns. From Cumbria you are about 91 miles from Edinburgh, 102 from Glasgow, 86 miles from Manchester and 87 miles from Liverpool.

However, you will need to leave the county for international travel. For those in the south of Cumbria, the nearest airports are Manchester, Blackpool and Liverpool John Lennon. If you move to the north of Cumbria, you will be closest to Newcastle, or one of the Glasgow airports.


Santa Fe Relocation: how can we help with your move to Cumbria?

Moves can be stressful, but not with us. We have 120 years of experience in complete service moves, so we can anticipate your every need and offer personalised additional services to make it easy.

With one point of contact, you can rest assured that every aspect of your move is being taken care of. So you can put your feet up, enjoy the move, and even take a leisurely lunch at your new local while we unpack your boxes. 

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