Whitehaven Tourist Information
Whitehaven's position on the edge of the Lake District National Park and close to a Heritage Coastline and the Solway Coast provides a convenient base from which to explore the Western Lake District and the unspoiled reaches of the West Cumbrian shores.
Whitehaven's long maritime history which includes an attack by ships under the command of John Paul Jones during the American War of Independence and its rise and decline as an important export/import centre is well documented in the family friendly museums of the “Rum Story” www.rumstory.co.uk and “The Beacon” www.thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk.
The early commercial development of the port was closely linked to the discovery of rich deposits of coal and iron-ore whose seams extended for several miles beneath the sea. This industry closed in the 1980's.
The towns award winning regeneration projects combined with the ever increasing popularity of its summer festivals have put Whitehaven firmly on the tourist destination map.
How to get there:
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Unusually, and perhaps the best way to appreciate the Beacon is by beginning your visit in the Metrological Weather Centre Gallery on the upper floor. Here you may use the interactive computers and test your latent skills as a television weather forecaster. Great fun. All this at a level where there are impressive views out beyond the harbour to the Solway Firth. Other sections show Whitehaven’s links with George Washington and the story of John Paul Jones who sailed in to the harbour in April 1778 and carried out the last armed raid on Britain’s mainland. Naturally, the history of the town’s coal, iron-ore mining and shipbuilding is well documented in detailed displays and exhibitions plus social history, fine arts, archaeology, natural sciences, photographs and a library. The Beacon is one of Cumbria’s most popular visitor attractions with upwards of 50,000 people per year. Wheelchair access, wheelchair loan, baby changing facilities, café and gift shop. Open all year.
The Rum Story
Learn of the piratical deeds of the infamous “Blackbeard” and the story of Whitehaven’s connections to the Americas during the Rum Trade. Visit the “Haunted Vault”, library, playroom for younger children, gift shop and café. Learn the art of barrel making in the Coopers School. Free guided tours by knowledgeable guides, who, just to add that extra touch of realism, will wear period costume if requested. Open all year.
Lowther Street, Whitehaven
Haig Colliery Mining Museum
High on the cliffs above Whitehaven and close to the start of the Coast 2 Coast Walk is the Haig Colliery Mining Museum. Restoration and improvement work is ongoing by a dedicated team of local volunteers. The area will eventually be designated as the Haig Enterprise Park. Here at what was Cumbria’s last deep coal mine with workings which extended some four miles undersea are two well preserved steam winders, a combined engine house and power hall. They are not glamorous displays but telling reminders of what was an essential element of the day to day life for many of Whitehaven’s men women and children.
Whitehaven Golf Course
One of the finest in the Western Lake District with spectacular views of the fells.
Whitehaven’s position on the west coast lies close to the Heritage Coast of St. Bees and the rugged area of the Solway Coast and its wild life. Wordsworth’s birthplace in Cockermouth is easily reached as are the lakes of Loweswater, Buttermere, Bassenthwaite, and England’s deepest, Wastwater. The walking paradise of the Ennerdale Valley will suit the most discerning of you and for the more adventurous are the peaks of Great Gable, Pillar, Scafell Pike, Haycock and Seatallan.
For local services telephone the Tourist Information Centre. 01946 598914.
A to B Taxis - 01946 599407.
Brans Taxis - 01946 690444.
Ding Dong Taxis - 01946 66666.
L&G Taxis - 01946 66644.
Whiteline Taxis - 01946 66111.