Situated in Cumbria between Morecambe Bay and the Lake District, Ulverston is a traditional market town with plenty of character. Its attractive cobbled streets are lined with independent shops, a welcome change from the high street names found in most British towns.
Attractions & Things to Do
The Hoad Monument (or more correctly the John Barrrow Monument) is Ulverston’s most recognisable landmark. The 100 ft high replica of the Eddystone Lighthouse stands on Hoad Hill overlooking the town. It was built in 1850 in honour of Ulverstonian Sir John Barrow, Second Secretary of the Admiralty and founder member of the Royal Geographical Society.
Maps of various walks to the top of Hoad Hill are available from Ulverston Tourist Information Centre. The climb is rewarded with excellent views of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District.
Ulverston bills itself as a ‘Festival Town’, a reference to the numerous festivals and events that take place throughout the year. Some of the most popular are the Ulverston Lantern Procession (held on the third Saturday in September) and the Dickensian Christmas Festival (takes place the last weekend in November).
Ulverston is the birthplace of Arthur Stanley Jefferson, better known as Stan Laurel of the Laurel and Hardy. The late Bill Cubin devoted his life to the comedy duo and founded the Laurel and Hardy Museum. Situated on Brogden Street, next to the town’s art deco Roxy Cinema, it houses a fascinating collection of Laurel and Hardy memorabilia.
In 2009 a life-size bronze statue of Laurel and Hardy was unveiled by comedian Ken Dodd. The statue is the work of sculptor Graham Ibbeson, well-known in North West England for creating the Eric Morecambe Statue on Morecambe Promenade. It was paid for by the Sons of the Desert, a Laurel and Hardy Fan Club, and stands on County Square next to the Coronation Hall theatre.
Ulverston Canal is just 1¼ miles long and is the shortest canal in the UK. The canal opened in 1796 to provide the town with a port. However the opening of the Furness Railway in the mid-19th century damaged its economic viability and commercial operations ceased during WWI.
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) now own the canal and much of the surrounding land. The canal towpath is a public right of way and offers a pleasant walk. At the Canal Head in Ulverston there are a number of businesses including a Booths supermarket, Ulverston Auction Mart (a commercial farmers market), and the Lakes Glass Centre. The Bay Horse Hotel at Canal Foot is a dog-friendly inn offering bed and breakfast accommodation.
Ulverston Golf Club boasts an 18-hole course with magnificent views of Morecambe Bay. Another sporting facility in the town is Ulverston Leisure Centre, a leisure centre with swimming pool, gym, tennis courts, and bowling green.
Haverthwaite, 5 miles north east of Ulverston, is the southern terminus of the Lakeside and Havethwaite Railway. Catch a train to Lakeside on the southern shore of Windermere and visit the Lakes Aquarium or take a cruise with Windermere Lake Cruises.
The Church of St Mary dates back to the beginning of the 12th century, though much of the present building was constructed in the Victorian era. Other historic buildings in the town include Swarthmoor Hall and Gleaston Water Mill. Two miles south of the town is Birkrigg Stone Circle, also known as the Druid’s Temple.
The town is located on the Furness Peninsula in South Cumbria. To reach Ulverston by car leave the M6 at Junction 36 and take the A590.
Ulverston train station is served by regular services by First TransPeninne Express and Northern Rail.
First TransPennine Express runs trains between Barrow-in-Furness and Manchester Airport, calling at Dalton, Ulverston, Grange-Over-Sands, Arnside, Carnforth, Lancaster, Preston, Chorley, Bolton, Manchester Piccadilly and various other stations.
Northern Rail trains from Barrow-in-Furness to Lancaster also stop in Ulverston.
Ulverston train station is situated to the south west of the town (address and postcode – Station Approach, Ulverston LA12 0DP). The Grade II listed building opened in 1874 and features a magnificent clock tower and attractive glass awnings. It was designed by renowned Lancaster architects Paley and Austin.