Cycle Shops

Bike Bank, 18-20 Market Place. 01900 603 337

Halfords, Derwent Howe Retail Park. 01900 601 635

About the town

European funding is being used to help restore this fine working town and there are high hopes that its resurgence will bring with it tourism and a new lease of life, as has happened in Whitehaven and Maryport further up the coast. Work on the town centre finished in 2007 after two years of mayhem and now there are new shops and a fine new silver municipal clock. There are some splendid examples of Georgian architecture and some powerful industrial heritage. Workington is an ancient market and industrial town at the mouth of the River Derwent. Parts of it date back to Roman times but it was not until the 18th century, with the exploitation of local iron ore and coal, that Workington expanded to become a major industrial town and port.

In this respect its growth mirrors that of its neighbour, Whitehaven eight miles down the coast. Iron and steel manufacturing have always been part of Workington’s raison d’être, and it was here that Henry Bessemer first introduced his revolutionary steel making process, florally commemorated in this picture. In recent years, with the decline of the steel industry and coal mining, the town has had to diversify and with the refurbishment of the town centre it is ready to welcome tourists to its heart. The advantage of starting here is that the opening leg of the journey is seven miles shorter, has gentler gradients and passes through the Georgian market town of Cockermouth. It is also close to, and goes through, Camerton, where the church sits prettily on the banks of the Derwent and the splendidly named Black Tom Inn beckons alluringly to passers-by. It has some nice churches. The parish church of St Michael’s has been on its present site since the 7th century, although the 12th century Norman church was replaced in 1770 by a larger building. Sadly this was severely damaged by fire in 1994, but has since undergone a major rebuilding programme. St John’s Church was built in 1823 to commemorate the battle of Waterloo, to a design by Thomas Hardwick. It is built of local sandstone, and bears some resemblance to Inigo Jones’s St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden, London.

Workington Tourist Information Centre 01900 606699

Places of Interest

Workington Hall Workington Hall is built around a pele tower dating from the 14th century, and was once one of the finest manor houses in the region.

This striking ruin, once owned by the Curwen family, Lords of the Manor of Workington, gave shelter to Mary Queen of Scots on her last flight from Scotland before her imprisonment and execution.

It is said to be haunted by Henry Curwen, who sunk the nearby Jane Pit in the 19th century, the remains of which can be seen at nearby Mossbay.

Town Museum

The Helena Thompson Museum was bequeathed to the people of Workington by the eponymous Miss Thompson, a local philanthropist, in 1940. It houses displays of pottery, silver, glass, and furniture dating from Georgian times, as well as the social and industrial history of Workington and the surrounding area.