The elegant small market town of Broughton-in-Furness sits in a small hollow in the hills overlooking the Duddon Estuary, and is a super base for exploring one of the quieter parts of the Lake District. Visually the area is dominated by the bulk of Black Combe, sitting across the estuary to the west, but it is also surrounded by some fascinating lower hills, and is only just over five miles from Coniston Water, while the summit of the Old Man is less than eight miles to the north.
In the eighteenth century Broughton took the first steps towards becoming a town. The village gained a market, and became a centre of the wool trade and for the trade in coppiced wood, including the sale of oak baskets known as swills. This period also saw the creation of the market place, surrounded by elegant Georgian houses. The square was built by one of the lords of the manor to resemble a London squadron. The markets are no longer held, and the square is now a car park, but the stone slabs used for the sale of fish still survive, while the horse chestnut trees and obelisk date from 1810 and were put in place to celebrate the golden jubilee of George III. Broughton even gained a railway when the Broughton to Coniston line was opened in 1859 to support the copper mining around Coniston.
Broughton still has some high quality shops, including an excellent butchers, a walking shop, and two pubs - the High Cross Inn on a hill at the edge of the town and the Old King's Head in the centre. There is also a tourist information centre in the old Town Hall on the market square and a library. Thankfully the main road no longer comes directly through the centre of the village - instead the A 595 makes a wide detour to the south, partly to avoid several steep hills and partly to visit Foxfield and the coastal railway.
Like the High Cross, the village church of St Mary Magdalene also lies on the western edge of the village, although much further down the hill. There are still some elements of the original Norman church, including its large nave, but most of the current building only dates back to a 1874 restoration.
Broughton Towers, just to the north of the village, was also originally a Norman building, the home of the Broughton Family until the last member of the family supported Lambert Simnal against Henry VII. The tower is now part of a school, but can be seen from nearby footpaths.