Cockermouth is a quiet market town on the north western edge of the Lake District National Park, built where the Cocker flows into the Derwent. The main street runs parallel to the Derwent, which never really imposes itself on the town. The Cocker is more visible, running between the main shopping street and the castle. The town is close to high ground, but a little too distant from the mountains to be an ideal walking base, and as a result is somewhat quieter than the main Lakeland towns. Cockermouth is a rare example of a town where the shops still shut on a Sunday, so if you need supplies avoid it then.
Cockermouth castle sits on a spur of high ground between the Cocker and the Derwent. The first castle on this site was built in the 12th century, but was partly destroyed by Robert the Bruce in 1315. The rebuilt castle remained in use until the Civil War, when it was defended for Parliament against a Royalist attack in 1648. After the Civil War the castle fell into decay, until one wing was restored in the 19th century by the Wyndham family, who have owned the castle since 1750. The castle only opens once a year.
William Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth in 1770, and lived in the town for eight years, until after the death of his mother he was sent to Penrith. The house is now owned by the National Trust and is open to the public.
The Romans were present in the area. Derventio Roman Fort on the opposite bank of the Derwent formed the west flank of the same line of defences as Hadrian Wall, protecting the coast facing Scotland.
Cockermouth was granted a market in 1221, and by the 17th century was the biggest market in Cumberland, sitting at an idea point between the mountains and the Cumbrian coastal plain.
The town is now the home of Jennings Brothers Castle Brewery which can be found at the foot of the castle hill. The brewery has a shop and tours are available.
The annual Cockermouth Festival is held during the summer, and has a mix of different events each year.