Market towns, charming villages, and even a vibrant city: Cumbria’s high streets are the perfect place to shop local.

Packed with fantastic retailers as well as brilliant places to eat and drink, you may be surprised by how much there is to discover.

The city of Carlisle is a great place to start: located in the north of the region, this historic city is filled with national and independent boutiques just waiting to be perused. Surrounded by stunning natural landscapes it’s the perfect place to shop and explore.

Whitehaven News: Carlisle City Centre

Experience a fascinating blend of old and new: 2,000 years of history coexists with modern shops, restaurants and bars. Carlisle Castle stands proud in the heart of the city: take a tour before heading into the leafy, laid-back centre for some retail therapy.

With over 60 stores in the Lanes Shopping Centre; and a plethora of local brands in the Victorian Market Hall, you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

Close to Carlisle, and just a stone’s throw from Hadrian’s Wall, is the lovely market town of Brampton. It is an ideal base to explore the area’s stunning scenery and historically significant and culturally important sites.

On the Western Lake District Coast, Copeland is overflowing with exciting shops, offering everything from artisan gifts to locally made food and drink. Rural villages like Ravenglass and Eskdale are great for a bite to eat; while in coastal towns like Millom and Whitehaven, discover vibrant high streets on which to enjoy a little retail therapy.

This is an area with a rich arts scene, reflected in the abundance of locally made arts and crafts available to peruse and take home. 

Whitehaven News:

And it doesn’t stop there! A jam-packed calendar of local markets is well worth checking out to discover local businesses to support. Whitehaven’s monthly Copeland Young Entrepreneurs Market showcases young makers and creators; while weekly street markets can usually be found in Whitehaven (Thurs / Sat), Egremont (Fri) and Cleator Moor (Fri). 

Head south to the tip of the Furness Peninsula, where fantastic independent retailers share street space with national brands. A wealth of specialist shops awaits in Barrow-in-Furness: from vinyl records and comics to haberdashery and vintage clothing, there’s so much to discover.

There’s also a vibrant calendar of events as well as cultural attractions, making for the perfect day out.

Whitehaven News:

Barrow’s indoor market is a must: visited by the Hairy Bikers, it’s one of Cumbria’s largest, and is overflowing with quirky stalls selling everything from baking supplies and flowers to butchery and Thai food.

Stay for lunch at a local restaurant or cafe; or enjoy a refreshing walk along the coastal path, before heading to the historic town of Dalton-in-Furness to continue your retail adventure.

Further along the coast lies South Lakeland, with its mix of charming market towns and seaside villages. Arnside and Grange-over-Sands both offer beautiful views over Morecambe Bay alongside fantastic local shops.

Inland, discover the picturesque village of Hawkshead and its independent businesses; Ulverston with its rich art scene and friendly locals; and the vibrant market town of Kendal with its popular farmers' markets, held on the last Friday of the month.

We’ve even got a little piece of the Yorkshire Dales right here in Cumbria: head to Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale for quirky independents alongside great food and drink. Not to mention the wide variety of markets which take place on a regular basis throughout the year!

For a truly unique shopping experience in Cumbria, our high streets are the perfect place to be. Shop local and explore all they have to offer. For more information visit

Please continue to support local businesses, by following HM Government COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The Welcome Back to High Streets project is supported by ERDF and HM Government.

Whitehaven News:

Whitehaven News: