Cockermouth is situated where the rivers Cocker and Derwent meet, and is a great starting point from which to explore the Lake District. Cockermouth is a market town in a farming area with a tradition of cloth weaving eventually becoming a hub for spinning and weaving. The town holds weekly stalled market heralded in by the traditional ringing of the historic butter bell. The Kirkgate Centre is the town's cultural focus with historical displays and cultural events including theatre, international music and world cinema. The town also offers a large variety of sport and leisure activities to its many visitors.
Cockermouth is the birthplace of William Wordsworth in 1770, with his place of birth now a historic house called Wordsworth House owned by the National Trust. The poet lived there in his youth with his family, and the house still retains its original features like fire places, panelling, stairs and memorabilia. The house and garden is open to visitors with a café and shop.
Cockermouth also has its own castle built in the 12th Century with material from the Roman Fort at Papcastle. The castle has a turbulent history with challenges during the border wars from Robert the Bruce, as well as playing a significant role in the Wars of the Roses, and in the Civil War, when it was badly damaged, finally falling into ruin. A part of it has since been restored and it is now a scheduled ancient monument. Mary Queen of Scots also fled to Cockermouth Hall, now just remains in a small cobbled courtyard off the market square, after her defeat at Langside in 1568.
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