Barrow-in-Furness, historic maritime gateway to the Furness Peninsula, boasts one of England's most impressive monastic ruins, Furness Abbey, open to the public all year. In the 14th Century, the monks built Piel Castle on remote Piel Island, accessible to visitors by ferry from neighbouring Roa Island.
Barrow's modern history began with the birth of the Furness Railway; later the town led the world in building ships and submarines. This enthralling story can be explored at the outstanding Dock Museum. This museum is open Wednesday-Sunday year round and with free admission and there is ample parking. However, for railway passengers, just follow the finger post signs from the station, along Abbey Road to the museum where the new Furness Viking Hoard can be seen. It is about 20 minutes walk from the station to the Dock Museum.
Barrow has a population of about 60,000 and as a result has the shopping, cafes and restaurants that can be found in large towns. Just over 160 years ago, there were only 32 dwellings and 2 pubs in Barrow but the growth of the iron industry, the railway and the ship building industry saw spectacular growth and there are reminders today of the Victorian villas and red sandstone blocks of flats designed to attract Scottish workers.
The railway station has been renovated and is now fully accessible following the installation of passenger lifts. Taxis are available at the front of the station and buses stop on nearby Abbey Road. The town centre, with its Tourist Information Centre, is only 10 minutes walk from the station. Areas of the town centre have been pedestrianised including the area around the imposing neo-gothic Town Hall which dates from 1887. Even cruise liners now call at Barrow and the passengers can explore the western side of the Lake District and Coniston.
At Barrow station, connections can also be made to the scenic Furness Line which runs around the shores of Morecambe bay and takes travellers to Dalton, Ulverston, Grange, Arnside/Silverdale, Carnforth and Lancaster. Some trains run through from Lancaster to Carlisle but in some cases it is necessary to change trains at Barrow. There is ample car parking (pay and display) at Barrow station.
Just to the east of Barrow, and visible from trains running along the Furness Line, are the ruins of Furness Abbey. Founded in AD 1123, by the Cistercians, Furness Abbey became the second richest Abbey in England and developed a port on Walney and its trade was protected by Piel Castle. Now, an audio tour is available for visitors to the fine, red sandstone ruins. The nearest railway stations are Roose and Dalton on the Furness Line.
Barrow has sandy beaches nearby, especially at Roanhead, with spectacular views across the Duddon estuary. Peil, Walney and Roa islands are worth exploring and visitors will find much to discover in and around Barrow and the Furness peninsula. Larger pictures are on the Gallery page.
A new Rail Trails leaflet, "North Walney from Barrow station" has been launched in 2012 and is available from most local staffed stations and information points.
For additional information about shopping in Barrow, have a look at www.barrowbc.gov.uk
Click Here for Barrow in Furness Leaflet
North Walney Nature Reserve Leaflet
South Walney Nature Reserve Leaflet
King of Piel Leaflet
St Georges Walk
Heart of Barrow Walk
Dalton Castle Leaflet
Furness Abbey Leaflet