Barrow in Furness, United Kingdom

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Barrow in Furness, United Kingdom

Region: Barrow-in-Furness

Geographic Coordinates: 54.110800, -3.226100
Climate: Climate and weather patterns in Barrow in Furness, UK vary throughout the year.
Population: 56745
Language: English

Barrow-in-Furness is a historic town located in the county of Cumbria, In the northwest of England. Nestled on the tip of the Furness Peninsula, It is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and offers a unique blend of industrial heritage and stunning landscapes. With a rich history dating back to Roman times, Barrow-in-Furness became an important center for shipbuilding during the 19th century. The town’s shipyards played a vital role in constructing some of Britain’s most iconic vessels, Including battleships like HMS Dreadnought.

Today, Visitors can explore this maritime legacy at the Dock Museum, Which showcases Barrow’s shipbuilding heritage through interactive exhibits and displays. Beyond its industrial past, Barrow-in-Furness boasts spectacular natural landscapes that are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. The nearby Lake District National Park offers endless opportunities for hiking, Cycling, And exploring picturesque lakes such as Windermere and Coniston Water. Additionally, Visitors can enjoy stunning coastal walks along Walney Island or take a ferry to Piel Island with its medieval castle ruins. For those interested in history and architecture, Barrow-in-Furness has several notable landmarks worth visiting.

Furness Abbey is one such attraction; these ruins date back to the 12th century when it was one of England’s wealthiest monasteries. The abbey provides an atmospheric backdrop for peaceful walks amidst ancient stone arches and beautifully preserved remnants. Art lovers will appreciate Barrow-in-Furness’ offerings as well. The Forum Theatre hosts various performances throughout the year ranging from drama to comedy shows while showcasing local talent too. Additionally, There are numerous art galleries displaying works by local artists that capture both traditional Cumbrian scenes as well as contemporary pieces.

Food enthusiasts will find plenty to satisfy their taste buds in Barrow-in-Furness too! There is an array of charming cafes serving homemade treats using locally sourced ingredients alongside traditional pubs offering hearty meals. The town also hosts an annual food festival, Showcasing the best of Cumbrian cuisine and regional delicacies. Barrow-in-Furness offers a range of accommodations to suit all budgets, Including cozy bed and breakfasts, Boutique hotels, And self-catering cottages. The town’s friendly atmosphere and welcoming locals make it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding area.

Barrow-in-Furness is a hidden gem in the United Kingdom that combines industrial heritage with natural beauty. From its shipbuilding past to its stunning landscapes and cultural attractions, This town has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, Outdoor adventures or simply enjoying local cuisine, Barrow-in-Furness promises a memorable experience that will leave you wanting to return again and again.

Important Landmarks

  1. Furness Abbey: The ruins of a medieval monastery dating back to the 12th century, known for its impressive architecture and historical significance.
  2. South Lakes Safari Zoo: A popular wildlife park with a wide variety of animals including lions, tigers, giraffes, and lemurs.
  3. Piel Island: A small island located off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness, known for its castle ruins and picturesque views.
  4. Dock Museum: A museum located in an old Victorian graving dock that showcases the history of Barrow-in-Furness as a shipbuilding town.
  5. Walney Island: A beautiful nature reserve with sandy beaches, dunes, and wildlife habitats ideal for walking or cycling.
  6. Furness Golf Club: An 18-hole golf course with stunning views over Morecambe Bay.
  7. Barrow Park: A large public park featuring beautiful gardens, lakeside walks, play areas for children, and sports facilities.
  8. Laurel & Hardy Museum: Dedicated to the famous comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy who both have connections to Barrow-in-Furness.
  9. The Forum Theatre: A historic theater hosting various performances including plays, musicals concerts, and comedy shows.
  10. Dalton Castle: Located nearby in Dalton-in-Furness but worth a visit if you’re interested in historical sites—a medieval fortified tower that offers guided tours showcasing its history.

Primary Industries

  1. Shipbuilding: Barrow-in-Furness is renowned for its shipbuilding industry. The town is home to BAE Systems Submarines, which builds submarines for the Royal Navy, including the Astute-class submarines.
  2. Defense: The defense sector plays a significant role in Barrow’s economy due to BAE Systems’ presence. Besides submarine construction, BAE Systems also undertakes defense-related research and development activities.
  3. Nuclear Energy: Barrow-in-Furness has a connection to the nuclear energy sector through its proximity to Sellafield, a major nuclear fuel reprocessing facility located nearby.
  4. Engineering and Manufacturing: The town has a strong engineering and manufacturing base beyond shipbuilding, with companies involved in various sectors such as aerospace components, precision engineering, metal fabrication, etc.
  5. Retail and Services: As with any town or city center, retail businesses such as shops, restaurants, cafes contribute to the local economy of Barrow-in-Furness.
  6. Tourism: Although not a dominant industry compared to others on this list, tourism plays a role in Barrow’s economy due to attractions like Furness Abbey ruins and Piel Island Castle that draw visitors from within the UK and beyond.
  7. Education and Healthcare: Institutions like Furness College (a further education college) and Furness General Hospital provide employment opportunities within the education and healthcare sectors respectively.

It is worth noting that while these industries form an essential part of Barrow’s economy; they may not be exhaustive or exclusive; other smaller-scale businesses also operate within the town across various sectors contributing to its economic diversity.

Noteable History

  1. Shipbuilding Industry: Barrow in Furness is known for its shipbuilding industry, particularly the construction of submarines. The town has been home to several shipyards, including the famous Barrow Shipyard owned by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd.
  2. Construction of HMS Dreadnought: The construction of the HMS Dreadnought, a revolutionary battleship that transformed naval warfare, took place at the Barrow Shipyard in 1906.
  3. Sir James Ramsden: Sir James Ramsden was a prominent industrialist and politician from Barrow in Furness who played a significant role in developing the town’s infrastructure during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  4. Furness Railway Company: The establishment of the Furness Railway Company had a profound impact on Barrow’s growth as an industrial center during the Victorian era. It facilitated transportation links between various towns in Cumbria and Lancashire.
  5. Walney Island Airfield: During World War II, Walney Island Airfield served as an important airbase for Coastal Command operations against German U-boats operating in the Irish Sea.
  6. Dock Museum: The Dock Museum is located within an original Victorian graving dock and showcases Barrow’s maritime history through various exhibits and artifacts.
  7. Alfred Hindmarsh MP: Alfred Hindmarsh was a trade unionist and Member of Parliament for Barrow from 1929 until his death in 1941. He played an active role advocating workers’ rights during his tenure.
  8. Submarine Heritage Centre: Located at Devonshire Dock Hall, this museum provides insights into submarine history with exhibits showcasing past submarines constructed at the shipyard.
  9. BAE Systems Submarines Division: BAE Systems operates one of its major manufacturing sites for submarines at Barrow-in-Furness today, contributing to the town’s ongoing association with shipbuilding.
  10. Barrow AFC: Barrow-in-Furness is home to the football club, Barrow AFC, which has a long history and has competed in various leagues throughout its existence.

These are just a few examples of notable events and people associated with Barrow in Furness. The town’s rich industrial heritage and contributions to shipbuilding make it an important part of British maritime history.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Dock Museum: A fascinating museum located in a former dry dock, showcasing the history and heritage of Barrow-in-Furness, including shipbuilding, iron and steel industries, and local life.
  2. Furness Abbey: Explore the ruins of this magnificent 12th-century abbey with its impressive architecture and serene surroundings. It offers a glimpse into medieval monastic life.
  3. South Lakes Safari Zoo: Located just outside Barrow-in-Furness, this zoo is home to over 1,000 animals from around the world. Visitors can enjoy close encounters with various species while learning about conservation efforts.
  4. Sandscale Haws National Nature Reserve: A beautiful coastal nature reserve offering stunning views of sand dunes, beaches, and wildlife habitats. Perfect for nature walks and birdwatching.
  5. The Laurel & Hardy Museum: Dedicated to the famous comedy duo Laurel and Hardy who had strong connections to Barrow-in-Furness. The museum exhibits memorabilia, films, photographs, and personal items related to their lives.
  6. Piel Island Castle: Take a short ferry ride from Roa Island to Piel Island where you’ll find a small castle dating back to the late 14th century. Explore its historic rooms or enjoy refreshments at the island’s pub.
  7. Furness Owls & Hawks Sanctuary: An opportunity for bird enthusiasts to get up close with owls and other birds of prey in a safe environment while learning about their conservation needs.
  8. Forum Twenty Eight Art Gallery & Café: A contemporary art gallery showcasing works by local artists across various mediums including painting, sculpture photography ceramics etc., along with an on-site café serving delicious food.
  9. The Nan Tait Centre – Art Gallery & Heritage Centre : This center celebrates local artist Nan Tait through her artworks as well as displaying exhibitions by other artists throughout the year alongside hosting workshops aimed at all ages.
  10. Barrow Park: A picturesque park offering beautiful gardens, a lake with rowing boats, play areas for children, and sports facilities. It’s an ideal place for a leisurely stroll or a family picnic.

These are just a few examples of the many attractions in and around Barrow-in-Furness. The town also has several pubs, restaurants, and shops worth exploring to experience the local culture and cuisine.

Sports Teams

  1. Barrow Raiders RLFC: Barrow Raiders is a rugby league team that was founded in 1875. They have had periods of success and have competed in various leagues including the Super League (the top-tier professional rugby league competition). They currently play in the Betfred Championship.
  2. Furness RFC: Furness Rugby Football Club is a local rugby union team established in 1893. They have a long history of competing at various levels within English rugby.
  3. Holker Old Boys FC: Holker Old Boys Football Club was formed in 1939 and competes in local football leagues such as the West Lancashire Football League Premier Division.
  4. Hawcoat Park Sports Club: Hawcoat Park Sports Club offers multiple sports facilities including cricket, tennis, hockey, and squash among others.
  5. Walney Central AFC: Walney Central Amateur Football Club is an amateur football club based on Walney Island near Barrow-in-Furness.

These are just a few examples of sports teams with histories or presence in Barrow-in-Furness. The town also has other clubs participating at different levels across various sports such as cricket, golf, swimming, athletics etc., catering to different age groups and abilities within the community.

Cultural Events

Barrow-in-Furness Festivals

Barrow-in-Furness Festivals

  1. Barrow Carnival

    Held annually in July, this vibrant carnival features a parade of floats, live music performances, dance acts, street food stalls, and various entertainment activities.

  2. Barrow Music Festival

    Organized by the Furness Music Centre, this festival showcases local musical talent through concerts and performances held at venues across the town.

  3. Barrow Comedy Festival

    A celebration of comedy held at various venues in the town, featuring stand-up shows by renowned comedians as well as emerging local talents.

  4. Lantern Festival

    Taking place during winter months around Christmas time or New Year’s Eve, this festival involves a procession of lanterns through the streets of Barrow-in-Furness accompanied by music and fireworks.

  5. Ulverston Dickensian Festival (nearby)

    Although not directly in Barrow-in-Furness but nearby Ulverston (around 8 miles away), it is worth mentioning this popular Victorian-themed festival that takes place annually in late November or early December. The event includes costumed characters from Charles Dickens’ novels wandering the streets along with market stalls selling crafts and festive treats.

Please note that events may vary from year to year; therefore it is advisable to check for specific dates and details closer to your visit.


  1. The Custom House – A waterfront restaurant offering a range of dishes including locally sourced seafood, steaks, and vegetarian options.
  2. The Kings Arms – A traditional pub serving classic British dishes such as fish and chips, pies, and Sunday roasts.
  3. The Bakehouse – A cozy café known for its homemade cakes, pastries, sandwiches, and breakfast options.
  4. Chiquito – A Mexican-themed restaurant chain offering Tex-Mex cuisine including fajitas, burritos, tacos, and cocktails.
  5. La Piazza – An Italian restaurant known for its authentic pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven along with pasta dishes and seafood specialties.
  6. Royal Bengal Spice – A popular Indian restaurant serving a variety of curries from different regions of India along with tandoori dishes and biryanis.
  7. Istanbul Grill House – A Turkish restaurant offering kebabs, grilled meats, mezes (appetizers), and traditional Turkish desserts.

These are just a few examples of the diverse culinary scene in Barrow in Furness; there are many more options available to suit various tastes/preferences.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Barrow Park: This is the largest park in Barrow-in-Furness, featuring beautiful gardens, a lake, sports facilities, and a children’s play area.
  2. Furness Abbey: Although not a park per se, Furness Abbey is a historical site with extensive grounds that provide opportunities for leisurely walks and picnics.
  3. Walney Island: Located just off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness, Walney Island offers stunning sandy beaches and nature reserves where visitors can enjoy walking, birdwatching or simply relaxing by the sea.
  4. Vickerstown Park: Situated in the Vickerstown area of Barrow-in-Furness, this park features sports fields and playgrounds ideal for families with children.
  5. Ormsgill Reservoir: A popular spot for fishing enthusiasts located on the outskirts of town.
  6. Hawcoat Park Sports Club: This club offers various recreational activities including rugby union, cricket and tennis courts as well as social events for members.
  7. Dalton Leisure Centre: Located nearby in Dalton-in-Furness (a town close to Barrow), this leisure center provides facilities such as swimming pools, gymnasiums, fitness classes and indoor sports courts.

These are just a few examples of public parks and recreational activities available in Barrow-in-Furness; there may be other smaller parks or local amenities worth exploring depending on personal interests.


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