The original town of Maryport was called Alauna and was built on the Solway Firth, as part of the Roman coastal defences at the westernmost point of Hadrian’s Wall. Fast forward to Georgian times and Alauna became known as Ellenfoot, but in the 1700s, one Humphrey Senhouse developed the existing town into a port and renamed it after his wife, Mary. The town became a major centre of industry in the 19th century when coal mines opened up around the town and thousands of tonnes of coal was shipped through. Life was good for the local people, but it took a turn for the worse in the early part of the 20th century when a new deep water dock opened in nearby Workington. Today, modern Maryport is a fairly quiet little seaside town, but if you are visiting, you will find plenty to see and do, especially if you are interested in local history.
Things to See and Do in Maryport
Maryport is a popular centre for blues music and the Maryport Blues Festival takes place there every summer, typically the last weekend in July. The festival attracts many local and international artists, and in the past Jools Holland, Van Morrison, Chuck Berry and Dionne Warwick have performed to appreciative audiences. The town itself is built in a grid formation, so it should be very easy to find your way around. The Wave Maryport is the new entertainment and heritage visitor centre in the centre of the town’s harbour area. This should be your first port of call if you are looking for more information about things to see and do in the local area. The harbour in Maryport is of great historic interest, and on a fine day it is a nice place to wander around. The Maritime Museum, the Lake District Coast Aquarium and the Senhouse Roman Museum are both located in the harbour area.
Attractions to Visit in Maryport
The Senhouse Roman Museum is an award winning museum on the cliffs above the Solway Firth. The museum is sited next to the remains of a Roman fort, which is believed to have been founded in the 1st Century AD. Many of the museums exhibits come from a collection started by the Senhouse family in the 1570s. The observation tower in the museum grounds offers a fantastic view of the local area. The Maritime Museum has lots of exhibits relating to Maryport’s proud maritime heritage, including displays about the mutiny on the Bounty and the Titanic. The Lake District Coast Aquarium is a fabulous place to take the kids. The purpose built Aquaria has more than 35 fascinating displays on aquatic life and you will be able to see sharks, rays, grey mullet and flounder. There is also a restaurant on site, which has great views of the harbour and Solway Firth. The Clip ‘n’ Climb climbing wall in Maryport is great for adults and kids alike, which is why it is voted number one attraction in Maryport. Instructors are available and there is a nice café on site.