© James T M Towil and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
In Georgian times the settlement of Whitehaven was a bustling hub of mining and shipping. Salt and coal were exported from the town's harbour and rum and tobacco came into the country here. These industries are now long gone, but there is much in the area to remind visitors of the town's past.
The small sand and pebble beach curves around the bay. The area is quite popular with sea-anglers and fossils are sometimes found amongst the shingle on the shore line. Just behind the beach lies the town, with its Georgian buildings, shops, places to eat and parking.
At the southern end of the beach there is a breakwater and the historic harbour of Whitehaven, which dates back to 1633. The chimney of Wellington Pits towers majestically over the harbour. There are also some interesting museums in the area, telling the story of Whitehaven's industrial past. The Beacon Museum is dedicated to telling visitors about local history. The Rum Story visitor centre is set in an original 18th century building and brings the history of rum vividly to life.
From the beach it is possible to take an exhilarating cliff-top walk along the coast to St Bees Head and beyond to the RSPB Reserve. Look out for terns, guillemots and even puffins along the way. From the cliffs, on a clear day there are views over to the hills of Dumfries and Galloway to the north and over to the Isle of Man.