Appleby retains its medieval street pattern, occupying a strategic loop in the River Eden.  Boroughgate is the wide main street, leading down past first the High Cross to the Low Cross and the Church of St Lawrence.  The only medieval building is the castle, now in private ownership, which stands guard at the top of the hill,  Other medieval street names are in evidence, such as Doomgate and Bongate on the other side of the bridge at the bottom of the hill.

The castle passed in the 17th century to the redoubtable Lady Anne Clifford, who took the running of her estates very seriously and restored not only Appleby castle but also that at Brougham near Penrith as well as at Skipton and Brough. Notable MPs for Appleby include William Pitt the Younger (very briefly), John Robinson (whose ingenuity and speed at political fixing give us the phrase “Before you can say Jack Robinson”) and Viscount Howick, who as Earl Grey, led the government that passed the great Reform Act of 1832.  Several members of George Washington’s family attended the Grammar School


Appleby boasts pubs, cafés, and a proper old-fashioned ironmongers.  Every June the entire town is taken over by the annual horse fair and if you are proposing to stay here round that time be warned that accommodation is likely to be very scarce and that a form of organised chaos reigns for about a week.  In calmer times it is a lovely timeless spot to linger.


Tourist Information

Tourist Information Office, the Moot Hall, Boroughgate. 017683 51177. Admirably helpful and informative as well a cycle-savvy.