The Georgian town of Whitehaven, now a pleasant coastal town, was once a bustling port - the second busiest in England, behind only London. In fact, the town was so important that it was the site of the last invasion of the English mainland, in 1778, when the American Navy, led by John Paul Jones landed in the harbour, only to be swiftly defeated by the townsfolk. Additionally, the man who was to lead America after their success in the war of independence, George Washington, had strong links with Whitehaven, where his grandmother lived, her grave can be seen in the grounds of St. Nicholas’ Church in the centre of the town.
Today, the residents of Whitehaven are proud of the town’s rich maritime history, and the harbour was revived for the millennium with a multi-million pound renovation. In recent years, the harbourside has played host to the bi-annual Whitehaven Festival, with visits from tall ships, air displays including the Red Arrows, live music from acts as diverse as Status Quo, Katherine Jenkins and McFly, and much more attracting almost half a million visitors.
Also in Whitehaven is the Rum Story, the worlds first museum dedicated to the story of the rum trade and it’s impact on Britain, America and the Caribbean. The museum is housed in the former property of Jefferson’s Wine and Spirits, a Whitehaven family business that supplied drinks to Lord Horatio Nelson and the English Navy, and was - until it closed in 1998 - the oldest family-run wine merchants in the country.
Aside from it’s rich history, the town offers delightful parks to relax in, stunning Georgian architecture to stroll through, and friendly cafe’s to sit in and enjoy a refreshing cup of tea or coffee. Large shops line the intersecting King Street and Lowther Street, with smaller shops and businesses on the side streets. In the evening, there is a healthy selection of bars pubs and restaurants throughout the centre of town.