Founded nearly 900 years ago, Furness Abbey is situated in the countryside of the Furness Peninsula. The Abbey is one of the best remaining examples of monastic buildings in the country. Furness Abbey was extremely wealthy and this is apparent to this day. Throughout its history, Furness Abbey played host to several significant figures, including Jocelyn of Furness who wrote the earliest known account of St Patrick driving snakes out of Ireland.
As a very prominent local symbol, Furness Abbey was the burial place for many local elites. There are several surviving effigies that visitors can view to this day. While mostly known for its prosperity, the Abbey was not without controversy. In 1246, three monks allegedly poisoned the abbot! Despite this, Furness Abbey remained in royal favour and healthy financial support until the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. At this point the community was disbanded and buildings abandoned. However, by the 18th century, the Abbey’s crumbling remains became a point of inspiration for writers like Anne Radcliffe and poets such as William Wordsworth. And since the 19th century, visitors and researchers from all over have been attracted to Furness Abbey and discovered several amazing archaeological finds.
Things to see and do:
- Explore the ruins of the expansive Abbey and its large gardens!
- A permanent exhibition on site allows visitors to get up close stone carvings and effigies.
- Picnic benches provide the ideal place to take in the sights.
- Plenty of room on the grounds for children to run and play.
- The gift shop provides souvenirs as well as pre-packaged snacks.
For more information about visiting, click here.
Accessible toilets are available on site.
The Abbey has handrails throughout the property. The grounds, exhibition and shop are wheelchair accessible. Visitors with electric wheelchairs have sometimes found their chairs sink into the soft ground.
There is a car park and drop off area at the property. Please be aware there are no specific disabled parking spaces.
Assistance dogs are welcome. Braille guides are available. Also, there is an induction loop in the shop area.
For more information about accessibility, please click here.
Carlisle Cathedral is another example of the religious history of Cumbria. Find out more here!