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Pensioners discover a hidden side to Cockermouth thanks to their latest Grand Day Out

Article written and published on: 6th April 2024

Article written by Scenic Buses

An exploration into the hidden corners of Cockermouth greeted 30 older people who took part in Stagecoach’s latest Grand Day Out.

The Grand Days Out were launched as a one-off campaign by Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire in 2021 following the Covid-19 pandemic, in a bid to reassure older passengers that bus travel is safe, comfortable, and convenient. 

Their aim was also to try and encourage pensioners to make full use of their free bus pass, thereby increasing passenger numbers and showcasing attractions and venues across Cumbria and North Lancashire.

The latest day-trippers enjoyed a visit to the market town of Cockermouth on Wednesday (March 27), with their outing including a visit to Wordsworth House and Gardens, followed by a guided history tour of Cockermouth in the afternoon. 

A free lunch was provided by Stagecoach for the visitors, thanks to local Cockermouth cafe, Norham House.

It was this tour, led by Phil and Shirley Campbell from the Cockermouth and District Civic Trust, which helped showcase hidden nooks and crannies in the town, which some residents admitted they had no idea existed.

Among these was a nondescript wooden door on Main Street, nestled between two shops, that leads to Cockton’s Yard. It was typical of the narrow housing and weaving workshops that ran back from the Main Street in reflections of the older mediaeval burgage plots.

Mary Cardwell, 79, from Cockermouth, was among those taking part and left with a sense of wonder at her home town’s hidden gems.

“I’ve learned so much about Cockermouth that I didn’t know before and been to places on the guided tour that I didn’t even know existed,” she said. “There is so much interesting history here in Cockermouth.

“It’s been a wonderful day again. I look forward to attending the Grand Days Out and it’s great that they’ve run a Grand Day Out to Cockermouth. I’m just sorry the weather hasn’t been kinder.”

Mary added: “My advice to other older people like me is to jump on the bus and come and visit Cockermouth, if you haven’t been before. It’s a beautiful town.”

The visit to William Wordsworth’s childhood home in the morning was also well-received – with the Age UK art group subsequently being invited to visit the garden at any time and host their art class outside, using the garden as inspiration.

John Mintern, 74, caught the bus from Workington to take part. He said: “I really enjoyed looking around Wordsworth House. It was different to what I expected, having visited Dove Cottage last year on another Grand Day Out. 

“I look forward to these each month and really hope that Stagecoach runs a day out for us to see Donald Campbell’s Bluebird in Coniston. I’d love to see that.”

“As the nicer weather approaches I would definitely recommend days out on the bus to other pensioners,” John added. “Just jump on the bus, show your bus pass and it’s a free day out.”

Nicola Price, Reconnecting Cumbria community worker with Age UK West Cumbria who helped organise the event in conjunction with Stagecoach, said: “The feedback from our clients is always excellent. As soon as we’ve enjoyed one Grand Day Out, they all want to know when the next one is and where we’re going.

“Age UK West Cumbria don’t have our own transport to take our clients to the places we’ve visited with Stagecoach, so it’s  fantastic to work with them on these days out.”

One of the great pleasures of our job at Stagecoach is to help people get out and about and explore our beautiful county, while socialising and having fun at the same time. 

Excursions like The Grand Day Out show how bus travel has an important part to play in encouraging other older people to make the most of their free bus passes.

I’m really pleased to hear the group from Age UK had a good time on their trip to Cockermouth and I look forward to hearing more about their bus adventures around Cumbria in the near future.

Tom Waterhouse, Managing Director of Stagecoach Cumbria

To help visitors and locals alike, the Cockermouth and District Civic Trust is promoting a walk through the town, so everyone can explore its history. Get your copy of the map from the Tourist Information Centre or visit

For more information about visiting Wordsworth House and Gardens, see the National Trust website.

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