Silloth (sometimes known as Silloth-on-Solway) is a port town and civil parish in Cumbria, England. It sits on the shoreline of the Solway Firth, 22 miles (35 km) west of Carlisle. The town of Maryport lies 12 miles (19 km) to the south, down the B5300 coast road which also passes through the villages of Blitterlees, Beckfoot, Mawbray, and Allonby. Wigton is twelve miles to the east, along the B5302 road, which also passes through the village of Abbeytown, 5.5 miles (8.9 km) to the south-east.
Historically a part of Cumberland, the town is one of the finest examples of a Victorian seaside resort in the North of England. Silloth developed in the 1860’s onwards around the terminus of the railway from Carlisle and associated docks which had begun construction in 1855 to replace Port Carlisle as the deep-water port for Carlisle.
For the first time workers from the factories of Carlisle were presented with affordable access to the seaside and the town flourished as a destination for day trippers. The town reached the peak of its popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Recent years have seen a great deal of development with many of the sea facing properties having received facelifts. The main central attraction is a large expansive green that is utilised throughout the year to host various events and activities.
Tourism is a major economic player in Silloth, with dozens of large and small static and touring caravan parks located within a ten-mile (16 km) radius of the town centre. This is responsible for the tremendous growth in the population on most days throughout the summer months. Although a couple of these parks are somewhat self-contained they still rely heavily on the town for support and infrastructure such as post office, doctor’s surgery, chemist, newsagent’s, mini supermarkets, hardware, spares and consumables, cafes, chip shops, sandwich bars and pubs. Silloth also plays host to several small annual events held on the town green. These include a beer festival held in September, its steam rally, kite and food festivals.
By far the area’s largest annual event is Solfest. The Solway Music Festival (Solfest) is Cumbria’s biggest four-day live music festival with a maximum attendance in 2008. Located at Tarns, approximately five miles away, Solfest has been running since 2004 and now regularly attracts crowds of over 10,000 every August bank holiday weekend, with its eclectic mix of music, site art and cabaret performers and the friendly atmosphere which resulted in it rocketing the town firmly back into national awareness by winning the “Best Family Friendly Festival” award in the 2007 UK Festival Awards (the only Cumbrian festival ever to win an award). Solfest has also been credited by Cumbria Tourist Board for introducing a younger generation of tourists to Silloth and in doing so has greatly boosted the future of tourism in the town. Amenities include a championship golf course ranked amongst the country’s top fifty courses, several hotels and bed and breakfasts, public houses, tea rooms and eateries.
Silloth prides itself in its coastline along the Solway Firth which has been described in one of the country’s leading sea fishing publications, Total Sea Angling, as having the best flatfish fishing coastline in the country, with over 20 miles (32 km) of beach and promenade to choose from. Bait and equipment are also available locally. Wind and kite surfing are also popular along the coast at Allonby, 8 miles (13 km) from Silloth town centre.
- Silloth means sea barn(s).