By Rachael Parkin
The new film about the lives of the legendary Laurel and Hardy, ‘Stan and Ollie’ is now playing in cinemas across the country but did you know that Stan Laurel was born less than 30 minutes away from Coniston and the Coppermines Valley in the south Cumbrian market town of Ulverston?
With its quaint, cobbled streets and an abundance of shops, pubs and cafes Ulverston is worthy of a visit any time of year but with now, with its most famous son back in the limelight, it’s a better time than ever to spend some time in this fine and historic town.
Here are our suggestions of five things to see and do on your Ulverston adventure.
1.Visit the Laurel and Hardy Museum
The museum began as one man’s devotion to the legendary duo and has gradually grown to include hundreds of items of memorabilia and a 15 seat cinema, all dedicated to the lives and works of Stan and Ollie. And don’t forget to pay a visit to the Laurel and Hardy statue round the corner to have your photo taken with the famous pair.
2.Watch a film at the Roxy
What better place to watch “Stan and Ollie” than in this traditional 1930’s art-deco cinema in the heart of Stan Laurel’s home town. This atmospheric, one-screen cinema shows the latest Hollywood releases along with some cinematic art-house classics. You can also relive your youth by dashing for ice-cream in the half-time interval.
3.Climb Hoad Hill
Unmissable on your approach into Ulverston and visible from just about everywhere in the town The Sir John Barrow Monument towers atop Hoad Hill. The walk up the well-trodden path from the centre of town offers stunning views of Morecambe Bay and the southern Lakeland fells from the summit. The monument itself can be climbed via spiral stairs; look out for the flag flying which signals that the “Pepper Pot” is open!
One thing you needn’t be in Ulverston is hungry. The town is awash with cafés, pubs and restaurants from traditional, beamed public houses offering fabulous home-cooked food such as The Stan Laurel Inn and The Rose and Crown to friendly town-centre tearooms such as Gillam’s and internationally inspired restaurants including the excellent L'al Churrasco, serving delicious Mediterranean tapas. The bewildering array of eateries available will leave you scratching your head Stan Laurel style.
5.Visit the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre and Buddhist Temple
Escape the stresses of modern life with a visit to this internationally renowned centre offering free, 15 minute mediations every day. You can also explore the extensive grounds which include bluebell woods, lawns and paths to Morecambe Bay shore, have a bite to eat in their World Peace Café and browse the on-site bookstore. Which all makes for a very relaxing afternoon indeed.
Not too far from Ulverston, we have some beautiful cottages situated in the peaceful Crake Valley. Available to book for full weeks and short breaks these cottages offer the best of both worlds.