Back in Time: A Brief Encounter at Carnforth

7 November 2022

Carnforth is a town with a deep history; whether it’s railway cinematic heritage, vintage independent stores or preserved nature walks, Carnforth has it all.

black and white retrospective photograph of a steam train and carraiges at Weybourne station, Norfolk, England, UK, the platform is misty and in the distance is the gaurd and signal box

Cinematic Landmark: Carnforth Station

This beautiful local station was immortalised when it was used in the iconic British feature film, ‘Brief Encounter.’

Brief Encounter is the theatrical adaptation of Noel Coward’s one-act play ‘Still Life’. This legendary addition to British cinema tells the story of an extramarital affair between two people who meet at Carnforth station shortly before world war two begins.

Released on 13th November 1945, the film received widespread and critical acclaim along with three award nominations at the 19th academy awards. Currently, this film sits as the 12th-best British feature film ever. The popularity of the film, combined with its identifiable filming location, has made Carnforth train station a must-see for fans of the film and British cinema in general.

Despite being a working train station, you can still visit the classical location for historical interest. Platform 1, where the magic took place decades ago, offers a quaint little heritage museum. The museum provides many historical trivia and artefacts related to the film and the intriguing history of the Carnforth railway, along with running previews of the romantic black and white scene.

Carnforth Travel Options

Carnforth station is a working train station and is a short distance from our luxury cottages with hot tubs. This station offers the town a travel hub for locals and visitors between the two counties, providing convenient access to many enjoyable locations both north and south.

To the south, you can visit the bustling city centre of Lancaster and enjoy the plethora of restaurants, bars and clubs available during its vibrant nightlife.

To the north, you can discover rail connections to increasingly rural areas such as Oxenholme, Windermere and Penrith, perfect for fulfilling any dreams for golf breaks in the Lake District.

For example, the Penrith golf club provides a beautiful, long-established parkland course on Beacon Hill with amazing views of the surrounding lake district. Consisting of nine carefully cultivated holes, golfers of any skill will find a new challenge at this prestigious course.

These towns are surrounded by the glorious and serene places of the Lake District, providing an excellent starting point for exploring the national park and conquering some of the largest mountains and fells in the UK.

Row of many old used books displayed at local antiquarian bookshop, wide photo focus on right side

Carnforth’s Famous Bookshop

Another unique piece of history available here is the well-known Carnforth Bookshop. Located on Market Street, this family-run bookshop is deeply connected to the town's history and is proudly supported by the local community.

The expansive bookshop was established in 1977 and now spans three floors with many additional rooms of the building. This bookshop was an expansion of a victorian era store that originally existed there.

The first impression upon visiting is the wonderfully painted vintage blue and white frontage of the building with its hand-painted lettering announcing its products and the pride of stocking 100,000 second-hand books.

When visiting Carnforth, this bookshop is a must! When you enter, you’ll be greeted by a mixture of modern, second hand and antiquated books for sale and other fun items to browse. They offer a wide selection of far more contemporary children’s toys, cards and gifts; for budding artists, they also sell a range of art supplies. The thrill of exploring a bookstore where you could find anything far outmatches the predictability of a dull national chain.

The beach at Bolton-le-Sands.

Local Nature Walks

For something with a stunning view, we highly recommend Warton Crag. This area is an impressive nature walk that overlooks Carnforth and is a common attraction for hikers, climbers and abseilers. Featuring an old quarry, you can take it easy or be as adventurous as you wish.

The wonderful Leighton hall offers tours of its beautiful house and grounds. Tourists interested in either the sculpted nature of the grounds or the history behind this ancestral home of the furniture-making Gillow dynasty will find it fascinating.

Many Lancashire towns permanently feature canals, and Carnforth is no exception. Located to the back of the town, you can amble down the 771-mile canal, which stretches from Glasson Dock and finishes at Tewitfields. There are three canal walks we recommend choosing from that all originate in Carnforth, and all provide the walker with a casual walk through Lancashire’s natural beauty.

Bolton-le-Sands Canal Walk

  • Length: 5 miles (7.5km)
  • Estimated walking time:5 hours

This easy southern walk along the towpath will lead you from Carnforth to Bolton-le-Sands and back through quiet lanes filled with wildflowers. Your journey will take you through inland pastures and reveal the expansive views across Morecambe Bay to Cartmel and Furness. On a clear day, you can even see the far-off mountains that are part of the Lake District.

The Kellets Canal Walk

  • Length: 5 miles (9 km)
  • Estimated walking time: 3 hours

This pleasant eastern walk takes you from the Carnforth town centre to the twin villages of Nether Kellet and Over Kellet. Walkers can take gentle climbs into the local limestone hills that become more prominent the further you get away from the coast. But your efforts will be rewarded as you reach the top (350ft above sea level) and take in the superb views across the countryside and the coastline.

Lancashire Coastal Way

  • Length: 5 miles (8km)
  • Estimated walking time 2.5 hours

This southwesterly walk is for gamblers who wish to enjoy the coast. This gentle walk will provide an unforgettable experience of the salt marshes and the sands of the Keer Estuary as it moves into Morecambe Bay. This walk takes you through Europe’s most popular area for spotting wading Waterfowl and Sandpipers, perfect for anyone with a passion for bird watching.

Rural lightly wooded English countryside near Leighton Moss, in Lancashire, Northern England.

Self-Catered Cottages Near Carnforth

Carnforth balances the needs of a busy town with the widespread, untouched nature that most country walkers desire.

Mill House Cottages offers 5-star luxury holiday cottages in the Lake District to fulfil any holidaymaker’s dreams. Our more extensive properties offer stunning open-plan designs for friends and family, with select pet-friendly properties for your four-legged friends. So, don’t miss your chance for a romantic getaway; check availability today online.

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