Appleby developed as the market town of Westmorland after the Norman Conquest, having a strategic position in the Eden valley. It is an attractive market town with a great deal of interest and charm.

image of the cloisters in Appleby in Westmorland
The cloisters by Sir Robert Smirke.

The remarkable Lady Anne Clifford devoted much of her time to restoring the neglected estates, castles and churches in the area. Her work is much in evidence at Appleby: Appleby Castle was her home for a period of time. In her time there were many beggars, and her concern for those old women in dire need led her to build the almshouses, now called the Hospital of St Anne, near the Castle entrance.

Both Lady Anne and her mother, Lady Margaret, are buried in St Lawrence’s Church  and commemorated by splendid tombs.

image of St Anne's Hospital on Boroughgate in Appleby in Westmorland, Cumbria
Boroughgate. St Anne’s Hospital, with its impressive entrance, is a little further up the hill.

Appleby’s uncommonly wide main street, Boroughgate, has been described as one of the finest in England. It runs from the north end, by the cloisters which were designed by Sir Robert Smirke in 1811, to the south end, by the Castle entrance.

At the north end is the Moot Hall, with a plaque above the door dated 1596, and now used as the Tourist Information Centre. The beginning and end of Boroughgate is marked by the ‘Low Cross’ and the ‘High Cross’.

The High Cross bears the inscription ‘Retain your loyalty, preserve your rights’, and dates from the 17th Century. The Low Cross is an 18th Century copy. The avenue of mature lime trees, planted in the 1870’s is flanked by well-kept properties dating from the 17th to the 20th Centuries.

image of an aerial view of St Lawrence's Church, the Cloisters, the Low Cross, the TIC and the River Eden in Appleby in Westmorland
St Lawrence’s Church, the Cloisters, the Low Cross, the TIC and the River Eden.
Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham

Appleby has a railway station on the Settle-Carlisle Railway, and is a good place to see the steam trains that often pass. (See the previous link for lots of charter steam pictures).

Appleby is on or near to the Cumbria Cycle Way, the Westmorland Way, the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast Walk.

The Appleby Horse Fair, set up by charter in 1685 as a fair for horse trading, runs for a week in June, ending on the 2nd Wednesday in June. Today it is world famous, the largest of its kind in the world, attracting a huge gypsy gathering.

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Grid Ref : NY 683204

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