Start to enjoy the English summertime hours in Ulverston, where the organic community is its beating heart 



Arguably one of the most wonderful sights in Ulverston is the home of Still Life, a breath-takingly beautiful, stop-you-in-your-tracks type of building, painted by shop owner and illustrator Chris Dorning.  

He and his wife Donna, a fashion-lover, artist and maker, took over the old antiques shop on Union Road when they moved to the town from Preston in September 2021, and next month they will be celebrating its first birthday.  

It’s a relaxed, cosy vibe; a one-stop shop for everything art. ‘We were looking for a place to move to, ideally a house with a shop below it,’ Chris says. He and Donna had been visiting Ulverston for eight years as a family prior to the move, and loved it. ‘You know how it is, there were only about two for sale, and this was one. It all just fell into place. 

‘We had to fix chimneys, put in new was a full project. We looked to William Morris for some inspiration as it ties the art and the fashion side of us together, and I painted the front of the building about a month before we opened. We wanted beautiful, but subtle. Our neighbours say it is a joy to see it every morning.’ 

The shop is Chris and Donna’s “permanent market stall”, as they call it. They run monthly drawing socials, giving people the time and space to draw and make friends with the help of beer and pizza, and they are looking into starting up a monthly painting workshop.  

The shop sells their very own paintings and is a home to locally sourced pottery, candles, jewellery and leather wallets. There is a vintage corner and a section for art materials, covering everything you’d need to become a successful craftsman.  

‘It’s our outlet; we are always painting and drawing,’ Chris adds. ‘Our brains are on fire.   

‘Ulverston is cute and beautiful but it has this grittiness – a realness to it,’ Donna says. ‘It has got a heart, a pulse. It is real life and we have been made so welcome. ‘The best thing we have done is moved here.’ 

Open Wednesday to Saturday, 

Great British Life: Laurel and Hardy MuseumLaurel and Hardy Museum (Image: Laurel and Hardy Museum)


Ulverston is home to the UK’s only museum dedicated to British-American comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, in the town where Stan Laurel was born in 1890. The museum was opened by Bill Cubin, former mayor of the town with a lifelong love of the boys, starting with only a few scrapbooks of photos and memorabilia in the mid 70s. By 1983, his collection had been unveiled to the public with a room full of photographs, original film posters, newspaper cut-outs, porcelin busts, costumes and doors from the very house Stan was born in.  

Mark Greenhow, the grandson of Bill who today runs the museum in the main auditorium of The Roxy cinema, says: ‘We have got Laurel and Hardy classics on the big screen all day long and there is all kinds of incredible bits and bobs my grandad collected. He really, genuinely loved Laurel and Hardy. He saved every piece of memorabilia, from articles cut out of the newspaper to personal items given to him but Stan’s daughter.  

‘My favourite time of year is the summertime because we quite often get families in, so we are introducing Laurel and Hardy to the next generation and hopefully, future fans. It's not unusual to get three generations all sitting laughing together, which is a wonderful thing to be a part of.’

Open seven days a week 10am to 5pm, 


Ulverston has a real vibrant, festival vibe with more than a dozen interesting events and festivals filling up its social calendar every year. Favourites include Another Fine Fest, organised by David Crossley – a summer festival which takes over the whole town, featuring live artwork on the walls, music in every venue and theatre on the streets – and the Dickensian Festival, where busloads of people turn up to drink mulled wine and celebrate a traditional Christmas in their finest Dickensian costume.  

September’s Lantern Festival sees the streets lined with a procession of huge handmade, themed lanterns, and Printfest is an established art fair with guest speakers and exhibitions. Not forgetting the festivals for the ramblers, the retro-lovers, music fanatics and beer drinkers, there is something for everyone.  

Great British Life: The 1937 Art Deco-style cinema is home to The Roxy and the world famous Laurel and Hardy MuseumThe 1937 Art Deco-style cinema is home to The Roxy and the world famous Laurel and Hardy Museum (Image: Nathan Walton)


For many people, The Roxy cinema is nostalgic. Fond in memories of family trips, date nights and a love for films, its second-floor cinema offers screenings of both the latest blockbusters and acclaimed international films in the comfort of cool art deco furnishing and seats – and you even get ice cream at the interval. And its once uncertain future is turning bright, thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign and the government’s £300,000 Community Ownership Fund. A group of Ulverston locals formed The Roxy Collective with a plan to protect, preserve, restore and revitalise the building for its community, the first step of a 3 Phase plan to purchase the building.  

‘We intend to safeguard The Roxy, maintaining and developing the building to restore its original, 1937 art deco style; opening up unused spaces for community use; improving accessibility throughout and most importantly, keeping the businesses currently occupying the building open for our community to enjoy,’ member of The Roxy Collective, Nathan Walton adds. 



The best views in Ulverston can be seen from the Hoad Monument, a lighthouse built on Hoad Hill in 1850 in memory of English geographer and naval administrator Sir John Barrow (locally regarded as Ulverston’s most famous son), with 360 degree, panoramic scenes towards Morecambe Bay, the Great Langdale and the Yorkshire Dales. It makes a lovely afternoon out and there are photo opportunities and benches along the way to rest the aching legs, but walkers say the tough climb and sometimes-steep tracks are worth every step for the fantastic views at the top. 

Open most weekends, when the flag is flying.