A lively town with a great mix of high street and local shops, theatres and public street art. The name is thought to come from an Anglican chieftain 'Weork'. In Roman times there was a fort at Burrow Walls which formed part of the coastal frontier.
The town as it is today developed around coal and iron ore mining which helped to develop other thriving industries around the steel and ironworks, shipyards and the port. The steel industry was revolutionised when Henry Bessemer (1813?1898) invented the Bessemer Converter and brought it in to use in Workington. The rails produced at the Moss Bay steelworks were exported to railways all over the world.
The Curwen family were involved in several important events in the town's history. The ruins of their ancestral home, Workington Hall, can be visited in Curwen Park and has its own chequered past - the dungeons were used to imprison the notorious border reivers and Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587) stayed at Workington Hall for one night in 1568 after fleeing from Scotland by boat. Her gift to Sir Henry Curwen, a drinking cup known as the 'Luck of Workington', can be seen at the Helena Thompson Museum along with a collection of women's costumes from the 18th century.
It is also a great place for cycling with lots of off road, traffic free options on the old railway track beds that form the West Cumbria Cycle Network.