Best Golf Courses In Cumbria

With the best golf courses in Cumbria, or indeed with all golf courses in Cumbria, outstanding natural beauty accompanies you all the way

Best Golf Courses in Cumbria - Silloth on Solway
The par-5 fifth hole at Silloth on Solway, the leading course in Cumbria
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best Golf Courses in Cumbria

From its glorious, peaceful coastline to the spectacular Lake District, Cumbria is blessed with incredible scenery wherever you go.

This is reflected in its fabulous golf, and its relative remoteness means it offers sensational value when compared with the vast majority of the best golf courses in England.

Between them, the 30 or so clubs affiliated to the county union offer a glittering array of links, parkland, moorland and everything in between. The jewel in the crown is Silloth on Solway, the only Cumbrian entry in our Top 100 golf courses rankings, while further down the coast Seascale featured in the Golf Monthly listing of 100 best cheap golf courses list of hidden gems. Beginning with this pair and then exploring the county alphabetically, we take a look at the wide variety and great value on offer including a trio of delightful 9-and-10-holers.

Silloth on Solway

Silloth on Solway - Hole 6

The opening par 3 at Silloth is the beautiful sixth hole, Natterjack, 182 yards from the white tee

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location Silloth
  • Founded 1892
  • Architect Davy Grant
  • GF £70 Mon-Fri, £80 Weekend
  • Par 72, 6,408 yards
  • Contact Silloth on Solway (opens in new tab) Golf Club

The most northerly course on England’s west coast is also one of the best links courses in England. Not only is it an excellent test of golf where the wind will add to the examination set by the course, but the location is fabulous, peaceful, and more than worth the drive on its own. In a standard south-westerly breeze, this is very much a game of two halves with a particularly tough opening nine. The revetted bunkers are perfectly positioned and can cause real problems, and the course is kept in fine shape throughout the year. Dreamy Silloth is as remote and idyllic as just about any course in the Golf Monthly Top 100, and also topped the list of the cheapest top 100 green fees in the UK.

Read full Silloth on Solway Golf Club course review

Seascale

Seascale - Hole 9

Anything right on the approach to the par-4 ninth at Seascale is likely to find the burn

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Seascale
  • Founded 1893
  • Architect Willie Campbell & George Lowe
  • GF £45 Mon-Fri, £50 Weekend, check website for offers
  • Par 71, 6,350 yards
  • Contact Seascale Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Perhaps Cumbria’s second best-known course has an unusual setting in that it occupies a relatively small plot of linksland which works its way up the coast to a pair of holes that run up against… and then quickly away from… the Sellafield nuclear site. Do not be put off as the course is up there among the best links courses in the country! The course is indeed a gem, and this is a wonderful location for a day’s golf with a testing and unusual links course that is far from the norm. Standout holes on a strong course include the scary left-to-right dogleg 3rd with OOB hugging the right, the par-4 9th which plays downhill to a green bordered by a stream, and the super-tough SI1 16th which is played up to a blind green.

Read full Seascale Golf Club course review

Alston Moor

Alston Moor - Hole 2

Looking down towards the green on the par-3 second at Alston Moor with the rolling hills beyond

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Alston
  • Founded 1905
  • Architect Unknown
  • GF £15 per day, all week
  • Par 68, 5,364
  • Contact Alston Moor Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Although the club dates back to 1905, it has relocated a number of times in its history and is now the home of an extremely pretty 10-hole course just outside the highest market town in England. From start to finish there is the most glorious backdrop of the unspoilt Cumbrian hills as you work your way down towards the river valley and then back up again. The greens are small, and the course is maintained by its enthusiastic members. Indeed, this is a perfect example of a club run by love, and it is also very much a part of the local community. No-one will claim it’s an architectural masterpiece, but you certainly have to think your way round and be precise with your approaches. The green fee here represents sensational value, and the views should keep you smiling all the way.

Appleby

Appleby - Hole 15

The view back over the green of the fabulous par-3 fifteenth at Appleby

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Appleby
  • Founded 1894
  • Architect Willie Fernie
  • GF £30-£40 Mon-Sat
  • Par 68, 5,986 yards
  • Contact Appleby Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Despite its easy access in the foothills of the North Pennines, this delightful moorland course is wonderfully peaceful and secluded. Designs of modest yardage often tend to be compact in their layout, but that is never the case here with an expansive routing where each hole is very much its own separate adventure. Without a single par 5 on the card, the greatest challenge comes from the longer par 4s. Eight of these extend over 400 yards, but it never seems to be a slog playing from this beautifully crisp turf. The best par 4s are perhaps the attractive 6th with the towering hills in the distance, and the 14th with its beautifully-sited green. Two of the par 3s are also very memorable; the downhill, bunkerless 4th with its panoramic backdrop, and the amazing, blind 15th which is one of those holes that on its own justifies the very reasonable green fee. Glorious, far-reaching views surround the course, and this is also a genuinely friendly and welcoming club.

Brampton

Brampton - Hole 10 and Hole 13

The green on the par-4 tenth at Brampton with the thirteenth green and Talkin Tarn beyond

(Image credit: Brampton Golf Club)
  • Location Brampton
  • Founded 1909
  • Architect James Braid
  • GF £45 Mon-Fri, £55 Weekend
  • Par 72, 6,418 yards
  • Contact Brampton Golf Club (opens in new tab)

This picturesque James Braid design is a very distinctive and different type of course and always a joy to play. It is situated right next to Talkin Tarn, a 10,000 year-old glacial lake, and there are nine holes either side of the B6413 with plenty of variety and glorious scenery all the way. There are three short holes, somewhat unusually including the 1st, three par 5s, and three particularly challenging par 4s including the closing hole. Dotted among these are several drive and pitch holes that can offer up the chance of a birdie, and the keyword here is fun.

Carlisle

Carlisle Golf Club - Aerial

An aerial view of the entire course at Carlisle

(Image credit: Carlisle Golf Club)
  • Location Carlisle
  • Founded 1908
  • Architect Charles McKenzie & Theodore Moon, Philip McKenzie Ross
  • GF £60 per round all week
  • Par 71, 6,249 yards
  • Contact Carlisle Golf Club (opens in new tab)

With convenient access from the M6 and A69 but still peacefully located, the parkland course at Carlisle officially opened for play some 32 years after the club’s formation following a number of moves. It was designed by Charles MacKenzie, younger brother of Alistair, designer of Augusta National, and remodelled just before WWII by Philip MacKenzie Ross. There are effectively two loops, holes 1 to 8 and then 9 to 18, with the shortest being the club’s signature par 3 played to a green surrounded by woodland and six bunkers. It has hosted regional qualifying for The Open six times since 1996, but is also very playable and most importantly enjoyable for golfers not quite of that standard.

Cockermouth

Cockermouth - Hole 6

The sixth green at Cockermouth with Skiddaw and the hills of the Lake District in the distance

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Cockermouth
  • Founded 1896
  • Architect James Braid
  • GF £28 Mon-Fri, £34 Weekend
  • Par 66, 5,415 yards
  • Contact Cockermouth Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Once in a while you are lucky enough to come across a relatively unknown course that is blessed with a setting so lovely that it takes your breath away. Cockermouth, high up in the hills just west of Bassenthwaite Lake, is a perfect example. Just the view out from the welcoming and informal clubhouse should put a huge smile on your face, and it is one that is unlikely to fade as you work your way round this sporty and very engaging James Braid design. There are many highlights here including three par 4s in the space of five holes; the sidehill 6th, the tough, uphill 8th that plays way longer than its yardage, and the thrilling, do-or-die, driveable 10th. For any golfer who values scenery and setting, the whole course deserves star billing.

Dunnerholme

Dunnerholme - Hole 6

The par-3 sixth at Dunnerholme is one of the most distinctive holes in Cumbria

(Image credit: Dunnerholme Golf Club)
  • Location Askham-in-Furness
  • Founded 1905
  • Architect Unknown
  • GF £30 per round
  • Par 72, 6,089 yards
  • Contact Dunnerholme Golf Club (opens in new tab)

One of golf’s great joys is that even way off the radar, there are courses and individual holes that are genuinely unique and memorable. The 10-hole links at Dunnerholme is home to one of golf’s most unusual par 3s, 138 yards from the base of the hill up to the green on top of a very distinctive limestone outcrop. From here, on a clear day there are spectacular views out over the Duddon Sands and inland to the lakeland fells and mountains. This and the par 4 that follows are each played once, but the other eight holes are played from different tees when playing the back nine giving a quite different look at and feel at times. This is a beautiful and quite natural place for golf and well worth seeking out.

Furness

Furness - Hole 10

The final short hole at Furness is the extremely well protected tenth

(Image credit: Furness Golf Club)
  • Location Furness
  • Founded 1872
  • Architect Unknown
  • GF £35 per round all week
  • Par 71, 6,226 yards
  • Contact Furness Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, Furness is not only the 3rd-oldest links in England but also the 6th-oldest course in the country. This historic club was founded by migrant Scottish workers and is situated on Walney Island in the south-west of Cumbria, linked to the mainland by the Jubilee Bridge. This easy-walking links has a pair of par 5s early on, just three short holes at 2, 6 and 10, and then finishes with eight straight short, medium and long par 4s. The wind coming in off the Irish Sea will have a strong influence on how the course plays, and this is an off-the-radar club that deserves to be far better-known.

Kendal

Kendal - Hole 11

The course at Kendal is blessed with spectacular, panoramic views

(Image credit: Kendal Golf Club)
  • Location Kendal
  • Founded 1891
  • Architect Old Tom Morris, Ted Ray, Harry & Tom Vardon, JH Taylor
  • GF £27.50-£35
  • Par 69, 5,792 yards
  • Contact Kendal Golf Club (opens in new tab)

This lightly-bunkered and hilly course is situated just outside the market town and is yet another blessed with an extremely pretty course. The front nine is substantially the shorter of the two, mainly due to its four par 3s, while the back nine has just one short hole as well as the second of the par 5s. It is kept in fine shape, and the (small) price to pay for some of the excellent views is that there is some climbing to be done. Look out for the unusual par-3 17th which is just 129 yards and played from an elevated tee down to a green that is both hidden and protected by rock.

Keswick

Keswick - Hole 9

The ninth green at Keswick is overlooked by fabulous Lake District peaks

(Image credit: Keswick Golf Club)
  • Location Keswick
  • Founded 1894
  • Architect Eric Brown
  • GF £22.50-£26
  • Par 71, 6,225 yards
  • Contact Keswick Golf Club (opens in new tab)

The exact origins of Keswick Golf Club are a little hazy, but it is believed that the club was founded in 1894 and that its original course was much closer to this lovely lakeland town. As elsewhere, this was then lost for military use during WWII, but happily the club re-emerged in the 1970s with its new course designed by Eric Brown, a 4-time Ryder Cupper in the 1950s. It is now situated on a lovely, undulating plot a few miles to the east of the town, and is distinguished by a lack of sand bunkers and, as you would expect, quite fabulous views.

Kirkby Lonsdale

Kirkby Lonsdale - Hole 9

The green on the 372-yard ninth hole at Kirkby Lonsdale with the eighteenth green just beyond

(Image credit: Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club)
  • Location Kirkby Lonsdale
  • Founded 1906
  • Architect Bill Squires
  • GF £40 Every Day
  • Par 72, 6,594 yards
  • Contact Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Right at the south of the county and just above the border with Lancashire, Kirkby Lonsdale moved to its scenic home a couple of miles from the town in 1991. This gently undulating moorland layout is peacefully located next to the River Lune in the lea of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There are two anti-clockwise 9-hole loops returning to the clubhouse, and for all but the very longest hitters, the four par 5s are genuine three-shotters, The signature hole is the picturesque par-3 17th which plays into the prevailing wind over the babbling Barbon Back, and the club is renowned for its welcome.

Penrith

Penrith - Hole 11

Big hitters may be tempted to go for the green on the short, downhill par-4 eleventh at Penrith

(Image credit: Penrith Golf Club)
  • Location Penrith
  • Founded 1890
  • Architect Unknown
  • GF £35-£40 Mon-Fri, £40-£45 Weekend
  • Par 69, 6,031 yards
  • Contact Penrith Golf Club (opens in new tab)

It’s difficult to find any golf course in Cumbria that doesn’t come with fantastic views, and Penrith is certainly no exception. With five short holes and two par 5s, this delightful mix of moorland and parkland is positioned up in the hills on the site of a former racecourse. Placement from the tee is vital as there are several doglegs where it’s all too easy to be blocked out, but do so successfully and avoid the sand, and you should score well. Even if not, this is still a very enjoyable course with plenty of variety, and as throughout this beautiful county, one that offers great value.

St Bees

St Bees - Hole 6

Looking back down the sixth at St Bees with the fifth green beautifully sited in the dunes

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location St Bees
  • Founded 1929
  • Architect Unknown
  • GF £15
  • Par 66, 5,326 yards
  • Contact St Bees Golf Club (opens in new tab)

As at Alston, the course and indeed club at St Bees is run by the members. Here, however, they do so on behalf of their landlord, the local independent school of the same name. There is a clubhouse, but it’s more often than not run on an honesty box basis and is well worth a visit by anyone who loves golf in a natural and memorable setting. It can perhaps best be described as clifftop with a downland feel, but categorisation is hardly important as you come to St Bees to have fun. The land is undulating without being too demanding; your reward being fabulous views out to sea and in to the wilds of Cumbria. There are three par 3s and six par 4s, though the 5th/14th is more likely a five for most mortal golfers. Highlights include the 3rd with a blind drive which then heads down towards the beach, and the aforementioned 5th which is a glorious hole played to a green site not too dissimilar to the opening hole at Doonbeg! This charming course is just to the south of Whitehaven and is well worth a detour for all keen golfers.

Ulverston

Ulverston - Hole 18

The closing hole at Ulverston is a testing par 4 played down to a sloping green with a pair of hidden bunkers to the right

(Image credit: Ulverston Golf Club)
  • Location Ulverston
  • Founded 1895
  • Architect Harry Colt
  • GF £50 Mon-Thu £60 Fri-Sun
  • Par 71, 6,264 yards
  • Contact Ulverston Golf Club (opens in new tab)

When the members of a spectacular course (Cockermouth) recommend another one for its beauty and setting, you know you are on to a winner! This tree-lined course on the north-western shores of Morecambe Bay is one of the prettiest in the county, if not the country. It also benefits from the design genius of one of the all-time greats, Harry Colt. In this case, it was actually a re-design from the original Sandy Herd layout, but it’s a beautifully balanced layout with plenty to keep any golfer interested all the way. There is something for everyone at the outstandingly attractive parkland beauty.

Windermere

Windermere - Hole 18

What Windermere may lack in yards, it more than makes up for with its picturesque setting

(Image credit: Windermere Golf Club)
  • Location Windermere
  • Founded 1891
  • Architect George Lowe
  • GF £50
  • Par 67, 5,120 yards
  • Contact Windermere Golf Club (opens in new tab)

This is another delightful and again very different course that earlier in 2022 was selected as one of the latest Golf Monthly 100 Hidden Gems. Our writer, Jeremy Ellwood, has summed up the course as “a short but very pretty rollercoaster ride through narrow fairways and rocky outcrops accompanied by a glorious backdrop of the Lake District fells.” There are six short holes including five in the last eleven holes, and just the one par 5 which comes at the 16th. The undulating nature of the terrain means that there are holes that play quite differently from their yardage, but the scenery more than compensates for anything that comes up short.

Read full Windermere Golf Club course review

Workington

Workington - Hole 7

The excellent par-3 seventh at Workington plays over the corner of the thirteenth green and down over Eller Back

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Workington
  • Founded 1893
  • Architect James Braid
  • GF £40 Mon-Fri, £45 Weekend
  • Par 72, 6,253 yards
  • Contact Workington Golf Club (opens in new tab)

This is a very enjoyable James Braid parkland design which has also benefitted from later modifications by both FG Hawtree and Howard Swan. It is unlike most other courses in the county and provides an attractive and entertaining alternative to the links and moorland offerings. Packed with variety, there are five par 5s that unusually include two back-to-back pairs, one on each nine. There are also five diverse short holes including two which cross the Eller Beck; the excellent 7th which calls for a brave shot to a green tucked into the hillside, and the very pretty and well-bunkered 11th. This is a lovely course and a very enjoyable place to play.

As with the best golf courses in Suffolk and the best golf courses in Cornwall, this is a county that appeals to those seeking a more peaceful and idyllic setting for their golfing travels. Its combination of seclusion, natural beauty and value are unrivalled anywhere in the country. And as with any county, we feel sure that there are plenty of other hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

How many golf courses are there in Cumbria?

The are 31 golf clubs the Cumbria Union of Golf clubs encompassing the Lake District National Park and parts of the Yorkshire Dales. Whilst Cumbria isn't really known for being a golf county, its courses feature some of the best views in the country and offer up fantastic value for money.

What is the best golf course in Cumbria?

The best golf course in Cumbria is Silloth on Solway. The exceptional links on the coastline is regarded as one of the country's best golf courses and it's also one of the best value too.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.