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A unique opportunity to see the last working, lead-crystal glassware factory in England. Cumbria Crystal crafts the finest quality crystal within the UK which has featured in James Bond and Downton Abbey and is used by British Ambassadors and royalty worldwide.
View our team of artisans at work, free of charge (Monday-Friday 10-4pm), and browse our factory shop (open 7 days a week), which has a huge range of unique crystal glasses, decanters, jugs, tumblers and giftware at factory outlet prices (save up to 50% off RRP).
Easy access, free parking and a good wet weather venue.
The Cumbria Crystal factory shop is the only outlet in the country where crystal that falls just short of Premium Quality can be purchased. We challenge our guests to find the flaws that cause us to downgrade the products! They are often almost imperceptible and therefore make exceedingly attractive gifts.
Premium Quality products are also available, but often have to be made especially for you. A wine glass, for example, takes between 8-15 days to make and requires the collective skills of at least 10 artisans. The company ships worldwide.
Glass Blowing Factory
Cumbria Crystal is a working glassblowing factory. Visitors are invited to watch glass being blown at 1300 degrees Centigrade using 2000-year-old techniques.
Teams of glass blowers work together to form liquid glass into beautiful wine glasses, decanters, and bowls. Once blown the lead crystal is hand-cut into distinctive decorative patterns using diamond lathes. Marvel at the skills of our glass cutters. A decanter may take an hour to cut. Once seen and appreciated you will never see glass the same way again.
Experience the heat and heritage skills required to make truly luxurious high-quality crystal & see glass passing through stages of its production cycle. If you have never seen this before it is a rare educational opportunity to see inside a working factory. Viewing platform open Monday to Friday, 10-4pm. No need to book.
Watch glassblowing & Diamond Wheel Cutting
Free access to watch glassblowing & diamond wheel cutting.
Cumbria Crystal has wheelchair friendly access. Dogs & children are welcome. There are no toilets in the building but some are available at Booths supermarket immediately opposite the factory. Refreshments & light meals available in Booths. Free parking available.
Bauble blowing experiences
Cumbria Crystal offers a variety of glass-blowing activities every week.
Your instructor will first demonstrate how coloured glass baubles are made & talk you through the processes involved. You will be invited to select the colours you would like to use to decorate your bauble. You will then arrange them decoratively on a metal table ready to be applied to the molten glass.
Once prepared your instructor will gather molten glass from the furnace on a ‘blowing iron’. Participants over 13 years will take control of the iron & fuse the coloured glass granules to the glass. This element of the experience is not offered to younger children for safety reasons. The granules will then need to be melted so you will apply additional heat in a reheating chamber until the glass is liquid & moving in the flame. Your instructor will then take the iron & form the glass into the right shape ready to be inflated by you.
Once this is done you will blow your bubble! You may have to blow a number of times to get the right size and shape. Once this is done your instructor will apply a glass hook so it may be hung from a tree or in a window.
15 and 30 minute experiences making coloured glass baubles are available & will be delivered Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesdays. Participants will be guided through every step of the process.
The company ethos has always been to welcome visitors into the factory to watch glass being blown as there are very few places left that this 2000 year art can still be seen.
You will add your chosen colours to molten glass and proceed to heat and shape the glass into a decorative solid glass paperweight. You will use a variety of glass-makers tools to create unique patterns in the colour. If you wish to create decorative air bubbles inside the glass you will be shown the secret to achieving this.
Once this preparation is done you will shape the glass into a round or oval paperweight form using wooden blocks or even wet newspaper held in your hands! Metal jacks are then used to finish the shape and prepare the glass for removal from the iron.
Paperweights take 2-3 days to finish after your experience. They take 24 hours to cool & then our craftsmen will grind the bases flat for you so they sit nicely.
Paperweights are very hands on & in addition participants will be invited to form the liquid glass with wet newspaper held in their hands!
Glass Blowing Experience
All of the experiences offered will take place with a highly skilled professional glass maker who will guide you through your chosen experiences step-by-step.
Blow your Own Tumbler
In this unique half-day experience, you will learn to gather molten glass from the furnace and to shape it into a blown glass tumbler.
A wonderful opportunity to share a fun experience with your nearest and dearest. Learn how to hot-sculpt glass to form gorgeous, coloured hearts. You will be shown how to use a variety of glass-makers’ tools, including wet newspaper, to create unique patterns in coloured glass. In a closely supervised hot glass blowing experience you will create a small glass heart paperweight each as a keepsake. Your hearts will take 2-3 days to finish after the experience.
Bud Vase Experience
You will be shown how to apply colour and use a variety of traditional glass-makers’ tools in the creation of a beautiful bud vase. You each have the choice of one of four shapes. An unforgettable shared experience.
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