Allonby, among other things, boasts an exceptional ice cream shop. Once an important centre for herring fishing, in Victorian times Allonby became a coastal resort. Despite its modest size the village has several splendid buildings. Alfred Waterhouse, who also designed Manchester’s Town Hall and the Natural History Museum in London, designed the Reading Room. Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins are both reputed to have stayed at The Ship Inn whilst JMW Turner painted the sunsets from Silloth. In the 18th century this remote shoreline became a favourite place for landing contraband stored on the tax free haven of the Isle of Man. Near Allonby is Beckfoot (known as Bibra by the Romans). Coastal erosion here – hard by the B5300 – has exposed a Roman cemetery where urns and other artifacts are being rescued by English Heritage.