Perched between the borders of England and Scotland, Carlisle boasts 2,000 years of history. Castles, cathedrals, towers and museums showcase the past, while craft cocktails bars and gastro pubs usher in modern trends.
Things to do in Carlisle
Nicknamed the “Crimson Castle” for its distinctive red sandstone construction, Carlisle Castle houses the Cumbria Museum of Military Life. Inside, you’ll find a large collection of military artefacts, including weapons, uniforms, medals and medieval graffiti. Explore the castle’s dungeon, before heading over to Tullie House Museum to see exhibits highlighting the Bronze Age and Industrial Revolution.
Walk over to Hadrian’s Wall to explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail. Tromp in the footsteps of famous soldiers or take a narrated bus tour that stops at Birdoswald Roman Fort. Feel like a longer trek? Rent a bicycle and follow Hadrian’s Cycleway, which continues along the Cumbrian Coast.
Spend some time exploring Carlisle Cathedral in the historic quarter. It features stained-glass windows from the 14th century, medieval panel paintings and an ornate Flemish altarpiece. Afterwards, have a drink at Old Bank City Pub and Chop House.
The Lane Bar hosts several venues in the same location, including The Reading Room and its cosy library-style nook for drinks, books and conversation. You can sample single malt scotch while admiring Georgian architecture at Monty’s Bar, then enjoy craft beer and eclectic music at The Cellar. If you’re travelling with the family, visit The Garden and Porch for an evening of stargazing.
Getting around Carlisle
Transportation in Carlisle includes buses, minibuses, shuttles and taxis. Rental cars are available in the city or from Newcastle Airport, about an hour’s drive away.