Carlisle | The Border City | Cumbria


Carlisle, the Border City, is the main shopping, commercial and industrial centre for the northern half of Cumbria, and a fair amount of southern Scotland.

image of Carlisle Tourist Information Centre in the old Town Hall
Tourist Information Centre in the old Town Hall.

The Romans established a settlement here – primarily to serve the forts on Hadrian’s Wall. In the 12th century, King Henry I allowed the founding of a religious establishment, later making the town a diocese, and thus making the Priory into a Cathedral

The Prior’s Tower is next to the Cathedral and houses a small exhibition in the pele tower.

Carlisle Castle is a great medieval fortress that has watched over the City of Carlisle for over nine centuries. The Castle is also home to the Border Regiment Museum which relates the history of Cumbria’s County Infantry Regiment, the Border Regiment and the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment and local Militia.

image of an aerial view of the Cumbrian city of Carlisle showing the Castle, Tullie House, the Cathedral, and St Cuthbert's Church
Carlisle, with from top left to bottom right: -the Castle, Tullie House, the Cathedral, and St Cuthberts Church.

Again because of its strategic position, Carlisle became a great 19th century railway city, with seven independent railway companies sharing the use of Carlisle Citadel Station, and the extensive goods yards. The Station is an impressive building, built in 1847 by Sir William Tite. Carlisle is the northern end of the famous 72 mile Settle-Carlisle Railway. Steam trains may often been seen at Carlisle station on special charter trips.

Tullie House, originally a 17th century private house, has been enlarged and adapted to become one of the finest provincial museums in the country. The Guildhall Museum is housed in the upstairs of Carlisle’s only medieval house. Built in 1407, this was the headquarters in the middle ages of Carlisles eight Trade Guilds.

St Cuthbert’s Church, built in 1778, off the Market Place, is the principal parish church. Beside it is the Tythe Barn, the Church Hall, which was built sometime between 1485 and 1507, and has recently been restored after much neglect. It is often used for exhibitions.

image of the Citadel in Carlisle, Cumbria
The Citadel by Sir Robert Smirke.

The original southern entrance to the City, Bothergate, was replaced in the 16th Century, and then again in the 19th Century, with two new towers known as the Citadel. This was designed by Thomas Telford and Sir Robert Smirke as assize courts and a prison. The West Tower is now open to the public. Sir Robert Smirke also designed the bridge over the River Eden.

There are guided town trails in Carlisle – details from the Tourist Information Centre

Carlisle Great Fair is held in late August each year. It was originally established in 1353, and now runs as a sort of mini ‘Edinburgh Festival’

The Pirelli International Rally takes place, starting and ending in the centre of Carlisle each April.

Go to Carlisle – page 2

See pictures of Carlisle in our Carlisle Gallery

Accommodation Links

  • Thornfield Luxury Ensuite Camping Cabins – with Hot Tubs and Fire Pits. Just 7 miles from Carlisle. Accessible by public transport & pick up from Dalston or by car. Tranquil rural location.
  • Netherby Hall, an historic mansion set in 36 acres of parkland on the banks of the river Esk, offers beautiful pet friendly self catering apartments sleeping 2 or 4 people – Carlisle 11 miles.

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Grid Ref NY 402556

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