- For other places with the same name, see Carlisle (disambiguation).
Carlisle is an English cathedral and historical fortress city in the modern county of Cumbria, at the northern end of the Lake District and 10 miles (16 km) from the Scottish border. It's an ideal base for exploring the English Lake District, the world famous Hadrian's Wall and the Northumberland National Park.
The city is 10 miles from the English-Scottish border. The M6 runs just to the East of the outskirts of Carlisle, giving this city excellent road links with the rest of the country. Carlisle is two hours from Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, and from Glasgow, Scotland's largest city.
Trains run hourly from London Euston, taking 3 hr 20 min via Warrington, Wigan, Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme (for Lake District) and Penrith, and continuing from Carlisle non-stop to Glasgow Central (another 70 min).
Trains from Manchester Airport and Piccadilly, and from Liverpool Lime Street, also run via Preston to Carlisle and continue to Lockerbie, where they branch either for Motherwell and Glasgow Central, or for Edinburgh Haymarket and Waverley.
The Dalesman is a steam-hauled excursion train running June-Sept from York or Chester to Carlisle via this line.
1 Carlisle station is central in town. It has a staffed ticket office and machines, toilets, a cafe and waiting rooms. There is step-free access to all platforms.
- 2 Carlisle Lake District Airport. (CAX IATA) is a small airport about 5.8 mi (9.3 km) northeast of the city near Brampton. The airport has facilities for flight training and sightseeing flights, but no commercial passenger flights.
- Manchester Airport (MAN IATA) is best choice global connections and competitive fares. There's an hourly direct train from the airport, taking two hours to Carlisle and continuing to Glasgow.
- Newcastle upon Tyne (NCL IATA) and Glasgow (PIK IATA and GLA IATA) airports are reasonable alternatives.
Much of Carlisle's history is within walking distance of the city centre.
Other places can be reached by bus: Stagecoach and Reays operate the bus services in the city.
- Explore the Eden Valley.
- 1 Carlisle Cathedral. Viewing M-F 7:30AM to 6:15PM, Sa Su 7:30AM to 5:00PM. Choral evensong M-F 5:45PM, Su 3PM, Eucharist Su 10:30AM. Founded in 1112, with a fine set of carved wooden misericords. Free, £5 donation requested.
- 2 Carlisle Castle, Castle Way, CA3 8UR (Carlisle city centre), ☏ . Carlisle Castle was established in 1093 by an English king, William II, and has guarded the border area for 900 years. adults £5.70, children £3.40, concessions £5.10.
Museums and galleries
- 3 The Guildhall Museum. 28 Apr - 1 Sep: Th noon-4:30PM. A museum in the city centre is housed in the upstairs of Carlisle's only medieval house. Built in 1407 of timber, tile bricks and clay, by Richard of Redeness, who left the house to the community of Carlisle when he died. The tradesmen of the Middle Ages found it necessary to protect themselves by forming special associations or Guilds. Carlisle had eight Trade Guilds, and each had one room as a meeting place. The Guilds were Butchers, Merchants, Shoemakers, Skinners, Smiths, Tailors, Tanners and Weavers. Free.
- 4 Tullie House Museum, Castle Street. M–Sa 10AM – 4PM, Su noon - 4PM (5PM in summer). An excellent museum dedicated to all aspects of Border life and featuring great exhibits relating to Hadrian's Wall. An interesting permanent exhibition is dedicated to Border Reivers. Adult £6.50.
- 5 A World in Miniature, Houghton, Carlisle, Cumbria CA6 4JB (On the A689 near junction 44 of the M6), ☏ , email@example.com. M-Sa 09:00-18:00, Su 10:30-16:30 (garden centre and farm shop), M-Sa 09:00-17:00, Su 10:00-16:00 (restaurant).
Carlisle offers easy access to many parts of Hadrian's Wall (though the Hadrian's Wall Footpath is just a scenic route along a path where wall was). The city runs just to the north of this historic landmark.
- 1 Talkin Tarn Country Park. Close to the historic market town of Brampton, nestles in a 165-acre site, containing a glacial tarn surrounded by mature woodland and gentle meadows with the stunning Pennine Hills as a backdrop. The Tarn has a 1.3-mile (2-km) circular path that is ideal for a gentle stroll. This path is hard surfaced and accessible to all. There are also three way marked trails of varying lengths; 1.5 km, 2.5 km and 3.5 km starting from the car park and on into woods and fields.
- 2 Solway Aviation Museum, Aviation House, Carlisle Airport, Crosby-on-Eden, CA6 4NW, ☏ . Apr-Oct: F-Su 10:30AM-5PM. Solway Aviation Museum is home to a collection of aircraft, aviation artifact’s and displays reflecting Britain’s position as a world leader in aircraft design and innovation at the dawn of the jet age. The museum's primary objective is the preservation of Britain's aviation heritage, its display and interpretation. Take a nostalgic journey back to Wartime Cumberland and the men and women of the RAF who served in World War II. £6.
- 3 Watchtree Nature Reserve. Watchtree was declared a nature reserve in 2003 though much of the ecological restoration began immediately following an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease: Water storage lagoons, used to store surface water were designed with wildlife in mind by creating shallow margins and scalloped edges; A species rich grass mix was used to reseed large areas of soil following burials; Hedgerows were planted on top of the burial pits which attract a variety of farmland birds and other fauna, and; over eighty thousand broadleaved and coniferous trees have been planted to enhance the existing woodland in addition to creating habitat for endangered species including the Red Squirrel.
- Football: 4 Carlisle United, Brunton Park, Warwick Rd CA1 1LL, ☏ . "The Cumbrians" were promoted in 2023 and now play soccer in League One, England's third tier. Brunton Park (capacity of 19,949) is oversized for their present status, and sometimes floods, but plans to move elsewhere have flopped.
- 5 Eden Rock, 9 Brunel Way, Durranhill Industrial Estate, CA1 3NQ (Turn off at the road between the fire station and Cavaghan & Gray (on the left when heading off London Rd towards Warwick road (northwards) on Eastern Way)), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 10AM-10PM, Sa Su 10AM-8PM. Bouldering wall with 1000 m2 of climbing surface, serves homemade pizza as well as tray-bakes, tea, & coffee. Occasionally there are some very friendly dogs around. £8.50 (non-member 18+).
- 6 Carlisle Racecourse (Durdar Rd a mile south of town.). Watch horse racing at Carlisle Racecourse, which has flat-racing Apr-Oct and jumps races Nov-March.
- 1 Bookcase, 17-19 Castle Street. M-Sa 9:30AM-5PM, Su 11:30AM-4PM. a massive second hand book store that spans four floors and a basement with a large stock of fiction and non-fiction books, CDs, and LPs. You could spend hours in this store opposite the cathedral that has friendly staff and a cafe. There is a small museum on The State Management Scheme, when all the pubs in Carlisle were run by the government during the 20th century.
- 2 Market Hall. M-Sa 8AM-5PM. Traditional covered Victorian market.
- 1 Foxes Cafe Lounge, 18 Abbey St. Amazing coffee, healthy food, wonderful environment, art gallery, music, performance, art and more.
- 2 Alexandros Greek Restaurant, 66-68 Warwick Road. A cheerful place with delicious Greek food and friendly staff. If you don't know what to order, order a meze (that is, a bit of everything) and you will not regret it.
In 1916, during World War I, the government nationalised the breweries and pubs in the area around Carlisle, to reduce drunkenness in the workers in the munitions factories near Gretna. The State Management Scheme persisted until 1973, and can still be seen in the design of the New Model Inns, built in the early twentieth century.
- Concrete on Lowther Street is a popular nightclub. Very popular amongst students, it has a very positive atmosphere with 2 bars, 2 dance floors and a pool table.
- Walkabout, 1RP, 6 Botchergate, CA1 1QS. Su-Th noon-3AM; F Sa noon-4AM. Australian pub and restaurant.
- Botchergate is lined with bars of differing styles and expense.
- 1 King's Head Inn, Fisher Street Carlisle CA3 8RF, ☏ . A very pleasant pub in the heart of the city which is well worth searching for. Reasonable priced lunchtime meals served. The variety of guest ales is second to none. Very large outside smoking area includes a large screen TV for sports coverage. Food 10AM-3PM weekdays. 11AM-3PM Saturday. Live music and theatre gigs in the pub courtyard.
- Hall Hills, Raughton Head, Dalston, CA5 7AN (4 miles south west of Carlisle), ☏ . Five self-catering cottages in converted 17th-century stone barns.
- Hollow Creek Cottage, ☏ , email@example.com. 4-star self-catering Grade II listed farm cottage built 1760 lies within 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of land in Kirkandrews-on-Eden. On Hadrian's Wall Path/The Vallum, 500 m from River Eden and Cumbria Coastal Path. Cottage sleeps 2(4) + cot, pets welcome. Full access to internet.
- 1 Hilltop Hotel, London Rd, CA1 2NS, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 92 room hotel with pool, sauna and gym. from £38.
- Willowbeck Lodge, Lambley Bank, Scotby, CA4 8BX (From M6 take A69 to Newcastle. First exit to right and into village. Go under railway bridge and turn right.). Check-in: 10PM, check-out: 11AM. Luxury b&b in architect designed house with private grounds. Evening meals available and fully licensed. Full access to the internet. £100.
- 2 Pentonbridge Inn, Penton CA6 5QB (five miles east of Canonbie on B6318), ☏ . Way out in the Border country, a former coaching inn turned into a smart modern hotel. B&B double from £100.
As of June 2022, Carlisle has 4G from O2 and Vodafone, and 5G with EE and Three.
- North across the border into Scotland is the wedding industry of Gretna. For Robert Burns associations continue to Annan and Dumfries.
- West to Cockermouth
- Southwest to the Lake District National Park including Keswick
- South to Penrith, Appleby-in-Westmorland and the Eden Valley
- East to Brampton and Haltwhistle, for the best sections of Hadrian's Wall.
|Routes through Carlisle|
|Glasgow ← Gretna ← merges with ←||N S||→ Penrith → Preston|
|END ←||NW S||→ Penrith → Lake District|
|Edinburgh ← Hawick ←||N S||→ END|
|END ←||W E||→ Brampton → Newcastle upon Tyne|