Penrith is a small market town of 15,000 people (2011) in Cumbria, to the north-east of the Lake District.
- Penrith is located on the West Coast Mainline rail link. There are direct connections to London (3 hr), Edinburgh (1½ hr) and Glasgow (2 hr).
- There are direct bus services from Penrith to London and Scotland, operated by National Express.
- There are local buses, operated by Stagecoach, from Cockermouth via Keswick and Threlkeld in the northern Lake District every hour or two.
- Penrith is on the M6 (junction 40) towards Birmingham, A66 from Workington to Grangetown and on the A6 from Luton to Carlisle.
The town can easily be explored on foot.
The town's appeal to visitors is somewhat limited to the many fine pubs, the supermarkets and the railway station. Penrith does however have some hidden historic gems, most imposingly, Penrith Castle.
- 1 Penrith Castle. Building of the castle' began in 1399, when William Strickland (later Bishop of Carlisle and Archbishop of Canterbury) added a stone wall to an earlier pele tower, primarily as a defence against the then frequent raids from the Scottish borders. The castle was improved over the next 70 years, becoming a royal fortress for Richard, Duke of Gloucester before he became King Richard III in 1483. The ruins that can be seen today date from about that time. The striking sandstone remains are situated in Castle Park, opposite Penrith railway station. free.
- 2 St. Andrew's Church. church often open during the day. The churchyard in the town contains the 'Giant's Thumb', a Norse cross dating from 920 AD erected as a memorial to his father by Owen Caesarius, King of Cumbria from 920 to 937 AD. There is a tradition that the 'Giant's Grave' is the grave of Owen himself. The four hogback stones surrounding the grave are said to represent wild boar he killed in nearby Inglewood Forest. The two Norse crosses are some 11 feet high. The tower dates from 1397, but the church was built in 1722 and has an interesting interior. The church cafe is open M-F 9:30AM - 2PM.
- 3 Penrith and Eden Museum. Open all year: M-Sa 10AM-5PM; Apr-Oct: Su 11AM-4PM. In Robinson's School in Middlegate. The school closed in 1971 after a long history dating back to 1670 and is now a combined tourist information centre and museum. free.
- 4 Brougham Castle, Moor Lane, CA10 2AA, ☏ . Adults £4.00, children £2.40, concessions £3.60.
- 5 Acorn Bank, Temple Sowerby, CA10 1SP (8 miles east of Penrith), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- James & John Graham Grocers, 6 - 7 Market Square, CA11 7BS. Independent grocer established in 1793, with an excellent selection of cheeses and home baking.
- There are three supermarkets near the station - Morrisons and Booths in Brunswick Road and Aldi in Ullswater Road. Sainsbury's is on the opposite side of the town centre.
- 1 Agricultural Hotel. The Castlegate, CA11 7JE. Bar meals and Jennings real ales in this hotel near the station.
- The George. In the town centre.
- The North Lakes Hotel and Spa. A four-star hotel on the edge of the town.
- 1 Howtown Hotel, Ullswater CA10 2ND, ☏ . Charming hotel in old-fashioned style in converted farmhouse near the lake. Open Apr-Oct. B&B double £100.
- 2 The House at Temple Sowerby, Chapel St, Temple Sowerby CA10 1RZ (off A66), ☏ . Charming little hotel in 18th-century house, great dining. B&B double from £140.
- 3 Askham Hall, Askham CA10 2PF, ☏ . Glorious upscale pile, the 14th-century pele tower has been added to for 700 years so what you get now is the Countess of Lonsdale's 2012 makeover. Great comfort, service, ambience and dining. It's open mid-Feb to Dec and often booked for weddings. B&B double from £150.
- 4 Tebay Services Hotel, Orton, Penrith CA10 3SB (M6 between jcn 38 & 39), ☏ . Tebay services on M6 have always bucked the norm of bland functionality, and now this welcoming hotel takes the standard higher. Splendid restful place accessible both north- and southbound, once checked in you'll be blissfully unaware of the traffic hissing past. Open all year, child- and dog-friendly. B&B double £85.
- 5 Gill Head Farm, Troutbeck CA11 0ST, ☏ . Quiet camping and caravan site open Apr-Nov. Tent £25.
- 6 George and Dragon, Clifton CA10 2ER, ☏ . Atmospheric 18th-century coaching inn, dog-friendly, with good restaurant. B&B double £100.
- 7 The Quiet Site, Watermillock, Ullswater CA11 0LS, ☏ . This charming spot up a back lane has "hobbit burrows" set into the hillside, glamping pods and "gingerbread house" cabins. Dog-friendly. Pod £80.
- Cove Caravan & Camping Park is next to the Quiet Site.
Penrith has 4G from all UK carriers, though coverage varies on the outlying roads. As of April 2021, 5G has not reached this area.
Just outside the town is Brougham Castle, which is much better preserved than Penrith Castle and is situated alongside the earth-works of a Roman Fort. The site was later taken by the Norman family of Vieuxpont to build their castle. The ruins, the stone keep, and service buildings can still be seen.
|Routes through Penrith|
|Glasgow ← Carlisle ←||N S||→ Kendal → Manchester|
|Carlisle ←||N S||→ Kendal|