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Penrith Castle
Robinson's School Middlegate - a museum

Penrith is a small market town in Cumbria, to the north-east of the Lake District.

Get in

By train

  • Penrith is located on the West Coast Mainline rail link. There are direct connections to London (3 h), Edinburgh (1 1/2 h) and Glasgow (2h).

By bus

By car

Get around

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.

  • Building of Penrith 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, onopposite Penrith railway station.
  • The churchyard of St. Andrew's Church 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 Penrith and Eden Museum is houised 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. Admission free. Open all year: Mon - Sat 10am-4pm and on Sun, April to October, 11am-4pm.



  • 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 and the Penrith Co-op [2] is in Burrowgate.


  • Agricultural Hotel. The Castlegate, CA11 7JE. Bar meals and Jennings real ales in this hotel near the station.



Go next

Just outside the town is Brougham Castle, which is much better preserved than Penrith Castle which 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.

Ullswater, the Eden Valley and the Rheged Centre are all very nearby. The neighbouring towns are Keswick to the west, Appleby in Westmorland to the south east, and the city of Carlisle to the north.

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