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Overall Experience

Carlisle Visitor information


An Introduction to Carlisle

Carlisle is the county town of Cumbria, and the major settlement of the wider City of Carlisle in North West England. Historically the county town of Cumberland, the early history of Carlisle is marked by its status as a Roman settlement and Carlisle became an important military stronghold. Nicknamed the Border City, Carlisle today is the main cultural, commercial and industrial centre for north Cumbria. It is home to the main campuses of the University of Cumbria and a variety of museums and heritage centres.

Things to do in Carlisle

Hadrian's Wall is near to Carlisle and a favoured attraction due to the remains of the stone-built wall and regularly spaced forts, milecastles and turret stations can be seen along most of its 73 mile length. Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail has been specially devised to follow the course of the Wall.

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery is in the heart of Carlisle's historic quarter and has exhibitions documenting the areas history. The two imposing drum towers are collectively known as the Citadel, built in 1541 by Henry VIII to strengthen the southern approach to the city they housed the courts and County gaol in the 1800's. Houghton Hall contains 50 rooms to peer into in their miniature world.

On a prominent site north of the city centre, Carlisle Castle was first built by William Rufus and is is strategically located on the border between England and Scotland, witnessing many attacks over its 900 years of history.

Travelling to Carlisle

By Car

There are three exits from the M6 motorway, allowing easy access into the city centre from the north, south or east. Major roads radiate out from the city connecting with local towns.

By Rail

The city's train station serves four railway routes - the West Coast main line between Scotland and England, the Tyne Valley cross-country route to Newcastle, the Cumbrian Coast Line to Barrow-in-Furness, and the famous Settle to Carlisle railway.

By Coach and Bus

The city's central bus station is the arrival point for National Express coaches and departure point for local and national coaches.

By Air

The closest International airports to Carlisle are Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester.


Carlisle History


Carlisle began as a Roman town called Luguvallium. However in the 4th century Roman civilisation declined. St Cuthbert founded a monastery among the ruins of Carlisle in 685. In 876 the Vikings captured Carlisle held the town until the 10th century when the Saxons captured it. Carlisle was rebuilt and revived by King William Rufus in 1092. He built a wooden castle.

In the Middle Ages Carlisle was strategically important because of its position near the Scottish border. In the 12th century stonewalls were erected around the town and the castle was rebuilt in stone and strengthened in the mid-12th century. From 1135-1154 Carlisle was in the hands of the Scots. In 1349 the Black Death devastated the population of Carlisle and it did not recover fully until the 16th century.

In 1541 Henry VIII rebuilt and strengthened the castle. Henry replaced the southern gate of Carlisle with a citadel with 2 towers. In 1642 came civil war between King and parliament. Carlisle was staunchly loyal to the King. The city was under siege from October 1644 to June 1645 and Carlisle was starved into surrender.

In the 1870s sewers were dug under Carlisle and the first telephone exchange in Carlisle opened in 1885. In the early and mid-1980s The Lanes were rebuilt. 

On Saturday 8 January 2005 Carlisle suffered from severe floods.

The following events are occuring in the area


Universities in Carlisle

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