Hadrian's Wall Country


Carlisle is a wonderful city with many fantastic things to see and do, as well as the obvious links to exploring Hadrian’s Wall and many other Roman sites. Carlisle is a great place to visit for a city break, a day trip in from one of the many charming countryside villages and towns surrounding the city, and also a brilliant place to stop off for a day or two if you’re on your way up to Scotland.

Carlisle’s finest attraction is, of course, Carlisle Castle, which is situated prominently to the north of the city centre. Built in 1092 by William Rufus (son of William the Conqueror), the castle is located close to the English and Scottish border and has been subject to numerous attacks over the years, but despite these, remains very well-preserved. Carlisle Castle has also housed the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots.

When you visit the castle, don’t miss the dungeons with their famous ‘licking stones’ and take a look at the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment Museum, which houses a marvelous collection of military uniforms, weapons, equipment and medals from the last 300 years.

There is also the beautiful, ancient Carlisle Cathedral to visit, with its sensational Flowing Decorated Gothic Window and stunning barrel roof. Here, you can grab a lunch at the Prior’s Kitchen, which was originally the monks’ dining hall and has a lovely selection of homemade scones and cakes.

The Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery offers a beautiful range of exhibitions set in stunning scenery, with plenty of activities for children, a lovely garden and particularly interesting Roman artifacts and information. The 14th Century Guildhall Museum, just a five minute walk from Tullie House, is one of the oldest buildings in Carlisle and has a lot of surviving early timber-work, as well as wattle-and-daub internal walls.

For a museum with a little bit of a difference, you could visit the A World in Miniature Museum, a delightfully charming place with everyday objects at tiny sizes as well as 1:12 scale copies of famous paintings, antique furniture and china. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is truly astounding. The Solway Aviation Museum at Carlisle Airport houses a fascinating collection of aircraft, displays and artifacts – both old and new.

If you’re the arty type, you may want to drop in to the brilliant Crown Gallery, which displays a lovely range of local arts and crafts, including fine art, ceramics, glasswork and metalwork.

Widely believed to be Carlisle’s finest eatery, David’s restaurant offers a private, romantic atmosphere with sublime steaks cooked exactly to your taste. Once you’ve had your fill of delicious food, why not head over to The Lane Bar - a fantastic cocktail bar, thought to serve the best cocktails in Carlisle.

For days outdoors, Carlisle is obviously a brilliant base to explore a lot of the attractions in and around Hadrian’s Wall, with Vindolanda just a 40 minute drive away and brilliant bus services along the AD 122 route, which takes you all the way from Carlisle to Newcastle and can link in with your walking and cycling itineraries.
Carlisle also has many of its own outdoors attractions. Watchtree Nature Reserve has a range of natural habitats, including hay meadows, woodland and wetlands, which are home to a vast amount of wildlife. They host a number of events throughout the year, such as guided walks and children’s orienteering, so it’s worth getting in touch before your visit to find out what exactly is going on at that time.

The Walby Farm Park provides a brilliant day out for kids; they can meet the animals, have a go on the go-karts or play in the JCB-themed sand play area. Carlisle also has a number of lovely parks, including Rickerby Park, Chance’s Park, Bitts Park and Hammond’s Pond, which has a boating lake, aviaries and a miniature railway.

For a pampering experience with a difference, try MU Fish Spa’s Garra Rufa fish experience – where tiny fish will gently remove the dead skin from your feet, leaving your feet feeling soft and refreshed.