15 Best Things To Do In Carlisle, England

15 Best Things To Do In Carlisle, England

By will

As an avid traveler, I am always on the lookout for hidden gems and exciting destinations to explore. And let me tell you, Carlisle, England is one such gem that should not be missed! Located in the picturesque county of Cumbria, Carlisle offers a perfect mix of history, culture, and natural beauty.

From ancient castles to stunning cathedrals, there is something for everyone in this charming city.

One of the must-visit attractions in Carlisle is the magnificent Carlisle Castle. Steeped in over 900 years of history, this well-preserved fortress allows you to step back in time and imagine what life was like for the medieval knights who once called this place home. As you wander through its imposing walls and towers, you can’t help but be in awe of the grandeur and the stories that this castle holds.

Another must-see is the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, which offers a fascinating insight into the history and culture of Carlisle. With its impressive collection of artifacts, interactive displays, and thought-provoking exhibitions, this museum is a treasure trove for history buffs and art enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re interested in Roman artifacts or modern art, you’re sure to find something that piques your curiosity here.

So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Carlisle, England!

Explore Carlisle Castle

Carlisle Castle
Photo by Adrian Taylor

You won’t want to miss exploring Carlisle Castle – it’s a must-see attraction that will transport you back in time to experience the rich history of this magnificent fortress.

As soon as you step inside the castle walls, you can feel the weight of centuries of history surrounding you. Built in the 11th century, Carlisle Castle has witnessed numerous battles and sieges, and its sturdy stone walls have stood the test of time.

Walking through the castle grounds, you can’t help but be in awe of the grandeur and sheer size of this medieval fortress. The castle offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, with its well-preserved architecture and exhibits.

From the impressive Keep to the medieval Great Hall, every corner of Carlisle Castle is steeped in history. As you explore the castle, you can imagine what life was like for the soldiers and nobles who once called this place home.

Don’t forget to visit the Castle’s Museum, where you can learn more about the castle’s history and see artifacts from its past. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique experience, a visit to Carlisle Castle is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Visit the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle
Photo by Kenneth Allen

Immerse yourself in history and art at the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle, where you can explore captivating exhibitions and experience the rich cultural heritage of this charming British city.

As soon as you step inside the museum, you’ll be greeted by a vast collection of artifacts and artworks that span thousands of years. From Roman artifacts to contemporary art installations, the Tullie House Museum offers a diverse range of exhibits that will leave you in awe.

One of the highlights of the museum is the Border Galleries, which tell the story of the border region between England and Scotland. Here, you can learn about the tumultuous history of this area through interactive displays, informative panels, and fascinating objects. The exhibition showcases everything from medieval weaponry to stories of border raiders, giving you a glimpse into the past and the conflicts that shaped the region.

In addition to the historical exhibits, the Tullie House Museum also features an impressive art gallery. With a collection that includes works by renowned artists such as J.M.W. Turner and Lucian Freud, art enthusiasts will be delighted by the diverse range of styles and periods on display. Whether you’re a fan of classical paintings or contemporary sculptures, there’s something for everyone to appreciate.

Visiting the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery is a must-do when in Carlisle. It’s a place where history comes to life and art inspires the imagination. So, take the time to explore the captivating exhibitions and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of this charming British city.

Enjoy the Beauty of Carlisle Cathedral

Carlisle Cathedral
Photo by William Starkey

Nestled in the heart of this charming city, you can’t miss the breathtaking beauty of Carlisle Cathedral. As you approach the cathedral, its imposing structure and intricate details immediately capture your attention.

The stunning Gothic architecture, with its soaring spires and magnificent stained glass windows, is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the builders who created this marvel.

Stepping inside, you are greeted by a sense of tranquility and awe-inspiring beauty. The spacious interior is adorned with ornate decorations and intricate carvings, each telling a story of the cathedral’s rich history.

The peaceful atmosphere invites you to take a moment to reflect and appreciate the centuries of worship that have taken place within these walls.

As you explore further, you are drawn to the stunning stained glass windows that fill the cathedral with an ethereal glow. Each window tells its own unique story, depicting scenes from the Bible and the lives of saints. The vibrant colors and intricate details bring these stories to life, adding to the cathedral’s overall sense of grandeur.

Visiting Carlisle Cathedral is not just a chance to appreciate beautiful architecture, but also an opportunity to connect with history and spirituality. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply seeking a moment of peace and reflection, this magnificent cathedral is a must-see when exploring Carlisle, England.

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Take a Stroll Along Hadrian’s Wall

Explore the historical significance of Hadrian’s Wall as you stroll along its ancient path. As I walked along the remains of this iconic Roman fortification, I couldn’t help but be awe-struck by the sheer magnitude of its presence.

Built by Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, this wall stretches for 73 miles across the northernmost part of England. It served as a defensive barrier, separating the Roman Empire from the barbarian lands to the north. Today, it stands as a testament to the engineering prowess and strategic vision of the Romans.

As I continued my stroll, I couldn’t help but imagine the countless soldiers who once patrolled this wall, guarding the empire from any potential threats. The rugged landscape and breathtaking views added to the sense of awe and wonder. I marveled at the precision with which the wall was constructed, with each stone fitting seamlessly into place.

Along the way, I encountered informative signage that provided insight into the history and purpose of Hadrian’s Wall. It was fascinating to learn about the daily lives of the soldiers stationed here and the challenges they faced in maintaining this imposing structure.

Walking along Hadrian’s Wall was not only a journey through history but also a chance to connect with the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside. The wall meanders through picturesque landscapes, with rolling hills and lush greenery as far as the eye can see.

It was a peaceful and serene experience, allowing me to appreciate both the historical and natural wonders that Carlisle has to offer. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking for a scenic stroll, a visit to Hadrian’s Wall is a must-do when in Carlisle.

Discover Roman Artifacts at the Carlisle Roman Museum

Step back in time and uncover the intriguing world of Roman artifacts at the Carlisle Roman Museum. As I entered the museum, I was immediately transported to ancient Roman times.

The museum is filled with a vast collection of artifacts that offer a glimpse into the daily lives of the Romans who once inhabited this area.

One of the highlights of the museum is the display of Roman pottery. The intricately designed pots and jars showcase the skill and craftsmanship of the Roman artisans. I was captivated by the delicate patterns and vibrant colors that adorned these ancient vessels. It was fascinating to imagine the hands that had created these beautiful pieces and the stories they held within their walls.

Another fascinating exhibit was the collection of Roman jewelry. The museum houses an impressive array of necklaces, bracelets, and rings that were worn by the Roman elite. The intricate designs and precious gemstones used in these pieces spoke to the wealth and status of those who wore them. I found myself marveling at the craftsmanship and imagining the people who once adorned themselves with such opulent jewelry.

Visiting the Carlisle Roman Museum is a must for anyone interested in ancient history. The artifacts on display offer a unique insight into the lives of the Romans who once called this place home. Step into the museum and let yourself be transported back in time to a world filled with beauty, skill, and a rich cultural heritage.

Shop at the Lanes Shopping Centre

Get ready to indulge in some retail therapy at the Lanes Shopping Centre, where you can find a plethora of stores to satisfy all your shopping desires.

As soon as you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a vibrant and bustling atmosphere that is sure to get your shopping senses tingling.

The Lanes Shopping Centre is a modern and spacious mall that offers a wide range of shops, from high street favorites to independent boutiques, ensuring that there is something for everyone.

The shopping experience at the Lanes is truly exceptional. The center boasts a fantastic selection of fashion outlets, where you can find the latest trends and styles to update your wardrobe.

From designer brands to affordable high street options, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect outfit for any occasion.

If fashion isn’t your thing, fear not! The Lanes also houses a variety of specialty stores, including beauty shops, electronics retailers, and home decor stores.

Whether you’re looking for a new gadget, a luxury skincare product, or some unique home accessories, the Lanes has got you covered.

When you need a break from shopping, the Lanes Shopping Centre has plenty of options for you to refuel and recharge.

There are numerous cafes and restaurants scattered throughout the center, offering a wide range of cuisines and dining experiences.

Whether you’re in the mood for a quick coffee and pastry or a leisurely sit-down meal, you’ll find the perfect spot to satisfy your cravings.

With its convenient location and diverse range of stores and eateries, the Lanes Shopping Centre is a must-visit destination for any shopaholic visiting Carlisle.

Experience Nature at Rickerby Park

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at Rickerby Park, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind in a serene and picturesque setting.

As I stroll through the park, I’m immediately captivated by the lush greenery that surrounds me. Towering trees provide shade and create a sense of tranquility, while the gentle breeze carries the sweet scent of flowers in bloom.

Rickerby Park is located along the banks of the River Eden, offering stunning views of the water and the opportunity to spot various wildlife. It’s a haven for birdwatchers, with an abundance of species that call this park their home.

As I walk along the riverbank, I can hear the melodic chirping of birds and catch glimpses of them darting through the trees.

The park also features well-maintained paths, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful bike ride. With its expansive green spaces, Rickerby Park is an ideal spot for a picnic with family or friends. The sound of laughter and conversation fills the air as people gather to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds them.

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Whether you’re looking for a tranquil escape or a place to reconnect with nature, Rickerby Park offers it all. Its serene atmosphere and stunning scenery make it a must-visit destination in Carlisle. So pack a picnic, grab a book, and immerse yourself in the wonders of nature at Rickerby Park.

Attend a Race at Carlisle Racecourse

If you’re in the mood for some thrilling horse racing action, head over to Carlisle Racecourse. Located in the picturesque city of Carlisle, England, this racecourse offers a fantastic experience for both racing enthusiasts and casual spectators alike.

As soon as you step foot onto the grounds, you’ll be greeted by the electrifying atmosphere and the sound of hooves thundering on the turf.

The Carlisle Racecourse boasts a rich history dating back over 300 years, making it one of the oldest racecourses in the United Kingdom. From flat racing to jumps, there’s a diverse range of races to enjoy throughout the year.

Whether you’re a seasoned punter or just looking for a fun day out, the racecourse offers a variety of facilities to cater to all your needs. You can place bets at the bookmakers, indulge in delicious food and drinks at the various bars and restaurants, or simply soak up the excitement from the grandstands.

With its stunning backdrop of the Cumbrian countryside, watching a race at Carlisle Racecourse is truly an unforgettable experience.

So, why not grab your binoculars, put on your finest attire, and join in on the exhilarating atmosphere of this renowned racecourse?

Enjoy a Picnic at Bitts Park

After attending an exciting race at Carlisle Racecourse, I was ready to unwind and enjoy a leisurely activity. That’s when I discovered the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon – Bitts Park. Located in the heart of Carlisle, this picturesque park offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

As I entered Bitts Park, I was immediately greeted by the lush greenery and the soothing sound of the River Eden flowing nearby. The park boasts expansive lawns dotted with towering trees, providing ample shade for a picnic. I found a cozy spot under a majestic oak tree and spread out my blanket, ready to indulge in some delicious food while surrounded by nature’s beauty.

The park’s tranquil atmosphere was enhanced by the gentle chirping of birds and the occasional laughter of families enjoying their time together. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of serenity as I savored each bite of my picnic feast. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful moment alone or a fun gathering with friends and family, Bitts Park offers the ideal setting.

After satisfying my taste buds, I decided to take a leisurely stroll along the park’s pathways. The well-maintained trails led me through vibrant flower beds, offering a delightful sensory experience. I came across a charming little pond, where ducks gracefully glided across the water’s surface. It was a joy to watch them as I continued my leisurely exploration.

Bitts Park truly provides a haven for nature lovers and those seeking a moment of tranquility in Carlisle. Whether you’re planning a romantic picnic for two or a lively gathering with loved ones, this park offers the perfect backdrop. So pack a delicious lunch, grab a blanket, and head to Bitts Park for a memorable picnic experience in the heart of Carlisle.

Discover Carlisle’s History at The Guildhall Museum

Explore Carlisle’s rich history at The Guildhall Museum and get a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past. As soon as you step inside, you’ll be transported back in time as you wander through the museum’s exhibits. From Roman artifacts to medieval treasures, there is something for every history enthusiast to enjoy.

The Guildhall Museum is housed in a beautiful historic building, adding to the charm and authenticity of the experience. As you make your way through the various rooms, you’ll come across intriguing displays that showcase Carlisle’s role as an important border city throughout the centuries. Learn about the city’s Roman origins and discover how it developed into the thriving community it is today.

The museum also offers a unique opportunity to explore the Guildhall itself, a stunning building that has played a significant role in Carlisle’s history. Don’t miss the chance to see the impressive collection of local art and artifacts that are on display, providing a truly immersive experience into the city’s past.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about Carlisle’s heritage, a visit to The Guildhall Museum is a must.

Take a Boat Trip on the River Eden

Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Carlisle by taking a leisurely boat trip down the picturesque River Eden.

As you glide along the calm waters, you’ll be surrounded by stunning scenery and a sense of serenity that can only be found on the river.

The River Eden winds its way through the heart of Carlisle, offering a unique perspective of the city’s natural beauty.

As you embark on your boat trip, you’ll be greeted by the gentle sound of the water lapping against the sides of the boat and the refreshing breeze brushing against your face.

As you navigate the river, you’ll have the opportunity to see Carlisle from a whole new angle.

The city’s historic buildings and landmarks are beautifully reflected in the water, creating a picturesque scene that is truly captivating.

You might even catch a glimpse of some of the local wildlife, such as ducks, swans, and maybe even a heron or two.

The boat trip allows you to slow down and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings, providing a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxing activity, a boat trip on the River Eden is a must-do when visiting Carlisle.

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Explore the Beauty of Talkin Tarn Country Park

Discover the breathtaking beauty of Talkin Tarn Country Park as you wander through its enchanting trails and soak in the peaceful ambiance.

Nestled in the heart of Carlisle, England, this stunning park is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

As you explore the park, you’ll be captivated by the picturesque scenery, from the tranquil lake to the lush greenery that surrounds it.

One of the highlights of Talkin Tarn Country Park is its namesake tarn, a glacial lake that spans over 65 acres.

The crystal-clear waters of the lake reflect the surrounding landscape, creating a mesmerizing sight.

Take a leisurely stroll along the lakeside path and feel the gentle breeze on your face as you take in the beauty of the park.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can rent a rowing boat or a canoe and glide across the serene waters.

As you paddle along, you’ll have the opportunity to spot a variety of bird species that call the tarn their home.

Keep an eye out for graceful swans, ducks, and even the elusive kingfisher.

Whether you’re a seasoned birdwatcher or simply appreciate the wonders of nature, Talkin Tarn Country Park offers a truly magical experience.

Visit the Solway Aviation Museum

If you’re up for an exciting adventure, why not pay a visit to the Solway Aviation Museum? This hidden gem in Carlisle, England is a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

As soon as I stepped inside the museum, I was immediately captivated by the impressive collection of aircraft and artifacts on display.

The Solway Aviation Museum offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of aircraft from different eras. From World War II fighter planes to modern jets, there is something for everyone to admire.

The museum also houses a vast collection of aviation memorabilia, including uniforms, photographs, and models. Each exhibit is accompanied by informative plaques that provide fascinating insights into the history and development of aviation.

As I walked through the museum, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and appreciation for the brave men and women who have shaped the world of aviation. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the wonders of flight, a visit to the Solway Aviation Museum is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Experience Carlisle’s Nightlife at The Source

Get ready to have a blast and experience the vibrant nightlife of Carlisle at The Source. This popular venue is a must-visit for anyone looking to have a great time in the city.

With its lively atmosphere, fantastic music, and friendly staff, The Source is the perfect place to let loose and dance the night away.

As you step into The Source, you’ll immediately be greeted by pulsating beats and a buzzing crowd. The venue features multiple dance floors, each playing a different genre of music, so there’s something for everyone’s taste.

Whether you’re into hip-hop, electronic, or chart-topping hits, you’re sure to find a space where you can dance to your heart’s content.

The Source also offers a range of drinks to keep the energy flowing all night long. From classic cocktails to ice-cold beers, their extensive menu has it all. The bartenders are skilled and friendly, ensuring that you’ll never have to wait long for a refreshing drink.

With its energetic atmosphere, fantastic music, and great drinks, The Source is the ultimate destination for a night out in Carlisle.

So grab your friends, put on your dancing shoes, and get ready for a night you won’t forget.

Enjoy a Meal at a Traditional English Pub

Indulge in the mouthwatering flavors of a traditional English pub meal and savor every delicious bite.

When in Carlisle, England, one of the best things to do is to enjoy a meal at a local pub. These charming establishments offer a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for a hearty and satisfying dining experience.

As you step into a traditional English pub, you’ll be greeted by the warm and inviting atmosphere. The smell of freshly brewed beer and sizzling food fills the air, enticing your taste buds.

The menu is filled with classic British dishes like fish and chips, bangers and mash, and steak and ale pie. Each dish is prepared with care, using locally sourced ingredients that highlight the rich flavors and culinary traditions of the region.

Whether you choose a tender roast beef with Yorkshire pudding or a comforting plate of shepherd’s pie, every meal is cooked to perfection and served with a smile.

The pub experience goes beyond just the food. It’s about immersing yourself in the local culture and enjoying the company of friends and family. The friendly staff and lively atmosphere make it a great place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring the city.

Pair your meal with a pint of locally brewed ale or a glass of fine wine, and you have the perfect combination for a memorable dining experience.

So, when you find yourself in Carlisle, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in a traditional English pub meal. It’s a delicious way to immerse yourself in the local culture and create lasting memories.


In conclusion, my visit to Carlisle, England has been an unforgettable experience filled with rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture.

From exploring the magnificent Carlisle Castle and immersing myself in the fascinating exhibits at the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, to discovering the ancient artifacts at the Carlisle Roman Museum and taking a leisurely stroll along Hadrian’s Wall, there was never a dull moment.

I was also captivated by the breathtaking beauty of Carlisle Cathedral and Talkin Tarn Country Park, where I could unwind and connect with nature.

The Solway Aviation Museum provided a unique opportunity to learn about the region’s aviation history, while The Source offered a lively and vibrant nightlife scene.

And of course, no trip to Carlisle would be complete without indulging in a delicious meal at one of its traditional English pubs, where I savored the flavors of the local cuisine.

Overall, my time in Carlisle was nothing short of amazing, and I highly recommend this charming city to anyone seeking a blend of history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or simply looking for a memorable getaway, Carlisle has something to offer for everyone. So pack your bags, embark on an adventure, and let Carlisle enchant you with its charm and allure.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.