Huddled at the edge of the venerable Lake District National Park and almost within touching distance of the Scottish border, it would be easy to pass over Carlisle for its more famous neighbours. And yet you’ll find the distinguished charm of a city that relies on its local community and its proximity to some of the country’s most marked history. When it comes to what to do in Carlisle, you won’t be left disappointed, with fascinating looks into its past, the finest, freshest local produce at its markets, activities that give the incredible scenery centre stage, and stadiums which host the oldest race in the world. Factor in all the wonderful restaurants, bars, pubs, attractions and hotels in Carlisle and you have a city that has plenty to boast about.
Within touching distance of one of England’s best-loved, the indomitable Lake District, there are plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs, whether summiting a peak, tracing Hadrian’s Wall or discovering the history of Carlisle on a city walking tour.
Once a Roman settlement which served the forts on a rather famous wall, Carlisle is dripping in history and legend that is ripe for discovery. Explore the unmissable locations, historic buildings and stadiums in our sightseeing guide.
Video guide to Carlisle
From fiery Thai food trucks to sumptuous Greek delis and fine-dining English restaurants to some of the best pub grub in the north of England, Carlisle’s exceptional restaurants are as good as they are varied.
Carlisle is no stranger to history and has a great mix of museums celebrating just that, as well as a number of galleries and cool art spaces showcasing work by big names and local artists alike.
Join the thousands that flock to Carlisle’s four theatres to enjoy an eclectic mix of shows and performances, from touring West End shows to slick amateur productions, comedies and the seasonal panto.
Catch some football League Two action from the terraces of Brunton Park or have a flutter on the oldest horse race in the world, the Carlisle Bell, in the grandstands of the Carlisle Racecourse.
Carlisle’s local creative community do the city proud, treating audiences to raucous knee-slapping tunes, laid-back jazz nights, theatrical flair, nail-biting match days and hearty belly laughs.
Our map of Carlisle
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