From exploring the last great English wilderness of the Lake District to walking Hadrian’s Wall, and catching the latest blockbuster in style or taking on a challenging indoor bouldering course, there’s so much to see and do in Carlisle.
For many visitors, a trip to the Lakes is all about experiencing one of England’s last great open spaces. But there’s much more to Cumbria than spectacular scenery and Carlisle has plenty of outdoor attractions right on its doorstep. Start at Urban Adventure, a thrilling activity centre just a few minutes from the city centre. Part of Carlisle’s brilliant Bitts Park, this all-action complex is rated Carlisle’s number one activity by TripAdvisor. With a range of activities for kids and grown-ups alike, from aerial trekking to a climbing wall and giant 75m zip wire. You can even try a powerfan descent.
If all that aerial adventure has given you a taste for heights, then how about a trip with Border Air? They’ve been offering scenic flights from Carlisle Airport for over 25 years and offer 12 breathtaking routes taking in the Lakes, Hadrian’s Wall, Alnwick Castle and more.
For a slightly more restful day out, book yourself in for 18 holes at Carlisle Golf Club. This beautiful but testing course has held a number of prestigious events, including qualifiers for the British Open.
Get on your bike in style with the Border City Cycle Hire scheme – they’ll drop off and collect your bikes for free within a three-mile radius of the city centre (so Premier Inn customers are sorted). Simply pick what bikes you need including all the safety gear, and they’ll do the rest. They’ll even offer advice on routes in and around the city and further afield, and also run a Hadrian’s Wall bike tour which takes an average of three days.
If you’re looking for family fun, look no further than Walby Farm Park. This is home to the region’s largest indoor play area, while the 30-acre outdoor play area includes a 24-foot drop slide, JCB diggers, tractors, swings, trampolines and go-karts. There are plenty of animals on-site that you can feed and interact with, including horses, ducks, llamas, ferrets, guinea pigs and more. Located four miles from the city centre, the park is also handily located just off the M6, less than 10 minutes from our M6 Jct44 hotel.
Stay dry during winter – and summer, for that matter – by heading indoors and enjoy a truly eclectic mix of activities spanning trampoline parks, indoor bouldering, soft play, the latest blockbusters and more.
A one-stop destination, The Sands Leisure Centre boasts an extensive gym, six sports hall, spinning classes, a couple of squash courts and an indoor climbing wall. Gym membership is required for the 100-piece gym, but you can pay and climb, or hire the squash courts as needed, with lessons and courses available as well.
If you’re after a slightly more adventurous climb, then head to Eden Rock, a high-octane indoor bouldering centre. With over 240 obstacles, dozens of routes and walls fit for kids and grandparents, there’s something for everyone at the centre, which perhaps explains why bouldering is one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK. Sessions are affordable and there’s plenty of free parking outside too. It’s a short seven-minute drive from our Carlisle (M6 Jct42) hotel, to the south east of the city.
A craze that’s definitely bounced its way into our hearts and cities, Energi Trampoline Park is Carlisle’s biggest bounce pad and part of a UK-wide chain. Each session lasts an hour, and kids between two and four must be accompanied by an adult, but there are dedicated family and toddler hours during the week. The park has all the activities you’d expect, with over 100 interconnected trampolines, a foam pit, airbag, parkour, dodgeball and climbing wall – and the essential café to refuel afterwards.
For something a little less adrenaline fuelled, head to The Pools in James Street. Comprised of three swimming pools – 25m, 20m and 10m – and an extensive gym, there’s also a sauna, steam room and ice-cold plunge pool in the Health Suite. You’ll need to become a member to enjoy the facilities, but they do daily, weekly, monthly and long-term deals.
Open to children up to 12 years old, Aztec Soft Play is the perfect place to entertain children on a cold, wet day. Kids under one are free, with affordable entry fees for older children. Filled with soft, bouncy surfaces, slides, ball pits and multi-level spaces, it’ll keep children entertained for several hours, while the café comes with Wi-Fi, freshly made coffee and cakes and serves food until 5.30pm daily.
And finally, head to the state-of-the-art Vue Cinema located in the heart of the city centre along Botchergate. A seven-screen affair with over 1,500 seats, the cinema screens the latest blockbusters, as well as live-screening ballet and opera from West End theatres. The cinema comes fitted with 4K Sony screens and Digital Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound.
With hills and mountains for miles, Carlisle is perfectly placed to get the most out of the countryside – and there are few better ways to eat up the glorious miles than by biking around the region. Border City Cycle Hire take the stress out of biking. They’ll deliver your bikes and helmets to your door, and if you’re staying within a three-mile radius of the city centre, they’ll even do that for free. They’ll also give you a choice of routes if you haven’t decided where to go, including their three-day tour of Hadrian’s Wall. The bikes are all well-equipped and maintained mountain bikes.
A walkers’ paradise, there’s no shortage of stunning scenery, country pubs and cafés, hills and mountains to conquer around Carlisle. Head south and you’re into the Lake District, head west and you’re into the Solway Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty coastline and head east and you find yourself in the North Pennines. And of course, there are fewer finer treks in England than following in Hadrian’s footsteps via his Roman-built wall. There are several walking tours in and around Carlisle, and we’ve pinpointed the best ones in our dedicated Carlisle walking trails page.
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