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What to do in Carlisle

Carlisle is a city steeped in history and surrounded by dramatic scenery. If you’re heading to the races at Carlisle Racecourse, make the most of your trip by taking some time to explore the city and nearby countryside. If you’re wondering what to do near Carlisle, we’ve hand-picked some of the best things to do in and around the city.


Go hiking in the Lake District

Carlisle is the perfect base to explore the breath-taking scenery of the Lake District National Park. If you’re wondering what to do in Cumbria, soaring mountains, beautiful lakes and mile upon mile of wild, untamed landscape awaits. Whether you take on the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, or choose a more manageable ramble around the edge of one of the many lakes, you’re sure to come away feeling exhilarated and elated from a day outdoors.  


Discover the Solway Firth

Straddling the English border with Scotland, Solway Firth is a dramatic and isolated location. With over 220 square kilometres of SSSIs in the area, the estuary is unique and important habitat for so many species of wildlife, including rare native birds like the oystercatcher, whooper swans and pink footed geese. It’s also a popular spot for photographers, as the ever-changing mud flats of the estuary are stunning to capture when the light catches as the sun sets.


Visit Carlisle Castle

A formidable outline against the Carlisle skyline, Carlisle Castle has stood proudly for nine centuries. Over the years it has withstood sieges, held a royal prisoner, and survived throughout England’s turbulent and colourful history. Perhaps most famously, Carlisle Castle held Mary Queen of Scots captive from 1567 by order of Queen Elizabeth I. Visitors to the castle can explore Queen Mary’s Tower where she was held and walk in her footsteps along Lady’s Walk.


Go wild at Urban Adventure

Not for the faint-hearted, Urban Adventure in Carlisle is an adrenaline junkie’s dream come true. If you’re unsure what to do in Carlisle with children, the high-ropes adventure centre is the perfect place for kids over 7 years to push their limits. Assault courses, high wires, rock climbing and much more take place high above the ground. But don’t worry, their experienced staff will keep everyone safe throughout the adventure.


Soak up some culture at Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery

With an eclectic range of collections including fine and decorative art, history and natural sciences, this compact yet extensive museum is the perfect place to while away a few hours if the weather takes a turn. There are plenty of interactive experiences to keep little ones entertained too, from visiting a badger’s sett to climbing Hadrian’s wall! And no trip would be complete without stopping for a bite to eat in the award-winning restaurant.


Admire Hadrian’s Wall or cross the border into Scotland

If you’ve come this far north, why not head just 10 miles further to reach the border with Scotland? The famed Gretna Green has a long-standing reputation for elopements. Although there’s no clear border crossing, those visiting from further south can proudly say that they’ve ticked another country off their list.

The ancient Roman structure of Hadrian’s Wall is still standing in places, and within easy reach of Carlisle. Many keen hikers choose to follow the Hadrian’s Wall Path from one side of the country to the other, taking in the changing landscapes along the way.

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