Car-free adventures inCarlisleCumbria

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Cumbria’s ancient county town is just ten miles south of the Scottish border and was previously part of Scotland. This key location has determined its dramatic history as a battleground between the Scots and English. At the confluence of two rivers, on the course of Hadrian’s Wall, Carlisle was endlessly besieged. The Romans built a fort here, the Normans built another… From 1092 to the present day, the massive sandstone castle has been continually occupied. In the 19th century, Carlisle became a huge railway hub with the impressive station serving seven different railway lines, arriving from Scotland, Leeds, Manchester and London. It's a great place for a staycation - scroll to the end for more tips on holidays here.

  • County: Cumbria
  • Great for: Art Gallery | castle | Hadrian's wall | history | museums | riverside walks |
  • Refreshments: pubs, cafes and restaurants
  • Please note: researched/updated April 2022. If anything’s changed or you have tips to share, do get in touch: features@goodjourney.org.uk
  1. 3. Take a walk on the wild side

    One of Carlisle’s hidden gems is Rickerby Park, a beautiful riverside landscape with gardens and grazing cows, elegant bridges and memorials. Hadrian’s Wall Path runs along the bank of the River Eden here and there is a small stone circle on the far side with views of the distant hills.

    • A twenty minute walk from the centre of town will get you to Eden Bridge, where you can walk down the steps to explore the nearby gardens and the park beyond.
    • But there are also plenty of buses going that way. Just off English Street near the station, opposite Victoria Viaduct, turn right onto Devonshire Street to find stop G outside the amusingly-named Eaten by Monsters restaurant.
    • Bus 62 runs four times an hour to Stanwix. Hop off as soon as you’ve crossed the bridge and head for the water for a really beautiful stroll through the riverside parkland.
  1. Buses, bikes and places to stay

    Here’s a bit more practical info if you’re planning a staycation in Carlisle.

    • If you’re taking several bus rides around the area, Stagecoach offers a variety of tickets giving unlimited trips across the city and further afield from just £3.50/day.
    • If the bus journeys are on the same day that you arrive by train, get an even cheaper PlusBus ticket for bus rides around the whole urban area. It will take you to the castle, the cathedral, Tullie House museum or Rickerby Park.
    • You can hire bikes from Border City Cycle Hire. They cost just £18/day with free delivery within 3 miles of Carlisle.
    • There are lots of places to stay in Carlisle, including the newly refurbished Carlisle Station Hotel with rooms from £55/night.
    • For something more rural, Cardewlees campsite opened in 2019 on a working farm with views of the fells and has plenty of suggestions about how visitors could arrive car-free, including bus 400 from Carlisle.
  • Tree by castle - Carlisle car-free adventures