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A snapshot guide to Carlisle


Carlisle is 10 miles south of the Scottish border and is the largest settlement in the county of Cumbria, serving as the administrative centre for both Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council. Its early history is marked by its status as a Roman settlement, established to serve the forts on Hadrian’s Wall, and Carlisle Castle (which is still relatively intact) was where Mary, Queen of Scots was once imprisoned. The castle is now a museum and houses the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. Nicknamed the ‘Great Border City’, Carlisle today is a cultural, commercial and industrial hub, with a variety of museums and heritage centres. If you like history, this is the place for you, offering a plethora of things to see and do.  


The only city in Cumbria, Carlisle is largely pedestrianised and the Lanes shopping centre is home to around 75 stores. A host of Medieval buildings lines the streets including the Guildhall and Tithe Barn. The Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery features resident exhibits detailing the history of Roman occupancy in the region, and has received numerous awards. Sands Centre is Carlisle’s main entertainment venue, hosting touring musicians, theatre and comedians, while the Old Fire Station provides stand-up comedy, dramas and lots more. Plus, every August, Carlisle Food Fair is held in the city centre, playing host to the county’s fabulous local produce such as Cumberland sausage, Cumberland sauce and Cumberland mustard.  


Carlisle is linked to the rest of England via the M6 motorway to the south, and to Scotland via the M74/A74 towards Glasgow and the north. The nearest commercial airport can be found in Newcastle, which is around 55 miles away, while Carlisle Railway Station is a principal station on the West Coast main line. The town was once a major railway centre, with seven different companies using Carlisle Railway Station and the largest railway marshalling yard in Europe. Although reduced in size, this is still very much operational and used by rail freight companies like Colas Rail Freight, Freightliner Heavy Haul, DB Schenker Rail UK and Direct Rail Services.


In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the city had many textile mills, engineering works and food manufacturers opening up mostly in the Denton Holme, Caldewgate and Wapping areas, which lie in the Caldew Valley area of Carlisle. Famous firms that were founded or have factories in the city include Carr’s of Carlisle (now part of United Biscuits) and Metal Box (now part of Crown Holdings). The hauliers Eddie Stobart Logistics once had their headquarters in Carlisle, and although it has since moved, the company still continues to employ staff in the city. There are also various light industrial estate and business parks located on the fringes of Carlisle and on former industrial sites close to the city centre, providing employment for its residents. The largest is the Kingstown Industrial Estate, located just off the A7 road near to the M6 motorway.


Carlisle is home to the main campuses of the University of Cumbria, which provides a wide range of degree courses in higher education such as IT, Applied Psychology, Art, Business, Law, Media, Social Work and Teacher Education. Carlisle College is the further education establishment based in the city, while there are five secondary schools here including Roman Catholic private school, Austin Friars St Monicas.


The overall average house price for Carlisle is around £139,533. And it’s not just the house prices that appeal to Carlisle residents… The city boasts a lively sporting scene, with Carlisle United Football Club, two rugby union clubs, Cumberland County Cricket Club, a racecourse and several golf clubs no less!