City Guide

Things to Do in Carlisle

Ben Maples  · Apr 14th 2023
Carlisle castle entrance

Carlisle is a cathedral city and the county town of Cumbria. It is one of the most popular cities in the UK to study in and has a high student population.

In this guide, we will show you the various things to do in Carlisle.

Things to do in Carlisle


Located just south of the Scottish border Carlisle has long since been one of the most popular places in which to study across the whole of the UK. The most recent figures suggest that roughly 107,500 people are living in Carlisle right now.

Things to do in Carlisle

Carlisle has a breadth of nightlife available for people with everything from sport’s bars all the way throughout just general bars and grills, whatever your idea of a night out is, Carlisle has it covered! We’ve compiled a list of three places that might just be interesting for you.

First up, we have Shooters Sports Bar, which has long been one of the favoured venues in Carlisle to watch your favourite team play, and what with the Barclay’s Premier League recently restarting you can watch all of your favourite teams here in HD!

Next up we have one of Carlisle’s top gay bars in Outrageous Cabaret Bar, which runs everything from Pride Night all the way through to a regular night out, comprising of DJ sets and even celebrity appearances Outrageous is one of the premier places to visit in Carlisle. Walkabout Carlisle is another such place that shows the diversity of places in Carlisle. One of the premier outings in Carlisle, a pub by day and a club with live DJs by night, definitely worth you checking out.

There are a handful of museums across Carlisle that could be useful for people looking to learn more about the area that you’re studying in. First off we have Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, followed swiftly by Carlisle Castle, both of which celebrate the rich history of Carlisle and show you more about the city and the county than you can get from the internet.

Carlisle has some festivals that are run annually including Carlisle Music & Drama Festival run every March, which shows you some of the best in Carlisle’s local talent and a glimpse into the Carlisle music scene. Also on offer is the festival known as Cumbria Live which has long since been an attraction when visiting Carlisle, we recommend this one too!

There are a number of cinemas in the city, such as Vue Cinemas, which is located in Botchergate, remember your NUS card for students discounts at the cinema!

Things to do with kids in Carlisle


The city of Carlisle has a number of major transportation routes, in fact, the city’s railway network led it to becoming one of the major railway centres in the UK at the time of its opening. The railway leads to most major cities and locally.

Carlisle’s bus services are run by Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire. The city operates low-floor buses after the original bus depot was flooded in 2005. National Express also operates in the area and offer cheaper transportation routes to major cities.

The city does also have its own airport, Carlisle Lake District Airport, which is in the northeast of the city. Though the flights are limited here and the closest major airport is just up the road in Newcastle, with the Newcastle International Airport.

Universities in the City

There is only one university in the city, which is the University of Cumbria. The university started in 2007, although it could be traced back to the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts, which started in 1822.

The university was formed as part of a merger with St. Martin’s College, elements of the University of Central Lancashire and Lancaster, the Cumbria Institute of the Arts.

The university mainly competes in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) leagues and compete in everything from tennis, cricket and football, all the way through to netball, badminton and pool.

History and Culture

Cumbria as a settlement, has stood since the Roman times and was formed by the Carvetii tribe. In fact, the city may even have predated the Romans, as it was considered to be one of the strongest towns in the UK at the time.

Cumbria was established as a stronghold in the UK, though by 400 AD, the Romans began to leave the city and expand elsewhere.

During the Middle Ages and during the Norman conquest of 1066, Carlisle was not part of England anymore, but was in fact, part of Scotland, however, William Rufus (son of William the Conqueror) invaded the region and reverted the town back to England from Scotland. This also saw the construction of Carlisle Castle begin in 1093.

As the conquest of the county began, Cumbria changed hands many times between Scotland and England, and, as it was during the Roman era, was a prominent stronghold and became a city in 1133. In 1707, when Great Britain was essentially formed, Carlisle’s status changed and was no longer a frontier city and was now a garrison city.

In the 19th century, the city was prominent in its production of textiles and food and a number of factories cropped up all over the city, securing its place as an important industrial city, which also saw the introduction of a major railway, with easy access to a number of important cities.

Things to do with family in Carlisle


The main football team in the city is Carlisle United, who currently play in League Two. The club has a rich history, having reached the League Cup semi-finals in 1969 and even competing in the First Division in 1974. The club has been renowned in the sport for developing a number of high profile players and coaches, such as Peter Beardsley, Matt Jansen, Rory Delap, Bill Shankly, Paul Simpson and Nigel Pearson.

The city has two Rugby Union clubs, which are Carlisle RFC and Creighton RUFC. They also have a Rugby League team, Carlisle, that recently formed a merger with Barrow and left the city, though they are still considered to be part of the city’s sport offerings.

Cumberland County Cricket Club is the city’s main cricket club and they plat at Edenside Ground, they are a minor county club and have won the Minor Counties Championship twice in their history.

Who’s from Carlisle

There are quite a few famous people from Carlisle, such as Paul Simpson, Bryan Dick, Rory Delap, Sarah Hall and Grant Holt.

undergraduate Uni's

Get your questions answered by sending them an enquiry now.