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Bed and breakfast availability
Carlisle b&b, guesthouse and hotel accommodation

Carlisle in Cumbria

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Visit Carlisle and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:

Carlisle, Cumbria. Its previous Celtic settlement is undated. The Roman period began under Agricola about A.D. 80. The Romans called it Luguvallium. Later Hadrian's Wall was built, passing just North, and when Stanwix fort was placed there it left Carlisle as a civic centre for administering the whole western area of the Roman frontier. The town held this role for 250 years, benefiting from Roman civil organization. But the apparent security was breached by raids, and Picts and other tribes overran the Roman sites in 181, and again in 367. The Vikings sacked the town in 875. It was added to England after the Norman Conquest; William Rufus claimed it in 1092 and it was then that the city walls, castle and priory were begun. But for nearly seven centuries after that Carlisle could change little in size and shape owing to its uncertain position: there were frequent border raids, and the town became a shuttlecock passed between England and Scotland. The longest siege was in 1644—5 when Royalist Carlisle fell to the Scots. It fell to them again when it surrendered to Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 as he set out on his march into England that was only halted at Derby. In the last two centuries, the city has had a chance to settle down, after 1,700 years of warfare, struggle or family feuds — probably the longest period of strife known by any English town.

The first Town Hall, apparently built in Elizabethan days, was succeeded by another in 1717, partly on the same site; with the 14th-century Guild Hall nearby, it was the town's governmental centre for nearly six centuries. Much plate from the eight trade guilds is in the City Museum. The Town Hall had two bells: the one that, from 1584 until the mid-l9th century, announced the opening of the market, and the “muckle town bell”, whose alarm warning could be heard for 11 miles. The two round towers that are so prominent at the city centre, above the railway station, represent the citadel, and are a reconstruction (1807) of the original citadel built in 1541-3, which was a second defence in case the castle fell. The present citadel was built in 1807 by Sir Robert Smirke, who designed the British Museum. At the west tower of the original was English Gate (or Botchergate), and the other two gates' in the city walls were Scotch Gate on the East and Irish Gate on the West. They were slammed at dusk: after that, let no Scot dare to move about inside. Carlisle Cross (1682) stands in English Street on the site of the traditional town centre where Bonnie Prince Charlie made his proclamation in 1745.

The small cathedral was finished in 1123 as the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and became an Augustinian priory. The priory church became the cathedral when the diocese of Carlisle was founded in 1133. The nave then became the parish church. A larger choir was made but was destroyed by fire in 1292. The monks did more building later, including the magnificent Decorated east window, 58 ft high and 32½ ft wide, which has original l4th-century glass at the top. The tower was added about 1401. After the 1644—5 siege General Leslie tore down about two-thirds of the nave (in ruins since the Dissolution) and much of the cloisters and other buildings to obtain stone for repairing city walls and castle. Only about 1853 was serious restoration work begun. There is a fine 15th-century fratery and traces of other monastic buildings. About 39 ft of the original 140 ft of the Norman nave remain. Sir Walter Scott was married in it in 1797; he had many associations with the Border country. There are 15th-century paintings on the backs of the choir stalls in the north aisle and interesting misericords, a Renaissance screen and a carved head, probably of Edward I.

Tullie House Museum was originally a Jacobean mansion and the southern façade has ornamented fall pipes dated 1689. The original staircase with oak banisters remains. Various public rooms were added after the building was acquired in 1893 as a cultural centre, and it now houses an art gallery, a library and a museum.

The bluff where the castle was built North of the medieval city was probably the site of an ancient British camp or caer, a term preserved in the name Carlisle. The castle was founded in 1092 and enlarged later. The existing keep, built at some time in the 12th century, has been considerably altered. The castle was badly damaged when taken by the Scots in 1216, and fell into disrepair, subsequently to be rebuilt and strengthened at various periods. The badge of Richard III can be seen on the Tile Tower and the arms of Elizabeth I near the keep. The apartments where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned have gone, but Queen Mary's Tower remains, as does the l4th-century main gate.

At Burgh-by-Sands, 6 miles North West of Carlisle, St Michael's is a strongly fortified church, built almost entirely from Roman stones. Edward I, who died on his way to attack the Scots, lay in state there and a monument to him stands near the village.

Nearby towns: Brampton, Caldbeck, Gretna, Haltwhistle, Langholm, Longtown, Penrith, Wigton

Nearby villages: Armathwaite, Beaumont, Belle Vue, Bow, Brisco, Burgh by Sands, Carleton, Cotehill, Cummersdale, Cumwhinton, Cumwhitton, Dalston, Ecclefechan, Gatesgill, , Great Orton, Harker, Harraby, Hayton, How, Irthington, Kingstown, Kirkandrews upon Ede, Kirklinton, Linstock, Low Hesket, Raughton, Rockcliffe, Scaleby, Scotby, Silloth, Southwaite, Springfield, Stanwix, Thursby, Wetheral, Wiggonby, Wreay

Have you decided to visit Carlisle or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:

  • a Carlisle bed and breakfast (a Carlisle B&B or Carlisle b and b)
  • a Carlisle guesthouse
  • a Carlisle hotel (or motel)
  • a Carlisle self-catering establishment, or
  • other Carlisle accommodation

Accommodation in Carlisle:

Find availability in a Carlisle bed and breakfast, also known as B&B or b and b, guesthouse, small hotel, self-catering or other accommodation.