Carlisle occupies the most North-Westerly corner of England. It is a mere ten miles from the current border with Scotland, and thus is the second most northerly city in England, after Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. It grew to prominence in the modern age during the industrial revolution, when demand for the textiles produced across England turned the small town into a booming and crammed mill town.
Fortunes were made and most of the modern town as we know it was built, but there has been a settlement of some kind in this location for many thousands of years. The Romans, of course, used it as an important fort town, housing soldiers here first to build and then to guard the famous wall of Hadrian. The City sits at the confluence of three rivers, the Eden, the Caldew and the Petteril, and so it is not surprising to find that it was an important town to the Pre-Roman Celts of this area, although it was then called Luguwaljon and Luguvalus to the occupying Romans.
Evidence of Carlisle’s vigorous history is everywhere apparent, even in the modern town. Carlisle Castle, begun by William the Second in 1093 and then added to by Henry the First, who ordered the building of the stone fortifications which still stand to this day. Of course, relations between the English and the Scottish have long been amicable enough that the castle is no longer required as a strategic military post, but it is still the headquarters of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and a major tourist attraction for the town.
Carlisle boasts a fabulous Cathedral, a football team, two rugby union teams and a county cricket club. The cathedral is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Carlisle and is in remarkably good condition considering its age – over 900 years old. Most of the buildings visible today were in fact built in the 1300s during the flowering of Gothic Art across Europe during the Middle Ages. It’s well worth a visit.