Carlisle, Cumbria

Follow in the footsteps of the Roman sentries who once patrolled in the city of Carlisle.

If you start feeling thirsty in Carlisle, you could always lick a stone. Apparently that's what the Jacobite prisoners in the dark dungeons of the city's castle used to do when they got parched.

Unfortunately, licking the walls only put off the inevitable, as most of them ended up at the gallows. Mercifully, things have moved on a bit in the nine centuries that the castle has stood watching over the city – as you’ll find out on the guided tour.

One place where we wouldn’t recommend any stone licking, however, is Hadrian’s Wall. Built on the orders of the eponymous emperor, Hadrian, it was intended to keep out the marauding Celts.Nowadays walkers follow in the footsteps of the Roman sentries who once patrolled here, and you can even cycle along sections of Hadrian’s Way, which runs alongside the wall.

If you’re wondering what it all would have looked like in Hadrian’s day then call in at Birdoswald Fort, just outside the city, where you’ll see one of the best-preserved sections of wall – along with interactive displays of Roman artifacts and an exhibition of excavations.

However there’s a lot more to Carlisle than Roman history, you know. Nip over to Tullie House and you’ll find 180,000 artefacts, exhibits and displays taking you from prehistoric times to present day.

And how about a spot of shopping while you’re here? At the Victorian Market Hall you’ll find everything from home wares to fresh meat and veg’ – but perhaps you should pop into the Guildhall first, to gen up on the rituals of Carlisle’s eight ancient Guilds.Once you know what all those secret winks and gestures mean, it could help you get more than you bargained for down at the market...


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