9 MUST DO ACTIVITIES WHEN VISITING CARLISLE/SOLWAY COAST
When it comes to English staycations, the words ‘Cumbria’ and ‘Lake District’ go together like marshmallows and a campfire. Although the Lake District is definitely one of the top hotspot locations to visit in Cumbria, you would be short changing yourself if you overlook the bucolic yet enchanting scenery that is Carlisle. During my first visit to Cumbria last year, I explored the Lake District but this year I decided to do a hybrid trip, conflating the coast and city. Hence, my visit to Carlisle via Solway Coast.
Drawing from my paradisaical experience at Carlisle, I will be highlighting the best must visit places in Carlisle to help you get the best experience out of your trip. So, when you choose to visit Cumbria, do add them to your to-do/to-see list.
Here are 9 activities to absolutely immerse yourself in when visiting Solway Coast and Carlisle:
1. Visit The Senhouse Roman Museum: The Senhouse Roman Museum showcases an array of the largest collection of Roman altar stones and inscriptions. For me, museums are like blasts from the past and they really get me appreciating how such vast civilisation walked the earth before us and probably a time will come when another civilisation will have to step into a museum to get to see life the way we lived it. It really is a wholesome experience.
Pelumi’s Tip: The Maryport South view is next to the museum. Make sure to climb that for a breath-taking view of the sky. I do not know how it happens, but the air there just helps you exhale better. For maximum appreciation, plug in your headphones to your favourite tranquil music.
2. Chase The Tides at Allonby Beach: Definitely dip your legs into the sands at Allonby beach. Chase the tides and let them chase you. One of my favourite things about the beach is that it really is not crowded. I remember thinking it would be a perfect location for a proposal or shoot because you would not have to worry about photobombers. There are bonus points if you can find the historic site reported to be a 6-minute walk from the beach. You could turn finding it into a treasure hunt of some sorts.
Pelumi’s Tip: Reward yourself after the hunt with some ice cream from an ice cream joint just across the beach. Extra tip: If you plan to enjoy your ice cream at the beach, get it in a cup, not a cone (thank me later).
3. Explore Carlisle Castle: Asides from absorbing the castle’s rich history, the castle has year-round exhibitions that are really beautiful to take in. I highly recommend that you get the English Heritage membership pass when exploring the castle so you can have the full experience. It would be an aberration to mention the castle without mentioning the unique carving on the walls at the top floor of the castle – it’s a bit of a climb but absolutely worth it – the level of detail and artistic mastermind is incredible. There are so many of them and although there are speculations about the origins of the carvings, nothing is set in stone, pun intended.
Pelumi’s Tip: Like me, you can enhance your experience by writing your own story with what you think the carvings represent.
4. Journey Back in Time at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery: You might be thinking, ‘another museum?’. Well, probably the only thing the Tullie House Museum and the Senhouse Roman Museum have in common is that
they are both in buildings made from brick. They are so vastly different in the content they provide really contrasting experiences. Located between the castle and the cathedral, the Tullie House Museum boasts of an exhibition that portrays how fashion has evolved over the years. So be prepared to see outfits running the gamut from the bizarre to the utterly ridiculous.
Pelumi’s Tip: At the entrance of the museum, while buying your ticket, do not forget to look up. Suspended just above you would be a sight you could just easily miss. Also, you should definitely pack a picnic to enjoy at the gardens in front of the museum. Access is free.
5. Light A Candle at Carlisle Cathedral: Right next to the Tullie House Museum is the Carlisle Cathedral so definitely plan to visit both on the same day. Touted as the second smallest cathedral in England, you would not know it when you stepped in. If you had nine consecutive lives and lived up to a hundred in each of them, you still would not have been born on the day the foundations of the Carlisle Cathedral were laid. The stained-glass beauty of the cathedral however belies its hoary history. Light a candle, say a prayer and just be.
Pelumi’s Tip: There’s yet another beautiful garden in front of the cathedral blossoming with random colours that look anything but random.
6. Take a Walk along the Birdoswald Roman Fort/Hadrian’s Wall: Far from being the ruins that the wall is always described as, the Birdoswald Roman Fort is surprisingly well preserved. I suggest a stroll along the wall.
Pelumi’s Tip: Ask for the front desk for a guided tour. It totally improves the experience and opens your eyes to sights you might have missed on your own.
7. Visit Lanercost Priory: Described as a hidden gem, the Lanercost Priory is another well preserved site that actually has a working church housed in it. Possesses a rich history that you get to learn as you explore. The grounds are really lovely and you can cop a squat on the grass to rest if you want.
Pelumi’s Tip: Check out the gift shop for thrifty trinkets and souvenirs.
8. Let an Arrow Fly at Talkin Adventures: After a slow-paced trip taking in the sites, I recommend ramping up some adrenaline at Talkin Adventures. Activities range from Kayaking to Archery to Treasure chests for teams. I got to let loose some arrows while there and it really was exhilarating.
Pelumi’s Tip: Pack a lunch for a picnic so you can refuel after burning up all that energy.
9. Dive into the Parks at the Watchtree Nature Reserve: Regarded as the largest man-made reserve in all of Europe, the Watchtree Nature Reserves spans over 200 acres of land. It houses protected species of animals that are a sight to behold. It really is phenomenal.
Pelumi’s Tip: Amplify the visit with a bike ride through the park.
In sum, a trip to Carlisle would involve a lot of exploring and sight-seeing. I hope these tips help enhance your experience.
This post is part of a paid campaign to Cumbria, as part of their #ThePerfectPlaceToBe Campaign. Although all views are my own and I have not been instructed what to include.