First built in 1092 during the reign of King William II, Carlisle Castle has stood for over 900 years. The Castle has withstood sieges and hosted individuals such as Richard III and Mary, Queen of Scots. Carlisle Castle is a prime example of the rich history of the area. It boasts one of the most well-preserved gatehouses in the country and the keep is decorated with mysterious carvings dating back to the 15th century. Carlisle Castle also hosts Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life within its walls.

Things to explore:

  • Explore where Mary, Queen of Scots was held prisoner in Queen Mary’s Tower.
  • Stone carvings thought to potentially be the work of bored prison guards, they decorate the walls of the keep and include images of a knight, a mermaid and fish.
  • Warden’s Apartment and the Captain’s Tower that once housed King Richard III.
  • You can also visit the Museum of Military Life that displays the local history of the military.

For opening times and prices, see here.


Carlisle Castle is wheelchair accessible throughout the grounds, however the keep, ramparts and towers are not accessible using wheelchairs. Handrails are installed in the buildings. There is no lift access.

Accessible toilets are available.

Assistance dogs are welcome on the property. Visually impaired visitors can request braille guides. However, audio transcripts and subtitles are unavailable.

Please be aware that the grounds of the castle can be uneven and staircases can differ in height. In addition, the Inner Ward is cobbled and can become slippery when wet.

There is more information on accessibility on the English Heritage website.

Want to explore more of Carlisle? Tullie Museum and Art Gallery is directly across the road from Carlisle Castle. Visit here for more details!

Q Is Carlisle Castle dog friendly?

Yes! Dogs are welcome in all areas except the Museum of Military Life café.

Q Is there on-site parking?

No, however there are two car parks on either side of the Castle that are a short walk away and limited street park over the road in the city centre.

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