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Campsites in Carlisle, Cumbria

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115 bookable campsites within 40 miles of Carlisle

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Why visit Carlisle?

Hadrian’s Wall 

One of Britain’s best Roman ruins, Hadrian’s Wall, is within easy reach of Carlisle. The westerly parts of this 2,000-year-old structure have some of its most impressive fortifications (check out Birdoswald Roman Fort near Brampton, home to a well-preserved turret and milecastle). 

Brought a bike along on your Cumbrian camping trip? Running from Ravenglass to Newcastle and with a total distance of 173 miles, the Hadrian’s Wall Cycle Route crisscrosses scenic moorland and takes in excellent views of this UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. 

Hardy cyclists might want to try and tackle it all, but the route from Carlisle city centre to the Solway coast and back is a more manageable option if you’re just looking for a day’s worth of pedalling. 

The Settle-Carlisle Railway

This 73-mile-long railway line takes in the wilds of the Yorkshire Dales, the Eden Valley and the North Pennines, making it one of the most scenic train journeys in the whole of the UK. 

The trip to Settle generally takes about an hour and a half each way, during which time you'll cross spectacular viaducts like Ribblehead, travel through pitch-black tunnels and stop off at well-preserved stations like Dent (which just so happens to be the highest in all of England). 

As well as regular diesel-hauled services, special steam trains run at regular intervals throughout the year if you fancy travelling in style.

Carlisle Castle 

Right in the centre of the city stands Carlisle Castle, an imposing fortress with roots that go back all the way to the Roman conquest. The building that survives today is a grand medieval structure that's stood in its current location for around 900 years. 

The castle is home to more than its fair share of grisly relics of the Middle Ages, including infamous ancient dungeons and the 'licking stones', where neglected enemy prisoners found just enough moisture to stay alive. 

The castle keep also has a myriad of mysterious stone carvings and 15th-century graffiti depicting knights, animals and mythical beasts.

The best things to do in and around Carlisle

In town 

  • Explore intricate stonework and impressive architecture at Carlisle’s Gothic cathedral.

  • Take the kids to Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, a local heritage centre that’s full of interesting exhibits (but not too big for visitors with little legs).

  • March down to Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life next to the castle for regimental memorabilia and tales of derring do. 

  • Limber up and go climbing or bouldering at Eden Rock, an inside climbing wall conveniently located just outside the city centre. 

The best things to do within an hour’s drive of Carlisle 

  • Pack up your binoculars and head to RSPB Campfield Marsh (30 minutes’ drive), a birdlife haven with an excellent boardwalk near Wigton

  • For rainy day entertainment, seek shelter at the grass-roofed Rheged Centre in Penrith, home to a cinema, a fab soft play centre and several exhibitions about the Lakeland region’s heritage (30 minutes).

  • Wander through one of the Romantic poets’ most important haunts at Wordsworth House and Garden in Cockermouth, the gateway to the Lake District (40 minutes). 

  • Head over the border into Scotland and explore the royal burgh of Dumfries, the site of Robert Burns’ House and the spectacular Devorgilla Bridge (an hour).

Delve deeper

The Solway Firth coast

The Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a sparsely-populated area covered by salt marshes, mud flats and sand dunes – impressive landscapes that look even more spectacular against the hilly backdrop of the far-off Scottish Lowlands. 

Newcomers can start off at the Solway Firth Discovery Centre in Silloth or park up somewhere along the coast path, pretty much all of which is home to varied and interesting landscapes. 

Talkin Tarn Country Park

Talkin Tarn Country Park is the place to come for active times in a scenic natural setting. Set about nine miles outside of Carlisle city centre, this is one of Cumbria’s best places to try out wild swimming, boating, fishing or orienteering. 

Into the Eden Valley

While the lush landscapes of the Lake District are (quite rightly) well-known the world over, Cumbria’s Eden Valley is something of a hidden gem. 

This area has historic sandstone villages like Dufton and attractive market towns like Appleby-in-Westmorland, while walkers and cyclists will find endless exceptional scenery along waymarked routes like the Pennine Way and Cumbria Cycle Way.

Here’s how

Ready to choose your base for a break near Carlisle? Use the tick-box filters on this page to find campsites by facilities, themes or local leisure options, or keep reading to learn more about our most popular options:

Drawn to Carlisle? You might also be interested in other destinations in the North West of England. Try Whitehaven or Kendal if you’re keen to stick to Cumbria, or head east to explore the wilds of Northumberland National Park.

Still looking for inspiration? Have a look at our camping guide for a 101 on camping, glamping and everything in between.