The Anglo-Scottish borderlands, particularly the area in and around Carlisle, have been well documented throughout history as the location for many battles, romantic trysts, and in some cases murders. The end result is an area that is rich in history, and monuments, that lay testament to its past. This, along with a whole host of modern and traditional countryside attractions, has helped maintain the popularity of this part of North West England with tourists.
Central to life here is the Cumbrian City Carlisle, which is a haven for those interested in local history. Popular attractions include Carlisle Castle, Carlisle Cathedral, and the unusual Citadel Drum Towers, former home of the county court and gaol. Carlisle also has a racecourse, substantial shopping area, nightlife and entertainment for all the family.
The world famous Hadrian’s Wall also runs through the city, and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The wall itself runs coast to coast, from the South Shields area over to the Solway Firth. Although only some parts of the wall are still intact, ramblers, cyclists, and those using the Hadrian’s Wall Bus Service, can follow the line of the wall in either direction out of Carlisle, visiting the remaining parts, or the ruins of various fortresses along the way. These include the Holm Cultran Abbey, Birdoswald Roman Fort, and Chesters Roman Fort and Museum.
Away from Carlisle and the route of Hadrian’s Wall are further historic sites, including Hexham Abbey in Northumberland, now used as a Parish Church, Hermitage Castle in the remote hamlet of Liddesdale, which was once a key defensive structure in the ‘Borderlands’, and Naworth Castle, a medieval structure owned for generations by the prolific Howard family.
For those not interested in history, a trip to one of the market towns in the area such as Brampton, or more remote countryside locations such as Bewcastle, could be added to your schedule. The latter is an ideal base to enjoy outdoor pursuits like mountain biking and pony trekking, or learn more about the countryside at Low Luckens Organic Resource Centre.
The Northwest has something of a romantic air about it too, thanks to the notorious hotspot Gretna Green. A favourite of runaway wedding couples, it still has appeal as a wedding location today, with many of the thriving businesses geared towards this industry.