carlisle castle

A Fortress of Resilience: The Untold Stories of Carlisle Castle

Located in the scenic region of Cumbria, England, is the impressive Carlisle Castle. This historic fortress has stood the test of time and has plenty of fascinating tales to share. The castle exudes an aura of history, with its walls echoing the memories of soldiers and ancient secrets. Imagine standing amidst the towering walls covered in ivy and moss, as the wind whispers stories from a distant past. Over the years, the castle has witnessed the rise and fall of kingdoms, withstood sieges and battles, and provided refuge to kings and queens. In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating legends of the Border Reivers and the turbulent stories of Scottish invasions. We will also uncover the secrets that lie within the castle’s dungeons. Get ready to be transported back in time as we bring the castle’s storied past to life, igniting your imagination and leaving you wanting more.

LocationCumbria, England (Google Map Location)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byThe English Heritage
Official WebsiteCarlisle Castle
Rooms AvailableNo

Carlisle Castle History

Carlisle Castle
Carlisle Castle By Graham Robson, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The castle, originally built as a Roman fort in the 2nd century AD, holds a significant place in history due to its strategic location near the Scottish border. It has served as a coveted stronghold in various conflicts and gained a reputation as an imposing fortress. Throughout the Anglo-Scottish wars, it witnessed numerous sieges and changed hands between English and Scottish forces. The year-long siege of 1644-1645 during the English Civil War is one of the most memorable episodes in its history, where the castle withstood a severe attack by Parliamentarian forces. Mary Queen of Scots sought refuge within the castle’s confines on two occasions, leaving an indelible mark. She became a prisoner and was executed later. Visitors can explore the castle’s dungeons and discover the infamous “licking stones” where prisoners awaiting trial were believed to have tasted the stone to prove their innocence.

Carlisle Castle Architecture: A Textual Walkthrough

Upon entering Carlisle Castle, one cannot help but be taken aback by the impressive architecture on display. The castle’s exterior, made primarily of beautiful red sandstone, is truly stunning. The warm shades, weathered by time, convey a sense of strength and endurance that is palpable throughout. As you make your way through the castle, the blend of architectural styles on display is truly captivating. 
From the Norman keep, which speaks to the castle’s earliest origins, to the Gothic style windows added during the Victorian era, each section tells a unique story. As you continue exploring, you will come across the Tower of Queen Mary, which stands tall and proud, serving as a testament to its historical importance. This impressive structure, built in the late 14th century, showcases the fine craftsmanship of the era with its sturdy walls and elegant design. The sense of regal power it evokes is truly remarkable, transporting visitors back in time. 
Make sure to visit the castle’s great hall, where grand feasts were once held, and its enchanting chapel, adorned with intricate stonework and delicate stained glass windows. As you climb the castle’s towers, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, offering a glimpse into the strategic importance of this fortress. From the battlements, one can almost imagine knights in armour, defending the castle against would-be invaders.

Carlisle Castle Interesting Facts: Myths & Legends

Carlisle Castle
Carlisle Castle, By Gerd Eichmann , is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Myth – The Curse of the Border Reivers: The Border Reivers, notorious raiders from the Scottish-English borderlands, are believed to have left a curse upon Carlisle Castle. According to the myth, anyone who disturbs the castle’s walls or attempts to steal from it will be plagued by misfortune. While this is purely folklore, it adds an air of mystery to the castle’s history.

Legend – The Sleeping Army: A captivating legend suggests that within the depths of the castle, a dormant army lies in slumber, waiting for the day when they will rise and defend the city of Carlisle. It is believed that these soldiers, clad in ancient armour, will awaken in times of great peril to protect the castle and its inhabitants.

Fact – Royal Refuge: Carlisle Castle played a significant role as a refuge for Scottish royals. It housed Mary Queen of Scots on two separate occasions during her tumultuous life, once in 1568 and again in 1569.


1. Where is Carlisle Castle located?

Carlisle Castle is located in the city of Carlisle, which is situated in the county of Cumbria in northwest England. The castle is positioned near the border between England and Scotland, making it strategically significant throughout history. It stands proudly within the city’s boundaries, offering visitors a glimpse into its storied past and architectural grandeur.

2. Who built Windsor Castle?

Windsor Castle, one of the most famous castles in the world, was originally built by William the Conqueror, the first Norman King of England. Construction of the castle began in the 11th century, shortly after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Over the centuries, Windsor Castle has undergone expansions, renovations, and additions, resulting in its current magnificent state. It has served as a royal residence for over 900 years and continues to be a favored residence of the British royal family.

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