Carlisle and Keswick, Cumbria

Creative Tourist

Carlisle is a city framed by its famous castle and still showing the battle scars of centuries of English-Scottish border skirmishes. Tullie House should be the first port of call here for any art, culture or history lover, bringing together an impressive contemporary art space, the Roman Frontier Gallery, and Old Tullie House. This latter gallery pays homage to the Pre-Raphaelites championed by John Ruskin, an intellectual who also inspired the William Morris-led Arts and Crafts Movement. Ruskin’s belief that artists should be ‘true to nature’ still resonates in Cumbria today and is picked up by contemporary art agitators in the area, Grizedale Arts.

Turn back now to the North Lakes, and to Keswick. A ‘honeypot’ town, it can be busy during high season, yet despite the crowds manages to squeeze in a Jazz Festival (May), Mountain Festival (May) and Beer Festival (Jun). There are other off-beat cultural delights too, including the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, a self-styled “Victorian cabinet of curiosities” whose exhibits include the musical stones of Skiddaw. Large enough to house a few commercial galleries, such as Northern Lights and Viridian, Keswick also hosts the Theatre by the Lake, a beautiful, lakeside theatre that produces and performs its own works and whose roots lie in a radical, touring theatre company that parked up here one day in 1961 and just never left.

Our top picks

Tullie House

Tullie House, Castle Street, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA3 8TP - Visit now

This beautifully converted Jacobean mansion is home to an impressive collection of fine art, local history and Roman artefacts. Outdoors, the courtyard is a real suntrap and the café’s terrace overlooking the gardens is ideal for alfresco dining.

Tullie House

Keswick Museum & Art Gallery

Keswick Museum & Art Gallery, Station Road, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4NF

Situated in the beautiful Fitz park, no trip to Keswick is complete without a trip to the wonderful Keswick museum and Art gallery. It is A wonderful exhibit showcasing aspects of the landscape, history and culture of the surrounding area.

Keswick Museum & Art Gallery, image courtesy of venue

Theatre by the Lake

Theatre by the Lake, Lakeside, Cumbria, Keswick, CA12 5DJ - Visit now

On the shores of Derwentwater lies the Theatre by the lake. This stunning purpose build theatre and studio offers a varied and excellent programme of theatre including both mainstream and new writings, also many interesting talks and events.

Old Fire Station

Old Fire Station, Peter Street, Carlisle, CA3 8QP - Visit now

Situated in Carlisle this venue offers a variety of spaces for live performances, workshops, exhibitions and more, encourage local art and artists and attract international acts. Despite its new role as an arts centre, the venue retains much of its original character and charm, making it a beloved landmark in the heart of Carlisle.

Old Fire Station

Honister Slate Mine

Honister Slate Mine, Honister Pass, Borrowdale, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5XN - Visit now

The last working slate mine in England is also home to a host of breath-taking adventure activities. Try your hand at canyoning along the course of a waterfall, attempt the Via Ferrata Xtreme along exposed mountain ledges and up vertical ladder climbs, or cross the longest high wire bridge in Europe, over 1,000 feet above the valley floor.

Courtesy of Honister Slate Mine

Rosehill Theatre

Rosehill Theatre, Moresby, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 6SE - Visit now

Rosehill Theatre, which has been described as a ‘rose-red silk lined jewel box’, smallest and most intimate theatres but it has played host to some of the great names from the world of theatre and music. Offering a varied arts and entertainment programme, the theatre occupies a truly exceptional setting on the hills above Whitehaven with stunning views over Solway Firth and inland to the Lake District.

Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven
Rosehill Theatre

The Brickyard

The Brickyard, Richmond Hall, 14 Fisher Street, Carlisle, CA3 8RN - Visit now

The Brickyard is Carlisle’s longest-running independent music venue, offering live performances in an intimate century-old church hall. The Brickyard draws a vibrant and eclectic line-up of local and international acts spanning every genre, from indie to hip hop to electronica.

The Brickyard

Where to go in Cumbria

Gilpin Lake House

Gilpin Lake House is a stunning Lake District getaway, hosting just 16 guests on 100 acres of private grounds, with its own lake.

The Armitt Museum
The Armitt Museum

Full of interesting and unusual objects, The Armitt is a museum that shares the history and heritage of Ambleside and its people.

Wordsworth Grasmere

From book launches to writing groups to poetry nights, there’s always something going on at Wordsworth Grasmere.

Tourist Attraction
Brockhole on Windermere

Attempt to hit a clay flying at 65mph or navigate the obstacles along a wood chip track on a Krazy Kart, all within the grounds of a 19th century Arts and Crafts style house in Cumbria

Hadrian’s Wall

No other World Heritage Site in Europe provides the public with as much access to so many archaeological ruins as Hadrian’s Wall.

Holker Hall & Gardens
Event venue
Holker Hall & Gardens

One of Cumbria’s finest historical sites, Holker Hall and Garden offers a gloriously asymmetrical pile of rambling galleries and green spaces.

Morecambe Bay

A significant natural landmark along the west coast, Morecambe Bay is home to an open-water swimming group who have over 2000 members.

Tourist Attraction
Hell Gill

There’s plenty of wild swimming to be done at Hell Gill, but there’s more to explore in this 500m long slot canyon.


Wastwater is the deepest lake in England at 258 feet and one of the most dramatic spots in the country to swim.

Tourist Attraction

Perhaps no water in England is more storied than Windermere, where swimmers who enjoy a challenge have naturally flocked here for centuries.

Cumbria Visitor Guides

Walks in Penrith
Walks in Penrith

A selection of some of most rewarding and beautiful walks in Penrith, full of chances to catch open air and natural attraction.

Walks in Kendal

A round-up of the best walks in Kendal, including the town centre, official tours and the surrounding area by Creative Tourist.

Museums in Cumbria

Cumbria is studded with fantastic museums - read our picks of the best here.

Literary places in Cumbria
Literary places in Cumbria

If it was good enough for Wordsworth and Wainwright, then Cumbria surely has much to offer the literature lover who strayed off the M6. From Kendal in the south to Carlisle in the north, we sniff out the best bookish shenanigans.

Art Galleries in Cumbria

Ranging from impressive, nationally-significant collections in Grade listed buildings, to historic houses that now have a particular focus on local, contemporary artists, here's our guide to Cumbria's collection of art galleries.

Restaurants in Cumbria

Cumbria is far from short of good places to eat – here’s our guide to restaurants to put on your map of the area.

Music Venues in Cumbria

When the sun goes down and you've had your fair share of Cumbria's great outdoors, head to the area's music venues to catch folk and jazz sessions, as well as regular performances by touring musicians.

Theatres in Cumbria
Theatres in Cumbria

For striking performances in the truly beautiful setting of the Lake District - check out our pick of theatres in Cumbria.

Tasting Menus in The North

Looking for the finest luxury multi-course restaurants in Manchester? Look no further. We've picked out the very best tasting menus in the city - just make sure you have deep pockets.

Things to Do in Liverpool
Spotlight on

Things to Do in Liverpool

Our guide to the thriving city of Liverpool, where new creative futures are written against the backdrop of a unique history.

Take me there

Culture Guides


We go all in on festivals, with a round-up of everything from city-spanning giants to grassroots gems you may not know about.


There's no rest for the art lover - this month brings outdoor sculpture, musings on water, political drawings and Liverpool Biennial 2023!

Classical Music

Summer's classical music calendar is filling up nicely! Read our top picks of concerts happening in Manchester and the North.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House

The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Gerry Potter (credit Lee Baxter)

Books are big this summer, with festival readings, poetry slams, creative writing activities and famous faces all putting in an appearance.

Food and Drink

All signs point toward June being a scorcher of a month, so let’s take a look at all things summery food and drink.

Tours and Activities

From literary activities to brilliant independent shops, keep your minds and homes filled with the good stuff this month.

Theatre in Manchester

Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.