Penrith Castle

Katie Hale
Penrith Castle
Creative Tourist

If you come to Penrith by train, the castle is first thing you see as you exit the platform, its rich red sandstone looking warm and vibrant in the sunshine, or dramatic and brooding in the rain. Cross the moat via a wooden footbridge and climb the slope, and you’ll find yourself in the shadow of the castle’s high eastern walls, which still stand at their original height. Follow the cobbled path inside, where you can wander between the ruined walls, and try to imagine life in Penrith’s second oldest building (the oldest is St Andrew’s Church tower, in the town centre).

Penrith Castle’s most famous resident (or infamous, depending on which version of history you believe) is none other than Richard III, who lived here for periods from 1471 to 1485, before becoming king. Due to Penrith’s ongoing skirmishes as a border town, Richard was tasked with keeping the peace, both against the invading Scots, and between the locals.

But the castle predates Richard by about a hundred years. It was built in the late 14th century by Ralph Neville, grandfather of Richard Neville, Warwick the Kingmaker, who played such a key role in the Wars of the Roses.

On a clear day, the castle boasts a view across to Blencathra, or ‘Saddleback’, as the mountain is known locally, inside the Lake District National Park – and it’s easy to see why the castle made such a good vantage point. Today, Penrith Castle sits at the edge of Castle Park: an early 20th century public gardens, which is home to tennis courts, a bowling green, play area and café.

Penrith Castle is managed by English Heritage and is free to visit.

Please note: much of the castle is accessed via steps, and limited disabled access is available.

Castle TerracePenrithCA11 7EA View map
Visit Now

What's on near Penrith Castle

Where to go near Penrith Castle

Cumbria
Restaurant
Grants of CastleGate

This modern bistro and bar, open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday, serves up classic British pub fare reimagined to its most indulgent.

Cumbria
Restaurant
J&J Graham

Right in the heart of the town centre, deli and bakery J&J Graham is a Penrith icon that dates back to 1793.

Cumbria
Restaurant
Simple Goodness

Rich soups, salads, hearty meals and homemade cakes are freshly made using seasonal and organic incgredients whereever possible from this vegetarian takeaway bistro.

Cumbria
Restaurant
Xavier’s Café & Wine Bar

Xavier’s is Penrith’s answer to Paris’ wine-infused café culture. An elegant spot to unwind in both the daytime and evening.

Cumbria
Café or Coffee Shop
The Yard Kitchen

Boasting an array of hot and cold food including homemade cakes, The Yard Kitchen is a café with a distinctly quirky feel.

Cumbria
Cinema
Alhambra Cinema

An independent cinema in the heart of town, the Lonsdale Alhambra is, for many locals, a treasure of Penrith.

Cumbria
Restaurant
La Casita

La Casita serves the most authentic tapas in Penrith – the only thing not-so-Spanish about La Casita is their high quality fresh Cumbrian ingredients.

Penrith Town Centre
Cumbria
Tourist Attraction
Penrith Town Centre

A blend of historic and contemporary gives Penrith its edge, ancient tradition sitting side-by-side with trendy wine bars, hipster cafes and fine dining.

Cumbria
Gallery
EVAN Gallery & Studios

A gallery and studio space displaying works by local artists – including paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, jewellery and textiles, as well as gift items.

Cumbria
Event venue
Penrith Old Fire Station

Main venue for Eden Arts, an artist-led organisation based in Eden in Cumbria creating projects around mass participation, local distinctiveness and digital engagement, from Picnic Cinema to The Winter Droving.

Bank House
Cumbria
Hotel
Bank House

Close to the centre of Penrith, Bank House is a stylish family-run bed and breakfast, in a Victorian house with a traditional garden. 

Culture Guides