The county capital of Cumbria and its only city, CARLISLE is also the repository of much of the region’s history, its strategic location having been fought over for more than 2000 years, since the construction of Hadrian’s Wall – part of which survives at nearby Birdoswald Fort. The later struggle with the Scots defined the very nature of Carlisle as a border city: William Wallace was repelled in 1297 and Robert the Bruce eighteen years later, but Bonnie Prince Charlie’s troops took Carlisle in 1745 after a six-day siege, holding it for six weeks before surrendering to the Duke of Cumberland. It’s not surprising, then, that the city trumpets itself as “historic Carlisle”, and is well worth a night’s stop. Edinburgh is under two hours north, and Carlisle is also the terminus of the historic Settle to Carlisle Railway.

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