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Carlisle Castle and Cumbria's Museum of Military Life are currently closed but we hope to reopen on 3 December for pre-booked visits. From Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December we will be keeping a selection of our sites open for local visitors and Members. These sites all have large outdoor spaces, and they can be opened in a way that protects the health of all our visitors, staff and volunteers. We have additional safety measures in place at all of our sites including social distancing, enhanced cleaning and limits on visitor numbers. You will need to book in advance in order to visit, and we ask everyone to please bear in mind the government’s latest advice on essential journeys before you plan your visit. To find out which sites are open, how to book tickets and what to expect when you visit click on the links below. We hope to resume our normal winter opening times from 3 December, and will update you when we have more news. If you have a booking for while we are closed you will be automatically refunded within 10 working days.
We've made some changes to help keep you safe, and things might be a little different when you visit. Here's everything you need to know.
A large Roman fort is established on the site of the later castle. This becomes the nucleus for a prosperous town called Luguvalium, occupied by the Romans until the end of the 4th century
William II advances north and defeats local warlord Dolfin. William takes Carlisle, makes the town a borough and builds the first castle on part of the Roman site.
Find out more about the history of Carlisle Castle
The Scots hold the town and castle to siege in 1173, 1174, 1216, 1296, 1297, 1315 and 1461, making it the most frequently besieged place in the British Isles.
Henry I visits Carlisle and orders that the castle be fortified. This may be the origin of the keep.
Queen Mary's Tower is added to provide better accommodation.
Families and clans on both sides of the border form armed bands of 'reivers' who regularly rob and pillage their neighbours, causing a prolonged economic decline.
Henry VIII orders a review of Carlisle's defences, resulting in the largest building campaign since the 12th century.
Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England and is housed in the Warden's Tower, later Queen Mary's Tower, at Elizabeth I's expense.
The castle is used as a reivers' prison. The notorious reiver William Armstrong ('Kinmont Willie') is rescued when armed friends use ladders to break into the castle.
In the Civil War the castle is garrisoned for Charles I. The Scots and Parliamentarians starve out the castle. Almost a year later, the garrison finally surrenders.
Prince Charles Edward Stuart takes the city and castle with 400 men. The Duke of Cumberland besieges the castle and the Jacobites surrender. Many are imprisoned and 31 are executed.
Fearing revolution, the government maintains several provincial garrisons. Carlisle Castle becomes an important army barracks.
Many features are destroyed or altered. A dual carriageway separates castle from city.
English Heritage shares the castle with the Territorial Army, the county's emergency planning services and Cumbria's Museum of Military Life.
Learn more about the history of Carlisle Castle