Things to see and do

 
lady dressed as Queen Mary standing in front of Queen Mary's Tower

Queen Mary’s Tower

Visit the turret in which Mary, Queen of Scots was held captive from 1567, by order of her cousin Queen Elizabeth I.

Fleeing from her rebellious Scottish subjects, Mary was heir-apparent to the English throne. She was also a Catholic, and ally of the French, so far too dangerous to be allowed to remain free. 

She was imprisoned in the tower under the watchful eye of Sir Francis Knollys. He allowed the Queen to take walks at the front of the castle on what is now known as ‘Lady’s Walk’.

illustration from exhibition at Carlisle Castle

Exhibition

Step into the rich and turbulent past of Carlisle Castle in the exhibition that brings the castle’s most famous inhabitants to life.  Discover their stories, from Mary Queen of Scots, and Bonnie Prince Charlie, to notorious Border Reivers such as Kinmont Willie Armstrong. Hear about his dramatic rescue in the exhibition.

Discover how the castle was occupied by the Scottish King, David I, during a long period of turbulent border conflicts between Scotland and England

Easily accessible in the Old Militia Store, the exhibition includes a 3D virtual tour of the keep and Captain's Tower.

stone carvings

Prisoners’ Carvings

Uncover the truth behind the mysterious stone carvings found in the castle keep.  The beautifully crafted pieces of grafitti include images of a knight, a mermaid and many animals. See if you can spot a stag, a fish, and a boar…

Originally thought to have been carved by prisoners, recent research suggests that they may be the work of bored prison guards. Probably dating back to the 15th century they show support for the ruling family of the time, the Dacres, and include images of their crests.

view of Carlisle Castle

Warden’s Apartment

Step into this suite of rooms, once the bedroom of the King of England, Richard III. It's now known as the Warden's Apartments. Carlisle Castle was the seat of the Lord Warden of the West March, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later King Richard IIl filled this role.

Don't forget to visit the Captain's Tower, which is one of the best preserved gatehouses in the country.

Cumbria's Museum of Military Life

Cumbria's Museum of Military Life

Carlisle’s newest visitor attraction tells the 300-year story of Cumbria’s County Infantry Regiment and its soldiers past and present. Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life features a state of the art exhibition including a First World War trench environment, immersive audio/visual displays and an interactive trail for young people, as well as a huge variety of uniforms, medals, weapons and silver.

The Museum is located in Alma building in the Outer Ward of Carlisle Castle. Separate admission applies, however a joint tickets for both the Museum and the Castle are available. For more information visit their website. 

'step into englands story