Carlisle isn't Britain's prettiest city, but it has history and heritage aplenty. Precariously perched on the frontier between England and Scotland, in the area once ominously dubbed the 'Debatable Lands', Cumbria's capital is a city with a notoriously stormy past: sacked by the Vikings, pillaged by the Scots, and plundered by the Border Reivers, the city has been on the frontline of England's defences for more than 1000 years.
Reminders of the city's past are still evident in its great crimson castle and cathedral, built from the same rosy red sandstone as most of the city's houses. It might not have the wow factor of some of northern England's other regenerated conurbations, but Carlisle certainly has enough to justify at least a couple of days of investigation.
Carlisle destination guides
Hadrian's Wall Trail
Discover Roman history in Britain as you walk along Hadrian's Wall