Penrith Tourist Information
Penrith, Cumbria’s capital until 1070 stands in the beautiful Vale of Eden a few miles outside the Lake District boundary.
Penrith is an ancient town with a long and varied history including Roman occupation, cross-border raids and burning, and plague in which more than 2000 inhabitants died. Despite the misfortunes, the town prospered, and by the 1700’s had become a cattle market of considerable importance.
The present town centre comprises still of the market sites of Dockray, Castle Mart, Corn Mart and Market Place which together with Burrowgate and Sandgate are the towns oldest streets dating back to the 13 th C.
The narrow confines of the streets were deliberately created as a form of protection during the cross-border raids and to better control the cattle herding.
Penrith Castle began life as a Pele Tower in 1399 and was developed into fortress size for the Duke of Gloucester who later became Richard 111 in 1483. He was to die two years later at the Battle of Bosworth when his army met that of Henry Tudor. Henry was crowned Henry V11 and so ended the War of the Roses. Richard has no known resting place.
By the 1500’s, the castle had fallen in to disrepair. The imposing sandstone remains stand on the town’s outskirts in Castle Park and opposite the North Lakes Railway Station. The tower of Saint Andrew's Church dates from the 13/14 th C.
The church contains much of historical interest. There are paintings by the Penrith born artist Jacob Thompson, and a candelabra presented by that man of fearsome reputation, the Duke of Cumberland, in recognition of Penrith’s loyalty during the Jacobite Rebellion.
It is reported that Bonnie Prince Charlie had lodgings in the towns George Hotel during his army’s march south in the attempt to seize the Crown.
St. Andrew's churchyard contains two 3 metres high crosses with Christian and Viking carvings which are separated by four 10th C tombstones known as the “Giants Grave”, the supposed grave of Owen Caesarius, King of Cumbria 900-937A.D.
The 1719 Signal Tower of Beacon Pike stands on Beacon Hill overlooking the town. Here, fires were lit to warn of invasion from across the border and also used during the Napoleonic Wars. Folklore has it that the ghost of a hanged felon roams the slopes. However, on a clear day, the pastoral views from the summit are glorious.
Penrith was the home of William Wordsworth’s mother, and his grandfather, William Cookson owned a house in Devonshire Street, whose place is now occupied by a shop. William and Dorothy, his future wife, attended The Dame Birkett School.
Penrith is a welcoming friendly community with plenty of shops, chain stores, specialist shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants, some of which cater for those with Italian, Spanish, Indian or Chinese preferences.
Busy market days are Tuesdays and Saturdays and a Farmers Market once a month.
The Auction Mart held near to Junction 40 of the M6 is Cumbria’s biggest outdoor market.
All Cumbria and The Lake District are easily reached from Penrith. The beautiful lakes of Haweswater and Ullswater are only a few miles distant and you can soon be in Windermere via the winding Kirkstone Pass, A6 or M6.
To the north lays the capital of Carlisle and close by, the symbolic Hadrians Wall. To the west is Keswick, Bassenthwaite Lake and Wordsworth’s birthplace of Cockermouth.
The Northern Fells of Carrock Fell, Bowscale Fell and Saddleback provide fine walking country, and cyclists will discover miles of quiet tracks in the surrounding countryside.
How to get there:
By rail: The West Coast Main Line from London to Scotland has a station at Penrith.
By road: Penrith is easily reached by exiting at J40 of the M6 motorway.
Or travel across country from the A1 along the A66.
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Aira Force Waterfall (Ullswater)
Stunning scenery and a walkers paradise. Walks to Aira Force give you views across Ullswater and link with wider walks around Gowbarrow Fell.
Watermillock, Penrith, Cumbria
Phone: 017684 82881
Early 13th C castle, built to evade Scots invaders, restored by Lady Anne Clifford. Dogs must be kept on leads.
1.5 miles south of Penrith.
Phone: 01768 862488
Hutton-in-the-Forest Historic House
Historic home of Lord & Lady Inglewood. House dates from 14th C. Fine collection of furniture. Extensive gardens and woodland walk. Tea room.
Hutton in the Forest, Penrith, Cumbria
Phone: 017684 84449
Noahs Ark Softplay Centre
A softplay centre for children aged 8 and under with refreshment facilities.
36-40 Burrowgate, Penrith, Cumbria, CA117TB
Phone: 01768 890640
Situated in the towns Castle Park. It was begun in 1399 as a defence against cross border raids by the Scots. A good deal remains of an important piece of the regions history.
Mayburgh Henge and King Arthur’s Round Table
Open all year.
Rheged Discovery Centre
Cumbria's leading day out.
Lakeland Birds of Prey Centre
A beautiful setting in the grounds of Lowther Castle. Visitor participation during displays by falcons, hawks, eagles, buzzards and owls.
Phone: 01931 712746.
Parkfoot Pony Trekking Centre
Catering for all riding abilities. Rides are especially safe for young children as there is no road work required. One to three hour treks on offer.
Situated directly on the fell side overlooking lake Ullswater. Caters for beginners to experienced riders, totally off-road, 1, 2 and 3 hour rides available, all accompanied by experienced trek leaders.
Howtown, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2NA
Phone: 017684 86696
Phone: +44 (0)1768 866633
Address: 24 Carleton Rd, Penrith CA11 8JN
We are based in Penrith and have 3 six seater taxis and 4 four seater taxis. All vehicles are maintained to a high standard and are kept clean and fresh.
The drivers are friendly and willing to offer assistance where required. All have valid CRB and social services checks.
We offer a friendly and reliable service and undertake all types of work including local authority and corporate contracts.
Phone: 01768 865432 or 01768 867890
Fax: 01768 867890
Address: 39 Great Dockray Penrith, CA11 7BN
Phone: 01768 890890
Address: Newton Rd, Penrith CA11 9ED
Able Travel Cumbria
Able Travel Cumbria provides a taxi service to the local community and visitors to the area.
• Prompt & Reliable service
• Contract work
• Lake District tours
• Competitive rates
• UK airport, rail and bus transfers
• Clean, well maintained vehicles
• Non-smoking vehicles
Phone: 01768 895969
Address: 1 Newlands Pl, Penrith CA11 9DT
Phone: 01768 865722
Address: 1A Sandgate, Penrith CA11 7TP
Phone: 01768 863354
Address: 14 Old London Rd, Penrith CA11 8JJ
Phone: 01768 865070
Address: 64 Pennine Way, Penrith CA11 8EA
Phone: 01768 899298
Address: 9 Pategill Rd, Penrith CA11 8LN
Phone: 01768 890731
Address: 25 Laburnum Way, Penrith CA11 8UJ
Bailey A & S
Phone: 017684 82213
Address: Glenedge, Glenridding, Penrith CA11 0PG
Phone: 01768 899066
Address: 3 Moorside, Yanwath, Penrith CA10 2LA