University freshers guide: How to make the most of being a student in Carlisle


Starting university can be a daunting experience.

It's not just about getting to grips with the academic side of things but also about finding your feet in a new city.

While Carlisle may be one of the country's smallest cities it's packed with plenty to do, see and places to drink.

The Great Border City as its known is home to thousands of years of history while also being a stone's throw away from the Lake District, the latest Unesco World Heritage Site.

Here's everything you need to help you along your way...

Places to eat

Students' budgets may be tight, but you're occasionally going to want to ditch the cookbook in search of a tasty meal. Carlisle has plenty to offer in terms of cuisine.

Here's some of the city's top offerings:

Dutch Uncle - Carlyle's Court

 Sam Norman, owner of the Dutch Uncle

Sam Norman, owner of the Dutch Uncle

One of the coolest casual-dining spots in the city, known for its cocktails, Italian-inspired menu and buzzy atmosphere. The sister venue to the Shabby Scholar was shortlisted for Cumbria Life’s 2016 Best Local Restaurant within two years of opening. Pizzas, pasta and trattoria-style dishes make up the short but varied menu.

Quarter Lounge - Treasury Court

It’s all about the burgers at this glass-fronted ‘bar and kitchen’: made each morning using freshly minced Lakeland brisket, they come topped with cheese, chilli, chorizo, even pulled pork and slaw. Steaks, salads and sandwiches are also on the lunch and dinner menus, alongside cocktails, designer beers and a gin list.

Fantails - Wetheral

If it's some finer dining you're after or a bigger celebration then a trip to Wetheral, five miles east of Carlisle, comes highly recommended. In a former blacksmiths’ shop on the village green, this Wetheral institution offers formal and informal dining beneath 16th-century beams. Wraps, steak pies and sausages feature on the bar menu, while the richer dishes - braised fell-bred lamb shoulder, pan-fried Goosnargh duck breast - are particularly good value mid week.

Pad Thai Streat - Nelson Bridge

Not all good food needs to be served sitting down. This street food stall is one of the highest-rated eateries in Carlisle on Trip Advisor and there's always a sizable queue willing to wait to sample its Thai cuisine. Serving a range of curries, Thai soup and other dishes it's one of the city's worst kept secrets.

Cakes & Ale Cafe - Castle Street

 Cakes & Ale

Cakes & Ale

Described by many as a hidden treasure Cakes & Ale is the perfect place to sit back and get lost in the world. Set in the Bookcase book shop where visitors have many an hour exploring the thousands of books on offer, the cafe offers the chance sample a sandwich, scone or piece of cake in a unique atmosphere you won't find anywhere else.

Places to enjoy a drink

After studying hard everyone is entitled to a few well-earned beers or it might just be a proper cup of coffee you're after.

Here's all you need to know about where to drink in Carlisle.


 View from the top of Botchergate

View from the top of Botchergate

Known as the city's nightlife capital containing a range of pubs, bars and clubs to cater to everyone's tastes. If you after a cheaper pint then a stop off at Woodrow Wilson or the William Rufus (Lloyds) is a must but if you fancy a dance then places like Walkabout, De Ja Vu and Havana can offer something different.

Concrete - off Lowther Street

The quintessential student location. The underground club is home to the city's most popular student nights, including Teapot Tuesday where, you guessed it, entry is free with a teapot or mug. Many of the freshers parties will be held there.

Devonshire Street area

 Hell Below

Hell Below

Quickly becoming Carlisle's alternative nightlife hub with several cool and trendy bars that are among the city's most popular. Places like Hell Below, the Thin White Duke and Eaten by Monsters all offer food, cocktails and good music. Just around corner are other popular haunts like the Last Zebra and Circle bar.

Drovers Rest - Monkhill, near Carlisle

Just outside of Carlisle in the village of Monkhill locals can boast one of the best pubs in the country. The Drovers Rest has scooped several awards from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and offers something a little different to many of the city centre pubs. It need a trip out there in the car or on the bus but it's certainly worth the journey.

Foxes Cafe Lounge - Abbey Street

 Luke Jackson of Foxes

Luke Jackson of Foxes

Coffee culture has definitely made it to Carlisle and one of the city's most popular venues is Foxes. A meeting place for friends, family and other groups the cafe is home to Bruce and Luke's coffee, a city success story in itself.

Places you need to visit

Studying may be the main reason for enrolling as a student in Carlisle, but you'll no doubt have a bit of free time to explore the delights of the city.

Why not visit these places while you're in Carlisle:

Bitts and Rickerby Parks

 Sunbathing in Rickerby Park

Sunbathing in Rickerby Park

Carlisle is very lucky to have such wonderful green spaces right next to the city centre. A stroll into the park can do wonders for the soul and there is so much to see. More importantly the beauty spots are student budget friendly and won't cost anything to enjoy. Take a peaceful stress-busting riverside walk in both parks which have superb views of the city and its castle.

Carlisle Castle

Speaking of the castle. You can't fail to notice the huge walls of the castle which has stood proudly over the city for nine centuries. It has withstood many sieges, contained a valuable royal prisoner, and been home to the King's Own Royal Border Regiment. A quintessential visit for anybody looking becoming accustomed to Carlisle.

Brunton Park

 Captain Danny Grainger

Captain Danny Grainger

The home of Carlisle United. If you're into football then Brunton Park should be your first point of call for some Saturday afternoon sporting action. The Blues play in League Two and there's very rarely a dull moment on the Brunton Park pitch... just Google Jimmy Glass if you're unsure.

The Old Fire Station

Relatively new on the scene and bouncing back from the floods is the Old Fire Station - an arts venue for the city and since it’s opening it has gone down a storm. Several bands and theatre groups now play the venue and it has McGrew’s bistro where customers can get a coffee, a pint, breakfast, lunch and snacks. Whatever your taste in music or performance keep an eye on their what's on guide.

Talkin Tarn - Brampton

 Rowers on Talkin Tarn

Rowers on Talkin Tarn

Everyone knows that Cumbria's got the Lake District. But further north in the county sits Talkin Tarn, a beauty spot popular with all walks of life. It's the ideal escape from city living and a great spot to enjoy a spot of lunch with friends and keep fit by walking or running around the tarn.

Things you'll need to survive

The work hard, play harder motto might be at the top of the list for most students, but you'll still need to make sure you eat and know where your nearest doctors is from time to time.


* Nearest to Fusehill Street: Asda, St Nicholas Gate

* Nearest to Brampton Road: Morrisons, Kingstown Road


* Fusehill Medical Practice (next to Fusehill Street Campus), Fusehill Medical Centre, 01228 527559

* Carlisle Healthcare (with practices at Brunswick Street, Sycamore Lane, Eden Street and Eastern Way) 01228 588121

* Eden Medical Group, Port Road, 01228 524477


The NHS provides an out of hours emergency dental service through Dental Direct. The contact for the north Cumbria area is 01228 603900.


Late night pharmacies are available at:

* Lloyds (inside Sainsbury's) Church Street, 01228 533915. Open until 11pm Monday to Friday.

* Asda Pharmacy, Chandler Way, Kingstown, 01228 554119. Open until 9pm Monday to Saturday.


* The city's bus station is off Lonsdale Street where the main Stagecoach customer office can be found. The company runs many of the routes in and out of Carlisle. Their number is 01228 819090. Reays coaches also run inner city routes, more information on

* Virgin Trains run manage Carlisle's train station in Court Square. Info on routes can be found at

A few tips on how to talk local

Dialects may be dying out but many Cumbrians are proud of the weird and wonderful words you'll only find in this part of the world.

Here's what some of them mean - so you don't get caught out when dealing with the locals.

Ah'm garn yam - I'm off home

Bairn - child

Bowk - be sick

Chuddy - chewing gum

Clemmed - thirsty

Dookers - swimming trunks

Gander - to have a look at something

Hoo's t' gaan on marra? - How are you mate?

Kaylied - drunk

Keks - trousers

Nigh on - almost

Nivver - never

Ower theer - over there

Owz it gaan? - How's it going?

Paggered - very tired

Radge - senseless/idiotic

Ratch - look about

Scop - throw

Taneet - tonight

Twine - groan

Whingeing - complaining

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