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Moving to… Carlisle

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There is history everywhere you look in Carlisle, which also happens to be the largest settlement in the district of Cumbria. It was once a Roman settlement serving the forts of Hadrian’s Wall, but today it serves local residents and is a beautiful border city with rugged charm and surrounding countryside.

In this guide we’re discovering what you can expect if you’re thinking of moving to Carlisle. So read on and find out about its history, homes and what the city has in store for you. 

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A brief history of Carlisle

Carlisle was a Roman settlement, established to serve the forts on Hadrian’s Wall. It then became an important military stronghold during the Middle Ages, thanks to its distance from the Kingdom of Scotland. The town gained status as a city in 1133 when its diocese was formed and the priory became Carlisle Cathedral. 

Where is Carlisle?

Carlisle is located just 10 miles from the border of Scotland, at the confluence of the rivers Eden, Caldew and Petteril. It’s neatly nestled between Northumberland and Lake District National Parks, the Solway coast, the Pennines and the Scottish border, meaning residents have plenty of local nature right on their doorstep. 

Moving to Carlisle

There are many Victorian houses and townhouses near the city centre and within proximity to Carlisle station. Other housing options include modern flats and converted mill apartments, as well as Thirties and Forties semi-detached homes. 

Buying in Carlisle

The average house value in Carlisle is £161,921, with paid prices slightly higher at £167,151. Expect to pay around £263,039 for a detached home, £115,006 for a terraced house and £103,228 for an apartment.

Carlisle property prices are considerably lower than the UK national average of £251,000, but it’s still not the cheapest place to buy a house. Over the last 12 months, house prices have increased by an impressive nine per cent and by 18 per cent in the last five years. 

There’s a varied selection of estate and letting agents in Carlisle, with chain and independent options available to help you find a home. 

Renting in Carlisle

One-bedroom homes rent for an average of £420 per month in Carlisle, with two-bedroom properties fetching in the region of £500 per month. For larger homes, expect to pay an average of £630 per month.

Cost of living

If you’re moving to Carlise, you can expect to pay similar costs to the UK national average when it comes to everyday living. A meal for one person is around £12, which is in line with the UK average. A cappuccino is about £2.37, and one litre of milk is £0.77p.  

Utility bills are also lower than the nationwide average. Electricity, heating, cooling, water and waste disposal cost an average of £137. They are around £20 more affordable than the national average. Broadband is in line with the average at around £28 per month. 

Life in Carlisle

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do in Carlisle, whether you’re looking for exciting activities in the city or want to get back to nature in the surrounding countryside. Plus, a trip to Scotland is always on the cards.

Open spaces

Head into Northumberland and the Lake District to soak up some of the most breathtaking open spaces in the UK. The Solway coast is also nearby, and you can visit the beauty of Scotland, which is just 10 miles away. 

Transport links

Carlisle train station offers direct services to Glasgow, Central Manchester and London Euston, meaning you’re well connected to some of the UK’s major cities. The M6 motorway is also nearby and offers motorists convenient links to Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham. You can join the M1 to London from Birmingham. 


The city centre is dotted with a range of shops, both independent boutiques and chain favourites. The Lanes Shopping Centre has 70 outlets for you to browse, as well as cafes to grab a bite to eat. 


There are both upmarket spots and low-key restaurants to enjoy a meal. Try David’s for fine dining in a Victorian townhouse, or head to The Plough for a traditional pub experience. You’ll find delectable Asian cuisine at the Royal Outpost, which is set in a Tudor style building.  


Being a city, Carlisle has plenty of nightlife options from nightclubs open until the early hours to relaxed bars and pubs. The Brickyard hosts themed music nights and is located in a church hall with a capacity of 300-plus people. 

Art & culture

Tullie House is located in the Historic Quarter and is a classical Grade I listed building with a busy programme of talks, activities and temporary exhibitions. Solway Aviation Museum is an independently run aircraft museum with a collection of aircraft, aviation artifacts and displays.

Things to do

Pay a visit to Carlisle Castle, which was built in 1092, to learn the city’s history as a defensive location. Hadrian’s Wall is another point of interest and features an 84-mile-long Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail. 

What’s not to like?

Carlisle can feel somewhat isolated, as it’s the only city in the Cumbria region and, even with direct train links, the nearest cities are quite far. However, if you like the idea of being remote, then Carlisle’s position will appeal.  

Who lives there?

Carlisle has a population of just over 100,000 and a median age of 34. 

Typical broadband speeds

The average broadband speed is 42mbps in Carlisle, which is a little lower than the UK national average of 67mbps.

Crime rates

Crime rates in Carlisle average 3,321 per year and are lower than the national average of 10,000.

Everything you need to know about moving to Carlise 

Get even more information about moving to Carlisle with Move iQ’s property report, which provides in-depth information on a home you’re looking to buy in the Cumbria city, so you can get to know the area before you move there. Everything you need is in one place!

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Last Updated: January 19th, 2024

Phil Spencer

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