Penrith

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Penrith is a small market town in Cumbria, to the north-east of the Lake District.

Get in[edit]

Penrith has good transport links.

There are direct rail links from London in a little over 3 hours and Glasgow in 2 on the West Coast mainline. Also has direct trains from Manchester Airport (via Manchester Piccadilly) and Edinburgh.

There are National Express coaches from London taking between 6 and 7 hours.

It is situated on the M6 (junction 40), A66, A6.

Get around[edit]

Penrith is not a large town; it is quite easy to walk from the station to all destinations in town. There is a town bus service the 646 but this does not call at the railway station.

There are a number of taxi operators in Penrith. It is usual for taxis to be waiting at the station but there is also a list of taxi operators on a notice board in the main waiting room at the station.

See[edit][add listing]

The town's appeal to visitors is somewhat limited to the many fine pubs, the supermarkets and the railway station. Penrith does however have some hidden historic gems, most imposingly, Penrith Castle.

Building of Penrith Castle began in 1399, when William Strickland (later Bishop of Carlisle and Archbishop of Canterbury) added a stone wall to an earlier pele tower, primarily as a defence against the then frequent raids from the Scottish borders. The castle was improved over the next 70 years, becoming a royal fortress for Richard, Duke of Gloucester before he became King Richard III in 1483. The ruins that can be seen today date from about that time. The striking sandstone remains are situated in Castle Park, opposite Penrith railway station.

The churchyard of St. Andrew's Church in the town contains the 'Giant's Thumb', a Norse cross dating from 920 AD erected as a memorial to his father by Owen Caesarius, King of Cumbria from 920 to 937 AD. There is a tradition that the 'Giant's Grave' is the grave of Owen himself. The four hogback stones surrounding the grave are said to represent wild boar he killed in nearby Inglewood Forest. The two norse crosses are some 11 feet high.

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Penrith has a plethora of supermarkets and food shops

  • Booths NW England based supermarket. Good selection of beer and wine with upstairs cafe
  • Cranston's Cumbrian Food Hall Specialising in Cumbrian produce with 'Oswalds Cafe' above [3]
  • J&J Graham fine food deli [4]
  • The Toffee Shop [5]

Also national supermarket and food chains - Morrisons, Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer Food Hall and Aldi

There are many specialist one-off shops in Penrith including:

  • Arragon's Cycle Centre - Cycles, accessories and servicing
  • N Arnison & Son’s - Traditional Men's and Women's fashions
  • John Norris - Country clothing [6]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Penrith has a wide selection of cafes and restaurants including Indian, Thai, Italian restaurant.

  • Taste of Bengal, Stricklandgate.  edit
  • Indian Plaza, Middlegate (next to Alhambra cinema).  edit
  • Angel Lane Chippie, [7].  edit

At lunchtime there is a stall selling good value baked potatoes in the centre of town opposite the Musgrave monument clock tower. There is a McDonalds next to the station, opposite the castle and a Kentucky Fried Chicken on the outskirts of town.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Penrith has many pubs and cafes.

Pubs

  • Moo Bar on King Street is located in an old part of town. It was originally a shoe shop and specialises in serving a large variety of real ales. [8]
  • The Dog Beck at the northern end of Southend Road is part of the Wetherspoons chain and serves their usual range of no nonsense food along with competitively priced drinks
  • The Agricultural on Cromwell Road is handy for the station and serves food and real ale
  • The Cross Keys is a little way out of the centre of town located in Carleton on the A686 towards Langwathby about 1 mile (20 minute walk) from the centre of Penrith. It serves good food and real ale in a 'Country Pub' atmosphere and is probably the best pub in Penrith. [9]

Slightly further away there are several pubs to the South of town heading out on the A6 at Eamont Bridge (approx. 1.25 miles from the centre of town)

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Penrith has many bed and breakfasts and hotels. Most of the bed and breakfasts are situated either on Portland Place or Victoria Road. Both of these locations have at least four bed and breakfasts.


  • Wayfarers Hostel Centrally located in Brunswick Square [10]
  • George Hotel 3* hotel right in the centre of town [11]]
  • North Lakes Hotel slightly further out, past the railway station and about 15 mins walk from the centre of town. [12]
  • Premier Inn There is a new (spring 2016) Premier Inn located in the town.

Further afield there are:

  • Sharrow Bay [13]] Luxury hotel on the banks of Ullswater.
  • Ullswater Holiday Park Offering tent and caravan pitches [14]

Get out[edit]

The closest major Lake District town to Penrith is Keswick. Keswick can be reached via the A66 and there is a good bus service (the X4/X5) to Keswick operated by Stagecoach Cumbria. All X4/X5 buses in both directions call at the bus stop on the station forecourt. This bus stop has a shelter and just next to McDonalds.


Ullswater, a major Lake District Lake (and argualbly the most attractive) is close to Penrith. You can get there by bus or drive. There is a boat service on the lake operated by Ullswater Steamers with various ticket options. [15]


Note on buses: Stagecoach Cumbria is the dominant bus company in Cumbria. Single tickets are relatively expensive. If you're going to be doing quite a lot of travelling over a week it's worth considering if their Megarider Ticket is worth buying. In May 2016 their North West 7 day megarider Gold cost £27.30 for an adult. This ticket lasts for a week and allows you to travel on all their buses in the Lake District and further afield. There is also a day ticket the Explorer which cost £10.80 for Adults and allows you to travel on all Stagecoach buses in Cumbria.


Finally, there are also some combined tickets offering bus travel plus entry to an attraction for example the Ullswater Bus and Boat ticket costs £15 for an adult and gives you bus travel plus travel on Ullswater Steamers. This ticket can be bought as you board the bus but note you have to pay cash.


Just outside the town is Brougham Castle [16] which is much better preserved than Penrith Castle which is situated alongside the earth-works of a Roman Fort. The site was later taken by the Norman family of Vieuxpont to build their castle, the ruins the stone keep, and service buildings can still be seen.

The Eden Valley and the Rheged Centre [17] are all very close. Rheged has shops, local food outlets, a children's outdoor play area and a cinema.

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