When it comes to dining out or having a bite at a cafe, all of the chain restaurants, such as Nando’s, Pizza Express, Weatherspoon’s, Hungry Horse, and Beefeater (at Premier Inn hotels) have level, barrier-free access and accessible toilets, but there are also lots of independent eating places in Carlisle.

For instance, Cake & Ales is a lovely coffee shop near the Cathedral and is linked to a bookshop, which has an accessible toilet. Hell Below serves pizza, burgers, and wraps. They have great free-from options (e.g. gluten-free, dairy-free) & a whole separate vegan menu. They have level access and an accessible toilet on the main floor, but no access to the 1st floor where the cinema room is located. The area known as Botchergate is where most bars and restaurants are located in the City Centre (near the train station). Masala Bazaar is a recommended Indian restaurant with level access and an accessible toilet on the ground floor. Finally, there is also the Mexican restaurant Los Locos with level access and an accessible toilet.
More ideas on what to do in Carlisle, Cumbria

There is one large multiplex cinema in Carlisle. There are bus stops less than 50 meters away, the train station is less than 200 meters away, and there are 4 accessible parking bays at the rear for European blue badge holders.  The entrance is level access and has automatic doors with push buttons. Some screens are on the main floor and other are upstairs and accessed via a lift. There are two wheelchair spaces located at the front of all screens. Subtitled films are listed online each week, some films also have audio descriptions, and a few screens are equipped with infrared technology to provide hearing assistance. If needed, please advise a member of the staff and they’ll organize a headset or neck loop. Furthermore, at 10 am on the last Sunday of every month, there are autism-friendly screenings, where the lights are left on low, the sound is turned down and trailers and adverts aren’t played. The cinema also participates in the CEA scheme, whereby a disabled cinema guest receives a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them if they advance to purchase a CEA card.

The Sands Centres is Carlisle’s entertainment and sports venue, with a mix of shows for all the family, some of comedy’s biggest names, musicals from the West End, international orchestras, pop artists, ballet, and opera. The Sands Centre is also an Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) facility. So, for example, the seats on the gym equipment swing away so you can remain in your wheelchair, in case you fancy visiting the gym too! There are 16 accessible parking bays nearest to the entrance and with level access. The Sands Centre has a row of removable seats. If you want to book tickets for a show, inform the venue that you need a wheelchair space, and if required, a carer can get a companion seat free of charge. An accessible toilet is located in the main reception area and another one is in the corridor towards the gym. The one by the gym also has an accessible changing room with a wheel-in shower and shower stool/chair.

Carlisle Green Room Club has been an amateur theatre in the city since 1951 and operates voluntarily. They stage 6 plays and a pantomime each year, and host bookings from other theatre groups. Wheelchair access is at a separate door, just a few meters from the main entrance, and volunteers will escort you. The auditorium has access to one wheelchair in the front row, which you can reserve in advance. There is an accessible toilet. There is also a hearing loop system installed for those with hearing difficulties.

Originally opened in 1898, the Old Fire Station is now an arts and entertainment center, home to a variety of events with a bistro and bar. The venue has level access, movable seating in the bistro and main performance space, and an accessible toilet on the ground floor.

The Carlisle Fringe Festival runs for approximately a week in August each year.  It is based across multiple venues with The Old Fire Station as the central hub. Each year the program features a selection of shows such as music, cabaret, comedy, and entertainment. The Carlisle Fringe Festival runs at the end of the month-long Edinburgh Fringe Festival, so many artists who have been at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, also perform at the Carlisle Fringe Festival. All venues have level access, and most have an accessible toilet.

Avatar photo Claire Unwin (6 Posts)

I'm Claire. I live in Cumbria, in North West England, near the beautiful lake district and a short distance from Hadrian's Wall and Scotland. I've used a wheelchair since 1999, as I have a bone condition. I mainly use a manual wheelchair, but due to repeated soft tissue problems I use a power wheelchair for distance too. I love exploring the world and have been to some amazing places including Europe, Cuba, and this year a tour of the American Canyons. I hope you enjoy my articles, and find them useful.

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