Carlisle is one of the most beautiful cities of its size in the country, with the added bonus of being only a short drive from the Lake District.
While it is packed with history, things in Carlisle don’t stand still – so many new developments and regenerative projects are breathing new life into the city.
Carlisle was also recently revealed to be among the top 10 most affordable places to live in the UK, based on average property price versus average annual salary in the area.
We’ve taken a look at some of our favourite places to visit, the areas that are undoubtedly on the up, and the locations proving popular with house buyers post-lockdown.
Wide open spaces
In an age where we value being outdoors more than ever before, the number one wish on a potential house buyer’s list is a garden or more space.
Carlisle does green space well; the whole centre is surrounded by a ring of public parks, or travel an hour in any direction and you’ll have some of the most spectacular countryside in the UK.
Will Park, The Cumberland’s Carlisle area manager, says: “One of the things that’s an attraction and a kind of the jewel in the crown is Hammond’s Pond.”
The picturesque pond in Upperby is benefitting from £450,000 worth of funding from Story Homes’ Ridings estate project. Work starts this spring on upgrading the play area with improvements to footpaths, bridges, CCTV and landscaping to follow.
It’s welcomed by Sally, secretary of the Friends of Hammond’s Pond, who said that lockdown had given everyone a new appreciation of the city council-owned green space on their doorstep.
“It has been a draw to come to because it is within walking distance for so many. It’s the ideal spot.”
Full of community spirit
While Hammond’s Pond is bustling these days, such community spirit is also in evidence in Morton and Sandsfield – a “very underrated place to live”, says local councillor James Bainbridge. While bemoaning the lack of a supermarket, he has new appreciation of the area’s ease to walk around.
“On a Sunday afternoon during lockdown I counted over 100 residents walking the paths for exercise in an hour. I would doubt that some Lakeland fells would see that rate of usage,” he said.
Shopkeeper Louise Bell would heartily agree – she’s lived in Morton for 47 years, and now runs the former Op Shop on Stonegarth, renamed Restore last year.
She said: “The shop is the heart of the community. There’s nothing else like us in the area.” The shop sells donated furniture, electricals, bric-a-brac, toys, books, and DVDs. After almost a year of intermittent opening, Louise is glad that things are opening back up: “I pride myself on the fact that people will come to us for different forms of help – plus they get a bargain at the same time!”
A new era for education
The south side of Carlisle holds a lot of attraction for house buyers, not least for the reasons already mentioned.
The area also received a huge boost last summer when the new St John Henry Newman Catholic School opened on Scalegate Road. Its previous home of almost 50 years in Victoria Place was no longer practical following the flood of 2015, and it had been based at a temporary site in Harraby ever since.
It’s not a first-time buyer area, it’s an area that has a lot of families with secondary school-aged children, so it’s a real positive for Upperby.
“The move to the new site in 2020 should have been the beginning of a great new dawn,” said school governor Stephen Higgs, who also represents Wetheral & Corby on the city council. “It’s stuttered a bit with coronavirus problems.
“My feeling is that the school certainly adds to the area. It’s a tribute to the efforts of the leadership over the last five really difficult years that they’ve got to where they are in such good heart and we are looking forward to a bright future.”
New homes have rejuvenated the area
It’s not just the school – there’s a lot of new house building going on and all of that is giving the area a lift and making it seem like a forward-looking community.
The Cumberland’s Will Park continues: “I live in Morton. I moved into one of the new-build estates on the fringe, built by Persimmon Homes, and it was tagged on to what was an existing, really sought-after estate at the very top.
“A lot of properties are local authority housing, probably a lot of families, slightly bigger, semi-detached. There’s also a lot of mid-terraced stuff. Houses will have two or three bedrooms, a garden – just that next natural step up.”
It’s all on your doorstep
One thing that is sometimes overlooked when it comes to Upperby is just how accessible it is.
True, it’s quite a walk to Carlisle city centre but for the basics it has everything you need, and these days reaching the motorway could hardly be simpler.
Will park adds: “I’ve got to know the area quite well. Like with other areas, people flock to where they know they don’t need to go far to get stuff, –there’s shops, the butcher, the baker, everything that you need.
“One of the best things about being in Morton is how accessible it is. I can be on the bypass in less than a minute from my front door and that will take me to the motorway.
“The western bypass has been a really big boost for that area. Previously if you wanted to go from Stanwix down to Morton you would need to go through the city and up Wigton Road and it was a pain.
“Accessibility is an important factor and it has become a really accessible area.”