There are two things missing in Carlisle right now. The first is the flooding that devastated the city over the last week. Good. The second is the usual amount of visitors. Not good! This blog post is a callout for more of them! The pictures that covered TV screens and newspapers are already out of date. The government and charities will do what they can to help those who have been affected by the waters. Community spirit will help to bring people together in overcoming the practical and emotional impacts. But what Carlisle also needs is visitors as usual. This is where book lovers in the North of England and the Borders of Scotland (and further afield) can help.
Why not check out Carlisle’s book-buying options? There are links below to my previous posts about some of the bookshops in Carlisle. There is also some information about other bookshops in the city, and, of course, accommodation and attractions that are less interesting and important than books.
A visit is small thing, but it’s a big thing. Outside the city centre, it’s heartbreaking to see the clear-up going on in those cobbled, red sandstoned streets with their vernacular Georgian and Victorian architecture. But it’s heartwarming to see the speed and neatness to the clear-up. There’s a hunger here to recover. So it’s really important that visitors understand that most of what’s on offer is still here. Continued visiting is especially important to the small and independent businesses. All of them have the highest re-investment in their own neighbourhoods. They also define what is specific to Carlisle.
So if you or someone you know would like a city break or visit built around books: now is the time. Bring a backpack big enough for a book binge. Have a meal, a pint, maybe a nap in your hotel room, and then get back out refreshed enough to rummage that binge into a full-blown literary extravaganza.
Here’s a video about Bookcase to whet your appetite:
About Carlisle’s Bookshops and other stuff:
Bookcase is a cavernous secondhand bookshop that defies description. I only nearly succeeded. Just take in the scale and organisation in my gallery of the place. It now also boasts a recently built café called Cakes & Ale.
You can also buy secondhand books from the equally excellent, only much smaller Oxfam Bookshop. I still volunteer the occasional Saturday, so you might catch me there if I’m serving rather than doing online listings.
The other specialist secondhand outlet in Carlisle is the Eden Valley Hospice Bookshop.
For new books, Carlisle sports Bookcase’s sibling, Bookends, and a large-ish Waterstones (which needs no introduction).
On the non-book front, there’s a Discover Carlisle site for anyone interested in non-book attractions, such as places to stay, and most importantly, pubs! There’s also the Your Carlisle website where you’ll find the quirkier independent businesses.
If you’re not sure you can make it to Carlisle, please pass the message on to someone you think might with the Share links below. We get visitors from all over.