Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery

Castle Street, Carlisle, CA3 8TP
Tullie House Museum Outside
Tullie House (Simon Huguet / Wikipedia.org)

As a border town that has seen numerous battles and skirmishes over the centuries, the city of Carlisle has a fascinating history. Much of this can be discovered at the Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery in the centre of Carlisle, home to an important collection of artefacts that relate to Hadrian’s Wall, the former Roman border wall that divided England and Scotland and ran through Carlisle.

The museum is open daily (except during Christmas and New Year) and is also home to a fascinating collection of other historical artefacts, unique pieces of art, and various zoological, botanical, and geological items.

Planning Your Visit

Contact Details:
01228618718 / Website
Cost:
Adults £6.50, Accompanied children under 18 Free
Seasonal Opening:
All Year (Except Christmas & New Year)
 

History

The museum is housed in a Jacobean mansion that dates back to 1689, with various extensions added in the years since. The mansion was converted into a museum in 1893 by the county government of the day, and along with a museum, it was also home to a library and an art school. The school left in the 1950s, whilst the library left in the 1980s. The museum was developed and extended significantly during the latter part of the twentieth century and became an independent charitable trust in 2011.

Things To See

The Gardens of Tullie House Museum
The Gardens (Bob Cantwell / geograph.org)

Do allow yourself plenty of time to visit the museum as there is a lot to see. The museum is home to a large collection of works by Pre-Raphaelite artists, such as Edward Burne-Jones. Many of the paintings in the museum’s collection are on display in the old part of the building, the former Jacobean mansion. Other fine art items include paintings by Cumbrian artists and celebrated 20th century artists. Along with paintings and sketches, the museum has a wide range of decorative items from the arts and crafts movement, along with fine costumes and textiles.

The museum celebrates Carlisle’s history as a border town with a vast collection of archaeological artefacts. There are over 12,000 items in the collection, so displays are rotated. However visitors can expect to see items, such as artefacts, recovered from a pre-historic “axe factory” in Langdale, pottery from the Bronze age, and a huge number of items from the Stanwix Fort that formed part of the Hadrian’s Wall fortification at Carlisle. There is a full height replica of the wall, and various Roman carvings and treasures are on display. There are also several items that date back to the medieval period.

Tullie House is also tasked with preserving a wide collection of items that relate to the wildlife and geology of Cumbria. There is a fascinating collection of insects with most British specimens covered, and a fabulous collection of minerals, many of which were sourced from local fells such as those around Caldbeck, which is known for its precious minerals. You will also find various botanical and taxidermy specimens dating back to the Victorian era.

For younger visitors, there are a series of interactive trails to complete and the museum hosts regular events for children both during term time and during the school holidays.

Outside, the former gardens of the Jacobean mansion make for a delightful place to explore when the weather is pleasant. The garden is designed in the style of the Jacobeans with a sundial at the centre. Within the gardens you will also find a number of Roman sculptures and some plants that would have been popular during the Roman era.

Useful Information

The museum has a gift shop and a café that serves light lunches and snacks.

Map

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