Eden Taxis, Penrith
Penrith is an attractive market town, situated on the edge of the Lake District, and only twenty miles from the Scottish border. The town has a history around it of thousands of years, ranging from the enigmatic Henges situated just outside the town at Eamont Bridge, to the Penrith New Streets development which has just been started.
Mayburgh Henge is a prehistoric monument, in the region of 4000 years old. The Henge consists of a singular circular bank, up to 6.5 metres high and 50 metres across. Within the henge there is a single monument, said to be the single remnant of a circle. According to one former inhabitant of Eamont Bridge, the stone was said to be lucky, and the local children would touch it if they had a test at school.
Approximately 400 metres from Mayburgh Henge is King Arthurs Round Table, which dates from a similar time. The Henge is about 90 metres in diameter, and originally had two entrances, one of which was destroyed to build a road. Both Mayburgh Henge and the Round Table are in the care of English Heritage, and are free to visit.
The Dacre bears, situated in the village of Dacre, just outside Penrith, are one of the many mysteries of the area. These bears, lodged in the churchyard tell a story if followed in an anti clockwise direction, of a bear who is awakened by a creature jumping on its back, and subsequently eating that creature. There is belief, however, that the creature is a lion due to the tail that two of the stone statues have.
Penrith Castle was begun in 1399, by William Strickland who went on to be the Bishop of Carlisle, when he added a stone wall to an earlier Pele Tower. This was added to over the next 70 years, and became the royal fortress of Richard, Duke of Gloucester before he ascended the throne to become King Richard III. The ruins today are what is left of the castle as it was at that time. The castle is now in the care of English Heritage, with a large park surrounding it.
Penrith Beacon was built in 1719, and is a monument to the fires that were lit on the spot from the time of Henry VII. These fires warned of impending raids from any enemies of the times. The Beacon Hill on which the Beacon sits is free to walk up, and has a wonderful view towards the Lake District.
Within the town itself, there is evidence of buildings ranging over hundreds of years, which allows the town to keep its traditional feel, whilst incorporating modern aspects and shops. The shops range from a 19th Food Emporium with local goods, to the famous Toffee Shop. The George Hotel dates back at least 300 years and housed Bonnie Prince Charlie when he marched South in November 1745. Also, the Gloucester Arms dates from 1471 and was supposed to be the lodging of the Duke of Gloucester.
The cult film 'Withnail and I' starring Richard E Grant was set in Penrith. The house the pair stayed in is located in the local vicinity. The house is called Sleddle Hall, next to the reservoir Wet Sleddle, and is visited regularly by fans of the film.