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Kendal, handsomely built in limestone, is a vibrant market town and focal hub alive with arts, events, culture and great shopping in South Lakeland.

Historically, Kendal was one of the most important woollen textile centres in the country, producing ‘Kendal Green' and other ‘Kendal cottons' - its numerous yards were once filled with workshops processing cloth, leather and foodstuffs. Kendal was also a centre for shoe making, carpet and snuff manufacture, and synonymous with the production of Kendal Mint Cake; an essential prerequisite for today's explorers and mountaineers.

Today's bustling market town of Kendal can be traced back to the 8th century, when the settlement of Kirkland was established near a crossing point over the River Kent.

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Things to do

Adventure & Outdoor Activities

And so the adventure begins. Add some thrills to your holiday by fully experiencing everything Cumbria has to offer. Walk, run, climb, swim, get muddy, have fun!

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What's on

 May 2020>

There are a variety of events taking place in and around the Kendal area.

From performances at the Brewery Arts Centre to unique art exhibitions, check out what is on during your visit and browse the events of most interest to you.

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Food & Drink

No one blends the old and new as well as Kendal with its ancient buildings in which to buy exquisite handmade chocolates, or to enjoy an exquisite meal in a medieval dairy. There’s also a rapidly expanding, contemporary food scene here, with quirky bistros and cool cocktail bars offering charcuterie boards or a tasty craft gin.

Try one of the many cosy coffee shops – there’s one of the oldest coffee roasting and blending shops in the country here. Go shopping in one of the artisan bakeries, the farmers market or one of the nearby farm shops.

There are also superb delicatessens’ and a wealth of informal and friendly international restaurants to try, not to mention creative vegetarian food to tuck into, whilst overlooking the beautiful riverside. Or how about dining in an old brewery, complete with Vats bar and a Grain store restaurant? There are wonderful eclectic menus to choose from – and you also get to watch a show or gig before or after your meal. There are many gorgeous restaurants here, all in a relaxed setting offering the best seasonal and local ingredients. If fine dining is your thing, there’s a Two AA Rosette restaurant for a unique dining experience.

Castle Dairy, Kendal

Some of the most exciting hand-brewed beers around, both in Kendal and the surrounding area, are to be tried here. From pubs set on a village green, to traditional pubs with a contemporary style, you’ll find the food is always wholesome and homecooked, try the salt marsh lamb with some locally grown veg, it’s delicious. Before you leave Kendal though, a slab of Kendal Mintcake packed in your suitcase is a must!

In the traditional Lakeland village of nearby Staveley, you’ll find the Mill Yard, which houses everything from a micro-brewery and a cookery school- to an artisan bakery and a family-friendly, riverside café, selling delicious snacks and homecooked lunches. Set within the heart of the village, you will find a traditional pub with roaring fires, offering a high-standard of food with a warm welcome. There’s also a riverside beer garden, to enjoy a pint on a warm summer day. You can’t leave Staveley without a visit to the nearby village of Ings, to sample a super friendly, little pub, with a vibrant atmosphere. The beer is brewed on site and the food is excellent.

Lyth Valley has to offer the best selection of high-quality pubs within a relatively small area. From the villages of Brigsteer, Crosthwaite and Underbarrow to Bowland Bridge and Winster, you will find delightful pubs all set either in the valley itself, or perched high above the valley, offering the most spectacular views. Lyth is a beautiful and peaceful walking area, set away from the crowds, so what better way to finish your hike, than finishing up in one of these gorgeous county pubs.

For more information on what Cumbria has to offer see Food and Drink

Great places to eat and drink in and around Kendal

Surronding Areas

Culture and Heritage

Kendal parish church
Kendal mint cake
Brewery arts centre
Kendal Castle
William II created the Barony of Kendal to secure his northern territories. Kendal's first castle, a wooden motte and bailey, was erected at Castle Howe (SD 513 924) but later replaced by stone-built Kendal Castle on the opposite side of the river.

This 13th-century castle, built on a drumlin, or glacial hill, was the seat of power and administration for the barons of Kendal for over 200 years but on the death of the last baron in 1483 it gradually fell into a ruinous state.

During the medieval period, the market town of Kendal developed to the north of monastic Kirkland , separated by the ancient boundary of the Black Beck. The barons laid out the town with long burgage plots behind the street frontages, accessed through archways.

Over time, these became ‘yards' of industrial activity with numerous workshops for weaving, dyeing, shearing, dry-salting and tanning. Kendal rapidly developed as a trade centre for all manner of local goods, but it was the woollen industry that brought fame and wealth to the town and sustained its economy for over 600 years.

In 1695, over half of Kendal's principal householders were actively involved in textile occupations such as wool combing, weaving, cropping, dyeing and tailoring, with carding, spinning and knitting undertaken by women and children. Evidence of the importance of the wool trade is reflected in Kendal's motto of ‘Pannus mihi panis', ‘Cloth is my bread' and its coat-of-arms featuring teasels for raising the fabric's nap and hooks for securing bales of wool and cloth to packhorses.
Trains of packhorses would deliver Kendal’s goods to York, London and other parts of the country. Much cloth was shipped to North America to clothe slaves on the plantations, with the return cargo bringing sugar and tobacco – raw materials which gave rise to the mint cake and snuff-making enterprises of Kendal.

To enhance trade, a canal link to Lancaster was opened in 1819, which terminated at a canal basin in Kendal. Trade flourished and brought much needed income to the town, but the arrival of the railway in 1846 heralded its decline. Commercial traffic ceased in 1947 and the canal was closed to navigation in 1955.
For more information about Kendal, take a look at the Visit Kendal website.
Kendal Landscape

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