Kendal – The gateway to the Lakes more than just Mint Cake
Kendal is a market town within the South Lakeland District of Cumbria, just 8 miles from Windermere and lies in the valley of the River Kent. Known for Kendal Mint Cake, there’s no shortage of places to explore within this town. Discover Kendal’s famous 18th-century ‘yards’, these once formed the network of this trade town. The yards can be found off the high street, look out for the Kendal Civic Society plaques which tell you more about the history of the yards and how they’ve evolved over time.
Walking in and around Kendal
Scout Scar, 11 mins from the center of Kendal, is a stunning, elevated limestone ridge overlooking the beautiful Lyth Valley. A delightful circular walk offers stunning views of the Lakeland fells and Morecambe Bay. This is an ideal walk for those looking for a relatively flat and short stroll, you can easily extend the walk by starting in Kendal town centre or continuing along to Burnbarrow Scar. At the top of Scout Scar is the ‘viewpoint mushroom’ offering panoramic views over Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Lakeland fells, including; Coniston Old Man, Scafell Pike, Langdale Pikes, Kentmere Pike and many, many more.
The Castle was built in the early 1200’s as the home of the barons of Kendal, falling to ruin during the Tudor period. The castle walls, one of the towers and the manor hall remain to a significant height. It’s a lovely short walk up Castle Hill from the centre of Kendal, with plenty to explore and from the top there are some wonderful views over Kendal and Lakeland fells. There’s also several wooded walks along the lower slopes leading up to the Castle with sculpture seats commissioned for the site by artist Alain Ayers.
Brewery Arts Centre
The Brewery Arts Centre is a central hub of events in Kendal, hosting everything from live music, theatre, comedy, films, live screenings, ballet and festivals, there’s always something to enjoy. This summer don’t miss the Kendal mountain festival UK tour, showcasing amazing films and awe-inspiring talks from some of the world’s most impressive adventurers. The Brewery is also a great place to eat and drink - you can grab a bite to eat in the café, enjoy their famous pizza in the VATS Bar or pre-show meal in The Grainstore Restaurant.
Sizergh castle is a beautiful medieval house, just south of Kendal, at the gateway to the Lake District. The castle is still occupied by the Strickland family and is home to centuries-old portraits and fine furniture. The gardens are rich with tulips and daffodils during spring and is home to an array of wildlife, including Hawfinches and Buzzards.
Just a 15-minute drive away is Levens Hall, a family house that has been occupied since about 1350, explore the history of the house and those who have lived in it. The interior is of the Elizabethan period with fine oak paneling and ornate plasterwork. The gardens of Levens Hall are really something to admire, they were originally laid out in the 1690’s and are home to the oldest and most extensive topiary garden in the world, with over 100 pieces, each with an individual design. The stunning 17th century garden was laid in the 1990’s and provides a breathtaking backdrop to accompany refreshments on the tea terrace. Whilst visiting Levens Hall you should keep an eye out for one of the many ghosts that are said to haunt the hall and its grounds.
Abbott Hall Gallery
Located in the center of Kendal, this Georgian house was once home to Colonel George Wilson of Dallam Tower and opened as a public art gallery in 1962. Now, an award-winning art gallery, there are numerous exhibitions from a variety of international and renowned local artists including George Romney and John Ruskin. Take your time to experience the Georgian period rooms with views over the River Kent and Kendal Castle.
Pubs & Restaurants
There is an array of fantastic pubs and restaurants to visit in Kendal, there’s sure to be something that takes your fancy. The Wheatsheaf Inn, located at the foot of Scout Scar in the picturesque village of Brigsteer, offers classic pub meals, handmade pizzas, Cumbrian delicacies and real ales. Within the Lyth Valley itself you’ll find The Black Labrador, a cosy 16th Century Inn, providing delicious food with locally sourced ingredients. The Lyth Valley is renowned for its orchards of Damsons which grow in the Lyth and Winster valleys, south-west of Kendal, becoming snow white with beautiful blossom during April. The soft fruit ripens in September and is used in a variety of local produce, including jams, puddings and gin. Make sure you sample The Lakes Distillery Damson Gin, a smooth spirit with a fruity taste.