Spending a day out in Kendal
PUBLISHED: 00:01 03 September 2015 | UPDATED: 23:43 23 October 2015
Synchronise your watches and enjoy a day exploring with our hour-by-hour guide to the Auld Grey Town
Arrive, park in one of the long stay pay and display car parks, or on the road a little further out of town. If you arrive by train, you’ll have to change at Oxenholme, and have a little walk into town.
The shops, cafes and attractions in Kendal are all within walking distance of one another and there are some lovely independent stores to explore. The town centre is bookended by the Westmorland Shopping Centre and the K Village Outlet Shopping Centre and between the two, the main street is lined with shops with many more on the side streets and the yards – particularly those to the north of the town centre, so spend a while browsing.
There’s no shortage of choice at lunchtime in Kendal, with a wide selection of pubs, cafes, delis and restaurants around the town centre. Whatever the size of your appetite (and your wallet) you’re sure to find something suitable. For no-nonsense food and a huge range of teas and coffees try Farrer’s Tea and Coffee House on Stricklandgate.
Take a stroll by the River Kent, one of the fastest flowing rivers in England, although it’s a in a sedate mood as it passes through Kendal. As you wander, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife including kingfishers and otters, and for more close-up encounters with animals head for Kendal Museum on Station Road. The museum houses a stunning a collection of animals from across the world, as well as Roman artefacts, geology and items relating the legendary fell-walker, and former Kendal town clerk, Alfred Wainwright.
At the other end of town, the Abbot Hall Art Gallery houses one of the finest collections of George Romney’s paintings. Next door, the Museum of Lakeland Life, in the old Abbot Hall stable block, explores the history of the region and the people who shaped it.
You could also visit the fascinating Quaker Tapestry Museum in the Friends’ Meeting House on Stramongate. As well as giving an insight into the religion, there’s lots of colourful embroidery, activities and workshops. There’s also a particularly good vegetarian café in case you’re starting to feel peckish (and they do good coffee and cake in case you just need a bit of a pick-me-up).
You’ve had a good look around the town, so now enjoy the view over the town from Kendal Castle. (If you find you need an energy boost at this point, we recommend Kendal Mint Cake.) Built in the 12th century, the castle is now a ruin but it’s well worth exploring and gives brilliant views. It was built as the home for the barons of Kendal. In 1897 Kendal Corporation bought Castle Hill for ‘public enjoyment’ to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Turn off the A65 into Parr Street and climb the footpath from the end of the road. Once you’ve admired the Auld Grey Town and seen the queues of traffic finally edge away, retrace your steps to Stricklandgate, the main road through town.
You could probably do with a drink after your walk, so take your pick from the pubs around the town centre – there’s something to suit all tastes. You could enjoy some wholesome pub food, or try one of the many restaurants around the town – the new and impressive Greenhouse Restaurant at the Castle Green Hotel is well worth a visit.
Once you’re revived, head to the Brewery Arts Centre. Since May 1972 when the first productions were staged there, the former home of Whitwell Mark brewers has boasted a packed and varied programme of events. There’s now a cinema and theatre and the centre regularly hosts music, comedy, dance, literature and drama events. Among the highlights this month are comedy by Chris Ramsey, an evening with Tim Brooke-Taylor and music from Judie Tzuke.
Time to head for home, unless you’ve booked in to one of the hotels, guest houses or b&bs around the town, in which case have a good night’s sleep and enjoy a second day exploring Kendal tomorrow. If you need some more inspiration, head to Kendal Tourist Information Centre, on Branthwaite Brow, 01539 735891. w