Why you should move to Kirkby Longdale
PUBLISHED: 13:01 28 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:03 20 February 2013
A stroll through this pretty little market town gives you a feeling of affluence and charm and that's a conclusion reached by a growing number of people judging by the local property market.
Kirkby Lonsdale has more than its share of 17th and 18th Century architecture and a location which nestles gently between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.
This has helped to turn it into a hot-spot for shopping and property. The quality and quantity of its independent shops is excellent and there's a wide range of pubs and restaurants. The population is only 2,000 but the number of shops is almost 60 and, happily, it's hard to spot any of the corporate logos or identikit shop fronts which blight most High Streets.
One retailer in the town described the Kirkby Lonsdale experience as 'stepping back in time.' And that's certainly true when it comes to parking. The historic nature of the properties means that space for the car and back gardens are at a premium.
There's a wonderful market square which leads into Main Street, forming the shopping centre. That takes you up to the lovely Norman church of St Mary's with its fine archways and magnificent stained glass windows. Close by is Ruskin's View, which provides a breathtaking panorama of the Lune Valley. Turner was moved to paint it.
The town's success has had a predictable impact on the property market and that means young locals struggle to get a foot on the ladder. 'It's a pretty special place and
that makes property expensive,' said one estate agent in the town. 'We have quite a few incomers from places like Liverpool, Bolton and Manchester and others buying second homes.
'The high quality of the schools is a major factor. Of course, everyone wants a chocolate-box house of two to three bedrooms with gardens and parking spaces. That rarely happens - few of the older houses have gardens and, generally, parking is a nightmare. People must be prepared to compromise.' It seems certain that this is a compromise more and more people will be prepared to accept.
Property Prices: According to Land Registry figures, the average price is 370,00 - an eye-watering 150,000 above the national average. But you really do pay for Location, Location, Location. The fact that the average ten years ago was 97,000 tells you all you need to know about the state of the market. The average for detached homes has been running at 420,000 with terraces at 321,000.
Ups: It's a beautiful town steeped in history with a large number of quality shops. It is located in some of the North West's loveliest countryside and the crime rate is pretty low.
Downs: Parking is a problem but you really need a car if you live in Kirkby Lonsdale. Finding property in the town centre with a parking space and a decent garden is akin to locating the Holy Grail. It also gets very busy in the summer.
Schools: One of the reasons people move to Kirkby Lonsdale is the quality of schools such as St Mary's C of E Primary and Queen Elizabeth secondary school. There are also some good independents nearby, including Sedburgh.
Transport: The nearest railway station is just over five miles away at Wennington The M6 is not far from town.
Shops: One of the real strong points with some great specialists such as the awardwinning Churchmouse cheese shop. The town centre is full of independents and there's a good Booths on the outskirts.
Restaurants/bars: Another plus for Kirkby Lonsdale. The Sun Inn close to the church has new owners and they have refurbished the place. The nearby Snooty Fox has a good reputation for food and ale and just down the road at Cowan Bridge is the Lancashire Life award-winner, Hipping Hall. Lots of traditional pubs which look worth investigating and the odd wine bar.
Weekend fun: There is quite a strong community spirit and many events are staged at The Institute. There's also a thriving art community with regular exhibitions at the galleries. The big attraction is its location slap bang in beautiful countryside - a walker's heaven.