Kirkby Lonsdale to commemorate First World War with Edwardian Weekend

PUBLISHED: 22:05 01 September 2014 | UPDATED: 22:06 01 September 2014

The busy town centre, Kirkby Lonsdale

The busy town centre, Kirkby Lonsdale

Archant

September will see this lovely town step back into the spotlight once more for a Edwardian extravaganza

The quaint Main Street, Kirkby LonsdaleThe quaint Main Street, Kirkby Lonsdale

No one would ever accuse Kirkby Lonsdale of hiding its light under a bushel.

When the spotlight is switched on, the chances are you will see it in a leading role as the target for countless newspaper travel writers and the occasional television producer.

Its most recent claim to fame was as part of the setting for the BBC1’s Jamaica Inn, a series mired in controversy because viewers struggled to make sense of the mumbling cast.

For a few days, the market square was turned into a little corner of 1820s Cornwall – 21st century Launceston failed the audition – and crowds descended to watch some of the action being filmed. The fact people couldn’t understand the dialogue may have meant they concentrated more on the pictures. And that’s good news for Kirkby Lonsdale.

Visitors watch Jamaica Inn being filmedVisitors watch Jamaica Inn being filmed

‘The controversy about the sound quality didn’t seem to do us any harm judging by the number of copies of Jamaica Inn they sold in the visitor information centre,’ said Allan Muirhead, chairman of the town council. ‘There is evidence people have travelled here because of the programme.’

Now, the townsfolk want to keep the momentum going so they have revamped what was previously the Victorian weekend. It will now have an Edwardian theme echoing the events just prior to the outbreak of World War I. It runs over the weekend of September 6 and 7.

‘The shopkeepers are being asked to dress their shops in Edwardian style and for staff to wear clothes from that era,’ added Allan. ‘There will also be lots of street entertainment and some exhibitions – we are billing it as the last happy summer when people didn’t realise the horrors that lay ahead.

‘The sting in the tail will be a performance of the Accrington Pals at the Lunesdale Hall.’

That means we have yet another reason for visiting this town which straddles the border of Lancashire, Yorkshire and Westmorland. Here are a few more excellent reasons for heading to this gem of a town:

Shopping

This town really punches above its weight with its mix of independent shops. There is barely a national chain in site in a main street dominated by a wide range of small businesses, from high end interiors, women’s clothes to an award-winning butcher. This is a town that could seriously damage your credit card.

Mark Duckworth at award-winning Dales ButchersMark Duckworth at award-winning Dales Butchers

Ambience

Kirkby Lonsdale just has a nice feel about it. It is in a beautiful location and it has all the architectural delights of a honeycomb-coloured Cotswolds village but with friendly northerners behind the counters.

Hospitality

There are some tremendous places to eat, drink and sleep. The landmark Royal Hotel has been refurbished and The Sun Inn is an old favourite, now with a revamped restaurant serving seriously good food. Avanti and Plato’s plus Hipping Hall in nearby Cowan Bridge are also worth a visit and if you want hearty pub grub try The Orange Tree.

The view

Stand in the church yard and marvel at the view across the dramatic Lune valley. Artist and thinker John Ruskin was moved to write 1875: ‘I do not know in all my own country, still less in France or Italy, a place more naturally divine.’ A watercolour called Ruskin’s View by JMW Turner features the churchyard of St. Mary’s Church in Kirkby Lonsdale. It was sold at auction at few years ago for more than £200,000.

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