Kendal is the largest town in the area, just 14 miles west of Kirkby Lonsdale. Known as the Auld Grey Town because of its local limestone buildings, it is a gateway to the Lake District. It lies close to the M6 and is on the main West Coast railway line.
Famous for snuff and mint cake (don’t think about climbing anywhere without a bar in your pocket), Kendal is now a town with both indoor and outdoor markets which attract visitors and those living in outlying communities.
There was also a locally-produced wool-based fabric known as Kendal Green, mentioned by Shakespeare in Henry IV, Part 1, worn by archers at the Battle of Agincourt and by slaves in the Americas.
There is much to see and do in Kendal. It boasts a museum, an art gallery with works by Romney, Turner, Ruskin, Lucian Freud and Barbara Hepworth; an arts centre housed in what was once a local brewery, and Kendal Castle, thought by some to be the birthplace of Henry VIII’a sixth wife, Catherine Parr.
Do make time to stroll through the town’s historic streets. There are alleyways, known as yards, all worth exploring. There are many traditional shops, augmented by a choice of supermarkets.
One of the town’s many attractions is the riverside walk along the banks of the River Kent. Almost like a seaside promenade, the pathway is just a few yards from the bustling streets yet takes walkers into a traffic-free world of birdsong, flower beds and parkland.
Kendal is a town of contrasts.