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15 Best Things to Do in Kendal (Cumbria, England)

A market town and tourist getaway, Kendal lies in the Kent Valley under the eastern fells of the Lake District.

The town’s cottages, mansions and old traces of industry are built from rusticated limestone with a solemn grey tone, earning Kendal the nickname Auld Grey Town.

In the Lake District, walking trips have to be on your agenda, and you can test your mettle on the tough but awe-inspiring Kentmere Horseshoe.

To the east are the Howgill Fells, which roll into the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

To back up all that natural splendour, Kendal is also a cultural feast, with Medieval and Elizabethan mansions close by, as well as a prestigious art gallery and a thriving cultural centre.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Kendal :

1. Kendal Castle

Kendal Castle

In the east of Kendal, a few streets from the River Kent are the remnants of Kendal Castle, constructed on a hillock in the 12th century.

From the 14th century on, this was the seat of the Parr family, ancestors of Catherin Parr who was Henry VIII’s 6th and final wife.

By the time she was born more than five centuries ago, Kendal Castle was already a ruin, which makes it all the more remarkable that so much of the building is still standing.

A large chunk of the manor hall remains, along with its window openings and two vaults below.

The castle became property of the town at the end of the 19th century and since then has been a cherished picnic spot, blessed with far-ranging views west towards Lakeland’s peaks and east to the Howgill Fells.

2. Holy Trinity Church (Kendal Parish Church)

Kendal Parish Church

This capacious church dates from the 1200s, but is built over an Anglo-Saxon place of worship that made with recycled stone from a Roman fort.

The vastness of the church will hit you as soon as you enter, and this scale is created by two additional aisles on the north and south of the sides of the nave, making five in total and drenching the interior in light.

These extensions date to the 18th century, and when they were completed the Holy Trinity Church could hold 1,200 worshippers.

Allow a while to see all of the fittings and monuments inside, like the black marble font from the 1400s and the 16th-century effigy of the local nobleman Sir Walter Strickland, and the Parr Chapel, which contains the 15th-century tomb of Sir William Parr, grandfather of Catherine Parr.

3. Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Abbot Hall Art Gallery

A cultural journey through the Lake District, the Abbot Hall Art Gallery is in a glorious Georgian mansion from 1759. This took the place of the earlier Abbot’s Hall, a Medieval residence for abbots visiting Kendal from St Mary’s Abbey in York.

The house was in a state of disrepair in the 20th century until it was fixed up to house this gallery.

There are works by the 18th-century portraitists George Romney and Daniel Gardner, depictions of Windermere by the landscape painter Philip James de Loutherbourg and a variety of watercolours by J. M. W. Turner, Edward Lear, John Robert Cozens and John Sell Cotman.

John Ruskin, the prominent Victorian art critic, resided in the Lake District, and the gallery has a trove of his sketches and watercolours.

In the modern collection are sculptures by Elisabeth Frink and Barbara Hepworth and paintings by Hockney, David Bomberg and Ben Nicholson.

4. Kentmere Horseshoe

Kentmere Horseshoe

At the hamlet of Kentmere not far north of Kendal you can set off on one of the Lake District’s longest and most isolated walks.

The Kentmere Horseshoe is hardly a cakewalk, with a total ascent of more than 1,000 metres and a distance of 12.8 miles, which will take around six hours to complete.

But your effort will be more than repaid with spellbinding panoramas from all of the fells curving around the Kentmere Valley.

Once you’re up on the ridge the path is like a rollercoaster between the peaks, until you reach the 784-metre summit of Thornthwaite Crag.

There you’ll have to stop for a picnic, and can see for miles across the Lake Districts valleys and fells.

5. Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry

Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry

In the Georgian stable block of Abbot Hall is a highly-rated local history museum dedicated to the Lakeland region in from the 1700s onwards.

You can step into an old-fashioned street scene, visiting a reconstructed toy shop, pharmacy and tailor’s shop, while there are also reproductions of domestic interiors from different periods, as well as workshops for weaving and woodworking.

One absorbing piece of equipment is the Williamson Brothers vortex turbine from 1856, an efficient waterwheel used to power farm equipment.

The museum goes into depth on the 20th-century author Arthur Ransome, a Lake District resident who set his popular Swallows and Amazons series in these landscapes.

6. Sizergh Castle

Sizergh Castle

This late-Medieval fortified manor house has been in the same family, the Stricklands, for 750 years and is operated as a visitor attraction by the National Trust.

Sizergh Castle has been transformed over the centuries, but retains a lot of Medieval architecture, most memorably in the 14th-century four-storey solar tower.

In the 16th century Catherine Parr is believed to have lived at Sizergh Castle for a time.

The interiors are clad with oak panelling, which are exquisite in the Inlaid Chamber, where they have floral and geometric inlays made with bog oak and pale poplar.

The Stricklands had connections to the Jacobite court in exile (expelled after the Glorious Revolution in 1688), and there are contemporary portraits of the Catholic Royal Stuart family.

You’ll be free to explore the estate, hiking in the fells and touring the seven-hectare gardens, which have a beautiful limestone rockery.

7. Levens Hall

Levens Hall

A bit further on from Sizergh Castle, Levens Hall is an Elizabethan house in stunning formal gardens.

The 16th-century mansion was built around a 14th-century Peel Tower, a fortified house common in the Borders.

You can go in to view the sumptuous oak panelling and stuccowork in the great hall, dining room, drawing room, library and bedrooms.

Much of this dates back to the time of the Bellingham family, who expanded Levens Hall and lived here until the end of the 17th century.

There’s Jacobean furniture, a collection of historic portraits and above the fireplace in the great hall is the coat of arms of Elizabeth I. The gardens are out of this world, and follow a plan set out in 1694 and have more than 100 outlandish topiaries, many of which go back to the garden’s foundation.

8. Kendal Museum

 Kendal Museum

The story of this museum begins in 1796, putting it among the oldest in the country.

Kendal Museum is most definitely old school, as you’ll guess from the mounted animal heads, the dioramas of taxidermies in glass cases and a full-sized polar bear.

There are some riveting items in the archaeological displays, like swords from the Iron Age and Viking period, as well as a Viking bowl mount, a Medieval annular brooch and a pair of steel dies used to make tokens for Kendal’s Mercers’ Company.

The geology of the Lake District is also fascinating, and there’s a large array of minerals collected in the 20th century from disused mines around the Lake District, along with crystals gathered from as far afield as Myanmar and Brazil.

9. Brewery Arts Centre

Brewery Arts Centre

In a converted Victorian brewery, Kendal’s cultural centre has a diversity of entertainment on offer, appealing to as broad an audience as possible.

The Brewery Arts Centre has live music by upcoming artists, established names and tribute acts, representing a whole spectrum of genres, from jazz to soul and heavy metal.

You can also come for theatre and dance, comedy shows, talks and seminars.

The cinema at the centre screens both Hollywood blockbusters and indie flicks, while there are always two concurrent art exhibitions, and the bustling Grainstore restaurant keeps the centre at the heart of daily life in Kendal.

10. Scout Scar

Scout Scar

One of the easternmost fells of the Lake District, the 235-metre Scout Scar is three miles west of Kendal.

There’s a car park near the foot of the hill, and a circular walking trail to the summit and back.

The eastern slope is smooth and light, but to the west this limestone peak has a steep scarp slope, acting as a kind of ledge from which you can contemplate the Lake District’s Central Fells.

There are two summits, and the lower of these has a shelter known as the mushroom.

This was raised in 1912 to commemorate the coronation of King George V and has a toposcope denoting the Central Fells.

11. Hawkshead Brewery

Hawkshead Brewery

This small craft brewery produces 140 barrels a week, distributed around the North of England.

Hawkshead was founded in 2002, and since 2006 has been based at this converted wood turning mill in Staveley.

Looking onto the brewery floor there’s a beer hall, open seven days a week, where you can sample the Hawkshead’s range of beers (lager, bitter stout, pale ale and more) from the bottle, cask or keg.

If you’re interested in the finer details of how these beers get made, there are 45-minute brewery tours every day at 13:00 to find out about processes like mashing and fermenting.

12. Lakeland Maze Farm Park

Lakeland Maze Farm Park

Believe it or not but there’s such a thing as a Maize Maze Association, and the Lakeland Maze Farm Park has won the award of “Maize Maze of the Year” a couple of times in the last five years.

Away from Kendal’s galleries and hill walks, here’s an attraction just for children.

The Lakeland Maze Farm Park is open during spring and summer, and has alpacas, sheep, pygmy goats, pigs, ponies, donkeys and guinea pigs that kids can feed and touch, both outside and in the pet barn.

The maize maze is open from July to September, while there’s also a mini-maze for younger children to solve, along with tractor rides, go-karts and spacious indoor zones like a soft play area and a sand pit in case of bad weather.

13. Howgill Fells

Howgill Fells

Across the River Lune, this scenic range is about ten miles east of Kendal.

The Howgills offer a degree of seclusion that is rare in the much more popular Lake District.

The lower Howgill Fells are inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park, but curiously still count as the county of Cumbria.

Park up in the picturesque town of Sedbergh and you can take on the Winder Fell, 473 metres high and with far-off vistas of the Yorkshire Dales, the fells of the Lake District and much of the Lune Valley.

Within hiking distance to the north of Sedbergh is Cautley Spout, the highest waterfall in England, cascading down a drop of almost 200 metres.

14. Quaker Tapestry Museum

Quaker Tapestry, Kendal

The Georgian Friends Meeting House (name for a Quaker place of worship), displays a work of art recording the 350-year history of Quakerism.

The Quaker Tapestry is an embroidery inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry and using similar techniques, with 77 panels stitched by 4,000 men, women and children from 15 different countries over 15 years between 1981 and 1996. Each panel is 64 cm by 21 cm an in the mid-90s the whole set was transported to America for a tour.

The tapestry celebrates important Quakers like the 19th-century chemist John Dalton, and also recounts the Quakers’ historic commitment to peace and the abolition of slavery.

15. Castle Howe

Castle Howe

There’s a compelling scrap of Kendal’s history in open space next to the Brewery Arts Centre.

At Castle Howe you can see the well-defined earthworks of a Norman motte and bailey castle.

This would have been put up at the end of the 11th century, not long after the Norman Conquest.

Castle Howe wasn’t in use for long before being abandoned little more than a century after.

Some 800 years later, the motte stands at 11 metres high and measures almost 20 metres across.

In 1788 an obelisk was placed here for the centenary of the Glorious Revolution, when William III, the Dutch Prince of Orange, invaded England and ascended the throne.

15 Best Things to Do in Kendal (Cumbria, England):

  • Kendal Castle
  • Holy Trinity Church (Kendal Parish Church)
  • Abbot Hall Art Gallery
  • Kentmere Horseshoe
  • Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry
  • Sizergh Castle
  • Levens Hall
  • Kendal Museum
  • Brewery Arts Centre
  • Hawkshead Brewery
  • Lakeland Maze Farm Park
  • Howgill Fells
  • Quaker Tapestry Museum
  • Castle Howe

Great British Bucket List

10 Awesome Things to do in Kendal, England

Find out the top things to do in kendal, including visiting historic castles, feasting on delicious food and hiking around the beautiful countryside.

Kendal town centre

Famous for Kendal mint cake and some of the best views in the UK, Kendal is one of those places that you’ll instantly fall in love with.

Kendal is a charming market town acclaimed for its cultural, historical and natural wonders. Located in the northwest of England , Kendal is a gateway town to the Lake District. This is one of the most beautiful parts on the UK with gorgeous green hills and lakes dotted all over the place.

In fact, the Lake District has just been named one of the newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so it’s well worth the visit!

Kendal town centre

At one point, Kendal was a hub for woollen textiles. The rustic mansions, cottages, and gardens of today were once filled with thriving textile, wool, and leather workshops.

Many of the town’s buildings are built on limestone, giving it a vintage appearance and even earning it the title of ‘Auld Grey Town’!

What to do in Kendal on a weekend away

what to do in kendal

There are plenty of unique things to do in Kendal, making it a popular destination with travellers of all types.

Nature lovers and thrill-seekers can hike, climb and bike through the countryside, hills and around the lakes. If the weather isn’t on your side, you can still have an active day with a trip to the dry ski slope or climbing wall.

History buffs will love turning back the clock at Sizergh Castle and Kendal Castle, learning more about life in the region at Kendal Museum or paying an educational visit to the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry.

Kendal Calling

The region also hosts festivals, farmer’s markets and food events, perfect for those who travel with their stomachs! Major cultural events in Kendal include Westmorland County Show, Kendal Mountain Festival, Kendal Torchlight Carnival, and Kendal Calling – a four-day arts and music festival. Kendal Calling is one of the best festivals in England so definitely add this one to your list .

Are you ready to find out the top things to do in Kendal? Take your pick from this exciting list and you’re in for an amazing time!

Best Things to do in Kendal, England

Get a bird’s eye view of the town from kendal castle.

kendal things to do

Dating back to the 12th-century, Kendal Castle is situated to the east of the town. Its elevated towers offer a panoramic view of Kendal and the surrounding areas, which is a treat for photographers.

Kendal Castle was once the seat of power for the barons of Kendal. After falling into disrepair, it was renovated in time for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Today, you can wander through the stone ruins and connect with the past. The castle and its gardens are a great place for a walk or a picnic in summer too.

Have a fun-filled family time at Lakeland Maze Farm Park

Lakeland Maze Farm Park

Exploring Lakeland Maze Farm Park is one of the top family activities in Kendal, perfect if you’re travelling with kids in tow. At the park you can get close to a variety of cute farm animals, including donkeys, ferrets, and ponies.

You can even buy food to feed them with – something little ones will absolutely love! If your kids fancy a more energetic experience, there’s also a soft play area. There’s plenty to keep them occupied, with indoor climbing walls, trampolines, go-karts and more.

Need a pick me up? Head to the farm cafe which serves snacks and light meals, plus ice creams to round off a great family day out.

Discover the scenic beauty of the Lake District 

kendal attractions

The Kentmere Horseshoe is a circular trail starting from Kentmere, just a short drive from Kendal. Also known as Kentmere Round, it’s one of the longest walks of the Lake District.

This 19km walk circles the Kentmere Reservoir and upper Kentmere valley and takes around 6-8 hours to complete. It’s a stunning way to see the region, taking you through lush green valleys, passing by age-old stone cottages, all while enjoying mesmerising views of Kentmere Reservoir.

This walk takes you to some of the most remote areas of the Lake District, so be sure to pack food and drink, and to dress appropriately for the weather.

Alternatively, if you really want to pack in a lot, you can take a tour of the Lake District and visit some of the most popular places in the area. This is a tour we always recommend!

Visit Hawkshead Brewery

Hawkshead Brewery, near Kendal

Hawkshead Brewery is just a short drive from Kendal, and has been creating great beers since 2002. Once you arrive you’ll realise it’s more than just a brewery! It’s a sampling room and shop, with a great bar and restaurant area known as The Beer Hall . They even host festivals a few times a year.

If you want to learn more, head off on one of the brewery tours which are held on Monday – Friday at 1pm. The tours costs £10 per person and last for 45 minutes. They include a demonstration of the beer-making process, a short-film screening, and a tasty pint at the end!

Take photos from Scout Scar

kendal lake district

Scout Scar is another place great place to visit for stunning panoramic views of the region. On a clear day, you can see over a hundred hills and mountains in the Lake District region – all the way to Yorkshire, Lancashire and Morecambe Bay.

Watching the sunset from Scout Scar with your other half is without a doubt, one of the most romantic things to do in Kendal!

Scout Scar, Cumbria

At the summit of this limestone escarpment is a shelter named ‘Mushroom’ – aptly named due to its round-topped shape. Stop by to catch your breath or get some respite from the chilly breeze in the colder months of the year. It also has information about the summits and topography of the region.

For further exploration, you can take the narrow paths around Scout Scar to Burnbarrow Scar, Brigsteer, and Bradleyfield.

Bring out your festive mood at Kendal Calling

Kendal Calling

What to do in Kendal if music is your life? Book tickets to Kendal Calling . This four-day music festival is held at Lowther Deer Park each summer. What started as a 900-capacity festival in 2006, has blown up to 25,000 capacity, gaining popularity not only in England but also on the international circuit.

Over 14 years, Kendal Calling has seen huge names grace its stage, including Mumford & Sons, Pendulum, Madness, The Charlatans, and The Streets.

Sample some tasty Kendal Mint Cake

Kendal Mint Cake

You can’t leave this area in the Lake District without buying a pack of the iconic Kendal Mint Cake. But did you know that this sweet treat isn’t just famous for its taste, but also for its story?

Kendal Mint Cake was invented… accidentally! In the19th-century a batch of glacier mints was left overnight and turned cloudy and solidified. It turned out to be a bit of a revelation! The ‘cake’ is made from sugar, peppermint, water, oil and a rather high quantity of glucose, so be prepared for that sickly sweet taste.

However, it’s this high energy content and strong flavour which made it a great food supplement for climbers, trekkers, and explorers.  Romney’s , located on Mintsfeet Road North in Kendal, is the oldest and largest manufacturer of Kendal Mint Cake, so definitely call in and buy some for your journey home.

Take a tour of Sizergh Castle

Sizergh Castle

Sizergh Castle has been home to the Strickland family for over 780 years. The interior of this beautiful fortified mansion offers a peek into the lives of royals in medieval times. Inside the National Trust property you’ll find intricately designed furniture, fireplaces, doors, windows, silverware, and extremely well-preserved artworks.

Sizergh Castle’s exterior is as pleasing as its interior. The expansive gardens surrounding the castle include a large limestone rock garden, fountains and ponds, and a superb collection of wildflowers and hardy ferns. The castle also organises several family activities in Kendal throughout the year, such as guided walks and kids’ quizzes.

Walk along the enchanting hills of Howgill Fells

places to visit near kendal

Howgill Fells comprise of a bunch of rolling hills located between Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lake District.

They’re not frequented by hikers half as much as the areas in the two national parks, but they’re worth the trip. While there you can check out Cautley Spout, the highest waterfall in England.

If you want more scenery like this, then take a tour of the Yorkshire Dales from Kendal. Then you get to see some of the top sights without having to worry about the transport!

Experience a slice of history at Kendal Museum

Kendal Museum

William Todhunter founded Kendal Museum in 1796 with a collection of local fossils, minerals, antiques, animals and plants. Over the years, the museum has added vast archaeological and geological collections, and even boasts Europe’s largest taxidermy collection.

Kendal Museum houses several unusual items, from an Iron Age sword to Dodo remains. You don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy it!

For something more interactive, book onto a ‘Tour, Talk, and Tea’, which includes a guided tour, a talk on one of the collections, and a cup of cream tea in the museum cafe.

Enjoy Kendal’s food scene

Yard 46, Kendal

You’ll be pleased to hear there are plenty of tempting cafes and restaurants lining Kendal’s cobblestone streets.

One of the top places to eat in Kendal is Yard 46 . It’s tucked down a little alleyway, but should not be missed. It’s a great place for brunch and lunch, with great salads, sandwiches, soups and tasty cakes.

The Moon Highgate, Kendal

For a smart evening meal, head to The Moon Highgate , a chic restaurant that serves contemporary British cuisine. The bistro sources most ingredients locally, and favourites on the menu include watercress panna cotta, pancakes, and roasted duck breast.

Drink at one of Kendal’s coolest bars  

Bootleggers, Kendal

Kendal feels like a traditional market town during during the day, but there’s a lot of life in the evenings.

One of the liveliest bars is Bootleggers, which hosts live music every Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, as well as having a DJ late into the night on Saturdays.

The Factory Tap

If you are looking for something a bit more relaxing, head to The Factory Tap or The Rifleman’s Arms. The Factory Tap is a great place for a casual pint, while The Rifleman’s Arms has a traditional facade, and hosts quizzes and folk music performances.

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places to visit in kendal lake district

Welcome to Kendal

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places to visit in kendal lake district

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Discover our heritage and culture

Abbot Hall

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Abbot hall art gallery.

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Ye olde fleece inn.

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Whisky Festival

6th December 24

Kendal Whisky Festival

The Kendal Whisky Festival is back for year 4! Based in Kendal Town Hall, they are welcoming distilleries from across the UK and international brands to celebrate all things Whisky.


21st November 24

Kendal Mountain Festival

The Kendal Mountain Festival is an annual festival held in November in Kendal, Cumbria on the edge of the English Lake District in the UK and is one of the […]

Westmorland County Show is Kendal's premier agricultural event

11th September 24

Westmorland County Show

Westmorland County Show is one of the oldest agricultural show in England. It is a brilliant day out for all of the family and features the largest Food Hall in […]

12th September 24

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Contemporary artist Charmaine Watkiss to exhibit in the Lake District this summer 

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Explore Kendal

places to visit in kendal lake district

Travel Tips & Ideas

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Visit Cumbria

Kendal is situated to the south of the Lake District, six miles from junction 36 of the  M6 motorway . It is just nine miles to Windermere lake and only a few miles from the sea. The market town is especially well placed to cater for everyone’s holiday needs.

image of the exterior of Kendal Town Hall

The town boasts a population of some 28500 (2021) and is home to a fair selection of shopping arcades. It also boasts two castles, two museums and a host of historical buildings and bridges. There are fine restaurants, quality hotels and a multitude of public houses. The local schools are excellent, the crime rate low and the views would please the most demanding photographer.

Getting to Kendal

The town is fed by: The A65 from North Yorkshire to the South. The A591 from Barrow and Ulverston to the North. The A684 from Sedbergh to the East. The A685 from Appleby to the North East. The M6 motorway some 6 miles away to the South, providing easy access to Penrith and Carlisle and then onto Scotland.

Kendal railway station  is on the branch line from Oxenholme to Windermere. Nearby  Oxenholme railway station  is on the West Coast Main Line from London to Glasgow.

Railway passengers can alight in Kendal from the Kendal to Windermere service, and can travel to the town from further a field by the West Coast main line from London Euston to Glasgow, getting off at Oxenholme, about two miles outside of the town.

Kendal is often seen as the Southern gateway to the Lake District, being only around 9 miles from Windermere and around 30 miles from Keswick . The other lakes are all within an hour or two’s travelling by car from the town, as are locations for walks and rambles, both gentle and demanding.

Commercial history

Kendal was the largest town in the County of Westmorland (though not the capital which was  Appleby ), before it became part of Cumbria. It was a one of the country’s main manufacturing towns from the 14th Century until the 19th Century, with many mills on the River Kent. There are four  road bridges  in Kendal over the River Kent.

Kendal has, at various times in the past, been an important centre for trade and commerce. The town’s traditional trade was in wool, from which the town’s motto “Pannus mihi panis”, literally meaning “wool is my bread” was taken.

There is also a strong link with the footwear industry, Kendal being home to the famous K-Shoes brand up until the factories ceased to operate around 2003. The warehouse on the edge of town now houses one of Kendal’s excellent shopping arcades.

Kendal’s manufacturing industries all but vanished after the demise of the canal in the 1940’s, with the first few miles of the canal from Kendal onwards being filled in and turned into building land, footpaths and cycle ways.

Today the town is home to a thriving retail sector, with no less than five shopping arcades. Namely, K Village, the Westmorland Shopping Centre, Blackhall Yard Shopping arcade, the Elephant Yard and Wainwright’s Yard. The Town Centre has mostly been pedestrianised and offers a safe connection point for all these shopping areas.

image of an aerial view of Kendal in Cumbria

Historical buildings in Kendal

Kendal is home to a multitude of historically exciting buildings. Including the parish church on the river side in Kirkland and a number of houses and office buildings designed and built by renowned local architects. Particularly notable are the 14th century Castle Dairy, Kendal Castle and Castle Howe, Abbot Hall Museum, Kendal Museum. There are also a host of churches and chapels and rows of houses built from the 1600’s right through to the present day.

The broadcaster, historian and famous son of Kendal, David Starkey, once stated that Kendal could have been like York, if only they hadn’t knocked down so many of the historical buildings. Such was the zealous attitude of the town’s councils towards moving with the times, that, at various times in the last hundred years, great swathes of Kendal’s architectural gems have been demolished to make way for roads and housing developments.

The Romans left us with the camp at Watercrook on the banks of the river Kent. The Normans left behind not one but two castles and a church that is only a few feet narrower than the mighty York Minster. The Elizabethans and the Victorians created a wealth of architecture that can only usually be found in larger towns and cities. All making Kendal a North Western gem that deserves a visit.

Walking around the town amongst the ‘mish-mash’ of building styles can be a delight, and tens of thousands of tourists and locals alike do so each year.

image of the view looking over Kendal from the Helm near Oxenholme. The castle is in the centre of the picture

Kendal Mint Cake

The town’s most famous export must be Kendal Mint Cake. Joseph Wiper came up with the original recipe for the Everest conquering energy bars. By the time the company was sold to rival mint cake makers Romneys, there were a number of local firms producing their own brands.

Cultural Attractions in Kendal

Kendal castle.

Kendal Castle , probably late 12th Century, is now a ruin, but worth exploring. From here you can get brilliant views over the town. At Kendal Museum is an exhibition telling the story of the Castle, its people , and the life of the town. There is a reconstruction of the Castle.

Holy Trinity Parish Church

The Parish Church,  Holy Trinity , is mostly 18th Century, but has been a place of worship since the 13th Century. It is Cumbria’s largest parish church, having five aisles, two each side of the nave, and a fine western tower.

Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Beside the Church is the  Abbot Hall Art Gallery , set in an attractive Georgian House beside the River Kent. Major art exhibitions are held here.

The  Museum of Lakeland Life  is housed in what was the stable block of Abbot Hall. There are displays of traditional rural trades of the area, including farming machinery and tools, showing how Cumbrian people lived, worked and entertained themselves over the last 300 years.

Kendal Museum of Natural history and Archaeology

The  Museum of Natural History and Archaeology  is one of the oldest museums in the country, housing outstanding displays of natural history and archaeology, both local and global.

Quaker Tapestry

The  Quaker Tapestry , housed in the Kendal Quaker Meeting House, is an embroidery of community art, the creation of more than 4000 people in 15 countries. It shows 300 years of social history, beautifully illustrated.

Castle Howe  consists of the earthwork remains of a motte and bailey castle, built around 1092.

Parks in Kendal

Nobles Rest  is a public park at the end of Maude Street.

Sepulchre Lane  has a small park, where there was once a Quaker burial ground.

Serpentine Woods  were created on part of Kendal Fell, overlooking Kendal and the castle during the 1800s. The woods are home to a wide range of bird species, foxes and squirrels. The trees and shrubs grow over a bed of limestone pavement that shows through its layer of foliage in several places. There are a number of paths that can be taken through the woods, with walks totaling around 3 miles in all. The woods have a nature trail with ten stops, each demonstrating a different environment within the woods.

The Brewery Art’s Centre

Brewery Arts Centre  is a multi-purpose arts complex presenting a year round programme of theatre, music, films, lectures and exhibitions. There are also a range of amateur participatory activities including art and craft workshops, Cumbria Youth Theatre, and classes.

The ‘Yards’

The layout of the town is characterised by the narrow  yards and lanes  branching from the main street. It is less than a mile from the  National Park  boundary but is overlooked by the majority of people heading for Windermere and Grasmere.

There were once about 150  ‘yards’  in Kendal, often named after the owner of the main house which usually stood at the top of the yard. A good example is  Yard 83 – Dr Manning’s Yard , on the right hand side as you walk up Highgate. The yards on this side of Highgate used to run in parallel lines down to the river, where there were factories, weaving shops, dying works, and even a windmill (Yard 65 is called Windmill Yard).

Alfred Wainwright in Kendal

Alfred Wainwright , author of the famous guidebooks, was born in Blackburn, but lived in Kendal from 1941 until his death in 1991. The Town Hall used to be his office when he was Borough Treasurer from 1947 until 1967.

In 1977 AW published  Kendal in the Nineteenth Century , in which he copied and converted some 19th Century photographs which he had found in the collection of the Kendal Museum, where he was still Hon curator. Many are street scenes, full of people and activity.

In the  Kendal Museum  is the Wainwright Gallery, which contains a recreation of his office.


Go to Menu :

  • South Cumbria Area Menu
  • Matthew Emmott’s guide to the many interesting buildings of Kendal

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11 Amazing Things to do in Kendal

By: Author Steve Rohan

Posted on Last updated: December 7, 2023

11 Amazing Things to do in Kendal

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Kendal is a quaint market town in the picturesque county of Cumbria in the UK. The town is considered the “gateway to the lakes” thanks to its close proximity to the Lake District.

There are many interesting things to do in Kendal from browsing the market and boutique shops, to discovering some of the wonderful museums, castles, gardens and other attractions the area has to offer.

However, the primary reason for any visit to Kendal should be to take in the stunning Lake District scenery that sits on its doorstep! From gentle ambles to more intense hikes, those of all fitness levels can enjoy this beautiful part of England!

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in and discover some of the best places to visit in Kendal!

Getting to Kendal

By car: Kendal is 1h30m drive from Manchester and around five hours drive from London. Take the M6 to junction 36 (Crooklands interchange) and follow signposts for the town.

By bus: to get to Kendal by bus, you must first get to Lancaster. From Lancaster take the 555 bus straight to Kendal. The journey time from Lancaster is 1h20m and buses run hourly from 07:15 to 20:40.

  • London to Lancaster: 7h30m £23.30
  • Birmingham to Lancaster 4h0m £25.00
  • Manchester to Lancaster 1h25m £9.00

By train: there are daily trains from London Euston to Kendal with a change in Lancaster. The journey time is 3h6m including the change and costs start from £80.00 if booked in advance.

By plane: the closest international airport is Manchester. From there take the train or bus to Lancaster and complete the journey by bus or train as detailed above.

old british cottage house

The Stonecross Manor Hotel is housed in a beautiful old stone building, but has modern amenities like a swimming pool and restaurant on site.

Best Places to Stay in Kendal

Budget: Being a small provincial town, there isn’t much in the way of budget accommodation such as hostels. However, there are plenty of campsites in the vicinity for those wishing to really experience the outdoors. The closest is located at the Station Inn two miles from town. Pitches start at £15. The best way to book a spot is to call them 01539 724094

The Days Inn Kendal also offers the cheapest rooms in the vicinity with prices starting at around £75.00. Book a stay at Days Inn Kendal here .

Mid-range: The Shakespeare Inn is situated right in the centre of Kendal close to all the shops and amenities. The hotel is set within a period building of white walls and wooden beams and is not only a great place to stay, but is one of the best pubs in Kendal , too. There is an onsite restaurant and breakfast is included in the price, which starts from just £99.00. Book a stay at the Shakespeare Inn here .

Luxury: The Stonecross Manor Hotel is located on the outskirts of Kendal just 15 minutes walking distance from the town centre. This charming stone-bricked hotel includes a heated indoor pool and an excellent restaurant serving local produce. Standard double rooms start from £150.00 (breakfast extra). Book a stay at the Stonecross Manor Hotel here .

Top Things to do in Kendal

There are so many wonderful things to do in Kendal. It’s one of the best towns in the Lake District to explore with plenty of museums and shops as well as fantastic nearby hiking.

view of kendal town in the lake district

The beautiful downtown of Kendal town.

1. Explore the Town Centre and Markets

The first thing any visitor to Kendal should do is explore the centre of town. With its weekly outdoor market every Wednesday and Saturday, boutique shops selling everything from antiques to local produce, cafes, restaurants and bars, allow at least half a day to walk around this charming northern English town.

There is an additional market open from Monday to Saturday inside Market Hall/Westmoreland shopping centre. On the last Friday of every month there is a farmers’ market in the town where local farmers sell their own organic meat and vegetables.

The River Kent runs through the middle of the town with many pretty, stone bridges crossing back and forth. Following the river is a great way to explore the town and it’s possible to walk from the museum all the way to Kendall Castle and Abbotts Hall following the Kent (five miles – two to three hours).

2. Visit Kendal Castle

The ruins of this 12th Century castle are one of the more interesting Kendal attractions and offer great views over the town. The castle was once occupied by the Barons of Kendal who were instrumental in the development of the town.

Although the ruins are a shadow of the former castle, it’s not difficult to let your imagination run and take a step back in time to medieval England. The location of the castle above Kendal makes it the perfect place for a pleasant stroll and picnic, with incredible views in every direction!

History Buffs will be interested to learn that one of the castle’s former inhabitants, Katherine Parr, went on to become one of King Henry VIII’s wives (and she was one of the lucky ones to survive to the chopping board)!

Entrance to the castle ruins and grounds is free and it’s just a short walk from the town centre.

See location on Google maps

inside a castle with cobbled streets

Wandering the streets of Kendal.

3. Explore Kendal Museum

Kendal Museum is one of the oldest museums in the whole of the UK and is dedicated not only to the history of the town, but also to the nature that surrounds it. The museum specialises in natural history and wildlife, making it an excellent place to visit for the whole family.

The museum houses exhibitions including local paintings, but the animal exhibits from around the world including Africa, Australia and even the arctic make this museum worthy of a visit in and of itself.

Where else are you able to see a lion, musk ox, aardvark, kangaroo and even a full-size polar bear in the same place? Granted, they are not alive any longer, but no less impressive for it!

The museum really is one of the best places to visit in Kendal and deserves at least half a day to admire all the displays.

Tickets cost just £5 for adult and £2 for children aged five to 18. Children under five go free.

hiking in the lake district

Hiking in Kendal is some of the best in all of the Lake District.

5. Hike to Scout Scar

There are two main hikes to Scout Scar from Kendal. There is an easy three-mile round trip that is suitable for all levels of fitness, and a tougher eight-mile trek that starts in the town centre and ends up at Sizergh Castle (see below).

The easier route should take around 90 minutes to complete and the more difficult, three to four hours. The scenery on both routes is fantastic and on a clear day you can see all the ay to the estuary of the River Kent near the coast.

To make a day of it, pick up supplies at the market and enjoy a picnic up on the fells overlooking the town.

The circular walk starts from the car park at the bottom of Scout Scar, and the longer route starts from the town centre.

6. Visit Sizergh Castle

Unlike Kendal Castle, the 15th Century Sizergh Castle remains completely intact with an impressive tower. The grounds include a selection of beautiful gardens, a lake and an award-winning limestone rock garden.

Sizergh Castle is also home to an impressive and diverse habitat that includes orchards, wetland and woodland. The entire estate is over 1,600 acres so you can easily spend the best part of a day exploring the castle and grounds.

Sizergh is located four miles south of Kendal and is easily reachable by bus (530, 551, 555 or 755).

Tickets cost £13.00 for adults, £6.50 for children (castle and grounds). If you just want to visit the grounds then you can do so for £9.00 for adults and £4.50 for children.

Sizergh Castle

Sizergh Castle is a wonderful thing to do in Kendal.

7. Marvel at the Gardens of Levens Hall

The impressive Elizabethan Levens Hall dates back to 1250 and the entire estate is set within 9,500 acres of land. Here you can find the oldest topiary gardens in the world (for the uninitiated, topiary plants are those that are trimmed into different shapes to resemble animals etc).

The onsite Levens Kitchen serves food sourced within the grounds of the estate. You don’t need to pay the admission fee if you just want to eat at the restaurant, and they also offer a takeaway service.

Entrance to the house and gardens costs £14.50 for adults and £5.00 for children. For those just wishing to visit the gardens, the cost is £10.50 for adults and £4.00 for children.

The house and gardens are open Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 to 17:00. The restaurant is open 7 days a week from 10:00 to 17:00.

8. See the Works at Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Abbot Hall is a Grade I listed building that houses a museum and art gallery. The townhouse was built in 1759 as a place for the Abbot to stay when visiting St Mary’s Abbey in York. The house was converted into a gallery in 1962 and houses the largest collection of George Romney’s paintings in the UK as well as other 18th and 19th Century works.

The gallery also contains paintings and sculptures by more contemporary artists such as Barbara Hepworth (see our St Ives Article for information on how to visit Hepworth’s gallery).

Abbot Hall hosts different events and exhibitions throughout the year so check the website to see what is currently on. For lovers of art and architecture, Abbot Hall is definitely one of the best places to visit in Kendal!

Please note: Abbots Hal is temporarily closed for refurbishment and is due to reopen in summer 2022.

kendal town

Views of Kendal.

9. Visit Lakeland Museum

Lakeland is home to a museum charting the social history of the Lake District. The museum houses collections of artifacts and photographs dating back hundreds of years and also includes period rooms.

Lakeland Museum is located next to Abbot Hal in the centre of Kendal. As with Abbot Hall, the museum is currently closed for refurbishment and will reopen in the summer of 2022.

Things to do near Kendal

If you’ve been to the Lake District before, you may want to consider exploring some things to do near Kendal while you are exploring. The town is at the heart of this region and a great base to explore more.

hiking sign pointing to Kendal Castle

Hiking around the national park is a fun thing to do and very well sign-posted to keep you along the trail you want to be on.

10. Lake District National Park

Kendal is located just eight miles from Lake Windermere, the jewel in the Lake District’s crown. Windermere is the longest natural lake in the UK and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Windermere is the perfect place for messing about on the water from lake cruises to kayaking, swimming and fishing.

There are also plenty of wonderful hikes around the lake. From easy ambles such as to Gummer’s How or Orrest Head, to more difficult treks to Wansfell Pike or Loughrigg.

There are multiple trains and buses between Kendal and Windermere each day. The train takes just 15 minutes and the bus 24 minutes.

views of a stone bridge with water running underneath it

Kendal, UK.

11. Lakeland Maze Farm Park

For a fun day out for all the family, head to Lakeland Maze Farm Park which is located five miles south of Kendal close to the village of Sedgewick.

Raines Farm is part of Lakeland Maze and is a working farm with a diverse range of animals. You can see cattle, sheep, horses and donkeys to more exotic species such as lamas and alpacas. It is possible to visit at feeding time and even have a go yourself if you want to get up close and personal!

The highlight of a visit to Lakeland Maze Farm Park has to be the different mazes on offer. The maize maze is open from July to September each year and here you can try and find your way through narrow alleyways in the tall maize fields.

There are also two other permanent mazes to get lost in including a wooden panel maze and an indoor “bunny maze”.

There is also a children’s play area and a café with indoor and outdoor seating (take away also available). Lakelands is definitely one of the best things to do near Kendal for the whole family!

Entrance to Lakeland Maze is £10.45 for adults and £9.95 for children (there is a discount available if you book online ).

So, is Kendal worth visiting?

As a gateway to England’s beautiful Lake District full of sweeping, mountain vistas, small villages and charming market towns, Kendal is definitely worth a visit. There are plenty of Kendal attractions to suit everyone from hikers to families and those seeking a rural romantic getaway in the UK . No trip to England is complete without paying this beautiful town a visit!

Sunday 2nd of July 2023

Sounds wonderful I’m going there on Saturday for five days by coach question is can we use our bus pass there .??

Between England & Everywhere

Awesome Things To Do In Kendal & The Surrounding Area, Lake District | UK

Things to do in Kendal Lake District

Compared to some of the other towns and villages in the Lake District area, Kendal has a more residential feel, making it a nice base without the overwhelm of large crowds and busy car parks! The town of Kendal actually sits just outside of the National Park. My sister lives in Cumbria and while visiting I checked out some of the things to do in Kendal and the surrounding area!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission on purchases made after clicking the link. For more information visit the Privacy & Disclosure Policy.

Things To Do In Kendal

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One of the main things to do in Kendal is to visit the town centre. It’s quite small but has some pedestrian areas and a wide range of shops , from outdoor wear retailers, to the usual High Street stores. The Westmorland Shopping Centr e is home to an indoor market that dates back to 1886 . The market is open 6 days a week (closed Sundays).

New Shambles in Kendal

Along Finkle Street, opposite the band stand, you’ll find a ‘rock snake’ that was created during the pandemic. Another interesting area is ‘ New Shambles ‘. This connects Finkle Street to Branthwaite Brow. It’s an alleyway that has some small independent businesses, but its history was a little grim!

Up until the 19th century, it was lined with butchers shops, a ‘Shambles’ being the term for an open-air slaughterhouse. The blood used to run down the street! Thankfully it is not like this anymore!

Kendal Mint Cake

Kendal is known for ‘ Kendal Mint Cake ‘, which ironically isn’t a cake . It was first created by accident back in 1869 and is popular with climbers and mountaineers as a source of energy. I spent a while trying to find a bar that didn’t feel completely crushed, but I soon realised that after sitting in my backpack for a day it turned to dust anyway.

Kendal Mint Cake

It’s a strange texture, it just melts in your mouth, and disappears completely…like an invisible Polo mint! I can see how it would be good for mountain climbers as it doesn’t leave a heavy feeling in your stomach, yet it is packed full of sugar and calories! You can buy Kendal Mint Cake at the indoor market .

The Brewery Arts Centre is a multi purpose venue for film, theatre, music, exhibits and more . You can find out what’s on on the Brewery Arts Centre website. They also have an on-site restaurant. Between 4pm-5pm Wednesday until Friday, they have a £5 pizza or pasta happy hour.

Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal Lake District

For those looking for adventure, there’s the Kendal Snowsports Club . It has a small dry ski slope for ski and snowboard lessons and can be rented out for tubing parties . The centre is located on the hill that the castle sits on top of.

Another option in the town is the Lake Climbing Centre which has a 25m high climbing wall , along with bouldering courses and a ‘CrazyClimb’ for kids (similar to Clip N Climb ).

You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to coffee shops in Kendal! There are so many it’s impossible to try them all! Here are some of the ones I tried (my sister said Nina’s Coffee Shop is also highly recommended!).

The Masters House Tea Rooms coffee shops in Kendal

Bob & Berts – Personally Bob & Berts was my favourite of the cafes in Kendal that I visited! They have colourful cakes in the display case and as my visit was over Easter, they were serving Easter Egg hot chocolate . These came with half a Cadburys chocolate egg shell in AND half a creme egg! Very sweet but AMAZING!

They also play great music and have this awesome quote on the wall:

“This is your life, do what you love & do it often. Enjoy the power & beauty of youth. Travel often, getting lost will help you find yourself. When you eat, appreciate every last bite.” – Bob & Berts, Kendal

Easter egg hot chocolate at Bob and Berts - coffee shops in Kendal Lake District

The Cottage Kitchen – The Cottage Kitchen is along Finkle Street. During my visit they had a £5 cream tea deal , which came with a pot of tea and one scone with cream and jam.

The Union Jack Cafe – If you’re looking for somewhere to eat breakfast in Kendal , the Union Jack Cafe is a great choice. They do large breakfasts for reasonable prices .

Just like the cafes, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to where to eat in Kendal. I love fish and chip shops and ate at both the Finkle Street Chippy (for fish and chips) and Fish Express (pie and chips). The portion size at Fish Express was massive, we all struggled to eat it all!

The Miles Thompson , along Allhallows Lane, is a Wetherspoons. However it is quite cool as the building dates back to 1864 . It was originally a public bath house that had 8 large baths and laundry facilities for poor working class families in the area. The food is what you’d expect from a Wetherspoons, I had both dinner and breakfast there as it is a budget friendly option.

I didn’t eat there, but on the Saturday night the restaurant Comida , was extremely popular. They serve Spanish Tapas. My sister also says the Cortillo Lounge is good and always busy too. The Wakefield Arms that’s attached to the Premier Inn is also good.

Kendal Walks

For walking trails in Kendal , they do it perfectly. They have designed 3 different trails that are fairly easy and take around an hour each to complete . There are sign boards around the town, or you can pick up a leaflet which has a map of each route along with places of interest.

Kendal Walks

You can also adapt them to make them longer or shorter and they give advice on routes where the path may be steeper. I did parts of all 3 routes.

A great walk is up to Serpentine Woods . You can either follow the road, which is a gradual slope, or take the steep option up steps through the residential area.

Kendal Serpentine Woods

There are several different trails throughout the woods, including a woodland trail with various sculptures that are hidden. Maps and quiz questions can be found at Kendal Library or from Tourist information.

A couple of the routes come out alongside Kendal Golf Club, which has views across the valley, looking back over Kendal. There are several benches in this area.

Kendal Cumbria

Apart from shopping, one of the other best things to do in Kendal is to visit Kendal Castle ! Technically it’s only the ruins, but it is free to visit . Like most castles, the ruins do sit up on top of a hill.

You can either follow a circular route (which is what I did). Or just go up and down the same way. The entrance along Sunnyside is steps, or Castle Road is a gradual slope. The Kendal Castle walk offers 360 degree views of the countryside.

Kendal Castle Walk

The castle dates back to the 1200s . The most famous connection to the castle is the Parr family. The father of Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr, lived at the castle for a time. However, by the time Catherine was born, the castle was falling to disrepair, so it is thought that she never actually lived there herself.

Kendal Castle Lake District

Kendal Castle is self guided and you can listen to a Kendal Castle audio tour here. Alternatively, you can learn more about the history of Kendal in the Kendal Museum located in the town.

The third walking trail in Kendal is the culture trail and river walk . There are lots of information boards all through the town pointing out the history of the different buildings and areas. For example, Kendal Parish Church is said to be the third widest church in England and it has five aisles ! It also dates back to the Domesday Book .

Kendal Parish Church

Along the High Street, there are many yards that were important parts of various industries that helped to shape Kendal. All of these have information plaques too, sharing their history. Part of the culture trail also follows the river walk alongside the River Kent.

Trail boards can be found throughout the town, although during the summer months you can join a guided tour.

Things To Do Near Kendal

The following things can be done in a day trip from Kendal, in a circular route around Lake Windermere!

🚗 Kendal to Lakeland Motor Museum : approx 30 minutes (17 miles)

The Lakeland Motor Museum is located in Backbarrow. The collection has over 30,000 items that range from cars, bikes, motorcycles and more. There’s a whole separate building housing the Campbell Bluebird exhibit dedicated to Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell’s racing careers.

Things to do near Kendal: Lakeland Motor Museum

They also have a collection of retro ‘arcade games’ that are actually playable and a complimentary quiz book for kids with 23 questions about different things in the museum. Completed quiz sheets can be exchanged for a small prize.

Cafe Ambio sits alongside the River Leven, with both indoor and outdoor seating. The cafe serves up their signature ‘Choffee’ (mocha) as well as a selection of food, including a chocolate and ginger scone! (I also bought my Kendal Mint Cake from here).

River Leven Lake District

While sitting next to the river, you may spot the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway steam train which travels along the Leven Valley.

Right next door to the Lakeland Motor Museum is Cliffhanger Rooms . I personally love escape rooms and have completed them all around the world. You have 60 minutes to solve clues and riddles without the challenge and then escape the room without getting ‘locked in/caught’!

Cliffhanger Rooms have 3 challenges: Bank Vault Heist, Haunted Pirate ship and Vlad The Vampire . We did the Bank Vault Heist and it was one of the harder ones that I’ve done. We managed to escape with a few seconds to spare, but unfortunately didn’t walk away with every piece, so were unable to make the official leaderboard!

🚗 Kendal to Claife Viewing Station : approx 45 minutes (23 miles)

( Road Trip ➡ Lakeland Motor Museum to Claife Viewing Station: approx 22 minutes)

On the opposite side of Lake Windermere, on the west shore, is the Claife Viewing Station . It was originally built as a summer house during the 1700s . It now stands as ruins, but it’s a really cool view point that overlooks the lake. Did you know that Lake Windermere is England’s largest lake?!

Claife Viewing Station Lake Windermere Lake District Things to do near Kendal

One of the highlights are the coloured ‘frame like’ windows . These were inspired by the original design where the different colours were used to create a sensory experience.

When viewing the lake through each coloured piece of glass, it was supposed to help visitors visualise the lake in different weather conditions and seasons : yellow = summer, orange = autumn, light green = spring, light blue = winter, dark blue = moonlight and lilac = thunderstorms.

As well as the coloured glass, an Aeolian Harp was installed above the window. This is a harmonic like music box made with wood and string. When the wind blows through it, it creates different tones.

Claife Viewing Station Lake Windermere Lake District

The Claife Viewing Station is looked after by the National Trust . It’s free to visit , however if travelling by car, there is a small pay and display car park . National Trust members can park for free, but for non-members parking charges start at £5 for 2 hours (correct at the time of writing). The car park is a short walk from the Claife Viewing Station.

There’s a small cafe nearby ( Joey’s Cafe ), however there are no other facilities. The closest toilets are at the ferry terminal, around a 5 minute walk from the National Trust car park.

🚗 Kendal to Ambleside : approx 30 minutes (13 miles)

( Road Trip ➡ Claife Viewing Station to Ambleside: approx 25 minutes)

One of the most famous buildings in the Lake District is the Bridge House in the town of Ambleside. This is a tiny 17th century stone house that is built above Stock Beck stream . It was built by the Braithwaite family and is thought that originally it was just a bridge to cross the stream. But then the house was added at a later date for storage and had a door on each side of the steam.

Ambleside Bridge House over Stock Beck - Things to do near Kendal

Over the years, the building has had several different uses, from housing various businesses, a tearoom and even a residential house, however it now only has one entrance way.

Ambleside has a range of shops (many outdoor adventure brands), cafes, restaurants and holiday cottages. The Flying Fleece pub is right next to the Bridge House and is also built over Stock Beck (it has a glass floor where you can see an old water wheel!). I have also heard very good things about The Apple Pie Cafe and Bakery .

There are a couple of different hotels in Kendal, including a Travelodge at one end of the town and the more centrally located Premier Inn .

Riverside Hotel in Kendal Lake District

Another option is Riverside Hotel , which sits alongside the River Kent. It is a converted 18th century tannery. The Riverside Hotel is pet friendly and has a restaurant, an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room and gym. Check Riverside Hotel rates and availability here.

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My travels have taken me to over 40 countries worldwide (& I lived in USA for 4yrs). I hold a BTEC National Diploma in Travel & Tourism (triple distinction) and have been writing on Between England & Everywhere since 2015.

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Things to do in Kendal Lake District

Last Updated on January 24, 2024

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places to visit in kendal lake district

Kendal, the southern gateway to the Lake District and the second-largest town in Cumbria, is a vibrant town with a population of around 28,000.

places to visit in kendal lake district

Its location, just 8 miles southeast of Windermere, makes it an ideal starting point for those seeking to experience the beauty of the Lake District while still enjoying the amenities of a modern British town.

Kendal is home to one of the oldest museums in the country and is widely recognized for its renowned Mint Cake – a lifesaver for hikers worldwide seeking nourishment.

places to visit in kendal lake district

Things to do:

  • Visit Kendal Castle: Explore the ruins of this medieval castle, which dates back to the 12th century, for a glimpse into the region’s history.
  • Take a stroll along the River Kent: Enjoy a leisurely walk along the River Kent and enjoy the stunning scenery.
  • Visit the Kendal Museum: Learn about the history and heritage of the Lake District at this fascinating museum, which showcases the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.
  • Explore the Brewery Arts Centre: Enjoy a show, take a workshop, or catch a film at this vibrant arts centre in the heart of Kendal.
  • Visit the Abbot Hall Art Gallery: Browse the collections of this impressive art gallery, which features works by some of the most famous artists in British history.
  • Take a walk in Lakeside Park: Enjoy a peaceful stroll through this lovely park, which features stunning views of Lake Windermere and the surrounding hills.
  • Explore Kendal’s shops and markets: Kendal is home to various unique shops and markets, offering everything from local crafts and gifts to vintage items and antiques.
  • Visit the Quaker Tapestry Museum: Admire the intricate designs and vibrant colours of this fascinating collection of Quaker tapestries, which depict the history and beliefs of the Quaker movement.
  • Go rock climbing in the nearby fells: The Lake District is home to some of the best rock climbing in England, with plenty of opportunities for climbers of all abilities.

Where to eat:

  • The Sun Inn: This historic pub serves delicious, locally-sourced food, including classic pub grub and contemporary dishes.
  • The Warehouse Cafe: This charming cafe serves a range of freshly-prepared dishes, including soups, sandwiches, and baked goods.
  • The Pepper Pot: This elegant restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a menu that features fresh local ingredients and innovative cooking techniques.

places to visit in kendal lake district

Where to stay:

Holiday cottages in kendal.

Fantastic selection of holiday cottages across Kendal in the Lake District.Available to book now.

  • The Sun Inn: This historic pub offers comfortable guest rooms and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
  • The Castle Green Hotel: This elegant hotel offers comfortable rooms, stunning views of the surrounding mountains, and a range of on-site facilities, including a restaurant and bar.
  • The Riverside Hotel: This budget-friendly option offers comfortable rooms and a convenient location, just a short walk from the town centre.

places to visit in kendal lake district

Getting There

By Car: To reach Kendal, leave the M6 at Junction 36 and follow the signs for Kendal via the A590 and A591 .

Once you arrive in the town centre, multiple marked parking facilities will be available.

By Public Transport: In addition to being easily accessible by road, Kendal also has a railway station with regular services between Oxenholme and Windermere.

Oxenholme, located on the West Coast Main Line, offers convenient connections to major cities, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, and London.

places to visit in kendal lake district

In conclusion, Kendal is a charming town that offers something for everyone.

From its rich cultural heritage to its stunning scenery and vibrant arts scene, it’s the perfect place to escape and explore.

So why not plan your trip today and discover all this beautiful town has to offer?

places to visit in kendal lake district


  1. The 10 Best Things to Do in Kendal

    10. Lakeland Museum. 135. Historic Sites. Immerse yourself in Lake District History at the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry. Inside you can explore a typical Victorian farmers home from the food in the kitchen, to the elegance of the …. 11. Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve. 43.

  2. Kendal

    Full of historic character, Kendal hosts a web of interweaving alleyways and cobbled yards. Whilst the ruins of medieval Kendal castle stand on Castle Hill, with great views over the town. A home to passionate artisans, if you love food and drink, you'll love Kendal. Delve into the farm shops, discover local bakers and brewers or browse for ...

  3. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Kendal (2024)

    8. Abbot Hall. 178. Art Museums. Abbot Hall is one of the UK's leading art galleries. Established in 1962 in a Grade I listed Georgian building on the banks of the River Kent in Kendal, today we are rethinking the gallery as vibrant…. 2024. 9. Outside In Kendal.

  4. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Kendal (Updated 2024)

    Established in 1962 in a Grade I listed Georgian building on the banks of the River Kent in Kendal, today we are rethinking the gallery as vibrant…. 10. Lakeland Museum. 135. Historic Sites. Immerse yourself in Lake District History at the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry.

  5. Top Things to Do in Kendal, Lake District

    Natural History Museums. Founded in 1796, Kendal Museum's fascinating collections include local and global archaeology, history, geology and natural history. See ways to experience (2) 7. Kendal Castle. 506. Castles. By 70ish. There are information boards around the castle ruins, it is well worth visiting.

  6. Kendal

    Kendal. Bustling Kendal is a major gateway town to the Lake District, its nickname of 'Auld Grey Town' due to the distinctive limestone used in so many of its buildings. Grey may be the dominant colour here, but there's nothing sombre about it - its excellent restaurants, busy shopping district and creative arts centre a guarantee of ...

  7. 15 Best Things to Do in Kendal (Cumbria, England)

    3. Abbot Hall Art Gallery. A cultural journey through the Lake District, the Abbot Hall Art Gallery is in a glorious Georgian mansion from 1759. This took the place of the earlier Abbot's Hall, a Medieval residence for abbots visiting Kendal from St Mary's Abbey in York.

  8. 10 Awesome Things to do in Kendal, England

    Located in the northwest of England, Kendal is a gateway town to the Lake District. This is one of the most beautiful parts on the UK with gorgeous green hills and lakes dotted all over the place. In fact, the Lake District has just been named one of the newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so it's well worth the visit!

  9. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Kendal (Updated 2024)

    Abbot Hall. 178. Art Museums. Abbot Hall is one of the UK's leading art galleries. Established in 1962 in a Grade I listed Georgian building on the banks of the River Kent in Kendal, today we are rethinking the gallery as vibrant…. 10. Lakeland Museum. 135. Historic Sites.

  10. Visit Kendal

    Visit Kendal - it's no ordinary market town. Alive with arts, events, festivals and culture, packed with intriguing history and great shopping streets. Add your Business; ... Cumbria on the edge of the English Lake District in the UK and is one of the […] 11th September 24.

  11. Top Things to Do in Kendal, Lake District

    Fab soft play and roleplay town. Review of: Outside In Kendal. Written 22 May 2024. This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews. Ann S. 1 contribution. Inspiring Exhibition, Beautiful Gallery Space. Review of: Abbot Hall.

  12. The 10 Best Things to Do in Kendal

    Review of: Kendal Castle. Written 30 April 2024. This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews. Ann S. 1 contribution. Inspiring Exhibition, Beautiful Gallery Space. Review of: Abbot Hall. Written 11 August 2023.

  13. Kendal

    Kendal is often seen as the Southern gateway to the Lake District, being only around 9 miles from Windermere and around 30 miles from Keswick. The other lakes are all within an hour or two's travelling by car from the town, as are locations for walks and rambles, both gentle and demanding. Commercial history

  14. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Kendal (2024)

    Things to Do in Kendal, England: See Tripadvisor's 54,622 traveller reviews and photos of Kendal tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in July. We have reviews of the best places to see in Kendal. ... The Lake District National Park is a lovely place to go to walk and see amzing scenery. So many friednly people and the ...

  15. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Kendal

    5. Quaker Tapestry Museum. 193. Speciality Museums. World famous attraction within the historic market town of Kendal in Cumbria. An award-winning, inspirational exhibition of embroidered panels telling stories of railways, revolutionary ideas and …. See ways to experience (2) 6. Kendal Museum.

  16. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Kendal

    1 contribution. Fabulous day with the Alpacas. Review of: Wreay Syke Alpacas. Written June 18, 2024. This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews. Sherpa36591951899. 1 contribution. Stickle Ghyll Stag Do Scramble.

  17. 11 Amazing Things to do in Kendal · Eternal Expat

    The museum really is one of the best places to visit in Kendal and deserves at least half a day to admire all the displays. ... Lake District National Park. Kendal is located just eight miles from Lake Windermere, the jewel in the Lake District's crown. Windermere is the longest natural lake in the UK and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and ...

  18. Awesome Things To Do In Kendal & The Surrounding Area, Lake District

    Things To Do Near Kendal. The following things can be done in a day trip from Kendal, in a circular route around Lake Windermere! Lakeland Motor Museum. 🚗Kendal to Lakeland Motor Museum: approx 30 minutes (17 miles) The Lakeland Motor Museum is located in Backbarrow. The collection has over 30,000 items that range from cars, bikes ...

  19. The 10 Best Things to Do in Kendal

    Things to Do in Kendal, England: See Tripadvisor's 54,455 traveller reviews and photos of Kendal tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in June. ... Lake District - Kendal Must-See Attractions. Things to Do in Kendal. Explore popular experiences. See what other travellers like to do, based on ratings and number of bookings.

  20. Kendal

    Kendal, the southern gateway to the Lake District and the second-largest town in Cumbria, is a vibrant town with a population of around 28,000. Its location, just 8 miles southeast of Windermere, makes it an ideal starting point for those seeking to experience the beauty of the Lake District while still enjoying the amenities of.

  21. Top Things to Do in Kendal

    5. Quaker Tapestry Museum. 193. Speciality Museums. World famous attraction within the historic market town of Kendal in Cumbria. An award-winning, inspirational exhibition of embroidered panels telling stories of railways, revolutionary ideas and …. See ways to experience (2) 6. Kendal Museum.

  22. Top Things to Do in Kendal

    Top Things to Do in Kendal, Lake District: See Tripadvisor's 55,929 traveller reviews and photos of 100 things to do when in Kendal.