We all know that the Lake District is a perfect summer holiday destination and one place we think you should visit is the beautiful town of Kendal. There are lots of things to do in Kendal, so here are some of our top recommendations to help you plan your trip.

Why Kendal?

Kendal is situated in South Lakeland, Cumbria, and is a hub of activity, events and culture, as well as being home to snippets of interesting local history. The town is ewe-nique with its combination of old and new, existing side-by-side. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for bits of history, pieces of art, or simply a shopping trip to find local produce - Kendal is sure to offer something for everyone to enjoy.

Explore the Area Around Kendal

To get a feel for the area, and to explore what there is to see and do in Kendal, there are a couple of easy walks and trails around the town to enjoy. The trails are self-guided, meaning you can go at your own pace – every trail can be completed within one hour, but you can take your time at the places you love to extend the journey. Kendal’s trails can be found on the 17 ‘Explore Kendal’ information signs around the town, which make finding your way super simple.

Above Kendal are the winding, twisting paths of Serpentine Woods (no prizes for guessing where the name came from!) Here, you can enjoy three miles of woodland filled with Cumbrian wildlife and birds. Unfortunately, you are unlikely to come across any Herdwicks, but you might meet the odd squirrel.

The woods are a part of Kendal Fell, but the woodland has only been in existence since 1790. Before that the area was grazing land and given the name Dob Frear, which comes from Old Norse meaning “free land”. The woods became part of a job creation scheme in the early 1800s, with labourers working the woods, planting flower beds, and creating walkways for the good of the public.

From the centre of Kendal you can walk up to Scout Scar, a limestone ridge which overlooks the stunning Lyth Valley. There is a small car park nearby if you don’t fancy the walk. Once there, embark on a fairly easy looped trail to enjoy even more wonderful views.

For extra summer holiday fun, Kendal’s Summer Children’s Trails are back for 2019, this year themed around sport. Download your trail map and wander to Kendal town centre to complete the range of fun activities which are sure to keep the whole family flock entertained.

Places to visit in Kendal

Kendal has much to offer in terms of both fascinating history and innovative culture.

A lot of Kendal’s history centres around the wool trade, something that makes us at Herdy incredibly proud. This importance can be seen in Kendal’s motto pannus mihi panis, which, for those of you that don’t speak Latin, translates as ‘wool is my bread’. The town’s coat-of-arms too demonstrates the significance of wool, depicting bale hooks to represent the trade. Kendal’s most famous woolen cloth was Kendal Green. It was so famous in fact, that Shakespeare refers to ‘Kendal-green’ in Henry IV (Part I). Evidently sheep and wool were just as important in Kendal back then as they are now.

For those of you who want to investigate Kendal of the past, consider paying a visit to the remnants of Kendal’s original castle, Castle Howe. The remains of the wooden motte and bailey can still be found atop Bowling Fell, which itself is a great place for historically-minded Herdsters to relax.

In the 13th century, another castle was constructed on the opposite side of the river, this one built out of stone. Kendal Castle, as it was called, is now a ruin, but still definitely worth a visit. It was the home of Kendal’s barons, most famously the family of Katherine Parr (Paaaa) who went on to be the sixth and only surviving wife of Henry VIII. The new addition of an Audio Trail brings the history alive, and for those who want to learn more, Kendal Museum has an exhibition dedicated to telling the story of Kendal’s important landmark.

The museum is also home to collections of artefacts with links to local and global archaeology, social history and geology. Alfred Wainwright, the famous guide book author and fell walker, became an honorary curator of the museum. For 30 years, he gave up his spare time to look after the collections on behalf of the Town Council.

As well as Kendal Museum, other places to learn about the town’s history (or to amuse you during a rainy Cumbrian day) include the Abbot Hall Art Gallery and The Quaker Tapestry Museum. Definitely check them out.

Another place to visit in Kendal, outside of history, is the Brewery Arts Centre. A trip to Kendal would not be complete without visiting the town’s centre of art. There is always something going on, from live music and theatre, to the latest films and festivals. Look into the venue’s diverse and exciting programme during your visit to see what you can find. The food and drink scene at the Brewery is also fantastic. We love the quirky Vats Bar, which has a lively, informal atmosphere with seating carved out of massive beer barrels!

Shopping In Kendal

Kendal houses plenty of places to get gifts for those back home, or perhaps to buy a present for yourself instead.

There is a mix of well-known brands and quirky, independent businesses which, combined with the pedestrian-friendly streets, creates a unique, interesting yet relaxing shopping environment. Check out the main shopping areas, but also venture off into the numerous yards and alleyways which make Kendal’s high street so individual.

Kendal is, of course, home to one of our four Herdy stores, so don’t forget to drop in and say hi. Lucky for us, very close to our shop is the 1657 Chocolate House which, for any chocoholics out there, should not be missed. With over 100 chocolates and special personalized gifts on offer, as well as an extensive hot chocolate menu, the 1657 Chocolate House is a historic building dating back to the 1630s. A bit of culture and chocolate! What could be better? Our Kendal shop Herdys definitely love it, and can often be caught sheepishly trying to escape to feast on the sweet treats inside.

If you want to get your hands on some fresh local produce, explore the Kendal Farmers Market which is held in the Market Place. It only takes place on the last Friday of each month, so be sure to time your trip right if you want to visit. Just be sure to keep Herdy away from the butchers!

Food and Drink In Kendal

Finding somewhere to eat and drink in Kendal is easy, what with the host pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants the town has on offer. Find local produce in artisan bakeries and micro-breweries, or go with what you know with well-known, well-loved chains. For a town which is on the small side, Kendal is home to a surprising range of cuisine including: Mexican, Japanese, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Chinese, Indian, and Italian.

A blog post about Kendal wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Kendal Mint Cake - Kendal’s famous energy-packed treat. It is a firm favourite of locals, tourists and Herdys alike. Did you know both Edmund Hillary and Ernest Shackleton carried this solid sugary bar with them on their respective adventures? To this day, hikers who walk in the Lake District make sure they have it in their backpack. Remember to pick up a bar in one of the local shops during your stay.

If ewe guys do pay us a visit in Kendal, then tell us all about it on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or leave us a review!