Auld Grey Town
Built out of local limestone, Kendal is known as the 'Auld Grey Town'. It is a thriving commercial centre for a wide area of the Southern Lakes and beyond. Famous for centuries for its cloth and wool trade, it is the birthplace of Catherine Parr, last wife of Henry VIII. Kendal is also known for its Mint Cake, a peppermint flavoured energy boosting sweet taken with Edmund Hillary on the first ascent of Everest in 1953. The town has two museums, five shopping arcades, fine restaurants and many public buildings and houses. The town centre has been pedestrianised and so the shopping areas can be more safely accessed.
167 Chocolate House
167 Chocolate House is a popular tearoom with handmade chocolates and many varieties of Kendal Mint Cake. Ploughman's lunches and cream teas are served upstairs in the cafe.
The New Moon
The New Moon in Highgate is the 'top place to eat' with classic French and modern British food. The dining room is bright and modern.
Described by Lonely Planet as a 'glorious family run mansion' Heaves Hotel is set in 4 hectares of grounds and woodland a few miles south of Kendal. It is a classic traditionally decorated country house hotel with antiques, brass work, big fireplaces, large rooms and several four poster beds.
At the other end of the spectrum there is a Kendal Youth Hostel in the Main Street, only available by advance telephone booking.
For information and accommodation advice, the tourist office is in Highgate November to Easter. From Easter to October it is inside the Town Hall. Try firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kendal railway station is on the branch line to Windermere. Nearby Oxenholme railway station is on the West Coast Main Line from London to Glasgow. There are buses to Windermere and Keswick, Coniston and a coastal route to through Grange to Barrow.
The Brewery Arts Centre
The Brewery Arts Centre, is a top class venue with cinemas and regular theatre, dance and live music programmes.
In November every year a prestigious Mountain Film Festival is held in Kendal. It is an international festival with a huge programme of films, lectures and entertainment.
Abbot Hall in Kendal is an 18th century country house built on an earlier site. It is now an art gallery with changing exhibitions and a collection of paintings by George Romney (1734-1802) and some by John Ruskin.
The Museum of Lakeland Life
The Museum of Lakeland Life faces Abbot Hall across a courtyard. It presents an Edwardian street scene and exhibits on local industry, such as spinning, mining and bobbin making, also a room recreating the study of children's author Arthur Ransome.
Another 'Kendal Museum' shows local archaeological finds and covers the history of Kendal castle. There is also a large natural history section.
Quaker Tapestry Exhibition
In the Friends Meeting House, Kendal, the Quaker Tapestry Exhibition tells the Quaker story from the 17th-Century to today. It is illustrated by 77 panels of embroidery: the work of more than 4,000 people from 15 countries. Quaker costumes are also on display with embroidery demonstrations and a gift shop.
Sizergh Castle, south of Kendal on the A590, was the Elizabethan home to the Strickland family for over 700 years. It has a good collection of antiques, portraits and furniture. It can be visited by bus.
Further south is Levens Hall, another Elizabethan manor built around a 13th century pele tower. It has connections with both Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Ghosts include a grey lady, a black dog and a pink lady in a print dress and mob cap. It has famous topiary gardens and is also accessible by bus.
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