Things To Do In Kendal (Gateway To England’s Lake District!)

Last Updated on 20/09/2021

If you’re planning a trip to Cumbria or the Lake District, you need to plan a day in Kendal into your itinerary. This pretty English market town has a whole host of attractions that you’ll want to visit. Keep reading for the ideal one-day itinerary and discover the top things to do in Kendal!

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Things to do in Kendal

Kendal is a historic market town in Cumbria, United Kingdom. Kendal is often considered the southern gateway to the Lake District as it is located just a few miles south of the region. This little town has a lot to offer, so get ready to discover the best things to do in Kendal!

How to get to Kendal

By car, Kendal is only eight miles from junction 36 of the M6. By train, Kendal is a short train journey from Windermere Railway Station. It can also be accessed from Oxenholme, which is located on the West Coast mainline between London and Glasgow. Oxenholme station is only 2.5 miles outside of the town.

Kendal has several car parks available. The most central is Westmorland Shopping Centre which has 627 spaces in the multi-storey structure and prices range from £1.50-£6.00*. However, there are numerous other car parks available around the town.

Things to do in Kendal: One Day Itinerary

There are lots of things to do in Kendal that will easily fill a day trip, if not longer. With so much to see, here is the perfect one-day itinerary to see the best of Kendal. With plenty to do you can choose your favourites to suit the length of your stay.

Low Sizergh Barn

Things to do in Kendal - Low Sizergh Barn

If you are driving to Kendal then the first stop on your journey must be Low Sizergh Barn. Located just a 10-minute drive south of Kendal, this working family farm boasts a beautiful farm shop and café. Open from 9am daily, this is the ideal spot to grab a substantial breakfast or brunch to fuel your day.

Low Sizergh Barn isn’t just about the café though. As well as grabbing a bite to eat, you can enjoy a trail of fairy doors; see cows being milked, pick up some delicious foodstuffs and local craft gifts from the shop and see the Growing Well site.

Growing Well is a community-owned business producing food and vegetables. They provide a safe working environment for volunteers who are recovering from mental health problems.

Growing Well at Low Sizergh Barn

Things to do around Kendal Town Centre

Following your visit to Low Sizergh Barn, you can head into Kendal town centre.

Start your journey in the Market Place area. Have a wander down Stricklandgate, past the tourist information and onto Highgate. This is the main shopping street in the town and has several high street names and tourist shops.

Brewery Arts Centre

As you continue down Highgate, you will pass Brewery Arts Centre on your right. This now cosmopolitan arts venue is an ingenious regeneration of an old brewery. This venue is the home of the arts in Kendal. It boasts cinema screens, a theatre, a restaurant, bar, café and exhibition space.

Things to do in Kendal - Brewery Arts Centre

Abbot Hall Park

Come back out of Brewery Arts Centre, turn right and continue your journey down Highgate. Cross the road and take a left onto Dowkers Lane. You will see an archway marking the entrance to Abbot Hall Park.

This little spot of greenery is an idyllic location for a stroll on a sunny day.It also makes a pretty route to the next stop.

Things to do in Kendal - Abbot Hall Park

Abbot Hall Art Gallery

At the far end of the park and to the right you will find Abbot Hall Art Gallery. This impressive, listed building is located beside the river.

It has played host to a broad range of high-profile, contemporary exhibitions. For the modest admission fee of £7.50*, you can see works by world-class artists.

Turner, Monet, Ruskin and Hockney have all featured in a variety of visiting exhibitions. There are also permanent features by local artist George Romney. To see the current calendar of exhibitions, click here.

Note: Abbott Hall Art Gallery is currently closed for redevelopment and is scheduled to reopen in 2022.

Things to do in Kendal - Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Kendal Parish Church

If you continue past Abbot Hall, you will get a stunning view of the back of Kendal Parish Church. This beautiful Grade I listed building still holds services every Sunday.

The church is open to visitors most days so you can pop in and admire its beauty from the inside. There is usually a steward on hand who would be happy to answer questions.

Things to do in Kendal - Kendal Parish Church

Now retrace your steps slightly and head back past Abbot Hall, alongside the river to the footbridge. While crossing the River Kent, take a moment to admire the pretty views both up and downstream.

Kendal England - Day Trips from the Lake District

Kendal Castle

The next section of the walk has a steep incline, but a visit to the castle ruins is a must. After crossing the footbridge, turn right and cross the road. Follow the signposts for Parr Street Sunnyside and Kendal Castle.

The fifteenminute walk will take you through a park and woodland before emerging with the castle ruins ahead of you. Although the climb is a little steep, the reward is a glimpse of what this once imposing 12th-century castle could have looked like.

You can walk right around the castle remains, then enter the grounds and learn more about the history of the building via notice boards and a downloadable audio tour.

The castle remains are free to explore and give both an interesting insight into Kendal’s medieval history, as well as a peaceful retreat from the bustle of town.

Things to do in Kendal - Kendal Castle

While you are exploring the castle remains, make sure to take some time to admire the stunning views of the town and surrounding countryside. There are plenty of benches to sit and enjoy the view. You could even pack a picnic and find a spot to roll out a blanket and enjoy some lunch.

View from Kendal Castle

When you’re ready to return, descend following the same route until you reach the riverside. When there, turn right so you are walking back towards the town.

Continue following the river until you reach Bridge Street. Cross the river again to the same side where you started your journey.

Quaker Tapestry

The Kendal Meeting House is home to this stunning tapestry. It is made up of 77 embroidered panels and was made over a period of 15 years, by 4,000 people from 15 different countries. The £7.50* entrance fee gets you a ticket valid for 12 months to this impressive exhibition.

Those who are expecting to just see the tapestry will be amazed at how much is on display in this exhibition space. As well as the tapestry, your ticket gets you access to an introductory video, an audio guide of the tapestry exhibition, a longer documentary on Quaker history as well as interactive displays on some well-known Quakers and lots of activities for children.

Don’t underestimate how much time you will want to spend exploring this surprising gem!

Things to do in Kendal - Quaker Tapestry

Once you depart the Quaker Tapestry Exhibition, you can return to the car by turning right and taking Blackhall Road. The car park will be on your left. If you still have time to squeeze further exploration in, why not try some of the other attractions listed below?

Kendal Mint Cake

But of course, your trip isn’t complete without sampling some Kendal Mint Cake!

This sugary, mint flavoured bar proves popular with walkers as an energy supply while out exploring the Lakeland countryside. In its hometown, Kendal Mint Cake is stocked in most food and tourist stores so you won’t have any trouble locating a souvenir bar to take home with you!

Other things to do in Kendal

If you’ve got a little extra time to explore in and around Kendal, why not try the following:

  • Sizergh Castle – an impressive castle which has been home to the same family for almost 800 years. Located a short drive south of Kendal, it is a great stop before or after your trip around the town.
  • Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry – located in the original stables of Abbot Hall, Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry tells an immersive history of the Lake District’s past in farming, mining, tanning. Note: the museum is closed for redevelopment and is due to reopen in 2022.
  • Kendal Museum – containing local Roman and Viking finds as well as other exhibitions about the area, this museum can be reached by turning left out of the Quaker Meeting House and crossing the river at Stramongate.
  • Levens Hall – believed to be home to the oldest topiary garden in the world, this imposing Elizabethan home is a fifteen-minute drive south of Kendal.

If you’re visiting Kendal, United Kingdom why not extend your trip to include a day in Windermere?

*Prices updated as of September 2021.

Get Your Kendal Trip Essentials

If you’re planning a trip to Kendal, don’t forget to pick up your travel guide and Kendal essentials before your visit!

Things to do in Kendal

So, these are the top things to do in Kendal on your visit. Make sure you bookmark this page or pin it using the pin below so you can revisit it for your next trip!

Have you visited Kendal? I’d love to know what your favourite Kendal attraction is! Let me know in the comments!

Until our next adventure,

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33 thoughts on “Things To Do In Kendal (Gateway To England’s Lake District!)”

  1. Love this post! Great information, with the best pictures to go along with them. I have saved this for my future UK visits!

    Reply
    • Kendal is a really lovely place and well worth a day visit. We hope you have an opportunity to experience it!

      Reply
  2. Kendal seems like an awesome place and you really got me with the castle, it looks really amazing, almost like from fairytale

    Reply
    • Why is it that no matter how many places you cross off, your bucket list just seems to get longer??
      Kendal is really lovely, we hope you get an opportunity to visit! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  3. I’ve never heard of Kendal before but it looks like a really charming town. The Kendal Mint Cake sounds really interesting as well, is it more of a snack bar type of cake? The Lakes District looks really beautiful, I will definitely be keeping Kendal in mind for any future visits to the UK!

    Reply
    • Kendal is such a lovely place! Oh goodness, Kendal Mint Cake is so hard to describe! To be honest, it isn’t really a ‘cake’ at all, it is a sugary bar that is quite solid. It’s more like mint patties than cake and you can buy the regular version which is just a white mint bar, a brown sugar version and in some instances a chocolate covered one too. If you get the opportunity to visit the Lake District be sure to try one, my description doesn’t really do it justice!

      Reply
  4. I never heard of Kendal but I’ll definitely have to go visit the next time I’m in the UK. It seems like such a charming a relaxing place to visit.

    Reply
    • It’s a lovely little market town and is very quintessentially English! It’s a wonderful place to explore and a great stop on a trip to the Lake District. I hope you get an opportunity to visit soon!

      Reply
  5. Kendal is absolutely beautiful and one of the off the beaten destinations in the UK. I will say, it will be a lovely stop before the Lake District and it will be lovely to spend a day or two here. I will love to visit Sizergh Castle and Kendal Museum just to learn more about its Roman past.

    Reply
    • It’s a really pretty town and has a surprising amount packed into it to visit! The castles and museums are fascinating places to learn more about the history of the area. They’re definitely worth a visit!

      Reply
    • I’m glad you like them! Kendal is a lovely place, it’s a really charming town. I hope you get the opportunity to visit one day!

      Reply
  6. Wow, never heard of this beautiful place and grateful to have discovered it thanks to you! Need to take a weekend trip here soon 🙂

    Reply
    • It’s a lovely little town and is well worth a visit! If you head over for a weekend be sure to venture into the Lake District too! Windermere is easy to get to from Kendal and the scenery is breath-taking. I hope you get an opportunity to visit soon!

      Reply
  7. I’d love to explore the Lake District so Kendal seems like a good place to start! If nothing else, I’d like to stop by to get a Kendal mint cake 😉 Sounds delicious!

    Reply
    • Kendal is a lovely place and a great day trip from the Lake District! It’s definitely one you don’t want to miss off your itinerary! Bowness-on-Windermere is another popular spot in the area too! It has lots of attractions to see and is a busy tourist spot. If you want something a little more remote with hiking and boating Ullswater is a lovely area. Kendal Mint Cake is well stocked throughout the Lakes! I hope you get an opportunity to take a Lake District trip soon!

      Reply
  8. The Lakes District is a beautiful area of England. I visited The area in the late ‘70s and still talk about it. I have a sweet tooth and remember well Kendal Mint Cake. An informative, detailed post.

    Reply
    • I love The Lake District too, the scenery is so beautiful! I’m glad to hear the area (and the mint cake!) left such a strong impression on you! Thanks for reading my guide to Kendal!

      Reply
    • The Lake District is such a beautiful area! The scenery is incredible! Kendal Mint Cake is great, isn’t it? The perfect hiking snack! Thanks for reading!

      Reply
    • Kendal is such a pretty place and it is worth a day trip from the Lake District! The views from the castle are incredible! Thanks for reading!

      Reply

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