York Castle Museum

Things to do in Kendal

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

One of the UK’s most beautiful regions, Kendal is a key destination in the Lake District, packed with fantastic places to visit as well as a wide range of high-quality restaurants, bars and pubs.

Culturally, Kendal plays a major role in Cumbria, hosting unique events such as Kendal Mountain Festival, a gathering of professional and amateur mountaineers, ramblers, and outdoors types from all around the world. There’s also the highly-regarded Westmorland County Show, which focuses on agriculture and food, like an old-fashioned fayre brought into the 21st century. Additionally, Brewery Arts Centre is a real hub for high-quality cinema and arts events too.

Of course, Kendal Castle looms large over the area, and for good reason, this 12th century ruined castle is a must-visit for fans of history and stunning photo opportunities. Scout Scar is another awe-inspiring local feature, 771ft tall and a perfect way to get those steps totted up.

When it comes to museums, both the Kendal Museum and the Quaker Tapestry Museum house a vast array of captivating artefacts, both historical and natural. And when it comes to beautiful buildings steeped in history, Levens Hall and Sizergh Castle are both centuries-old and packed with countless things to see and do.

Shoppers are well catered for, with independent lifestyle store Armstrong Ward selling all manner of homeware and gifts to take back home from your visit to Kendal, and The Antiques Emporium is full to the rafters of unique pieces of history, whether that be lamps, outfits or jewellery. Another Weigh is an eco-friendly space, selling cereals, pulses, legumes, herbs and spices in a zero-waste fashion which is vital for sustainability.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, luxury-seekers should opt for the spectacular Castle Green Hotel, while The Riverside is a vast hotel with stunning views over the River Kent. Traditionalists will adore the Shakespeare Inn, home to simple, cosy rooms in a refurbished old-fashioned pub.

Unsurprisingly, considering the reputation of the Lake District as a food-lovers paradise, Kendal is home to countless excellent places to eat and drink. Comida is a laid-back Spanish restaurant serving up a range of mouth-watering Iberian treats, while Fell Bar is a fine place to go to enjoy some local beers. For those visitors out and about during the daytime, a coffee in About Time Espresso Bar is highly recommended, as is The Joshua Tree for lunch.

Whether you’re looking for culture, food, drink, shopping or simply to catch the sights of one of the UK’s most beautiful regions, Kendal has the lot. And it’s easily accessible from all over the UK, by train or car. When a place as beautiful and scenic as this is on our doorsteps, a visit for a week or two is a must.

Discover our top picks

  • 1. Brewery Arts Centre

    Image courtesy of Brewery Arts Centre.

    Brewery Arts Centre, 122A Highgate, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4HE - Visit now

    Housed in a picturesque brewery building, the Brewery Arts Centre has been a hub for high-quality cinema, stage-on-screen, music, comedy, and spoken word in Kendal and the region for over 40 years. More recently, the Brewery Arts Centre has started to offer a programme of lessons in creative learning, too.

  • 2. Kendal Castle

    Kendal Castle
    Courtesy of Visit Kendal

    Kendal Castle, 1 test street, Kendal - Visit now

    A 12th century ruined castle built atop a formidable glacial drumlin, Kendal Castle offers stunning views over Kendal and the surrounding landscape, and the haunting structure makes for great photo opportunities. Parents can also let the kids charge around in the wide-open spaces.

  • 3. Scout Scar

    Scout Scar
    Bryan Pready

    Scout Scar, Underbarrow Road, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8HB - Visit now

    Scout Scar is an amazing 771ft tall hill, with an awe-inspiring cliff-edge and views all around the county. Featured in Alfred Wainwright’s series of classic mountaineering and rambling books, the Scar makes an ideal target for walkers with stronger stamina based in Kendal. Nearby is the village of Underbarrow for provisions.

  • 4. Kendal Museum

    Kendal Museum
    Visit Kendal

    Kendal Museum, Station Rd, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 6BT - Visit now

    Kendal Museum treats the guest to an impressive collection of artefacts, both historical and natural. The collection includes pieces from all over the world and from the beginning of time to the present, but the real interest lies in the fascinating local history of the region.

  • 5. Quaker Tapestry Museum

    Quaker Tapestry Museum
    Quaker Tapestry Museum

    Quaker Tapestry Museum, Friends Meeting House Stramongate, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4BH - Visit now

    The Friends Meeting House in Kendal is the permanent home of the Quaker Tapestry, a monumental piece of popular textile art fifteen years in the making, memorialising the history of the Quaker movement from the 17th century to the present. This is a fascinating piece of social and political history, the work of over four 4000 men, women and children.

  • 6. Levens Hall

    Levens Hall
    Levens Hall Kendal Cumbria

    Levens Hall, Levens Hall, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 0PD - Visit now

    Levens Hall is a beautiful Elizabethan manor house, featuring the oldest surviving example of a topiary garden. The house and gardens are a joy to wander in, and the recently established Levens Kitchen provides delicious seasonal and local food.

  • 7. Fell Bar Brewery

    Fell Bar Brewery
    Fell Brewery

    Fell Bar Brewery, 3 Lowther Street, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4DH - Visit now

    Fell Bar is an outlet for the Fell Brewery and a great independent venue in itself. One of Kendal’s top bars, it offers a relaxed but still buzzing atmosphere, and fantastic craft beer.

  • 8. The Antiques Emporium

    The Antiques Emporium
    The Antiques Emporium

    The Antiques Emporium, Unit 8, Dockray Hall Mill, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4RU - Visit now

    The Butterfield & French Antiques Emporium is one of the best antique stores in the Lakes. Light fittings, lamps, crystal ware, and furniture small to large… The Antiques Emporium has it all. A wonderful place to wander, the Emporium also features costume pieces, pipes, and jewellery.

  • 9. Another Weigh Kendal

    Another Weigh Kendal
    Another Weigh, Kendal

    Another Weigh Kendal, Unit 13 Blackhall Yard, Stricklandgate, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4LU - Visit now

    Another Weigh Kendal is a zero-waste food shop whereby you bring your own containers, fill them up, and pay by weight. Specialising in cereals, pulses, legumes, and herbs and spices, the shop also sells eco-friendly household products.

  • 10. Comida


    Comida, 90-92 Highgate, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4HE - Visit now

    Comida is Kendal’s hotspot for Spanish inspired food and drink, perfect for catching up with friends, or people-watching over the busy high street. Serving up classic Iberian dishes such as Spanish Omelette and chorizo, plus many intriguing wines. You’ll find Comida on Highgate, within easy reach of parking and hotels.

Julie Brook Exhibition at Abbott Hall
Exhibitions Until 30 December 2023, from £9.00 (on sale soon)

Julie Brook: What is it That Will Last? at Abbot Hall

Signalling a new direction for Abbot Hall, this major solo exhibition will include thirty years of work by renowned landscape artist Julie Brook.

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Allan Bank, Grasmere, image courtesy of Visit Cumbria

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