Kendal is listed in the Domesday Book as part of Yorkshire with the name Cherchbi. For many centuries it was called Kirkbie Kendal, meaning “village with a church in the valley of the River Kent”. The earliest castle was a Norman motte and bailey (now located on the west side of the town) when the settlement went under the name of Kirkbie Strickland.
A chartered market town, the centre of Kendal is structured around a high street with fortified alleyways (known locally as yards) off to either side which allowed the local population to seek shelter from the Anglo-Scottish raiding parties known as the Border Reivers. The main industry in these times was the manufacture of woollen goods, the importance of which is reflected in the town’s coat of arms and in its Latin motto “Pannus mihi panis”, meaning wool (literally ‘cloth’) is my bread. “Kendal Green” was hard-wearing wool-based fabric specific to the local manufacturing process and was supposedly sported by the Kendalian archers who were instrumental in the English victory over the French at the Battle of Agincourt.
The site of several (ruined) castles, the most recent one constructed in the late 12th century, Kendal has a long history as a stronghold of one kind or another. Rumours still circulate that King Henry VIII’s sixth wife Catherine Parr is believed to have been born at Kendal Castle, but these are unfounded.
Kendal today is known largely as a centre for tourism, as the home of Kendal mint cake, and as a world-renowned producer of pipe tobacco and tobacco snuff. Its buildings, mostly constructed with the local grey limestone, have earned it the nickname the Auld Grey Town. From Wikipedia
Kendal Museum of Natural History and Archaeology (one of the oldest in the country, it includes an exhibition on the geology of the Lake District and a stuffed polar bear)
Abbot Hall Art Gallery (housed in a Georgian villa, it mounts nationally important exhibitions) Permanent collection includes George Romney, JMW Turner, John Ruskin, Ben Nicholson, Paula Rego, Lucian Freud, Stanley Spencer and Barbara Hepworth.
Friends’ Meeting House, home of the Quaker Tapestry
The Brewery Arts Centre (offering theatre, dance, exhibitions, cinemas, music, workshops, youth drama and dance)
Kendal Leisure Centre
Kendal Town Council
Abbot Hall Art Gallery
Brewery Arts Centre
George Romneys of Kendal
The Northern Reaches—Restoration of the canal to Kendal
VisitCumbria – Kendal
Samuel Gawith Snuff
Kendal has plenty of pubs that serve bar meals and there are also some quality restaurants.
Mumbai Indian Restaurant, 8 Stramongate, Kendal. Tel: 01539 723787