Kendal in Cumbria is the largest settlement in the former county of Westmorland, an important town in a largely rural area. There is a tourist information centre here.
Historically Kendal was a stronghold against the Celts and there are several ruined castles in the area, the most recent dating from the 12th century. Henry VIII's sixth wife Katherine Parr is said to have been born at Kendal Castle. From the ruined castle there are wonderful views over the town and the surrounding area.
The town centre is characterised by many narrow yards and lanes branching off the main street. This layout evolved to allow the local population to take shelter during Celtic raids.
Standing on the River Kent, the town became an important manufacturer of woollen cloth, with many mills sited along the river. Kendal later became known for the manufacture of shoes, notably Kays Shoes. Most of the this production is now done elsewhere and the Kays Shoes site houses the 'K Village', a outlet shopping centre offering famous brands at discount prices.
The Heritage Centre at K Village also gives visitors the chance to discover the history of shoe-making in Kendal.
One of the visitor attractions in the town is the award-winning Kendal Museum, one of the oldest in the country.
Other attractions here include the excellent Abbot Hall Art Gallery, set in a Georgian house beside the River Kent, which houses works by Turner and Ruskin. Nearby is the facinating Lakeland Museum of Rural Life.
Just outside the town stands the Elizabethan mansion Levens Hall.
Kendal's most famous product is Kendal Mint Cake. This glucose-based energy food supplied Ernest Shackleton's Transarctic Expedition (1914-17) and has been taken on numerous mountaineering expeditions, including to the summits of Everest and K2.
With the decline its old industries, Kendal's economy is now based on tourism and the town has become the gateway to the Lake District.
Towns Near Kendal To Visit - straight line distance:Bowness-on-Windermere (7.41 miles) Windermere (7.42 miles) Ambleside (11.32 miles) Coniston (13.53 miles)
Abbot Hall Art Gallery The Gallery in the Hall is in a pleasant setting near the river.
Levens Hall A fine Elizabethan mansion with fantastic topiary.
Sizergh Castle A rather impressive castle to visit.