Christmassy Kendal


On Friday we went over to the Abbot Hall Gallery in Kendal to have a second look at the exhibition of works by Hughie O’Donoghue – our last chance before it closed on Saturday. I’ve written up a report of our first visit here.

Although it wasn’t sunny the weather was reasonably good and dry, a good change from the heavy rain we’d had over the previous few days. It was a brief respite, however, as the rain returned with a vengeance on Saturday and it seems set to continue until Christmas day.

After looking round the gallery and the small, but interesting,  Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry, we had a walk into the town centre. We hadn’t explored the town during our previous visits this year and to be honest we were a little surprised. It has quite a good shopping centre and there are some interesting old buildings.

Abbot Hall is quite an impressive, large Georgian house, situated on the banks of the River Kent.


The Museum building looks like it was probably originally the stables and outbuildings for the hall


There’s a pleasant river walk from the hall into the town. After all the rain the river was pretty full and fast flowing.


On the opposite bank from Abbot Hall there’s a row of old alms houses. Along with the adjacent chapel, which has now been converted into housing, they were built in 1887 in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s jubilee.


At the back of the alms houses, the ruins of Kendal castle, up on it’s hill, can just be made out

2012-10-29 13.47.13

There was a better view from further up the river towards the town centre.


Kendal is the third largest town in Cumbria and has a busy shopping centre, no doubt serving all the farms and small communities in South Cumbria and parts of the Yorkshire Dales.


The shopping streets and centre were all busy with local people doing their Christmas shopping. There was a farmer’s market taking place and we were tempted into buying some cheese, venison, smoked Cumberland sausage and smoked chicken.



There were a number of interesting old streets and buildings. This is a view down Stramongate, just off the Market Place.


I guess this building dates from 1657 – the sign gives it away!


This is one of the oldest buildings in the town. It’s the former gatehouse of Sandes Hospital, which was founded by Thomas Sandes a wealthy cloth merchant and former Mayor of Kendal. It was originally a Bluecoat school (a charity school for orphans) and alms houses for poor widows. The gatehouse used to be the master’s house.



A particular feature of Kendal are the “yards” – narrow lanes branching off the main street. At one time there wre about 150 ‘yards’ in the town. They were often named after the owner of the main house which usually stood at the top of the yard. “Dr Manning’s Yard” is a good example .




The town have continued the tradition by establishing a new “yard” named in honour of the legendary Alfred Wainwright


Time was limited, so we weren’t able to properly explore the town, particularly the “yards”, or visit the castle. They’ll be on the agenda for a future visit as we will definitely going back up to Kendal to visit next year’s exhibitions at Abbot Hall.




There’s an interesting site about Kendal’s “yards” here.

4 thoughts on “Christmassy Kendal

  1. Although the river looks pretty high you seem to have had reasonable weather for your visit. Lucky you! Over here on the eastern side of the Pennines the rain has only just stopped (although the wind has now got up) since last Wednesday. Thank you for a record of your visit to Kendal. I have driven through or stopped on numerous occasions (including one visit to the Museum of Lakeland Life) but it certainly warrants some repeat visits. Thank you also for entertaining throughout the year and Merry Christmas to you and yours and a Happy New Year full of travels and visits, Barbara

    • Many thanks for your kind comments Barbara. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts since I discovered your blog earlier this year. So a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too. And I look forward to reading about your travels and enthusiasms next year.

  2. Haven’t been to Kendal for many years but I remember being fascinated by those yards! thanks for your posts from the North keeping me in touch – best wishes for the season, Diana.

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