The white of mint cake brought fame to Kendal when the sweet confection was taken to the top of Mt. Everest in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. But it was the green of its cloth that brought prosperity to the town for over 300 years. 

Although the wool trade died out in the 18th century - thanks to increasing competition from mill towns in Yorkshire and Lancashire - Kendal’s motto remains Cloth is my Bread and its heritage is celebrated every year by Kendal Wool Gathering.

What distinguishes the town now is a cultural offering considerably richer than in many bigger places: the Brewery Arts Centre, the Quaker Tapestry Museum, Kendal Museum, The Factory (home to artists and makers), Kendal College’s creative arts complex, Abbot Hall Art Gallery (closed for redevelopment until 2022), and numerous festivals, Kendal Mountain Festival the best known.

There’s a neat coincidence in that the home of mint cake, relished by walkers and climbers, should also be the place where walking guide writer Alfred Wainwright once worked as borough treasurer. His office was in the town hall on Highgate.

Attractions

Information

Kendal Tourist Information Centre, 48 Branthwaite Brow, Kendal LA9 4TX: 01539 735891. The Made in Cumbria shop is in the same premises. 

Kendal website: www.visit-kendal.co.uk

Explore South Lakeland website: www.exploresouthlakeland.co.uk

Train. Kendal station is on the Lakes Line (www.lakesline.co.uk) between Oxenholme and Windermere. Oxenholme is on the west coast main line between London, Carlisle and Glasgow.

Market days: Wednesday and Saturday.

Farmers’ market: last Friday of each month.

The Brewery Arts Centre, Highgate, Kendal LA9 4HE: 01539 725133 (box office). Venue for film, dance, drama, music, comedy and more.

The Box, Kendal College Arts and Media Campus, LA9 6EL: 01539 814729. www.kendal.ac.uk Close to Kendal station, this 140 seat performance venue is used for films, lectures, comedy, presentations and other events. It’s available for organisations to hire.

Kendal Civic Society has produced about 30 booklets detailing aspects of Kendal’s history.

Westmorland Gazette. Weekly newspaper, published on Thursday and covering Kendal and south Lakeland.

Kendal Midday Concert Club. Fortnightly concerts are held in the town hall on Wednesdays (13–14.00) from October to March. 12 concerts in the season.

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