Kirkby Lonsdale is an historic market town set within easy reach of both the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. Mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086, the centre is lined with 17th and 18th-century buildings, cobbled courtyards and narrow alleyways.
In this guide, we’ve rounded up our top things to Do in Kirkby Lonsdale to help you plan your visit.
Admire Ruskin's view
Kirkby Lonsdale is where the famous Lakeland writer and philanthropist John Ruskin first saw the Lune Valley and made the oft-quoted comment "I do not know in all my country, still less France or Italy, a place more naturally divine…”. You can visit this spot where he stood and was inspired to write these words in St Mary's Churchyard.
Take a Stroll on Devil's Bridge
Devils Bridge is a three-arched bridge set on the edge of the town, spanning the River Lune. The bridge is thought to date back to the 12th or 13th century and is now a scheduled ancient monument. According to the legend, the bridge was built by the Devil and tells of an old lady who wished to cross the bridge to tend her cow on the other side of the river. The Devil demanded a payment in the form of the soul of the first person to cross the bridge. The old lady cleverly foiled his plan by sending her dog across first.
On weekends (especially Sundays) this is a really popular place to visit and enjoy a cup of tea from Devil's Bridge Snacks.
A day out in Kendal
The bustling town of Kendal is a popular hub for shopping and culture in south Lakeland – home to a vibrant arts centre, museums and a renowned art gallery. Kendal offers a relaxing and enjoyable shopping experience with pedestrian-friendly streets and intriguing yards and ginnels. Famous high street names and brands sit alongside a fabulous collection of speciality craft, food, and designers shops and markets.
Visit St Mary's Church
The beautiful Norman church, St Mary’s, has a pretty courtyard full of ancient monuments and wonderful architecture to admire. From the wrought-iron gateways to the many stained-glass windows, carved oak furniture and pulpit, this is a magnificent place to visit.
Kirkby Lonsdale has a great reputation for dining out. There are a whole host of choices from a simple cafe in the market square to fine dining in one of the town's restaurants. As you might expect in a characterful market town such as this, there are plenty of traditional pubs too and many of them are dog friendly. We recommend The Sun Inn, Plato's Restaurant and The Crossing Point Cafe.
Kendal Brewery Arts Centre
The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal opened in 1972 when the building was converted from the original Whitwell Brewery. Many of the rooms and stages bear names that hark back to the brewing days. The centre now hosts music, top names in comedy, plays and a popular cinema. There is a wonderful shabby chic bar in the basement vaults serving pizza and tapas.
The Victorian Fair
During the first weekend in September, the town hosts its Victorian Fair, now a major event in the North of England. This lively event is a fantastic family day out! Browse the market stalls and catch some lively street entertainment!
Discover more Lake District cottages or see our introduction to Sally's Cottages in the Lakes.