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Kendal’s
Famous Places

Kendal has not only some amazing architecture, but also some fascinating historical stories to tell.

From our castle dating back to the Century with it’s ties to Catherine Parr to the modern architecture of The Box theater on the Kendal College Arts & Media campus. A walk around the town looking up at building frontages and gables will reveal a variety of styles and interesting architectural features.

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Kendal Castle

The Castle was built in the late 12th century as the home of the Lancaster family who were Barons of Kendal.

Most people know Kendal Castle for being associated with the Parr family. Catherine Parr, the 6th wife of King Henry VIII, family had resided in Kendal Castle since her ancestor Sire William Parr married the heiress of Kendal, Elizabeth Ros during the reign on King Edward III.
During the Tudor period the castle became a ruin. Most of the castle walls survive along with one of the towers. The most important building in the Castle was the manor hall and parts of it remain today along with 2 of the vaults below.

Kendal Corporation bought Castle Hill in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
Although the castle is now a ruin, it’s still very much worth exploring.

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Castle Dairy

The Castle Dairy is Kendal’s oldest inhabited building.
Originally a farmhouse it is Kendal’s only surviving ‘true’ medieval house.


It was built in the early part of the 14th century but remodelled in 1560 for Anthony Garnett, though many of the original features still exist, including a small chapel on the upper floor that has the smallest window in Kendal. 

The name Dairy is likely the result of a misspelling in the past, as its true name relates to Dowry, meaning a house where a Dower or a widow would have lived. Local Legend says that the floor in the Castle Dairy is part of the old Roman road.

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The Turk or Saracen of Kendal

By the beginning of the 18th Century Kendal had become the major snuff manufacturing centre in Britain. It’s still one of the few places where it is still made.
It was bought from Virginia and Maryland North America to the west coast ports of Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport and from there take on a journey in pack horse trains to Kendal.
Thomas Tolson was the leading trader and amassed a considerable fortune.

Still today on Lowther street you can find the ‘Turk’. Gawith’s took the Turk for their sign and erected an effigy on the wall of their premises. 

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Brewery Arts Centre

The Brewery Arts Centre is a influential arts organisation that first opened its doors in 1972, when it was converted from the old Vaux Brewery.

They have been delivering exciting and inspirational events for over 40 years. They host five major festivals each year, including the very popular, internationally renowned Kendal Mountain Festival.

In its early years in 1757, Whitwell, Mark and Co established a wine business on the site and by 1900 were the towns largest employers. In 1946 the firm was taken over by Vaux Breweries of Sunderland.

The Brewery gardens are the last remaining of many which would once have flourished behind the town houses lining Highgate.
A timeline of some of  the highlights and milestones in the 40 years from 1972 to the present day can be found in the Bar area of the Brewery.

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Farrers Tea and Coffee 

The grade 2 listed building dates back to 1640. It was once a pack horse inn called The old Wagon and Horses Inn, patrons would be served their drinks in the cellars.

It was also a occupied by a dressmaker, E Gregson and earlier than that had been a house occupied by George and Mary Wilson.
Joseph Fallows started the business but in 1819 it became known as Farrer’s when John Farrer, a tea merchant from Liverpool purchased the business.

There is a large tea counter inside the main entrance which is listed along with the original tea canisters behind it, which are still used today.
in 1990 Farrer’s was bought by Gordon and Gillian Grace, and it has now become one of Kendal’s family run businesses.

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The Shambles

New shambles Lanes follows an ancient path called Watt lane, which ran through property owned in the 18th Century by the Trustees of the Market Place Chapel.

In 1804 it became the New Shambles when it was redeveloped at 12 butchers’ shops. The Old Shambles, behind the Fleece in were then abandoned.

Many of the slaughter houses around the Market place had no drains, although the owners paid two shillings and sixpence a week to have the lane cleaned, it became known as Stinking Lane
In 1838 a fire station was built on the east corner on the lane, with arched doorways for the three hand pumped engines.

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Pestle and Mortar

The Pestle and Mortar is a well known feature on Highgate. Historically, these markers were the trade symbol for shop they adorned. In this case it was “Ye Olde Highgate Pharmacy”.

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Kendal Parish Church

Dedicated to the Holy Trinity, Kendal Parish Church is one of the widest Parish Churches in the country and dates from the early 13th century, though it occupies the site of a much earlier church.

A record in the Domesday book and the shaft of an Anglian Cross, housed in the Parr Chapel and dated at approximately AD 805, suggests a early beginning. It is thought that some of the sandstone from the Saxon Church is incorporated in the present building.

The Parr Chapel was built by the Parr family in the 14th century. You can see the family coats of arms on the ceiling. It is believed that the large tomb in this Chapel is that of William Parr, grandfather of Catherine, the last wife of King Henry VIII.

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The Bristly Hog

Now an independent, fully licenced coffee house and restaurant is occupying a grade 2 listed building, dating back to 1575.

It gets its name from a 19th Century brush factory which used the site. The factory owners added the well known ‘bristly hog’ about the door and he can still be seen there today.

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Hand Sculpture

This Wooden sculpture can be found in Kendal’s Hawesmead Park. The sculpture featuring two clasped hands is a symbol of racial equality and friendship.

Its creator Andy Levy is a talented local sculpture who has also created the throne which also features on our mural.

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The Box

A performance venue famous for its ‘twisted cube’ slate construction.

Available for live performances, lectures, comedy, presentations, product launches and for recording/ broadcast and cinema screenings.

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Victoria Bridge

One of five road bridges over the River Kent, Victoria bridge was erected in 1887 to commemorate the Queen’s Jubilee. It was designed by Francis Webster for a new canal which terminated in Kendal, he also designed the bridge over Castle Mill. The foundation stone was laid in May 1818, the bridge as opened in November 1818 and the canal was operating by June 1819.

The original wooden bridge that connected the town and the castle corn mill was carried away by floods until 1743, when it was rebuilt entirely in stone.

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